Breast Pain After Stopping Breastfeeding: Causes & Home Remedies

Breast Pain After Stopping Breastfeeding

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Nina Mansukhani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

As a natural part of the breastfeeding journey, many moms experience breast pain, discomfort, and even engorgement. What often catches mothers off guard is the breast pain that can occur even after stopping breastfeeding. This unexpected discomfort can be concerning, but it’s essential to understand that it’s a normal part of the weaning process. As sudden weaning leads to problems like plugged ducts, engorgement, and mastitis, we recommend that you go for gradual weaning. But first, let’s look at some common reasons moms stop breastfeeding, and then we’ll skip to self-care tips and effective remedies to deal with breast pain after stopping breastfeeding.

Video: Remedies to Deal With Breast Pain After Stopping Breastfeeding

Also Read: Sore Nipples and How to Deal with Them?

Common Reasons for Stopping Breastfeeding

Some reasons that make moms give up breastfeeding are:

1. Sore or Painful Breasts

First-timers find breastfeeding uncomfortable and, as a result, suffer from cracked nipples and painful breasts. This pain makes them stop breastfeeding.

2. Not Enough Milk

Some mothers worry that the milk they’re producing isn’t enough for their baby’s needs. So, they put their babies on formula milk.

Also Read: Lump in Breast while Breastfeeding

3. Career

New moms who wish to rejoin work immediately after childbirth may have no option but to stop breastfeeding. Expressing milk at work or before leaving home may not always be possible.

4. Grown-up Baby

Breast milk is a baby’s only source of nutrition for the first six months. When their babies reach this milestone, moms may want to introduce them to solid foods.

5. Medication

Starting on medications that could potentially pass through the breast milk, moms must stop breastfeeding and opt for alternatives 

6. Difficulty in Latching

Babies experiencing difficulty in latching are often not able to get full feeds from the nursing alone.

Also Read: Itchy Breast while Nursing

What Causes Breast Pain After You Stop Nursing?

A breastfeeding mom’s body continues to formulate milk until a few weeks after stopping nursing. Breastfeeding moms who produce more milk or pump often may keep on making milk even after weaning. This milk results in plugged ducts. Plugged ducts further lead to a painful condition called mastitis, wherein the breasts become inflamed. Abrupt weaning can make the breasts engorged and trigger pain in them.

Symptoms That Accompany Breast Pain After Weaning


The symptoms you may experience along with breast pain are:

  • Pain in the areolas
  • Recurring pain in either or both breasts
  • Acute pain in the initial days of weaning, which slowly lessens with time
  • Enlarged, lumpy or hard breasts
  • Heaviness or tightness in the breasts
  • Flu-like symptoms which include shivers and chills, fatigue, high fever, anxiety, and a feeling of malaise
  • Red nipples
  • Milk leaking from the nipples due to friction
  • If breast pain is due to mastitis, the affected breast may feel hot, swollen, and hard, accompanied by a burning sensation.

For How Does Breast Pain Last After Discontinuing Breastfeeding?

Breast pain can last for several days or weeks. Most women experience severe pain during the initial days of weaning. Breast pain should reduce or disappear with time. However, if the pain in the breasts doesn’t decrease even after many days, seek help from a gynaecologist or lactation expert.

Also Read: Side-effects of Using Breast Pumps

Remedies for Breast Pain After Stopping Breastfeeding

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’d like to know how to relieve breast pain after stopping breastfeeding. Here are some useful home remedies:

1. Take a Warm Bath

Taking a warm shower or soaking yourself in a tub of warm water can make the breast tissues supple, easing the flow of accumulated milk from them. A hot compress can also give relief from pain.

2. Use a Breast Pump

You can also use a breast pump if your breasts feel too full.

3. Massage Your Breasts

If you don’t want to use a breast pump, lightly press your breasts to release the milk. You can ask your gynaecologist or lactation expert for the right method to do this. This can give you some respite from breast pain. You can also massage your breasts gently while taking a warm shower.

4. Apply a Cold Pack

Applying ice packs to the breasts reduces the swelling and pain.

5. Increase Your Fluid Intake

Drink water and increase your intake of fluids to prevent dehydration and fever.

6. Try OTC Medication

You can go for painkillers like acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce the pain and swelling in your breasts. However, consult your doctor before taking any medication.

7. Drink Sage Tea

You can also get relief by drinking sage tea twice a day.

8. Place Cabbage Leaves Over Your Breasts

Placing fresh and cold cabbage leaves over your breasts is a useful remedy for breast pain. Make sure you replace the leaves when they wilt.

9. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Eat a balanced diet and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Consume prenatal vitamins to help your body adjust to the new routine.

10. Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep is when the body heals itself. So, don’t compromise on a good night’s sleep.

11. Connect With Other Moms

If you’re experiencing problems that you can’t share with family members, try seeking the help of other moms who’ve been through this phase.

Tips to Stop Breastfeeding Without Pain

These tips will help you stop breastfeeding without pain:

  • Slowly reduce the number of breastfeeding sessions per day. This will prevent breast issues like mastitis, full breasts, and breast engorgement.
  • Pump out the milk from your breasts until the discomfort reduces. Forcing out all the milk in one go may increase milk production instead of reducing it.
  • A tight bra can plug the milk ducts and cause swollen breasts. Opt for a nursing bra that provides adequate support and comfort.
  • You can also reduce milk production with tablets. Consult your doctor regarding this.
  • Massage your breasts gently to reduce any likeliness of clogged milk ducts and any infection.
  • Consult a doctor for appropriate medicine for breast pain after stopping breastfeeding.

When to Consult a Doctor?

You must definitely not delay consulting a doctor if you experience unusual pain in your breast after weaning, like the following issues:

  • You experience high fever along with engorged or painful breasts.
  • Your breasts are very sensitive, swollen, and red.
  • You have lumpy breasts which haven’t gone away after 24 hours. 

Stopping breastfeeding is a psychological and physical challenge for both the mother and the baby. Be patient while trying to wean your child, as it takes time and considerable effort by both. Your baby may have a lot of trouble adjusting to the new foods and may still demand breast milk. Take it slow and give your body the time it needs to cope with the changes.


1. Overcoming breastfeeding problems; MedlinePlus;

2. What is Weaning? Cincinnati Children’s;

3. Li. R, Fein. S. B, et al.; Why Mothers Stop Breastfeeding: Mothers’ Self-reported Reasons for Stopping During the First Year; American Academy of Pediatrics Publications;; October 2008

4. Mastitis; Mayo Clinic;

5. How to stop breastfeeding; NHS;

Also Read: 

Ways to Stop Breastmilk Production
Gaining Weight After Stopping Breastfeeding
Side Effects of Stopping Breastfeeding on Mother and Baby

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