Ok, Mother Nature, why do my breasts leak? Milk stains on my shirt or wet, sticky breasts are not really what a breast-feeding mom needs! It can be so embarrassing or uncomfortable to have a sudden let-down while in the shops or to wake up to wet sheets. So why does this happen? Is it just my bad luck? Is there any way that I can reduce the leaks or at least stop them from showing?
Yes, breast feeding mothers can have leaking breasts that can cause some embarrassment but there is also good news. Firstly, you can use a disposable breast pad that comfortably and discreetly fits into your bra that will soak up the leaking breast milk, like the Ameda Moisture Guard breast pads . Secondly, if the truth be told, leaking is common in breast feeding women. It is to be expected and is a good sign that you are well on your way to breast feeding success. To successfully breast feed your body needs to be able to do 3 main steps:
- Milk production- When the milk is made
- Milk release- this is called the let-down it is when your milk is released from your milk ducts to your nipple
- Milk transfer- when the milk moves from your breast to your baby’s stomach
So, in that case if your breast leak, it shows you that your body can do the first two steps: production and release. You are making enough milk to leak, and you can release or “let-down” the milk from your breast. Sometimes the let-down can happen at the strangest times, like when you think of your baby or hear another baby cry. Your body is so in tuned to your baby that just hearing a cry can signal your body to start releasing milk. The hormone that is the cause of the let-down is called Oxytocin. It helps your muscles to compress and squeeze your milk out your ducts into your nipple and out of your breast. Some mothers get a warning that the let-down is happening and their breast tingle.
The last step is important because it is the final step in your baby receiving the nourishment she needs. This is generally seen as direct feeding or expressing. For information and pricing on the Ameda Breast pumps see our website
Do all moms leak? Or is it just me?
Well, not all moms leak but it is common. The good news is that it becomes less frequent as your breast feeding matures. Times when you are most likely to leak breast milk are:
- In the early days of your breast feeding. You can expect more leaking while your body is getting used to the increasing demands of your baby’s needs. The leaking can start to reduce from 6 to 12 weeks and then generally disappear.
- Emotions can also bring on some leaking. This can be linked to hearing a baby cry or thinking or your baby or evening listening to a very touching story.
- If you skip a feed and your breast become overfull expect to have some leaking. This is quite common in the first few days back at work.
- If you have a warm shower, you can expect some leaking
- If you have an orgasm you can expect to see some leaking or even a bit of spray
Ok, So, Leaking is normal, common and actually is a good sign of milk supply, so how do I make it stop? Waiting for 12 weeks might just be a bit too long.
There are a few things that you can do to reduce the amount of leaking but the most effective is to use disposable breast milk pads. The Ameda Moisture Guards are fantastic because they are discreet, ultra-thin and couture to your breast so that no-one will notice that you are wearing them. The Moisture Guards are super soft and will not irritate your nipple. They can absorb up to 35x their weight and can be used over night to help prevent wet sheets. They are the new generation of breast pads that do not have a plastic lining, which keeps moisture on your nipple, which is just gross. They have a woven pattern that helps to move moisture away from the nipple keeping you dry. They also have 2 adhesive strips which keep the breast pad in place so that they do not slip out.
Other ways you can help to reduce leaking are:
- If you feel like you have started to leak you can press firmly against your nipple with the palm of your hand to stop the follow. This should not be done to often in the beginning of breast feeding as it can interfere with the supply.
- Have a spare shirt handy in-case you need to change; this is a good practical idea for work.
- Choose clothing with light colours and small prints that cover up a multitude of mishaps.
- Place a bath towel on top of your bed sheet. This will protect the mattress and keep the sheet beneath you dry.
- Breastfeed your baby before going to bed. This will minimise the amount of milk in the breasts (but remember that breasts are never truly empty).
So leaking breast are normal, and can be expected. The truth is that we should not be embarrassed about leaking breast. However, it is not always that easy to make a joke and carry on especially when you are at work or while you are out and about. The Ameda Moisture Guard disposable breast pads are there for you so that you can feel confident and not worry about any stains on your clothes. You can go out and enjoy your time at work or out with your baby. Breast feeding is an amazing journey to be on and leaking does not need to be a reason to stop.