Welcome to the Club.
Let’s look at the good news about leaking breasts first: You will very likely have a really great supply of breast milk! (In my case, I always said that my right breast could nurse triplets by itself because it leaked so much!)
Now the bad news: There is not really much you can do about leaking. You will just have to always wear nursing pads or deal with a lot of wet shirts.
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* Why Nursing Pads Will Be Your Best Friend
Try to find good nursing pads that can breathe. I found that disposable ones worked best for me because I soaked through so fast. (Here are the ones I liked best.)
Favorite Nursing Pad Choices:
Try different options and see what ones work best for you. Here are some choices that we like.
Glangels Bamboo Reusable Nursing Pads are a top favorite for moms who want a eco-friendly solution that really works to keep them dry but keeps waste out of the landfills. There’s a soft side that is a super soft velvety material and the outside is a strong leak-proof material. They fit great and work wonders.
LilyPadz are one-of-a-kind nursing pads. They are continuously-usable and non-absorbent nursing pads. They can be worn even without a bra, reused and even worn with a swimsuit. Every mom with leaking breasts should have a pair!
For every mom that you hear that have trouble making enough milk, there is at least one mom who is making enough that she has to worry about leaking. Stop letting it worry you. Try some of the great options to keep the leaking under control and your clothes looking great!
Leaking breasts can lead to some uncomfortable moments when you’re away from home, but there is a silver lining to that cloud: Your breasts are busy producing nourishing milk that is perfectly tailored to your little one’s stage of growth. They’re functioning as expected and are doing their part to help your beautiful baby thrive. Instead of worrying about unexpected letdowns, engorgement, and other issues that may come with those functioning breasts, use our tips to cope with leaking breasts and minimize those awkward moments.
Need more help?
1. Keep disposable or washable bra pads on hand.
You can buy disposable bra pads online for less than five bucks, and they will give you some security against messy leaking. They slip into the cups of your bra and will soak up the milk if leakage occurs. Even if you have a substantial leak, they should collect most if not all of the milk before it makes an appearance on your clothing.
You can also buy reusable breast pads that are often softer, larger, and more comfortable. Buy a set with a wash bag, and you can quickly wash them and reuse, ensuring you never run out.
Always try to keep bra pads with you, just as you would tampons or pads during a certain time of the month. You can stash them in your purse, diaper bag, vehicle, and desk at work. If you leak small amounts of milk throughout the day, make sure to change your pads regularly to keep them fresh and ready for the unexpected letdown that may require more absorbency.
2. Use milk collection cups if you want to save breast milk for your freezer stash or later feedings.
If you can tolerate something a bit larger and harder in your bar, consider wearing breast milk collection cups rather than pads at least part of the time. Rather than simply absorbing the milk, they will collect it right inside your bra. You can then transfer the milk to bottles and use it to build a freezer stash or bottle feed your baby later. Just make sure you have a cooler bag or place in a fridge to keep the milk fresh until you get home.
3. Don’t allow your breasts to become too full.
Leaking is less likely to happen if you never allow your breasts to become too full. The simplest way to do that is to breastfeed as often as possible or on a routine schedule. That may work well when you’re at home and your baby wants regular feedings for nourishment and comfort.
It may not work so well when you return to work or want to spend a bit of time baby-free. You may also have times when your baby isn’t as hungry as usual or doesn’t want to feed as often for a variety of reasons. You never know when something unexpected will pull you away from the little one as well.
If you can’t breastfeed and you feel your breasts becoming full, try to express a small amount of milk so that they soften. You can do this by hand expressing or using a pump. Just keep in mind that pumping between breastfeeding sessions is a great way to increase your rate of milk production, which may lead to more leaking if your baby can’t keep up with the more voluminous supply.
Pumping just enough to relieve pressure on occasion shouldn’t have that effect. You also don’t want to pump your breasts empty too close to a feeding time. Leave some in there for the baby unless you want to start supplementing with bottle feeding.
4. Cover one breast during breastfeeding sessions if it tends to leak.
Some new mothers find that the unused nipple lets down along with the used nipple during breastfeeding. That can lead to leaking as you’re feeding your baby. You can either wear a nursing bra and keep a thick nursing pad on the unused side or cover it up with an absorbent blanket, towel, or pad.
5. Gently apply pressure to your breasts if you feel them start to leak.
This tip is more for breastfeeding moms beyond the first week or two of postpartum. Give your breasts time to adjust to the process of breastfeeding because pressing on the nipples may lead to a full letdown and bigger mess if your breasts are highly sensitive. Once you feel your breasts have adjust more, you can try wrapping your arms across your chest as if hugging yourself when you feel the start of a leak.
The pressure may temporarily stop the problem, but you should breastfeed, hand express, or pump soon to empty your breasts and prevent further leaking or engorgement. You may also need a clean bra pad.
6. If you experience nighttime leaking, protect your sheets and mattress with a towel or absorbent pad.
Leaking while away from home isn’t the only problem you may experience as your breasts adjust to creating and releasing milk to your growing baby. Some women experience letdowns while they sleep, especially during periods when a baby may eat less than usual or when breastfeeding on demand without a set schedule.
Beyond interrupting what little sleep you may get and leading to extreme discomfort, nighttime leaking can force you to spend way too much time washing your sheets or cleaning your mattress. Depending on how much you leak, you may need to add an absorbent bed pad underneath your sheets to protect the mattress. You may use the same pad later to protect a crib mattress or toddler bed. Simply placing a large, thick towel under you at night may work as well.
7. Encourage breastfeeding at the most appropriate times.
Do you notice that your breasts are most likely to leak at certain times of the day? Many women find that they may leak more in the morning, especially after their baby starts sleeping more at night. If you notice a time of the day that may lead to more problems, try to encourage breastfeeding or schedule a pumping session at that time. Instead of trying to prevent your breasts from leaking, you’ll work with your breasts to solve the problem while nourishing your baby.
If nothing else, make sure you’re wearing a good bra pad or breast milk collection cup at that time of day. Stay prepared so that you don’t end up with routine messes.
8. Make sure your bra isn’t too tight.
Is your bra causing some or all of your daytime breast leaking? It’s possible if your bra doesn’t fit properly. If it’s too tight, it can create constant pressure that stimulates letdowns during the day. Loosening your bra straps or finding one with larger cups may help.
9. Choose your clothing patterns and colors carefully.
If you know your breasts leak even occasionally, this isn’t the time to walk out the door in your silkiest, thinnest white blouse. Choosing darker colors and thicker material is always good because the material is less likely to make wet spots obvious. Many prints will also camouflage the mess, especially in the case of smaller drops.
10. Layer your clothing or always keep some type of coverup on hand.
Sometimes you just have to prepare for the worst-case scenario. If you don’t want to risk wet spots showing on your clothing, layer your clothing so that you have a protective outer layer to mask the problem. That may mean adding a few stylish jackets to your work wardrobe or selecting a cardigan, jacket, or shawl to keep at the office.
Simply having something on hand that you can wear over your clothing in the case of an emergency can work as well. Maybe that means putting a jacket in the trunk of your vehicle or leaving one somewhere convenient at work, making it easy to cover up quickly as needed. You may want to keep a couple extra shirts on hand as well.
While these tips may help you prevent leaking breasts, they should also help you make the most of it when a letdown does catch you by surprise. Do you have secrets that you use to handle moments of awkward leaking?
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- Find the Perfect Breastfeeding Bra