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Lactation suppression: Can medication help?

Can medication help suppress lactation after childbirth?

Yes but medication for lactation suppression generally isn't recommended.

Injections of high doses of estrogen were once used to stop milk production. Estrogen injections aren't used today, however, due to a risk of potentially dangerous blood clots.

Similarly, bromocriptine (Parlodel) a drug that was once used for lactation suppression is no longer recommended. The drug has been associated with high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, especially for women who developed high blood pressure during pregnancy.

If breast-feeding isn't possible, it's safest to let milk production diminish naturally. In the meantime, don't stimulate your breasts or express milk.

To relieve breast engorgement and pain which typically peaks during the first week after delivery you might:

  • Wear a supportive bra
  • Apply ice packs to your breasts
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers
Updated: 1/16/2013

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