Lactation After a Stillbirth

Is it natural to lactate even after a miscarriage?

The answer is yes. Lactating is natural, even after a traumatic experience like stillbirth, as the woman would still be having sensitive breasts and nipples. Lactation may occur within the week of their loss (2-5 days), for women who have been pregnant for more than 98 days, and would be expected to last up to a few weeks – as their breasts may have pressure and still feel rather full. What is causing women to still lactate after suffering a scarring loss then?

What makes the milk flow?

Bear in mind that lactation post stillbirth is not a common occurrence for women who have experienced a miscarriage, but instead only for those who have been pregnant between 12-16 weeks. Regardless if a woman had the intention of breastfeeding her baby or through a bottle, milk will start accumulating in women’s breasts as soon as the placenta is delivered – due to the drop in hormones. Still, some women find lactation after a miscarriage to be emotionally depressing and want to stop it as soon as possible – but how?

Cutting off milk supply

There are many ways to stop the production of breast milk, starting with making the breasts feel comfortable by expressing it out, for starters. The main objective of doing this is to avoid getting mastitis when your breasts become so inflamed that you will begin experiencing major soreness and flu-like symptoms. By expressing out milk just enough to feel comfortable, this act will send a signal to your breasts to start cutting back on the production of milk. If you are not expressing milk, be advised to avoid having contact with your breasts, or even stimulation, as that can start increasing milk production.

Frozen foods in your freezer could also be very useful as cold compression has proven to be effective to reduce inflammation and pain. It is said that cabbage leaves are more effective than cooling gel packs for treating inflamed breasts, as cabbage leaves have healing properties. Place your selected frozen food on the areas of your breasts that are hurting and leave it there for roughly 20 minutes before removing. If it still hurts, you will want to wait at least 45 minutes before repeating the process.

It is also very important to remember to never bind your breasts by wearing a tight-fitted bra, with the hope that it will reduce your milk production, as it will just cause your breasts to be more engorged and painful – even possibly resulting in breast abscess, inflammation that could be the accumulation of pus. Instead, opt for a well-fitted but firm bra to support your breasts. You will feel a lot more comfortable and would not have to face many complications.

Your doctor may prescribe Cabergoline, a type of drug used to suppress lactation, but it is important to note that all drugs may cause side effects but usually well tolerated. For women who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, the doctor might prescribe hormone pills. However, the effect of drying up the milk will not be immediate and the doctor will provide guidance or other options. Perhaps you could refer to using herbs like sage, peppermint and parsley, among others, to dry up milk supply.

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