Breastfeeding – Leaking Milk

How am I going to survive the next few months with this fountain of milk spraying out of my breasts?

Inconvenient is the best description for the milk that tends to issue from the breasts, especially from those of first time mothers of newborns! It makes any trip into the public eye fraught with the possibility of embarrassment. Reassure yourself that very soon the supply will adjust to match the demand and the problem will ease. In the meantime there are two separate problems that this situation causes.

Firstly your let-down reflex may be too fast for your baby to handle, causing baby to struggle when feeding and be overwhelmed. Watch baby feeding, and as the letdown occurs and baby is swamped, gently remove baby from the breast. (Remember to break baby’s suction gently with your little finger before removing from breast) Then have a towel handy to mop up the first burst of milk. Once the flow has slowed somewhat you can reposition baby onto the breast and see if the situation is eased. Pumping some milk from the breast before the feed may achieve the same goal with less frustration for baby! By applying some pressure onto the nipple area the flow may be stemmed somewhat. A change of position may be of assistance. Some babies, when fed upright, learn to allow the excess milk to trickle from the side of the mouth and so overcome the overabundance. Feeding in a lying position, maybe even on your back, can slow the flow somewhat but may be difficult to get used to! Doing a complete feed from one breast only can also be helpful, but initially your discomfort between feeds may outweigh this method. Pumping milk from the overfull breast can help. However do be wary of using the breast pump too liberally, as the extra milk produced will again encourage your milk supply. It’s a question of trial and error to find the balance.

The second situation is the difficulty of going out in public without embarrassment. Especially doing the first month, the volume of milk which can spray out of your breasts at unexpected moments will amaze you. Timing a trip to the shops straight after a feed can reduce the risk of leaking, but the sound of another baby crying, or the thought of your baby alone, can be enough to produce milk. Experimenting with breast pads is the easiest course of action. Try to avoid the type with the plastic backing which can cause nipple problems due to the build up of fluid. Or keep those for very short trips and change them regularly. Like nappies, there are disposable and washable breast pads, and the choice is a personal one. Dark clothing with small busy prints provide a bit of camouflage.

Sleeping without soaking the bed can also be a challenge in the early weeks. A large absorbent towel under your body can help keep the rest of the bed dry. Extra absorbent pads, or a double ration of pads in your bra at bedtime can help you sleep longer, but keep a stash of fresh pads handy next to the bed for easy changes in the middle of the night.

Once feeding is well established, applying pressure to the breasts can slow the flow down considerably. However early on it is better to let the milk flow to avoid creating blockages.

See also:
Breastfeeding – After Caesarean
Breastfeeding – Alcohol to boost milk
Breastfeeding – Basic info
Breastfeeding – Breast infection continuing feeding
Breastfeeding – Breast infection or mastitis
Breastfeeding – Difficulty
Breastfeeding – Effect of exercise
Breastfeeding – Effect of laughter
Breastfeeding – Engorgement Discomfort
Breastfeeding – Engorgement Pain Relief
Breastfeeding – Engorgement Reason
Breastfeeding – Fear
Breastfeeding – Feeding positions
Breastfeeding – Feeding when ill
Breastfeeding – Frequent feeding
Breastfeeding – Importance
Breastfeeding – Increasing Milk
Breastfeeding – In the beginnning
Breastfeeding – Jaundice
Breastfeeding – Latching
Breastfeeding – Let-down Reflex
Breastfeeding – Medication
Breastfeeding – Milk Consistency
Breastfeeding – Milk Release
Breastfeeding – Milk Starting
Breastfeeding – Mother’s Sickness
Breastfeeding – Mother’s Stress
Breastfeeding – Mother’s Thirst
Breastfeeding – Nipples Healing
Breastfeeding – Nipples Painful
Breastfeeding – Nipples Washing
Breastfeeding – Overdue Baby
Breastfeeding – Reasons Not To
Breastfeeding – Restless Baby
Breastfeeding – Second Baby
Breastfeeding – Shape Of Breasts
Breastfeeding – Simplicity
Breastfeeding – Sleepy Baby
Breastfeeding – Some Advantages
Breastfeeding – Watery Breastmilk
Breastfeeding – Weight Loss
Breastfeeding – When To Wean
Breastfeeding – World breast feeding day

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*Important : The information provided is for information purposes only. No medical diagnosis or prescription can be inferred or is implied. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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