Breast Care and Milk Donation

Losing a baby any time after 16-18 weeks gestation may still lead to lactation. That's  because the arrival of breastmilk is driven by the drop in hormones following the delivery of the placenta and not whether or not a baby nurses.

Whatever reaction the birthing person has to this situation is natural and acceptable. Some mothers will find comfort in their body’s ability to produce milk, while others will be upset and uncomfortable with lactation after loss.

Lactation Options

There are a few options of what you can do with your milk supply:

  • Donate your milk to our local milk bank in Pittsburgh. Please feel free to contact Mid-Atlantic Milk Bank if you want to talk through your decision or need further support. Download brochure.
  • Express to comfort - The key to stopping breast milk production is to express just enough milk to stay comfortable. This will avoid severe engorgement (breasts become painfully full, tender, and swollen with milk) and reduce the risk of mastitis (inflammation of the breast), while also sending a signal to the breasts to reduce milk production. The more milk that is removed from the breast, the more it will make. It is the excess milk stored in the breasts that signals the body to produce less. The fuller you leave them, the sooner they will stop lactating.
  • Wear a very supportive, comfortable bra.   Do not bind your breasts or wear a tight or restrictive bra.
  • Place washed, raw, and cold cabbage leaves inside the bra. Researchers do not know if there is a property within the cabbage leaf itself that helps to decrease the pain and swelling or if the inflammation goes down because the cabbage acts as a cold compress. Either way, studies show that if you're breastfeeding and you put the refrigerated cabbage leaves directly on your breasts, it's not only soothing, but it can also help lessen your breast pain and swelling.
  • Use ice packs if there is swelling and pain (apply for between 5 to 15 minutes).
  • Bromocriptine (Parlodel), hormonal birth-control pills and certain decongestant medication (pseudoephedrine, Sudafed) can also help reduce milk supply. For further information about using any of these drugs to dry up breast milk, consult your doctor. When women desire treatment, bromocriptine may be considered where it is registered for lactation suppression in those without predisposition to its major side effects of public concerns. However, there is no evidence that using drugs to dry up breast milk is any more effective than methods that don’t involve drugs. Here are some articles that address this:
  • Take herbs/homeopathics/teas/other natural methods to stop the milk.
    • To use dried sage (Salvia officinalis) for reducing milk supply, take 1/4 teaspoon of sage 3x per day for 1-3 days. To use sage tea for decreasing milk supply, infuse 1 tablespoon of dried sage in 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 5-15 minutes. Drink 1 cup, 2-6 times per day. You can use a tincture of sage: 30-60 drops of tincture, 3-6 times a day. Do not ingest sage essential oil – it should not be taken internally. Click here for more info on sage tea and tincture.
    • Sage, peppermint, spearmint, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, oregano, can all be incorporated into a pressed oil (cold pressed or hot) to make massage oils for milk suppression.
    • Cabo cream

January 2020-
Australian Breastfeeding Association, "Lactation After Infant Death"

To help with lactation suppression, custom blended herbal teas, tinctures and engorgement cream are provided to each of our clients.

Lactation Supression Supplies

Get in touch with us today to learn how we can support you or a loved one during perinatal loss or to offer support.