Dear Lactation Consultant,
Hi. I breastfed my son for 1 1/2 years and quit about 6 months ago. I was in the shower this morning and was able to squeeze a little milk from my breast. Is that normal? I thought I would have been all dried up by now. Just curious.
It is not at all unusual to have discharge from your nipples for months or even years after you stop nursing. I haven't nursed in six years, and can still express drops of milk. I have a friend who hasn't nursed in eleven years, and she still leaks milk, especially during lovemaking. She has had it checked out by a doctor, and he told her not to worry about it.If you develop swollen breasts, tenderness, or lots of leaking, then you probably need to see your doctor. Occasional leaking of a few drops, or being able to squeeze some out in the shower is one thing, but lots of leaking and soreness is something else. There are some medical conditions that can cause milk production when you're not lactating, so it should be checked out if it seems to be causing a problem. Just occasional leaking shouldn't be anything to worry about.
Hope this helps,-- Anne, IBCLC
Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a health psychologist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Research Associate Professor of Psychology specializing in women's health at the Family Research Lab, University of New Hampshire. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in both the Divisions of Health Psychology and Trauma Psychology. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a La Leche League leader, chair of the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Taskforce, and the Area Coordinator of Leaders for La Leche League of Maine and New Hampshire.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett is author of more than 140 journal articles, book chapters and other publications, and author or editor of 15 books including The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood (2005, Hale Publications), Depression in New Mothers (2005, Haworth), and Breastfeeding Made Simple, co-authored with Nancy Mohrbacher (2005, New Harbinger). She is on the editorial boards of the journals Child Abuse and Neglect, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse and the Journal of Human Lactation, and regularly reviews for 27 other journals in the fields of trauma, women's health, interpersonal violence, depression, and child development. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is the "Ask a Lactation Consultant" columnist on Pregnancy.org and serves on the Board of Directors of Attachment Parenting International.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett received a Bachelor's and Master's degree in psychology from California State University, Chico, and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in social and developmental psychology. She has won several awards including the Outstanding Research Study Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and was named 2003 Distinguished Alumna, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California State University, Chico.