How Can I Deal with My Leaking Breasts?
While not all mothers experience leaking, some mothers find that their breasts do leak, especially in the early months while milk production is being established (THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, 7th edition, p. 73.) Some women leak on one side while breastfeeding on the other. It can be helpful to put a towel or cotton diaper over the other side to catch the flow.
Disposable nursing pads as well as reusable, washable cotton pads are available to wear in your bra and help absorb leakage between feedings. Avoid pads with a plastic liner that traps moisture against your skin as this can cause nipples to become sore. Changing pads frequently will help keep your nipples from becoming too moist and possibly sore.
Leaking may be minimized by not missing feedings or going longer between feedings than usual. If you feel the milk ejection reflex (the "let-down") and are in a situation where you can't feed your baby immediately or are away from your baby, a slight pressure against your breast will often stop the "let-down" and leaking. This can be done inconspicuously by crossing your arms across your chest and applying slight pressure.
Wearing patterned tops is also a good idea as spots will not show on patterns like they do on a single colored fabric. You will probably find that as time goes by you will leak less or not at all. This does not mean that you are losing your milk, but rather that your body is regulating milk production.
Resources for Additional Information
You may also want to read this LEAVEN article by Melissa Vickers called, "Is Milk Supposed to Leak?" or the FAQ on oversupply of milk. Additional links and articles are found on the Web resource page on milk supply issues, as well.
Contacting an LLL Leader in your area or attending a meeting may help. To find a Group near you, call 1-800-LALECHE, look at our LLL Web Page Index or follow the hints in our page on finding a local LLL Leader.
The following items may be available from the LLLI Online Store or from your local Leader:
THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. Now in its sixth revised edition, this La Leche League International classic title is expanded to include important references and additional resources for the breastfeeding mother. Its vast depth of factual information makes this book a necessary source for breastfeeding mothers, and its warm, friendly tone makes it a classic worth reading again. As the definitive guide for over 40 years, this sixth edition of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING brings the importance of parenting through breastfeeding into the next century.
La Leche League International BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK by Nancy Mohrbacher and Julie Stock, 3rd Revised edition, is a popular resource book from LLLI that includes up-to-date references, expanded information, and three new chapters. This publication is an indispensable resource for all who counsel breastfeeding mothers.