Post Weaning Milk & Letdown

Kathleen Tackett's picture

QUESTION

Dear Lactation Consultant,
I have a 4 and 1/2 year old daughter and I still have the feeling of my milk dropping when I hear other babies. I still have the openings on my nipples, no milk coming out. I have not lost any of my breast size since I stopped breast feeding 4 years ago. My physician says its fine, but I thought 4 years is too long. What should I do now?

Thanks for your help.

ANSWER

I don't think that you have anything to worry about. Some women's breast return to their pre-pregnant size almost immediately after they stop nursing, while others never do. Some women will leak for years and years, while others never leak at all. The tingling feeling associated with let-down can also last for years, and lots of grandmothers still feel that sensation when they are around babies.

I stopped nursing my last child 7 years ago, and can still squeeze a few drops of milk out of one breast after I shower. I also occasionally get a slight feeling of let-down (not as strong as it was when I was nursing, of course) when I hear a baby cry or hold one in my arms.

If you develop swollen breasts, tenderness, or lots of leaking, then you probably need to have it checked out. 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. What you're describing sounds perfectly normal and I wouldn't worry about it at all.

All the best,

-- Anne, IBCLC