Can medication help suppress lactation after childbirth?

Answers from Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N.

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


Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N.

Jan. 16, 2013 See more Expert Answers