Can medication help suppress lactation after childbirth?

Answer From Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N.

Yes — but the simplest and safest way to suppress lactation is to let milk production stop on its own.

Injections of high doses of estrogen were once used to stop milk production. Estrogen injections aren't used today, however, due to a possible 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 heart attack and stroke. The drug cabergoline has proved safer and might be used for lactation suppression in certain situations, although it isn't approved for this use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

To let milk production diminish naturally, don't breast-feed, stimulate your breasts or express milk. To relieve breast engorgement and pain, you might:

  • Wear a supportive bra
  • Apply ice packs to your breasts
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers


Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N.

Nov. 25, 2015 See more Expert Answers