Lactation After Loss
If you are finding this page after experiencing a pregnancy or infant loss, we are incredibly sorry for your loss. Please know that there are many free resources available to you and your family to help you honour your baby, cope with your devastating grief, and find answers.
After a loss, many women are shocked to find that their milk will begin to come in within a few days after delivery. Naturally, this can be a traumatizing experience for a woman who is grieving her baby.
If you are recently bereaved, no doubt you are suffering from the unbearable emotional and physical pain of your breasts filling with milk. It is incredibly sad to feel our bodies working to provide nourishment for the baby who is no longer alive, yet that same process establishes us as fierce, strong mothers capable of nourishing our young.
For some mothers, the milk feels simply cruel. They just want it to be gone, as quickly as possible. For others, the milk feels like a powerful tie to their baby. They may not want to pump or express, but having the milk there feels strangely comforting.
Many mothers feel a curiosity about their milk, possibly because of the obvious tie to their baby. Some want to express some to save in the freezer, or to have milk jewelry made in memory of their baby. It's not unusual for a mother to taste her milk, just to know what her baby would have experienced.
If you are struggling with how to cope with lactation and would like further thoughts or advice, please contact us, a La Leche League Leader or IBCLC right away. We can help you determine how to best weather this difficult physical process and the emotions that come with it. We also recommend watching this video which can show you how to gently massage your breasts and hand-express milk to ease the pain
La Leche League - Lactation After Loss
La Leche League - When Breastfeeding Ends Suddenly
Doula Canada - Suppressing Lactation
Kelly Mom - Lactation After The Loss of A Baby
BC Women's Hospital- Lactation After Loss
Lactation after Perinatal, Neonatal, or Infant Loss -Melissa Cole, IBCLC, RLC
Lactation after Loss Support
Katie McNiven - IBCLC, Registered Midwife (Referral required from midwife, physician, or nurse practitioner)
Monique Bandet - Lactation Educator
Breast Massage and Hand Expression Following Perinatal Loss