Some women find that their breasts start leaking colostrum as early as four months into the pregnancy. For others, leaking breasts doesn’t become an issue until after the baby is born. And some women don’t experience it at all. If you’ve just unwittingly given the postman a peek at your milk stained outfit of the day, you may be wondering what is causing the leakage and what you can do about it.
What causes it?
Leaking is common in women who have an oversupply of milk though it can happen to other women too. It may be that your breasts are full and simply need to release some milk, or it could be caused by your letdown kicking in at an unexpected moment. Breast leaking can occur:
- between feeds – if your breasts are full they may release some milk between feeds
- during feeds – some report the unused breast leaking during feeds
- when you hear a baby cry – this is your body’s way of preparing you to soothe your upset baby. The only problem is that it can happen when it’s not your baby crying
- during sex – it isn’t unusual to leak milk at the point of orgasm
- when you take a shower – the warm water is thought to stimulate the breasts causing let-down
Milk leakage may be a little bit embarrassing, but it’s totally normal and most breastfeeding mothers will experience it at some point. Plus, it will give you some hilarious anecdotes to share at your breastfeeding support group/child’s 18th birthday party.
If you want to try and get the leaking under control, you could try the following tips:
- Breast pads
Breast pads are your new best friend. Discretely nestled away in your nursing bra, they will mop up any spilt milk. You can purchase disposable or washable breast pads. With disposables, simply chuck them in the bin after each usage. Washables can be used time and time again, you simply need to stick them in the washing machine between wears. You should change your breast pads each time they get wet, or at least every four hours.
Increasing the number of feeds could help to reduce the risk of leaking. If you’re not with your baby, you could try expressing some milk to reduce some pressure. This milk can then be safely stored and given to your baby later.
- Layer up
Sadly, for some women, leaks are inevitable. Choose clothes that will hide any mishaps, and wear layers so you can easily change the affected items without too much trouble. Carry spare clothes with you when you’re out and about, just in case. Breast pads and a padded nursing bra will offer some protection, but a couple of layers of clothes on top can help too.
- Apply some pressure
If you can feel your letdown kicking in and aren’t able to breastfeed at the moment, apply some pressure to your nipples. This should restrict the flow of milk, keeping any leakage to a minimum.
- Leaking boobs during sex
Talk about an inopportune moment! If you are worried about leaking breasts, try feeding your baby or expressing before sex. You may also wish to talk to your partner about this issue beforehand. Some couples do not find the leakages to be an issue though others may feel a little uncomfortable about it. If it bothers you, you could try wearing a padded nursing top during sex to contain any leaks, there are plenty of sexy designs out there.
Are you experienced leaking boobs?
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.