Leaks While Breastfeeding

Updated on January 11, 2009
M.C. asks from Pacifica, CA
26 answers

Any suggestions for absorbing leaks?

When I am nursing, my other breast leaks through the cotton washable pad, through the bra, through the undershirt and through my shirt! You'd think I'd have figured this out by now (I have 4 kids), but I am soaked and smelling like breastmilk EVERY day.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the tips. The pressure thing doesn't work too well for me, as I still leak (and sometimes squirt!) YES, I should be glad that I can nurse the block. I DO nurse on both sides, but will look into the suggestions. I am not interested in pumping this time (another reason I took ONE year off from work), but the plastic shield as collection sounds like something I might try - especially for the upcoming cereal stage. I will check out the LilyPadz at Mo Mat this afternoon, and let everyone know what worked best. Thanks!

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H.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I seem to have gotten past this point now (I also had a boy in Oct.), but have been known to just put a cloth diaper between the 2nd breast & everything else.

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M.D.

answers from San Francisco on

I used to put a cloth diaper, tucked into my bra on the breast that I wasn't using at the moment. Good luck!

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M.F.

answers from San Francisco on

I would leak right through the washable pads as well, but the Johnson and Johnson disposables worked great. They were actually quite thin, but never caused my milk to leak through. I know Target has them.

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C.J.

answers from Stockton on

I had this problem too with all of my kids. I would leak when they would eat and if you put gentle pressure on the leaking nipple that would help stop it. I also would leak in stores when they would cry I found that the only thing that helped was to buy disposable pad, I like the lansinoh pads the best. As much as I wanted to use washable I would constantly leak all over my clothes and had to switch.
Good luck,
C.

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H.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I seem to have gotten past this point now (I also had a boy in Oct.), but have been known to just put a cloth diaper between the 2nd breast & everything else.

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I.L.

answers from Bakersfield on

I experienced this, especially when my daughter was new born and I made far more milk than her tiny tummy needed. Have you tried pumping the other breast while nursing? When its time, if you need to switch, you can give the baby what is in the bottle. Less mess, worry of smelling, and no waste!

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S.P.

answers from Sacramento on

funny as this sounds... i used to just shove a washcloth or burprag in my bra on the side i wasn't nursing from. otherwise, yes, i too could spray someone across the room or feed an army of cats on what was coming out the side not connected to the little one. it wasn't pretty, but worked with more ease than trying to use the pads that cost me so much extra wash.

G.K.

answers from San Francisco on

To help prevent leaking, just press your hand or arm against your nipple as you let down. It helps stop the flow, but doesn't stop your baby from getting enough milk.

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M.F.

answers from San Francisco on

I would leak right through the washable pads as well, but the Johnson and Johnson disposables worked great. They were actually quite thin, but never caused my milk to leak through. I know Target has them.

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A.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi Sonia... many years ago there was a 2 part plastic thing made for inverted nipples for nursing mothers, that doubled as a milk catcher. This was passed on to me, as I also had a bad excess milk leakage problem, while my baby was nursing on one breast, the other continually leaked. I caught alot of milk this way, and froze it for later use. You might want to check around to see if these are still made. Another alternative is to cut a sanitary pad in half and put it over your leaking nipples. Hope these suggestions work for you. CJ

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E.H.

answers from San Francisco on

Here is a trick my grandmother taught me...everyone I've told about this says it is magic.
With your free hand push just your index finger against the tip of the leaking nipple (can be through clothing or bare skin). You don't have to push too hard, it shouldn't hurt, just enough that the nipple gets kind of compressed into your breast. Hold it for the period of time that you can feel the milk letting down (a little longer if you leak a lot). That small amount of pressure will keep you from leaking all over and making a mess. If you put your finger there just as you start nursing, you won't leak at all.
Good Luck
E.

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E.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I have the same problem through the entire year I nurse! Finally now with my 3rd I've just started tucking a folded burp cloth into my bra on the other side to soak up the milk. Not the prettiest thing but it keeps me from being soaked and milky.

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T.P.

answers from Sacramento on

This worked for me but only after a few months: firm pressure against the nipple and breast with your arm. Basically stopping the flow. Don't worry, if you switch sides, it will start up again. Best of luck!

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N.J.

answers from San Francisco on

Having an abundance of milk!!! Having a beautiful healthy baby!! How wonderful!!Enjoy your good fortune. I really don't have any suggestions. I usually stopped leaking a lot after a couple of weeks. I am wondering if there is any way you can collect from the leaking side and keep the milk in the freezer for later. Do they still have "milk banks" in hospitals for preemies? It does seem shame to let all that good stuff go to waste...but if you just don't want it to go through all your clothes, I would guess a towel with a plastic coated pad (bassinet size)to save your outer clothes and then a good wash. Do you nurse from both sides each feeding? Good luck and ENJOY

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M.E.

answers from San Francisco on

These are the best: http://www.danishwool.com/products/item/nursing_pads.html
I didn't learn about them until 2nd baby and I don't know how I survived without them. I'm big-busted and use the large tear-drop shaped size. It fits the whole cup of my bra so there's no weird pad lines! They're pricey, but worth the investment and you really only need 2 pair, as per the company's advice. I use one for day and one for night, letting them air out between uses. I haven't leaked much with this baby, but when I do it is much more comfortable than the cotton pads. These really do stay warm and absorb to keep you dry! They're much more comfortable than the cotton or disposable pads, better for your health (I haven't had to use lanolin cream once since I got them as the pads have their own lanolin in them) and better for the environment than disposables. You will love them, I swear.

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G.K.

answers from San Francisco on

If you are breastfeeding in a secluded place, I actually catch the excess milk from the other breast in a small cup or jar which I save for later (you'd be surprised how much accumulates over a few feedings) which has been helpful when I'm behind on pumping or need a quick 'snack' later for the baby! Good luck!

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I also had a LOT of milk and would leak terribly from the breast that wasn't nursing. I kept a stack of cloth diapers next to my rocker and shoved one or two into my bra to catch what leaked. It does seem a shame to waste it, but it wasn't like there was any shortage! Good luck!

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E.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I suggest disposable pads! The lansinoh ones are great; super absorbent. I also am a leaker, even five months post-partum, and I have found that the cotton pads don't work well for me. Maybe TMI, but I only change the disposable pads once a day (once I got out of the first few months, when I changed them as needed) and they hold up really well. I'd prefer the cost savings and natural aspects of cotton pads, but have found that I appreciate dry shirts and bras more!

Congratulations on your fourth little one!

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K.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Try plastic breast shields. I think you can get them at medical supply or Babies R Us. It has been years since I got some, but they are concave and fit your breast with a hole for the nipple in the middle and you collect the milk in them and freeze it for whenever you are away and the baby needs a bottle. I donated milk a lot using these. They come apart and can be washed in the dishwasher.This way you are not wasting it, besides I think the pads are itchy. I wore my breast shields all the time, even at night. I got tons of extra milk to give to the milk bank. Good luck.

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K.H.

answers from Modesto on

Never had to use them myself, but hear LilyPadz are WONDERFUL. Maybe worth a try.

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V.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Get Curity or the Babies R us disposables. Try applying a little pressure as you start to nurse or use a handpump while nurse on one side on the side babys not drinking on.

It stops as the baby starts eatting solids :)

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M.D.

answers from San Francisco on

I used to put a cloth diaper, tucked into my bra on the breast that I wasn't using at the moment. Good luck!

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R.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi,
I used to use those opportunities to pump, I'd hold (prop) the hand pump on the other nipple and get excess milk. Then use it on baby's dry skin, in the tub or to mix with his cereal (if your baby is old enough). I heard someone else cut up sanitary napkins and place a half of a light day pad in their bra. Good luck!

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M.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi, I see you have a lot of responses so a short answer. I still leak (9 month old twins). I even measured it once (20 mls from one breast!!). The only pads that work are Lansinoh, they keep me dry even 24 hours. And I've tried them ALL. Good luck.

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J.J.

answers from San Francisco on

Lilly padz. http://www.lilypadz.com/index1.html. Only thing worked for me when I was nursing & they stay in place because they are like a suction cup. Comfortable. Can get them @ motherhood maternity. I got mine @ my hospital's lactation department.

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A.M.

answers from Stockton on

I used to use socks and have the nursing pad up againest my bra for more protection.

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W.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I didn't like washable pads, I used disposable pads since they have a plastic outer lining/barrier.
Also press your arm against the other breast to stop the flow (esp at letdown time!) if you dont already do that. Hope that helps you out.

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D.T.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi Sonia:

Like you, I have 4 children. I had the same problem that you are having. I have a huge milk supply and would leak through everything. I didn't find the washable pads to hold as much milk as the disposable pads. I would double up on the pads and change them often. Once I had my third child, a lactation consultant gave me advice on how to lessen my milk supply. The baby got plenty of milk and although I continued to leak, it wasn't nearly as bad. I'm not sure if this is the same problem you are having, but it's worth a call to a Lactation Consultant. Good luck!

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D.V.

answers from San Francisco on

I would leak alot during the first few months of breastfeeding also. I had an oversupply which my kid caught up to at about 5 mths. The Lansinoh Dusposable Nursing Pads can hold alot and when I'm out I would always use them. Sometimes at home I would just open both sides of my bra and let the other side leak into a small towel while I nursed. As for the washable pad I don't know how to help. They don't have the absorbing materials and may work better for normal leaking not the "stream" I had while nursing. Whatever you use make sure you are changing them at each nursing. You don't want the moisture to stay on your breasts. Some mom's are prone to yeast infections. The disposable pad really worked for me. Just make sure they don't accidentally get in your laundry...I'd miss one hidden in a shirt. You have to air dry and then shake the clothing out and rewash. If they get in the drier you have to wipe everything off.

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