You asked

I’m not breastfeeding. Will my breast milk dry up on its own?

From about the sixteenth week of your pregnancy you breasts will have started to secrete early breast milk, colostrums. After giving birth your baby and the placenta tell your body to start milk production. Your breasts will become larger and fuller as soon as your baby is born - this is a natural process and will happen irrespective of whether you plan to breastfeed or not.
A hormone called prolactin is what makes breast milk, and if the milk is not used, either by feeding your baby or expressing it, then your body will secrete prolactin inhibiting factor, or PIF. PIF lets your body know that the milk is not needed, and this in turn makes your body begin to stop producing milk. This process takes about one week after your baby is born if you are not feeding your baby or expressing your milk. Once this happens, your body will stop the lactating process, and you will return to a state of non-pregnancy. You might feel uncomfortable during this time because your breasts might become engorged with milk. Should this happen, wear a supportive bra for comfort, but do not bind your breasts - this could add to your discomfort and there is a risk of mastitis and plugged ducts.
Taking a non-steroidal medication such as ibuprofen will help as will applying cold compresses or ice packs to your breasts. Although doing this will not stop milk production, it will make you more comfortable. If the discomfort becomes too much for you, you can express a small amount of milk to ease your breasts, bearing in mind that expressing will tell your body to produce more milk, which will lengthen the time that it takes your body to stop producing milk. Another thing to remember as well is to not let warm water run on your breasts while you are showering, as this will stimulate milk production.

More questions

Yes, breastfeeding has a direct effect on the size of your uterus.
The general consensus among healthcare providers is that it is safe to have a nice warm bath straight after delivery.
Some doctors, and many women as well, have reported that applying raw, cooled, cabbaged leaves to the breasts helps to reduce milk production and the discomfort that comes with having engorged breasts as well.
It is not a good idea to use tampons until you are completely healed after giving birth. If you become infected because of a tampon, it only means more pain and a longer time to recover after giving birth.
What took your body nine months to develop, takes a matter of weeks to transform you back to the woman you were before your pregnancy. It is no wonder that most women feel totally exhausted after giving birth. Your brand new baby is of course, your amazing reward.
After a vaginal birth, it is considered normal to have swollen, tender labia.
If you’re planning a post pregnancy trip, make sure that you bear a few guidelines in mind.



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