Lactation suppression: Can medication help?

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Lactation suppression: Can medication help?

Question

Is medication an option for lactation suppression immediately after childbirth?

No name given
Virginia

Answer

Medications for lactation suppression pose serious safety concerns. Injections of high doses of estrogen can stop milk production, for example, but the estrogen poses a risk of life-threatening blood clots. And bromocriptine (Parlodel), a drug once used for lactation suppression, isn't generally recommended for this purpose today because it poses a risk of heart attack and stroke — especially for women who developed high blood pressure during pregnancy.

If breast-feeding isn't possible or practical, the safest way to suppress lactation after childbirth is to let milk production dry up naturally. In the meantime, avoid stimulating the breasts or expressing milk. Over-the-counter pain relievers, ice packs and a supportive bra can help relieve breast engorgement and pain — which typically peaks during the first week after delivery.

Last Updated: 2010-10-15
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