Breast Pain after Stopping Breastfeeding

Breast Pain after Stopping Breastfeeding

Some breastfeeding moms feel breast pain after discontinuing nursing. Sudden weaning also leads to problems like plugged ducts, engorgement, and mastitis. Therefore, it is recommended that breastfeeding moms go for gradual weaning. Abrupt weaning can cause health problems for both the baby and the mother.

Sometimes, the breasts carry on producing milk even with slow weaning, which may result in pain. However, this pain usually subsides and vanishes in due course of time. Home remedies also help to ease the discomfort. But, in case the pain persists or becomes unbearable, visit a gyneacologist/lactation specialist to rule out the possibility of a breast infection or a plugged duct causing the breast pain.

Common Reasons for Stopping Breastfeeding

Some reasons which make breastfeeding moms give it up are:

1. Sore or Painful Breasts

As a new mother is not used to breastfeeding, she may find breastfeeding uncomfortable and suffer from cracked nipples and painful breasts. This pain may make her think of stopping breastfeeding.

2. Not Enough Milk

Some mothers worry that the milk they’re producing isn’t enough for their baby’s needs. So, they may think of putting the baby on formula milk.

3. Career

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

4. Grown-up Baby

Breast milk is a baby’s only source of nutrition for the first 6 months. When the baby reaches this milestone, a mother may wish to wean the baby off breast milk and introduce her to solid foods.

What Causes Breast Pain After You Stop Nursing?

A breastfeeding mom’s body may continue to formulate milk for a few weeks even after she has stopped nursing. Breastfeeding moms who produce more milk or pump often may keep on making milk even after weaning. This milk may get collected in the milk ducts, resulting in plugged ducts. Plugged ducts may further lead to a painful condition called mastitis wherein the breasts become inflamed owing to a bacterial infection. Abrupt weaning can also trigger pain in the breasts because of engorgement. Engorgement happens when milk gets accumulated in the breasts and isn’t released. This often causes breast pain and distress similar to that during pregnancy or the early days of breastfeeding.

Symptoms That Accompany Breast Pain After Weaning


Other symptoms you might experience along with breast pain are:

  • Pain in the areolas
  • Recurring pain in either or both the 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
  • Nipples turning red
  • 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 with a burning sensation.

How Long Does Breast Pain Last After You Discontinue Breastfeeding?

Breast pain can last for several days or weeks. In most cases, it is more on the first few days of weaning. Breast pain is likely to reduce or disappear with time. However, if the pain in the breasts doesn’t decrease even after many days, it is best to seek your doctor’s help.

Remedies for Breast Pain After Stopping Breastfeeding

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

1. Take a Warm Bath

Taking a warm shower or soaking yourself in a tub of warm water can help to ease the flow of accumulated milk in the breasts, thereby reducing swelling and pain.

2. Use a Breast Pump

You can also use a breast pump to squeeze milk out of your breasts and get relief from breast pain. Tracking how much milk you have been pumping every day can help you observe whether the milk production is reducing over a period of time – the Breastfeeding Tracker on the FirstCry app notes your daily pumping quantity, so you can access it at your convenience to see your progress.

3. Massage Your Breasts

If you don’t want to use an artificial breast pump, try lightly pressing your breasts to release the milk. This can bring you some respite from breast pain. You can also massage your breast gently while taking a warm shower.

4. Apply a Cold Pack

Applying ice packs to the breasts a few times a day can be helpful in reducing the swelling and pain in the breast.

5. Increase Your Fluid Intake

Drinking water and increasing your intake of healthy fluids can prove beneficial in expelling toxins from the body.

6. Try Medication

You can go for safe painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the pain and swelling in the breasts. However, it is prudent to 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. Replace the cabbage leaves when they wilt.

9. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Eat a well-balanced diet and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Continue with your pre-natal vitamins to help your body adjust to the new routine.

10. Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep is when the body heals itself. So, a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be compromised on.

11. Talk to Other Moms

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

Essential Tips To Stop Breastfeeding Without Pain

These tips will help you to stop breastfeeding without pain.

  • Reducing the number of breastfeeding sessions one at a time aids in restricting pain.
  • Expel milk from your breasts until the discomfort reduces. Forcing out all the milk in one go may increase the milk production instead of reducing it.
  • A tight bra can plug the milk ducts and cause swelling in the breasts. Opt for a nursing bra which provides adequate support and comfort.

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 efforts 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.

Also Read: Ways to Stop Breastmilk Production