What are Breast Milk Leaks?
Most working moms have had to deal with the discomfort of leaking breasts. Breast leaks are the extra milk that comes out of the breasts of breastfeeding moms. Breast leaks happen when the milk starts coming down but the baby is unable to keep up with the supply.
Often breast leaks happen from one breast when you are nursing the baby on the other breast. Breast leaks on one breast are hence normal when you are breastfeeding your baby.
However, it is also normal and common for breast leaks to happen from both breasts. You will hence notice both your breast leaking milk when not nursing, especially at night, at work and when in public or traveling when you are away from the baby.
Most breast leaks happen when you are away from your baby because the breasts are full of breast milk.
Is Breast Leaking Normal? Is Breast Leaking Abnormal?
Leaking milk from your breast is very normal. It is an indication that your breast milk supply system is working normally. It normally happens during the first few weeks or months after you have given birth. Leaking breast milk means a good milk supply so you should not be worried about it.
During this post-partum period, your milk has come in but still, your body hasn’t regulated how much you need to produce, leading to the occasional milk leaks from your breast while breastfeeding, at night, in public or traveling, or at work.
It is also normal to not leak when you are breastfeeding. If your body does not produce an oversupply of breast milk, you may not experience a disturbing amount of leaks from your breasts.
Also, within a few months, once your baby’s feeding has stabilized, your body will regulate and adjust, leading to low or no milk leaks at all.
Hence at this point, it is normal that you may not have breast milk leaks as you breastfed or when you are away from your baby such as when in public or traveling or when in the office.
When Does Breast Milk Leak Stop?
When the milk leaks during breastfeeding stop, depends on so many factors. Some bodies of working moms can adjust and regulate the feeding needs of the baby and the supply of breast milk. New moms experience heavier breast milk leaks than older moms with children older than six months.
As such it is safe to say that whenever your body has regulated your breast milk supply with your baby’s demand, then the milk leaks tend to stop. It gets better with time as soon as feeding is established for good.
Hence your breast milk leaks can stop as early as a few months 3 or as long as one year. Your breasts will not feel as full once your supply is regulated.
Leaking breast milk means a good milk supply so you should not be worried about it. Do not overstress or worry if you are producing extra milk than your baby is using. It will soon adjust.
Proven Secret to Avoid Embarrassing Breast Milk Leaks at Work or Travelling
1. Massage Your Breast When Breastfeeding
The natural reaction of both of your breasts when breastfeeding is to produce milk. Therefore many moms have to deal with the menace and discomfort of breast milk leaking while breastfeeding. One way you can stop milk leaks when breastfeeding is by gently massaging the other breast that you are not breastfeeding on.
By doing this to the other breast that you are not nursing your baby, you are signaling to the breast that it should stop the milk letdown. It is especially effective when you can feel you’re about to leak or have milk let down.
Try to suppress the letdown by firmly putting pressure over the nipples of the other breast while breastfeeding. Be gentle as you do this by just pressing your wrist against your nipple. In no time, your breast gets the signals and stops the letdown.
You can also do this when you are breastfeeding in public or traveling or just pumping on one breast at a time.
2. Use Nursing Bra with Pads to Soak Milk Leaks
Milk leaks from your breasts can be really embarrassing when in public or traveling or at work. When you are away from your baby, it means that the milk supply being made has not yet been emptied. It hence triggers very embarrassing milk leaks that can show all the way through your clothes.
To avoid embarrassing milk leaks at work or in public or while traveling, you can wear a nursing bra with pads. A nursing bra with pads is effective in controlling too many leaks from your breast.
The pads are also able to soak the leaking milk before it shows on the clothes hence preventing embarrassment in public while traveling or at work. They will help soak up all the letdown milk till you can get back to the baby and breastfeed or pump. It is good to catch leaking milk to avoid spoiling the clothes.
Nursing bras and nursing pads work well with moms with moderate milk leaking from the breasts. Some nursing pads also work better at controlling breast milk leaks than others depending on their quality and also the level of the milk leaks.
Therefore some moms with over milk supply have found nursing bras and nursing pads not to be helpful. To solve this moms with heavy flows use the trick of layering up the nursing pads to better soak or absorb the leaking milk.
However, moms with little to moderate breast milk least love the nursing pads because of their effectiveness to manage leaking breast milk. You can use the washable bamboo breast pads while at home during breastfeeding or sleeping to manage breast milk leaks and the disposable ones while out in the public or traveling or at work.
3. Collection Cups Avoids Leaking Breast Milk
If your breast milk leaks are really bad when you are breastfeeding, sleeping, or in the office, you can use collection cups. Collection cups are hands-free cups you can use on the breasts to collect any overflowing milk.
Some collection cups can be comfortably placed inside bras hence an ideal situation for moms to stop breast milk while in public or traveling or while in the office. You therefore can comfortably use collection cups to help avoid leaking breast milk when you are in public or traveling or in the office.
Using collection cups is also good because working moms are able to collect breast milk that would have otherwise gone to waste. They can stay put enough so when you lie on your back or either side and still catch all the breast milk leaks.
4. Change your Sleeping Position
Breast milk leaks can get really worse at night for breastfeeding moms. Many working moms are annoyed by having to keep waking up at night to change clothes or bedding because of too much breast milk leaks that happen when they sleep at night.
If you are having too much breast milk leaking at night, you can change your sleeping position. You can use a pregnancy pillow to sleep and keep yourself on your side. Sleeping on your tummy may make your milk leaks worse. Hence it is advisable to sleep either on your sides on facing up.
In addition, place a towel or any comfortable clothing on your bed as you sleep at night to soak in the extra milk that is leaking.
5. Pump in Between Feeding to Deal with Milk Leaks
If you are having too much milk leaks when you are breastfeeding it is then recommended that you occasionally pump in between the feedings. It is very important if you have engorged breasts due to too much milk in your breasts.
To use pumping as a way of controlling breast milk leaks, regularly alternate nursing and pumping breast milk, especially at night. Also, you can pump on one breast as you feed on the other breast to prevent it from leaking milk.
If you feel that you are about to have a letdown in the office, the recommended solution is to pump out the milk and store it for feeding the baby later. Pumping in between will hence help you avoid milk leaks at work and embarrassing wet cloth stains in public or traveling.
Tips on Unusual/Traditional Ways to Deal With Breast Leaks
If the above methods do not work for you in controlling milk leaks, then you can improvise. Use any material that works for you both in comfort and soaking/absorbing the leaks from your breasts.
You can use the following traditional ways to deal with breast leaks while breastfeeding, at night, at work or in public, or traveling.
- Putting a diaper into your bra may sound unconventional but it helps absorb milk leaks from your breasts, especially while breastfeeding or at night.
- If you don’t want to use a diaper, you can use maxi night time pads instead to soak the extra breast milk that leaks during the night or as you breastfeed.
- For extra absorbent into the collection cups, you can place thin cotton towels in the cups to collect more breast milk spills and leaks.
- You can also sleep on a towel or double-up flannel swaddle. These materials will help absorb the leaking milk and avoid spoiling your clothes with milk leaks as you sleep at night or breastfeed.
In place of these materials, you can use whatever material that is a good absorbent that you can find such as a fitted shirt and burp cloths.
- Lots of clothes will help manage the leaking breast milk. If you prefer not to use any of these methods you can just let the milk leak into your tops. However, you need a lot of laundry because of changing clothes every so often.
You may find that you get engorged at night when you wear a bra or anything tight enough to make nursing pads so this option may work for you. In addition to this, you may need a waterproof mattress cover so that you do not damage the mattress with the milk.
- In place of the normal nursing pads, you can use dog-disposable pee pads. The dog disposable pee pads will do a better job at soaking and absorbing the breast milk than what most nursing pads do to moms with heavy flows. You can also use the dog disposable pee pads to manage the breast milk when breastfeeding, at work, or sleeping at night.