Whether you’re pumping, nursing, or combo-feeding, you will probably experience leaking breastmilk at some point. These tips can help save that precious leaked milk.
If you’ve ever gone too long between feeds, heard another baby crying, or had a powerful letdown, you’ve probably experienced the leaking of breastmilk.
While it’s more a nuisance than anything, there are some things you can do not soak your shirt and keep that liquid gold for future use in the process.
Why do breasts leak when breastfeeding?
When the milk ejection reflex – also known as a letdown – is triggered, your body will release milk into your breasts, and sometimes, leaking can occur. Either your baby’s suckling or a breast pump can trigger this reflex.
Read next: The Best Budget-Friendly Nursing Bras on Amazon
What to do with leaking breasts
As frustrating as it can be, leaking is a natural process that occurs for many lactating mothers.
If you’re pumping on both breasts, and your letdown happens, great! You will capture that ejected milk and stash it for later use.
For some, leaking breastmilk while nursing is unavoidable, but the soaking of your shirt is.
If you’re nursing, you can leak milk from the breast not currently in use. If you don’t take steps to avoid it, breastmilk will end up on you, inside your bra, and anywhere you don’t want it.
While leaking is essentially unavoidable, the soaking of your shirt is. Here’s what you can do to capture that leaked liquid gold.
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Try these tips to capture leaked breastmilk
1. Use a small milk collection cup
A milk collection cup is a small, curved cup designed to fit inside your bra. It has a small opening on one side to place against your nipple to catch the milk released while nursing (or any time between breastfeeding sessions).
There are a few different styles of milk collection cups on the market. They aim to capture your leaked breastmilk so you can save it for later use.
Pro tip: Each cup has different collection capacities, so read each description to find the best fit for your needs.
Check out these brands:
- Elvie Catch Milk Collection Shells
- Haakaa Ladybug Silicone MIlk Collector
- Mommyz Boob Shells
- Lacti-Cups Breast Shells
Each one varies slightly, but for the most discreet milk catching, we prefer the Elvie Milk Collection Shells and, for easy pouring, the Haaka Ladybug Collectors.
2. Use a gentle-suction pump
Alternatively, you could try a gentle-suction pump like the Haakaa Manual Breast Pump. It’s all one piece (plus the lid) and makes catching your leaked breast milk pretty straightforward.
The Haakaa is an excellent option for newer babies to build your breastmilk stash with each feed. Just attach it to the breast baby isn’t nursing on and capture that leaked liquid gold. The gentle suction will help encourage more milk to leave the breast, which can help relieve any pressure or engorgement. Shop now.
If you have an older baby who likes to kick and squirm while nursing, the Haakaa can be tricky to keep latched and we suggest trying the milk collection cups.
3. Use reusable nursing pads
This last option will stop you from soaking your nursing bra and shirt, but you won’t collect any extra milk.
While it’s not our first choice, reusable nursing pads are very convenient and can help keep you dry and comfortable if leaking occurs. Plus, they’re certainly more environmentally friendly than disposable pads.
Do breasts ever stop leaking while nursing?
As with everything in pregnancy and postpartum, every mother is different. Many lactating women find their breasts stopping leaking at random times around six to eight weeks after birth.
When it comes to the leaking while nursing, it might never go away. Leaking can depend on how much milk is in your breasts at the time of feeding and how strong your letdown reflex is.
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Founded by new mom and self-care author Carley Schweet, Hello Postpartum aims to help fill in the gaps in postpartum care and support. At Hello Postpartum, we aim to create an accessible community where everyone can access postpartum education, research-backed articles, and support tools.