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Dear BornFree Moms: Pumping Pain

2 August 2010 16 Comments

We can’t say it enough: the community we feel on the BornFree Facebook Fan page is incredible! At every turn we see moms jumping into help other moms with issues ranging from sleep schedules to teething. It’s so beautiful!

We’ve decided to start an advice column right here based on the questions you been asking right from the Facebook Fan page!  Here goes:

Dear BornFree Mom,

I need some help from the BornFree moms ASAP! My son is 3 months old and I have been pumping and bottle feeding for the past two months… I am ready to stop pumping (for a very long list of reasons) and switch to formula (this was a long thought out and hard decision)… however… my breasts hurt so bad when I don’t …

-Ashley Z. Facebook Fan

If you have advice for Ashley, please leave in the comment below. One person with advice will win a 6-pack of BornFree bottles! We’ll choose questions often. The person who asks the question will also be sent a special prize.You can ask questions of our community by posting them on the Facebook Fan page wall.

Note: “Dear BornFree Mom” columns are for fun, if you need medical advice please seek a professional.

Good luck!


  • Felicity B said:

    I am actually in the hospital now after just giving birth yesterday to my second child, and I just asked the nurse because I was wondering how to stop milk from coming in afterim done pumping as well- I ran into the same pains you are having with my oldest daughter and want to avoid that at all costs. She told me that putting cabbage leaves in your bra and leaving them there for the day will dry out your milk! Who knew- something so strange and simple would work!? Hope that helps!

  • Amanda Martinez said:

    heat packs do wonders, also just treat it like you weren’t going to nurse at all. a tight fitting sports bra will help after the pain subsides. try not to let yourself get engorged though, decrease the pumping a little at a time. but if you feel you’re getting too full, pump away otherwise it’s going to cause more pain than necessary.

  • sabrina said:

    Try weaning yourself off of the pump. Cut back how many times a day you do it, every other day or so until you’re ready to stop completely. That combined with a nice, supportive bra, should help!

  • Ashley Jackson said:

    Cold Cabbage leaves in your bra, and warm showers help the pain tremendously! Also, your doctor can give you medicine to help dry you up. I pumped for 6 1/2 months and I weaned myself off from it. Instead of pumping every 4 hours, do it every 6, then cut it down to twice a day, then once, then none! Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand, if there is no demand, then the supply will go away! Good luck! And try the cabbage leaves, they help!!!

  • Joyce Purcell said:

    I went through the exact same situation. I just slowly decreased the number of times that I pumped per day. You won’t stop producing milk over night, but pump just enough to make yourself comfortable. Remember the more you pump the more milk you will produce. I am not too sure about the cabbage idea because I was told that the cabbage leaves just help to ease the pain of engorgment so do the hot compresses. You will just have to gradually ween yourself off of it. Maybe when you give your son breast milk pump, but when you give him formula don’t. I used to do every other bottle milk/formula/milk/formula. Good Luck.

  • carrie said:

    I agree with Sabrina, I breastfed/pumped until about 8 months and I gradually switched from breastmilk to formula… I switched 1 bottle per week to formula until we were all formula. And as your little one is taking less breastmilk then as you wean yourself gradually pump less each time. If you were pumping for 10 minutes cut back to 5 minutes etc.. and then you can also cut back on how many times you pump too. Just make sure you don’t get to engorged you don’t want to get a clogged milk duct. It may take a bit longer to quit but it is well worth it because you won’t be in pain.

  • Emily said:

    Cabbage leaves in your bra, gradually weaning instead of abruptly stopping, ice packs (I was told that heat will make you leak more, which will stimulate more production), and a super-tight sports bra (or two).

  • Meagan Jackson said:

    I have heard of the cabbage leaves as well but did not try them. Try slowly tapering off the number of pumps a day. Only pump when you are in pain and do not pump until you are empty but only until you feel relief. Agreed with the super tight sports bra! The warm water in the shower will feel good but will stimulate the milk and make the process longer. Ice packs should work, or frozen veggies :) Good luck! Just don’t quit cold turkey- this can cause clogged ducts or mastitis.

  • Ashley Zacharia said:

    Thanks everyone! It makes me feel better just to know that all of you have had the same experiences and that it will stop eventually :) I am a little better today… I think I have a clogged duct that is causing some pain but I am hoping that warm showers and massages will take care of it.

  • Amanda said:

    I tried the cabbage leaves for a day…i will never do that again! the coldness of the leaves helped, but after about an hour of being in your bra, you smell so bad! you are just cooking that cabbage in there and it just gets worse and worse. Do ice packets instead, does teh same thing :-)

  • Miriam W said:

    Warm showers..and decrease slowly the amount of times you are pumping per day…I found that I had to leave my “rock hard” boobies for 2 weeks after completely not feeding anymore..and then had no choice but to pump 2 weeks later and then thank god, the milk stopped filling!

  • Samantha Ballinger said:

    I had the same issue and I just weaned myself off of the pump. I gradually decreased the amount I was pumping and nice warm showers helped my breasts from aching.

  • Anna said:

    Talk to your doctor. You can get medication to dry up your milk supply.

  • Megan said:

    Hot showers and a tight sports bra helped me. I also put soft cotton bra pads in the sports bra.

  • Ashley P said:

    Continue pumping, but pump for a shorter time and less frequently until you can stop all together. That is what I did, and it kept me out of pain.

  • Katy Galloway said:

    My baby would not latch on properly so I had to pump from the start. Let me tell you it hurt very badly but I kept it up and it got much better. I bought some of the Lansinoh – Soothing Gel Nursing Pads. They worked wonders but they do cost like $10 and last only about 3 days. They make some less expensive ones as well. These were a lifesaver and I used them when it got really bad and I also used the Medela PureLan Breast Cream every time I got done pumping and I really put a bunch on and it helped a bunch. Good Luck I hope this helps!!!

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