32 answers

Help with Leaking Breasts at Night

I have a 5 month old whom I breast feed exclusively. I am having problems however not leaking during the night. He wakes to nurse some at night but I am finding my shirt to be soaked enough to require a change several times throughout the night. I am not sure how to prevent this from happening. He is my third chid and I never had this problem with my other two.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow! What an amazing amount of responses with terrific suggestions. I have been wearing a bra at night but didn't think about adding nursing pads. I have purchased several brands to experiment with. I have also been using a cloth diaper between bra and shirt so that it absorbs any extra wetness and doesn't soak my shirt. Thanks so much for your wonderful help!

Featured Answers

You might want to try Lily Padz. They are specifically for stopping leaks and will stay on at night without a bra. I have heavy let down and was always leaking through washable and disposable breast pads. These work great for me, they prevent the leaking instead of just absorbing it....though they are a bit expensive...$22 a set, but each set lasts about 2 months...though the adhesive property lessens toward the end of the 2 months.
E

I have found that I REALLY only leak when I don't wear a bra to bed. My daughter is 6 mo, also exclusively breast fed, and her feeding at nights is becoming less frequent, and my leaking is too.

breast pads help with that problem..and I find they prevent my breasts from leaking because the pads are not wet, but if I don't wear them my shirt gets soaked too.

More Answers

Dear L.,

I also breast feed exclusively until around 9 months, when we introduced a sippy cup. I continued to bf until he was 2years 9 months. There was not a day or night I left my breasts uncovered. I would always wear a bra, (I am small breasted) more like a cross over sport type bra, with lansinoh breast covers. I always felt secure, covered, and (a little bigger:)
Ps, I never did pump either. Maybe your baby's nutritional needs are changing and your body (which is in tune with your child's needs) is changing too.

good luck!
M.

A couple of things that helped me were a tight fitting shirt, the less they move against the fabric the less they will be "stimulated"and leak, breast pads (they have some that soak in the milk via gel and they get thicker, but can hold a lot, disposable), and pumping before bed (I used to pump right after the final evening feeding and that helped. Hope this might be useful. Good luck, I know that feeling is uncomfortable.

Hi L.,

I didn't read through all of the responses so you may have heard this already. My experience with breastfeeding was that, eventually, my body adjusted to the amount of milk my baby needed. When that happened, the leaking stopped. With my son, I had to go back to work at 4 months and I worked in a situation where I could not pump so I began breastfeeding strictly at night. After a while, maybe 6 week, I just stopped having leaking during the day. Same thing with my daughter. The body is an amazing thing. Meanwhile, use lots of breast pads. I was even known to use a washcloth. :)

L.

When I was brestfeeding I used a silicone pad called lily pads (I got them online and I believe you can get them at motherhood maternity stores. I also leaked a lot during the night but as the feedings diminished at night so did the leaking. Good luck!

Try a nursing bra with the pads. I had a lot of milk and a forceful letdown. My son is 9 mo, and I still have to use something. I have switched to cotton ones that I wash with the bras. Sometimes I would have to change them out in the middle of the night.
I like the bras that have a V front and you just pull to the side...they are at Target and Target.com.
good luck

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads are the BEST. I leaked ALL the time (not just at night) and these were the only brand of pad that prevented my shirt getting soaked. Also, if you wear a tight enough shirt to bed at night, you could keep them in place without a bra, and just move them to nurse. Good Luck!

breast pads help with that problem..and I find they prevent my breasts from leaking because the pads are not wet, but if I don't wear them my shirt gets soaked too.

You might want to try Lily Padz. They are specifically for stopping leaks and will stay on at night without a bra. I have heavy let down and was always leaking through washable and disposable breast pads. These work great for me, they prevent the leaking instead of just absorbing it....though they are a bit expensive...$22 a set, but each set lasts about 2 months...though the adhesive property lessens toward the end of the 2 months.
E

I use Lansinoh disposable breast pads and a nursing tank top from Target. It is a great combo that worked for me!

I had an oversupply issue so this happened for months. The only solution I found was to purchase a nighttime nursing bra (they are loose and soft) and wear disposable nursing pads at night. I didn't mind the wet shirt as much as the wet spots on the bed.

With all 4 of my kids I found that I only really leaked when I didn't wear a bra. Sometimes I just wanted a break from bra wearing at night and I would tuck a folded towel under a fitted undershirt. Also, I did better on my back or side, other than stomach sleeping because of the pressure. Good luck.

Hi L.,

Congrats on your little one! I had a similar problem with my son (now almost 13 months). I used a combination of breast pads. The ones that I liked best were the Johnson and Johnson ones (not sure what they were called). They were really thick and I didn't have to worry about leaking through...although there were some nights that I did change them when I fed my son. They worked well for me. I also wore (and still wear) a nursing bra to bed. That seems to help me.

Good luck!

Lily Padz are the best ever invention!!!!!!! No leaking!!!! I got mine on ebay and bought some for all my friends that are nursing.

Hi. I bought a nursing bra that was super soft for bedtime and was sure to wear pads with it. On occasion I still did leak but not horribly.

Lansinoh pads were the best for me! Seems the third baby triggers a lot of milk production, my third is one year and I still leak when she nurses! just get a nice soft unstructured sleeping bra and put the pads into it, they normally last thru the night but you could slip an extra under your pillow just in case - I always kept some handy for the early months.

I use Lansolin(I don't know how they are spelled). They are really the best. They are in the purple box. They are thin and really really absorbent. They have a sticky part on the back that helps to keep them in place. They are amazing and I would recommend them to everyone.

Hi L.. I'm not sure about preventing the leaking..maybe you can pump in the middle of the night or before you go to bed..but what I can suggest are johnson and johnson breast pads...they are the best! Good luck!

Good job with your exclusive breastfeeding! KUDOS for you!
TRy and wear a bra with pads in- and see if that helps.There are these things called shells that you could wear and it will collect the milk-
Medela sells them- look up Medela.com
-good luck-

After you wake to nurse him it may be a good time to pump. If you empty your breasts completely it will take longer for them to fill back up.

I leaked a lot with my second child. I used the thick Avent nursing pads, plus a thin pad behind it, and wore a great night time bra. I couldnt sleep without a bra. If I did I leaked everywhere. It was like waking up in a pool of milk.

Hi L.,
If your not doing it already, a nursing bra with pads is ideal. However if you are leaking through the pads and bra, you may want to try silicone type nipple pads. They are thin pads that cover the nipples and prevent leaking. They are suppose to be breathable. I haven't used them, but a close friend of mine swears by them. She says they are not cups, but thin clear pads. She bought hers a year ago at babies r us.

Lansinoh breast pads work great!! I've tried washables, too, but they shift and are bulky (in case you wear them during the day, too). I don't think there's much you can do to stop leaking while you're sleeping,but it's good to not soak yourself and get chilly and wet in the process. If it happens while you're awake, you can press on your nipples with the palm of your hand to "hold back the flood."

Wear breast pads at night. The ones without plastic backing. Try Curity or the Babies R Us brand.

When he is on solid food this will probably stop.

I had the same problem my love... you have to find a really good breast pad to soak up the milk and keep them by your bedside to change everytime you wake up to feed your child. Your body will adjust to your sons feeding schedule soon. I finally did and my son's 7 months old. Keep it up though, I know it's sometimes a pain =)

These were the only one's that worked all through the night for me:
http://www.target.com/Lansinoh-60-ct-Disposable-Nursing-P...

Hi L.!,
Congratulation on your breastfed baby!
My son was exclusively breastfed for almost the first year, but I had all kind of troubles, and my leaking breasts were the least painful of them. Until I went to a La Leche consultant I didn't understand what was going on with me and couldn't trust any doctor or nurses who were all contradicting each other. Like my mother I was overproducing milk, and was almost constantly engorged, so I didn't care if I was leaking, I just didn't want to get any plugged ducts, or when I had some to get rid of it. I couldn't wear any pads for a long time, because then the moisture would trigger an infection. The shields were useful but just for a short period for the same reason. I was wearing constantly a nursing bra, but open, as soon as I was at home, because any pressure on my breast would be the first step to a plugged duct and more.
So at night I did cover my breast with a cloth diaper. When I wanted breast to still be aired and not stay moist I would put the cloth diaper right underneath my nipples.
It seems though that you don’t have any problem with too much moisture, so I just recommend using clothe diapers, to prevent to soak your bed.
Good luck and enjoy your little one!

I tucked a burp cloth or old fashioned cloth diaper into my sleeping nursing bra. Breast pads weren't enough, at least one wasn't. Some nights I'd put 2 nursing pads in, but may have had to change them during the night. But the burp cloth worked the best for me. The breast shield sounds like a great idea, though. I might try that with my next baby.

I have found that I REALLY only leak when I don't wear a bra to bed. My daughter is 6 mo, also exclusively breast fed, and her feeding at nights is becoming less frequent, and my leaking is too.

Check out these lily padz from one step ahead. They should do the trick. Opy and paste the entire link into your browser, it will take you right to the item. Good luck. http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId...

L.,
I used a towel tucked on the inside my nursing bra. Only leaked into the towel and not all over the bed.

I personally think breast pads itch and also you waste the milk. You can get plastic breast shields that are concave to fit the breast and the nipple goes into a hole in the middle and it holds the milk inside the container. Of course you have to wear a bra, but at night I always wore a bra anyway. Then you can pour the milk into a bottle and freeze it for when you are going out in public or your husband needs to feed the baby. Call around and ask about plastic breast shields. I donated milk all the time using these when I did not need the milk so I could give it to others. Good luck!

Hi L.,

I didn't have oversupply of milk when I was still breastfeeding (in fact it was on the low side), but I was still leaking like crazy. Like another mom who responded earlier, any pressure on the breasts would give me clogged duct, so I never wore bras or pads at home. I don't know if you have this problem or not. But if you do, I'd agree that draping cloth diaper is the best thing for night time. I placed a piece of those waterproof pads on my bedsheet so I don't have to change it all the time. Eventually the problem resolved itself as the milk production decreased over time. In the mean time, good luck.

I had problems leaking at night with both my kids. With my son I wore one of the tank top things with a built in shelf bra, and put pads in it. That worked OK, but sometimes the pads would shift and I would get all wet. With my daughter I found the Lily Padz. They worked great, and could be worn with any kind of top.

When I was breastfeeding, I got a nursing sleep bra (from motherwear.com). It was very comfy for sleeping and gave me a place to tuck nursing pads into overnight.

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