Things To Watch Out For


Leaking Breasts

Leaking breasts are a reminder that lactation is going well. It’s also the body’s way of preventing engorgement and relieving that feeling of fullness nursing moms get in their breasts. Every breastfeeding woman is different — while some mothers never leak, others can barely keep their nursing tops dry.


Leaking is unpredictable, unfortunately. Some moms leak only during the early weeks of breastfeeding while others leak for many months. The hormone oxytocin, which causes the milk ejection reflex (MER) or letdown, is responsible — which is why you notice one breast leaking while nursing your son. Oxytocin is also present during orgasm, so don’t be too surprised if your milk sprays during climax.

Leaking generally stops once your baby has mastered breastfeeding (giving him frequent, unrestricted access to the breasts helps). Some say leaking is a problem only until the sphincter muscle in the nipple gets in shape, and should stop soon after. How quickly or slowly this happens varies from woman to woman. Don’t worry, when the leaking eventually stops, you’ll still be making plenty of milk to meet the needs of your baby.

To cope:

• When you begin to feel the tingly sensation of milk letdown, apply firm pressure to your breasts by crossing your arms over your chest and hugging yourself. You can also use the base of the palm of your hands to press over the nipple. If you’re sitting at a table, cup your chin in your hands and press your forearms into your breasts.

• Use cloth nursing pads instead of disposables, which have been linked to breastfeeding problems. Their plastic lining, while keeping clothing dry, keeps the areola damp, exacerbating nipple soreness and fungal infections such as candida (also known as thrush). You can make your own nursing pads from cut-up cloth diapers. If you’re breastfeeding at home, keep a cloth diaper nearby to soak up milk from the leaking breast and save your pads for outings.

• Wear clothing that camouflages wetness. Prints work well. Or carry a jacket or sweater that you can put on quickly if you notice your breasts leaking.

• Breastfeed more often or manually express milk. When you begin to feel that fullness, let baby relieve the pressure before you leak. If you’re away from baby, slip into a private place and manually express some milk. If you don’t relieve the pressure, you could develop a plugged breast duct or mastitis, a breast infection, which is painful and will keep you in bed for at least 24 hours.

• Laugh it off. Humor goes a long way in coping with this little annoyance. Once the leaking subsides, you’ll have some wonderful stories and memories to share with new moms that will have you all laughing about breastfeeding.


Milk stasis / restricted milk flow

… may be due to:

Engorgement or inadequate milk removal (due to latching problems, ineffective suck, tongue-tie or other anatomical variations, nipple pain, sleepyor distracted baby, oversupply, hurried feedings, limiting baby’s time at the breast,nipple shield use, twins or higher order multiples, blocked nipple pore, etc.).


Infrequent/skipped feedings (due tonipple pain, teething, pacifier overuse, busy mom, return to work, baby suddenly sleeping longer, scheduling, supplementing, abrupt weaning, etc.).

Pressure on the duct (from fingers, tight bra or clothing, prone sleeping, diaper bag, etc.).
Inflammation (from injury, bacterial/yeast infection, or allergy).


Engorgement (painful, overfull breasts)

Engorgement often happens in the first few days after a baby’s birth when increased amounts of blood and other fluids, as well as milk, build up in the breasts. This may happen as milk production is turned on. However, breasts can become engorged with milk at any time there is a sudden change in the feeding pattern.

 Engorged breasts become very swollen, tender and hard.

If the ideas already given do not ease your discomfort, it may help to express all the milk in the breasts, just once, with an electric breast pump. This can relieve the pressure and from then on, you may be able to prevent it building up to that point again.

Wear a firm bra and express using a weaning breastpump