Breast Milk Leakage (BML)
Over 90% of new mothers experience leaking breasts.
Breast milk leakage is normal, just often quite embarrassing! Some women
only leak on one side…others don’t leak at all. Breastfeeding leaking
has got nothing really to do with the amount of breast milk that you
have. Some moms with low milk supply can also have leaking breasts.
What causes BML?
- Oversupply (engorged breasts)
- When your letdown reflex kicks in (when your baby cries etc)
- When you are thinking about your baby (also letdown reflex)
- When you take a warm shower it can cause breast leaking
- Some women also complain about breasts leaking during intercourse
How can I prevent breast leakage?
- Try expressing before your breasts become too full.
Moms use hand expressing a lot to relieve engorgement.
- Cross your arms and hug your breasts tight, this can help stop the
flow. Gentle pressure on the nipple area usually also works quite well.
- The more you breastfeed the less likely you will have leaking breast milk.
Making life easier when you have breasts that leak:
- Always carry an extra top and some breast pads
when you go out. Always wear some under your bra, don’t assume that you won’t leak.
- Freezing breast milk: If your one breast starts to leak while
breastfeeding you can just keep a cloth handy or you could collect the
milk leakage with a special shield and store and freeze it. Recycle
your milk with
The Milk Saver
- Don't presume you can pump in order to avoid the problem. You'll only
stimulate your breasts to make more milk — and therefore more leaks.
- Do not reduce your fluid intake to try to produce less milk…it won't help.
Will I have breastmilk leakage until I stop breastfeeding?
90% of mothers who have breast leaking still have problems until
about 8 weeks postpartum. The other 10% still struggle with leakage for
up to six months postpartum
What if I’ve stopped breastfeeding and I’m still leaking?
Some moms have breastmilk leakage for up to three years after
they stop breastfeeding, but it's not that common. Most mom's breasts
will only take a few months to dry up.
Drying up breast milk
If you are still breastfeeding, but for some reason need to stop and dry up breast milk you can:
- Apply cold compresses, gel packs or cold cabbage leaves to your
breasts. This will help minimize swelling and can help to lessen the
milk supply if used frequently. Cabbage leaves need to be replaced every
couple of hours.
- Drying breast milk needs to be done gradually. So in other words: Wean
gradually. This will tell your body to stop, slowing milk production
Breast milk banks
A breast milk bank is where moms can give a breast milk donation.
By donating breast milk you could be helping other children get a
better immune start in life. Human milk banks take donations of breast
milk from cautiously screened donors. If you have an excess of breast
milk, it's an amazing gift you can give other babies.
The international breast milk project
is a breast milk bank that helps worldwide
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