We receive hundreds of emails and messages daily from Leakies looking for help and information in their breastfeeding journey. As so many seek support from us, we are so honored to have the support of Kathleen Huggins, IBCLC and author of The Nursing Mothers’ Companion. Kathleen is jumping on board with The Leaky Boob to have a regular article answering Leaky questions every month. The questions will be selected from the huge pool we get in every day to try and help cover the wide range of topics about which Leakies are asking. These questions are from real moms and represent hundreds of requests for more information in the past few weeks. Please understand that this is simply the professional opinion of one International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in an informal setting and is not intended to replace the care of a health care provider. Kathleen is offering support and information, not diagnosing or prescribing treatment. For your health and safety, please seek the care of a qualified physician and/or IBCLC. Kathleen does have limited availability for phone or online consultations, see her website for more information.
Hi there Lumpy,
Yes, it can take while for both breasts to involute after weaning, even if weaning was gradual. Your left breast will soften soon, but in the meantime you can try the following suggestions. You will want to try and avoid any breast stimulation to either breast. This means taking backward showers or tub baths, avoiding heat to the breast and any stimulation during lovemaking. You can use Tylenol or ibuprofen to ease any discomfort. Some mothers use cool packs on the breasts for 10-15 minutes a few times a day and some even place chilled cabbage in their bras to help with the swelling and discomfort. While some mothers chose to express milk from the breasts, this may provide temporary relief, but that will most likely lengthen the total time it takes to dry up completely.
To speed the softening, you can drink sage or peppermint tea. Earth Mama Angel Baby sells their “Organic No More Tea” which contains these herbs or you can buy dried sage leaves in most health food grocery stores. Steep a couple of teaspoons of sage in boiled water storing it in your refrigerator. Drink 2 to 3 cups a day for up to three days. None of these herbs should not be used if you may be pregnant. Most mothers do nothing other than wearing a supportive bra and giving it a bit more time. Please know that it is quite normal for mothers to be able to express drops of milk for many months after weaning.
Hello Could Cry,
When you are home with the baby, try to nurse more often. Keep in mind that babies at this age do not give early hunger cues. If your baby uses a pacifier, put it away and offer the breast when you see finger sucking and it has been 2 hours or more since the last feeding. Welcome night time feeds, as nursing in the night increases your milk making hormones the most. When at home you can also pump right after any of your morning nursings and use that milk to feed the freezer.
I do hope this has been helpful to you and that you find ways to continue nursing for as long as you and the baby like.