7 Tips For Dealing With Breast Milk Leaking (While Breastfeeding)
Oh, the days of breastfeeding.
I certainly don’t miss getting up every couple hours, wearing the nursing bras, and dealing with milk leakage.
While I knew I was doing something great for my baby, it did take me some time to catch on to some nursing tips and tricks.
If you want to learn some of my top tips for beating breast milk leakage, read on!
Why Does Breast Milk Leaking Occur?
Breast milk leakage occurs for a few reasons.
First, it could happen because your breasts are overly full and you need to nurse or pump.
Second, it could also happen when you hear a baby cry, which triggers hormones in your body to release milk since responding to cries is an automatic response from a mother in nature.
Third, it also occurs due to the milk “let down” process, which happens after a feeding due to reflexes that you cannot control.
Is It Normal To Leak As A Nursing Mom?
Rest assured: leaking is more than normal.
In fact, all moms will leak at some point or another: it’s an automatic reflex that you can’t control, and this is often times an indicator that you need to express your milk.
Not doing so could lead to an infection, which is painful and potentially dangerous to your baby.
When Does Breast Milk Leaking Occur?
Leaking can occur at any point, but it most commonly occurs before and after a feeding.
First thing in the morning is also a common time to leak, especially as your baby gets older and sleeps through the night (and doesn’t need those midnight feedings).
Many moms also report incidents of leaking when they are out in public and around other babies, which triggers your milk to fill up and the desire to nurse.
7 Tips To Help Stop The Leaking
In order to help stop the leaking, you can do a few key things:
- 1Wear nursing pads. Nursing pads are small, soft, discreet, and absorbent, and they stop leaks from showing through your clothing and staining them overall. Some pads are disposable (preferred) and others are reusable/washable.
- 2Pump or nurse regularly. If you get too full of milk, it’s going to leak out! It’s important to feed and/or pump on a schedule so your body gets used to a routine.
- 3Wear a firm bra. A firm bra provides plenty of lift and support. It accommodates pads perfectly and allows for easy access. It also keeps pads tightly in place.
- 4Suppress letdown. When you sense you’re about to get tingly from milk let down, you can quickly cross your arms over your chest and hug yourself. You could also use your palm to push over top of your nipple. Either way, it stops the tingling and suppresses the overall action, which could control the milk and not allow it to leak out.
- 5Camouflage. Always plan for leaks. It’s wise to dress in layers so accessorize with a scarf, apply a cardigan, or slip on a denim jacket to remain discreet yet covered. It’s also smart to wear darker colors on top, that have a pattern or print built into its design so it’s not as easy to see any kind of leak.
- 6Pack a change of clothing. If you’re new to nursing and aren’t on a solid schedule just yet, you can pack a change of clothing in your diaper bag. This way, if you aren’t able to fully stop a leak, or if you leak through your nursing pad, you have an additional top on hand and aren’t left feeling awkward or embarrassed.
- 7Shift your focus. Often times in public, when a nursing mom looks at a baby, hears cries, or thinks about their own baby, they tend to leak. So, attempt to shift your focus. Think about things other than babies!
While it’s wise to be prepared, there’s going to be some moments when you fall victim to milk stains and leaks.
Try some of the five tips above to ensure you’re ready for anything at home or in public.
And, if leaks happen (as they often will), keep calm, utilize a change of clothes, and have a sense of humor about the situation!
It will subside and you will start to read and know your body’s signs and sensations so you can try to stop leaks before they start.