Weaning — that bittersweet time when you alternately rejoice at getting your boobs back and weep because your baby is getting older. But, getting your boobs back doesn't happen overnight. Things linger, like milk. So how long will your breasts leak after weaning?
There's a lot that goes into weaning. Your body is shifting its hormones and it seems like everything is out of whack — from your head to your lower regions. It feels like milk should be the least concerning thing about weaning. I mean, you've ostensibly been dealing with it for some time, what's a bit more, right?
But, like everything that happens to women, it's a lot more complicated than it seems. According to La Leche League International (LLLI), weaning comes with its own set of complications beyond leaking, but that leaking is the most long-lived of all of them. According to LLLI, you may find that your breasts decide to go into feed or flight mode after you stop breastfeeding, causing them to become severely engorged, ducts to become plugged, or ushering in a lovely bout of mastitis.
How long will your breasts leak after weaning though? Annoyingly enough, it's a very individual issue. Each woman's lady lumps will get less leaky on a different schedule.
Jenna Tzu, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) tells Romper via Skype chat that for some women, you may have a few weeks of pretty severe leaking, followed by a few months when you're able to express some milk if you manipulate your breast.
"It may be a month or two before you're comfortable sleeping without a nursing bra," she says, adding that breasts are unpredictable as a rule. Some women are mostly dried up and don't leak before they've even fully weaned their babies. Other moms, especially the ones who wean when their child is still taking breast milk as their primary form of nutrition, will take longer.
Tzu also notes that any stimulation of the breasts after or during weaning will make the process take longer. If nipple and breast stimulation are a frequent part of your healthy sex life, you're likely to leak much longer. However, she says that absent of stimulation, or medicines that cause milk production in some women, talk to your OB-GYN if you're still producing a lot of milk after a month of weaning, as there may be another cause. Also, if you've been weaned for a period of time, and suddenly start leaking again, call your provider immediately. Otherwise, be ready to wait a bit to get your breasts fully back to yourself.