Can you stop your milk coming in?

(66 Posts)
babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 18:57:11

Due to medical reasons I will not be BF but am worried about my milk coming in - i am sure i read somewhere that there are meds that can be given to stop your milk coming in, is that true and if so how easy is it to arrange?

They are not usually prescribed in the UK. Snug fitting comfy bra and not feeding will soon see your milk disappear, if you don't feed. It will usually come in but soon go away if the milk isn't being removed. You may feel uncomfortable/need some simple painkillers.

Are you definitely planning not to BF at all? If would be very rare (though possible of course)for a medical problem to prevent it.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:09:27

Definitely not BF at all and not prepared to even discuss the potential to be honest - its not the condition but the treatment for it that prevents BF due to crossing the barrier

Bert2e Sun 14-Jul-13 19:09:48

If you are going to be taking certain drugs that you think may stop you bf please check with an expert to make sure that they are incompatible with bf - most are fine. Ask on here or ring the Breastfeeding Network drugs information line.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:12:38

Not meaning to be rude but I have checked - and i cannot BF so please do not try to convice me of otherwise - this is MY decision

Shesparkles Sun 14-Jul-13 19:17:30

Baring in mind I'm 43 (todaygrin ) so this is very old info, my mum was given a drug to dry up her milk not long after I was born-I've no idea what it was or if it's something that's still available, but it has been done in the past.

This might be something that it might be better to ask your GP about rather than your midwife, as a GP may be less likely to try to try to persuade you to go down the BF route as he/she will have more of an awareness of the treatment you have.

I BF both of my children but I'm totally pro choice, and if BF isn't for you, for whatever reason, I respect that

I haven't tried to convince you otherwise, I have answered your question.

You are welcome, BTW.

VinegarDrinker Sun 14-Jul-13 19:20:05

If you speak to your medical team they may well be happy to prescribe it - the medication you need is cabergoline.

It's regularly prescribed for mothers with HIV, to give one example.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:21:00

moaning, sorry it was aimed at Bert not at you

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:23:16

thanks sparkles & vinegar

My MW is aware due to the meds having a high chance of MC and is fully aware of my decision, she has been very supportive although not so sure they will be same in the hospital! I will speak to both MW and my GP with the info you have given - thanks xx

Bert2e Sun 14-Jul-13 19:29:33

It's totally your decision whether you bf or not, I'm not trying to change your mind. I'm simply giving you the information you would need to find out whether the medication you are taking really is a problem as unfortunately I've seen many mums who have been told they cannot bf on a drug when that simply isn't true and have been very upset. If you just don't want to bf that's fine.

orderinformation Sun 14-Jul-13 19:29:58

Hi babyhmummy01.
How exciting re your baby.

I have mix fed both mine and find bottle feeding just as fulfilling as the eye contact thing is even stronger than when bf. As a doc said to me at the time, all that matters is you feed your baby, whatever it is you feed them.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:35:34

i am probably a bit over sensitive and reading the wrong intent to your message Bert so I apologise. I have been very careful to check as i am aware that BF is better for baby, but it literally comes down to BF and not be able to pick her up without risking my shoulder giving way and dropping her or FF and know that baby is safe. I have discussed at length with the Pain Clinic and my DP and am fully aware of my options etc, but am coming under attack from certain ppl in RL who are intent on ignoring the medical side and berating me for effectively poisoning by baby.

Orderinfo - thanks hun. As long as she feeds, puts on weight and is happy that is all that matters at the end of the day!

Fairylea Sun 14-Jul-13 19:40:59

You can get drugs to reduce prolactin levels - which is the main hormone responsible for breastmilk production (I know because I have been prescribed it from a non pregnancy point of view as I have a prolactin secreting tumour and I produce breastmilk all the time even though I have never breastfed my two dc). If you do decide to ask for medication ask for dostinex as opposed to bromocriptine as the dostinex is newer and less side effects. (I had to take a higher dose when trying to conceive and it worked for me).

I didn't breastfeed either of my dc however and even with my condition I found my milk just never really came in properly as without the stimulation of breastfeeding etc it just tends to go away quickly. Just wear supportive bras and avoid nipple rubbing etc.

Bert2e Sun 14-Jul-13 19:43:27

Apology accepted babyhmummy01!

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:47:05

Fairylea - sorry about your condition but thank you for the info, I will speak to GP etc now i am armed with info rather than 'i think i read it somewhere'

Thanks Bert grin I am automatically on the defensive with this as i know in RL and MN terms its a fairly emotive subject!

Fairylea Sun 14-Jul-13 19:57:02

You're welcome... and good luck smile .. and please don't ever feel bad about not breastfeeding. When your dc are grown up, trust me no one will even think about how you fed them as babies!

I could have breastfed both of mine and probably wouldhave been able to produce an abundance of milk due to my condition but it just didn't appeal to me and I wanted dh to be able to share all the feeds and night feeds etc and it worked for us. I found having a cold water steriliser really good as opposed to a steam one or whatever as you can just throw all the washed bottles and dummies in there and they stay sterile for up to 24 hours until you need them.... I'm waffling now. But honestly you'll be fine smile

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 20:05:51

thanks for the tips Fairylea! I have a steam steriliser cos it does it in like 10 mins so speed and ease appeals, have played with it and with 5 weeks to go (although with BH getting worse and pressure downstairs it may be sooner) I am almost prepared i think...

And to be honest for the same reasons as you I am not sure i would have 100% BF even if i could have the option. My DP has 2 DC's from his marriage and felt horrendously isolated and left out of their early days due to his EXW EBF among other things. She was and is very controlling where the kids are concerned and has never allowed him to discipline or parent so this should be a fun time as there is no way i am doing it all on my own!

He is so looking forward to being a hands on daddy, he got all weepy when i made him get the steriliser down so we could play with it. He has loved choosing bottles although he drew the line at letting me buy the pink tommee tippee ones!

Bunbaker Sun 14-Jul-13 20:18:56

"I have mix fed both mine and find bottle feeding just as fulfilling as the eye contact thing is even stronger than when bf."

I don't "get" this eye contact thing. I BF DD for 6 mon ths, but she was such a slow feeder that I didn't sit there gazing into her eyes, but read or watched TV. Do BF mothers really sit there gazing into their baby's eyes during the entire length of a feed, really?

"I wanted dh to be able to share all the feeds and night feeds"

I am pro choice and find this excuse to not BF really weak. I would much rather someone said that they just didn't fancy it. I, personally, don't think that feeding a baby is particularly bonding. Cuddling and playing with a baby is far more bonding then feeding.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 20:20:55

bunbaker its not an excuse it is a reason she felt was valid and that is all that matters

ExBrightonBell Sun 14-Jul-13 20:47:56

Sorry to go off your main topic, but I couldn't not comment on your post about your DP's EXW. Exclusively bf does not automatically exclude a partner from bonding with their baby. Your DP's EXW excluded him because she was "controlling" in your words. Exclusively bf is irrelevant. She could equally have excluded him by controlling all formula feeds for example, or ff and bf if she chose to mix feed.

Fairylea Sun 14-Jul-13 20:50:15

Bunbaker - it's not about dh bonding with the baby, it's because I wanted a break and to share night feeds so I could sleep! As simple and selfish as that. I don't need to justify myself to anyone. Ds and dd won't ring me up when they are 18/20/30/40 etc to ask why I didn't breastfeed them. It's my choice.

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sun 14-Jul-13 20:54:16

Bottle feeding is not poison op (said as a mum of 2 bf baby's!)

My mum swears a big does of Epsom salts sorts it out but haven't tried it myself.

DameFanny Sun 14-Jul-13 20:55:55

Back to the drying up milk thing - it's apparently effective to wrap your breasts tightly with bandages for the first few days, so your milk doesn't come in. As if you were pretending to be a man sort of tightness.

But there are things available that your midwife can get for you, because -for example - if you'd not had a live birth you'd be in the same position - so just keep asking.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 20:56:27

EXBrighton her explanation to DP was that as she wanted to EBF bottles would be harmful and pushed him out - it was the control over it i was trying to convey rather than blaming EBF iyswim

Fairylea - this is why i get so defensive of my situation! Pro choice and excuse are more than a little contradictory imo

DameFanny Sun 14-Jul-13 20:57:06

Oh, and from personal experience migraines really dry up your milk, but that's not an option for everyone grin

AvonCallingBarksdale Sun 14-Jul-13 20:57:40

* felt horrendously isolated and left out of their early days due to his EXW EBF among other things*

really? Sounds a bit odd.

You don't have to justify your choices on here, you know and you're right that's it's good to be armed with knowledge. Good luck with your baby.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 20:59:54

Lovebeingup I know its not! Its what so called friends in RL have insinuated at the fact I am not even going to attempt to BF.

Dame sounds a tad extreme! Think I will keep pestering for the meds! My GP etc know the situation with my shoulder so am hoping that they will see where i am coming from and support me

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:03:53

Avon she is incredibly odd! We generally have an ok relationship which I am at pains to maintain for DP and his kids sake but i have to wonder how the hell she manages to exist with some of her bizarre beliefs. DP is a very hands on Dad but she refused to allow him to do anything - she has told me in all seriousness that 'Dad's just don't understand a baby, it needs mum 100% of the time as that is who they know and love from being inside her' that 'Dad's have no business feeding a baby, its why we have breasts'

She doesn't know I plan to FF cos I can see the hideous reaction I will have to deal with.

wigglesrock Sun 14-Jul-13 21:07:34

I didn't breast feed any of my children. If you don't get anywhere re prescribed medication. I wore a good bra, the milk came in around day 3/4 after birth. I took cocodamol - just obviously double check re any other medication you're taking. Don't touch your breasts - not even to relieve any fullness, I turned my back in the shower, no cascading water for me smile .

I hope you get sorted out with GP, midwives. Good luck with the birth smile.

ExBrightonBell Sun 14-Jul-13 21:11:26

Babyhmummy01, I just felt it was important to say that ebf does not in anyway exclude partners. It is other factors that means that this happens and mode of feeding is irrelevant.

Back on topic, good luck with your baby - there has been some excellent advice here about the drugs you will need. I hope no midwife, GP or HV gives you any problem with requesting what you need.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:18:17

Exbrighton - i know it shouldn't was just trying not to drip feed rather than blame EBF, but thanks for your good wishes and info!

So far HCP's have been brilliant, I guess cos they are aware of the meds i should be on and the extreme pain etc that i am suffering not being on them. I came off the meds in Feb as risk of MC is high during withdrawal so GP looked into guidelines and they said not to wean til 2nd trimester which has its own risks of birth defects etc. So far all is good but to BF on them could kill the baby and after 17 years of being told i was infertile I intend to be very PFB til i know she is here safe and sound with no issues!

AidanTheRevengeNinja Sun 14-Jul-13 21:19:30

Just to add re getting grief from others - remember you do not have to share how you are feeding your baby if you don't wish to. Not with friends, family, or even healthcare practitioners (unless they have a clear need to know eg are prescribing medication for you). Just say politely that it's a personal matter and you prefer not to discuss it.

I am always astonished by how many randoms think they have a right to know what I do and don't do with my breasts.

clucky80 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:24:37

Hi BabyH, I wasn't allowed to breast feed for medical reasons (I've had a double transplant and take 3 types of fairly toxic immunosuppressants that don't pass through the placenta but do pass through breast milk) and I didn't take any kind of tablet to stop my milk coming in. Around day 3 after delivery it did and I would leak milk when my DS cried. This stopped after a few weeks though and I just wore breast pads for a while. I felt really guilty over not being able to BF and felt that I had to explain to people that it was for medical reasons, I grew to learn that not everyone BF's though for various reasons. My DS is a very healthy little boy and it definitely did help me to be able to give him to DH's for some feeds as my medical conditions can make me very tired. Just do what is right for you and I wish you lots of luck and happiness with your new baby x

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:26:12

haha Aidan it amazes me how many ppl feel its their place to comment never mind ask! Family have generally been fine, its been a few hardcore BF friends who have had the opinions -they have been told to mind their own business (mostly politely but one has been put firmly in her place) Ironically the biggest backlash was from a male friend! His poor wife looked mortified at his attack on me - admittedly he wasn't nasty just VERY forthright in his beliefs.

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:27:03

thanks clucky

DameFanny Sun 14-Jul-13 21:48:51

For what it's worth I'm the only daughter in my family that bf'd to 6 months - possibly because I'm pretty stubborn. But I trapped a nerve in my back the third trimester and if it hadn't righted with physio I wouldn't have bf'd - because it would have been a straight choice between being able to pick up ds or feed him - no brainer, I would have ff'd...

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 22:07:07

this is my issue with my shoulder Dame - BF and be in so much pain i can barely move and risk it giving out when i pick her up or FF and be pain free and continue with physio to try and stregthen it...ultimately it needs major surgery but the success rate under 40 is shockingly bad so am stuck for the next 7 years

DoingTheSwanThing Sun 14-Jul-13 22:31:57

Please, don't feel you need to justify your choice to anyone, on here or in RL - it amazes me that people would ask, never mind pass comment on your feeding method!
Carbergoline is the most common option - perhaps your GP would prescribe in advance, or one of the Obs docs. You could always play the potential for mastitis card! Its obviously v unlikely that (beyond being uncomfortably) you'd have any issues, but if they're reluctant to prescribe you might want to suggest that it'd be preventing problems wink as other posters have said, without stimulating your breasts, milk won't "come in" to the same extent as if BF on demand. In case you do get uncomfortable though, it's worth knowing how to hand express just enough to take the pressure off.
Very best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy and early days with your long awaited baby, enjoy every second. It's magic smile

Twattybollocks Sun 14-Jul-13 22:35:20

Between you me and the garden fence, I've heard sudafed decongestant tablets are pretty effective at drying up unwanted milk.

DameFanny Sun 14-Jul-13 22:35:43

Much sympathy for getting through the next few weeks you poor thing...

babyhmummy01 Sun 14-Jul-13 22:38:03

twatty thanks will bear it in mind!

Doingtheswanthing hadn't thought of a pre-emptive request - will speak to MW when i next see her

Dame thanks

sunshine401 Sun 14-Jul-13 22:41:47

I did not bf my youngest. The milk coming in was not at all a problem. Had big (Really big) boobs for the whole of a day no pain what so ever no leaks nothing. All was fine the next day. Just don't touch grin

PeaceAndHope Mon 15-Jul-13 14:53:55

Hi there! I didn't breastfeed either- not because I couldn't, simply because I didn't want to.

Please ignore all the people who say "Are you sure you can't/don't want to?" They need to learn to answer the question asked or just mind their own business.

The medicine you want is cabergoline which is also prescribed to women with hyperprolactinemia.

NHS will NOT prescribe it to you. If you have any relatives living abroad who can get some of it for you, then that would be your best bet. (This is what I did).

The NHS philosophy is to make life as difficult as possible for women who don't breastfeed. So be prepared! I repeat- the medicine you want is cabergoline and they will definitely not prescribe it to you.

If you can't get your hands on the pills, then the only option is to wear a tight fitting bra and follow the other home remedies the previous posters have already described.

All the best!!

valiumredhead Mon 15-Jul-13 15:13:49

Yeah I asked for meds to dry my milk up and was told nothing is prescribed these days.

babyhmummy01 Mon 15-Jul-13 15:16:53

Hmm, will speak to mw and see what she advises then.

HarderToKidnap Mon 15-Jul-13 15:25:46

Cabergoline is a horrible drug with dreadful side effects. And your milk coming in will only be uncomfy for a couple of days. A tight bra, pain relief and cold packs would be much better than intense nausea, diarrhoea, the shakes and sweats etc that you often get with cabergoline.

Panzee Mon 15-Jul-13 15:35:08

I think I accidentally stopped my supply when trying to cure trapped wind with peppermint capsules.

Shellywelly1973 Mon 15-Jul-13 15:35:30

Hi op. I didn't feed some of my dc. My mum told me to wear tight bra, don't drink-even though you will be seriously thirsty & take paracetomal. Don't take your bra off unless showering& get it back on asap.

Best of luck. Don't 2 are in their 20's & absolutely fine.

Thurlow Mon 15-Jul-13 15:36:45

I don't know about the drugs but I can say the pain of milk coming in only lasted a few days. I had two days of it being really quite painful and as others have said, the hard part is trying not to touch them in anyway and encourage milk production. I had a non-wired bar very, very tight, so tight I had strap marks over and under my arms, and by day 3 they were just uncomfortable, and then it went very quickly. If you can't get anything from the NHS to help then considering the other parts of you that ache etc after the birth, the swollen breasts weren't an overwhelming problem.

PeaceAndHope Mon 15-Jul-13 16:16:58

I have taken cabergoline for hyperprolactinemia as a teen and then again after having children to stop the milk flow.

I had absolutely no side effects. If you look it up online, you'll see that birth control pills actually have more listed side effects then cabergoline.

Everyone reacts differently to medication and the medicine can always be stopped in case of a side effect.

Furthermore, in my mother's time women were freely prescribed this medication to stop milk flow and very few in my knowledge had any terrible reaction.

It should be a choice- the side effects should discussed openly and then it should be up to the woman to take the pills or not.

The whole idea behind stopping the practice of prescribing this medicine is to try and convince women to breastfeed and make formula feeding as difficult as possible.

PeaceAndHope Mon 15-Jul-13 16:19:06

Also keep in mind that this medicine is given without question to women following an abortion/miscarriage/stillbirth. If it were that dangerous, then it wouldn't be prescribed at all.

The fact that it isn't prescribed to women with live babies should make it amply clear that they are subtly trying to encourage breastfeeding.

Bluemonkeyspots Mon 15-Jul-13 17:10:56

I never bf any of my 4dc, my friend bf and made it look like the easiest thing in the world. I chose to ff and have no regretted it once, choice is a wonderful thing grin

I have massive breast (34j) so you can imagine what I looked like when they went brick hard! I never took my bra off even when in the shower, I just showered and washed with the old one on then quickly dried and put a clean one on when I got out.

Thurlow Mon 15-Jul-13 17:23:25

Bluemonkey - I remember saying to DP, "have you ever wondered what I'd look like if I had a boob job?" grin

HarderToKidnap Mon 15-Jul-13 18:11:27

Lucky you peace, and I mean that quite literally... 55% of women who take cab report debilitating side effects. So you're in a lucky minority there. It's not prescribed freely to women who have had an SB or other sad outcome, it's sometimes prescribed for these women after a long chat about how awful you can feel on it.

I also think it not being prescribed any more because of budget cuts rather than pressure to bf. And because its unjustifiable to prescribe medication to hasten a normal process which will occur within a day or two anyway, especially when that medication is probably going to make you feel very unwell. Sounds like OP is on some pretty heavy duty drugs anyway so getting drugs sent from abroad when she won't know about drug interactions would be stupid.

Panzee Mon 15-Jul-13 18:55:53

I got prescribed something to stop the milk because it was causing rotten infections every time it collected. I'd had several abscesses and they kept refilling. Don't remember any side effects but I wasn't very well anyway so I could have had some!

(This was with child one, the peppermint incident was the second time round!)

valiumredhead Mon 15-Jul-13 19:00:51

I never got brick hard boobs and my milk came in when I was 5 months pregnant! I used to have to sleep on a towel or the sheets would be soaking.

DoingTheSwanThing Mon 15-Jul-13 19:11:52

It's only one dose given to prevent milk production, so not a matter of stopping it if it doesn't suit. I'm not sure what the incidence of nasty side effects is after the one dose, but I'm not aware of it being a particular problem.

sparklekitty Mon 15-Jul-13 19:17:27

My friend is Spanish and she said in Spain when you decide to stop breastfeeding you go to the gp and they give you a pill to dry up the milk. Not sure it's available here though.

I know what you mean about meds and bfing though. I was told if I relapsed and went manic I would have to take meds incomparable with bfing. I've been lucky its not happened but its a no brainer really, better to be bottle fed and have a healthy mum.

If you can't get anything to dry the milk up I think ibruprofen is probably the best option, that's what my friend took when she decided not to bf, said it took about 3 days of discomfort for milk to dry up.

Fairylea Mon 15-Jul-13 19:25:49

The cab does give you very nasty side effects - BUT this usually relates to taking it at a higher dose (ie 4 times a day for many weeks) like someone like myself with a prolactin secreting tumour would need. I have taken it. Ihad very bad side effects - skin peeling, tiredness like nothing else, hair falling out etc - almost like a smaller dose of chemotherapy which I suppose it was to some extent in order to shrink my tumour.

I then complained and got put on dostinex which is much newer and I found it fine. Normal prolactin levels are about 250, mine were 4000. With the dostinex it has come down to about 2000 at the moment. My consultant told me a breastfeeding woman is about 450ish. Not exact science.

If you took a one off dose of either I'm sure you'd hardly notice the effects at all except less milk.

MintTeaForMe Mon 15-Jul-13 19:47:18

I was prescribed cabergoline to dry up my milk supply after three weeks of bf. I didn't suffer any side effects whatsoever. I also managed to get it on the NHS so am surprised to hear that they don't prescribe it. This would have been about a year and a half ago though, so maybe something's changed since then?

PeaceAndHope Mon 15-Jul-13 19:49:25


Do you have a source for that statistic? That 55% of women who take a few low doses of cab to stop breastmilk production report horrifying side effects?

Every medicine has side effects- it depends on the individual, the reason for taking it and the dosage prescribed.

By the way, I took the medicine only after approval from a doctor even though I bought it abroad.

A low dose of this medicine is prescribed in many countries to stop breastmilk. In fact it is even prescribed in the UK for women with miscarriages or stillbirths. That wouldn't happen if it was as dangerous as people make it out to be.

Budget cuts have nothing to do with withholding the dostinex- they could still hand out a prescription and make the woman buy her own medicine (as they do with many other forms of medication on the NHS).

VinegarDrinker Mon 15-Jul-13 20:48:14

Lots of misinformation on this thread. Dostinex is a brand of cabergoline. Cabergoline is routinely prescribed across the UK for the purposes of lactation suppression for medical reasons as well as in stillbirths and late miscarriages.

A one off dose (which is what is used) very rarely causes any side effects.

Fairylea Mon 15-Jul-13 21:11:45

Sorry..that was me getting confused. I've been on bromocriptine before and then dostinex. Different drugs. Oops. Long day with ds!

Panzee Mon 15-Jul-13 21:33:12

Bromocriptine, that's the one I had. About a weeks worth if I remember correctly.

babyhmummy01 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:33:43

Haha thanks ladies, I very much appreciate the info...the first one you were prescribed fairylea is the one I had read about I think.

I need to see my GP to get my pain meds ready for after her arrival sorted so will ask them then, might as well see what they say.

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