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How long should a mother produce breastmilk?

How long is normal for a mother to produce breastmilk after she has stopped nursing her baby? I'm a new mother, so I don't really know what to expect, but I have to say that I've been lactating for a lot longer than I expected I would - though I have been pumping it, because it's there anyway.
In order to understand how to stop lactation, it is important to understand how the production of breast milk works. Basically the breast sense either nipple stimulation or the emptying of the milk glands as a signal to produce more milk, and this signal passes to the brain, causing the release of the hormones that produce more milk. In other words, by pumping your breasts, you are probably signaling to your body that it needs to keep producing milk. The way to stop lactating is therefore to stop pumping. If this causes your breast to become engorged and uncomfortable, then you can pump a little. However, you should not pump them dry, as this will be the signal to the body that it is time to produce more milk! As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor or your OB / GYN doctor is recommended.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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