Following a Miscarriage: Lactation After Loss

Following a miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery, many people are surprised when their milk comes shortly after delivery. The onset of milk supply can be traumatizing for anyone who is grieving their baby.

There are a few options on what you may do with your milk supply. The choice is yours – there is no wrong or right choice. Do what feels best for you.

Suppressing Milk Supply

If you would like your milk supply to decrease or stop, it is important to limit pumping and hand expression to comfort measures only.  In doing so, your body will naturally stop producing milk.

More tips:

  • While your body begins to suppress its supply, you may feel some discomfort and you may leak milk.
  • Nursing pads will help absorb excess milk.
  • Wear a bra that is comfortable and supportive.
  • Take warm showers, allowing your breasts to leak (without expressing). This will help to relieve some discomfort.
  • Place ice packs or a cold, wet cloth on your breasts for 10 to 20 minutes several times a day.

Donating Breast Milk

Some Birthing parents find it a healing experience to donate their breast milk. A Birthing parent may donate their milk for many reasons:

  • Provides them with a routine and a ritual
  • They want to help babies in need in memory of theirs
  • They want to leave a legacy for their baby

If you are wanting to donate breast milk, you can reach out to a breast milk bank near you. 

See Human Milk Banking Association of North America:

NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank:
NorthernStar has drop-off locations for screened donors throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. See website for detail:

Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank:
Transportation of donations to the milk bank and storage supplies are provided free of charge.

British Columbia
BC Women’s Provincial Milk Bank:
The BC milk bank has drop off locations for screened donors throughout BC and the island

Another option to share milk is through private donation groups. If private donation is an option for you, we encourage you to do your own research on safety around informal sharing beforehand.

Memorializing your Breast Milk

Birthing parents may want to create something unique in remembrance of their baby. For custom made jewelry and other keepsakes with breastmilk or cremation ashes please see these sites for more information:

Mama Milk Fairy 
(for 12% off, use code: PILSC)

(click images below)

The Milky Fern
(both Canada and USA)

(click images below)


You are not alone. There are many resources available to help. Please visit our website for more information or to access our pregnancy loss support line available 9 am-11 pm MST 7 days a week. 

Want a printable version you can hand out to friends and family? Download and print a PDF version of this page here.

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(If you see an error on this document or have additional info that we could include, please contact us and let us know.)