Breasts, Leaky (Postpartum)

    When nursing, women often have to deal with leaky breasts. Milk dripping or spraying from the breasts can be uncomfortable and messy.

    Causes of Leaky Breasts After Giving Birth
    The let-down reflex, or the milk-ejection reflex, is what enables you to breast-feed as it propels milk produced in the milk glands to the milk ducts and out through the nipple; the reflex is also what is responsible for leaky breasts. When your baby cries or the nipples are stimulated, milk may seep or spray from the breast. This is not uncommon, but it can be uncomfortable.  It takes time for the body to get used to the feeding pattern of your baby and until a pattern is solidified, the breasts feel as though they need to produce milk all the time and have no idea when and when not to let-down. The process of solidifying a pattern can take time, but your breasts will eventually only let-down milk when your baby is on your breast.



    Important Facts About Leaky Breasts
    Many mothers are quick to learn that leaky breasts can occur at any given time. The sound of a baby’s cry, even if it is not your baby, can cause milk to seep from the breast. Looking at a baby’s picture, thinking about baby, or even dreaming can cause milk to seep. In fact, until a breast-feeding pattern is learned, breasts may leak without any stimulation at all.

    Treatment for Leaky Breasts When Nursing
    Nursing pads are a new mother’s best friend. These pads fit comfortably inside the bra and soak up any leaking milk that may seep from the breast. Nursing pads come in disposable and washable forms. At night you have the option of using a breast pad or using a towel and placing it under the breast area. If your breasts leak at night, there is no sense in making more work for yourself by soiling the linens! 

    Warm showers, pumping and nipple stimulation may cause let-down, but it will not stop the leak from occurring. As a matter of fact, these actions will often cause milk production which could make leaky breasts worse rather than better.