Coping with Leaks

Bottle of milk for a newborn and a blue silicone sootherBy now, your milk supply should generally match what your baby eats in a day. Even so, you may find leaky breasts to be an issue, and often at the worst possible times. While all this leaking milk may feel yucky, keep in mind that it’s a great sign that your body is working efficiently to produce milk. It also helps relieve that painful feeling of engorgement when your breasts feel like they could pop at any minute.

Coping with leaky nipples

Sure, it’s natural and a positive sign and all that, but how is a mom supposed to deal with it? Here are a few tips:

  • Nursing pads are super helpful. Some moms prefer disposable pads made for this purpose, while other moms may prefer reusable nursing pads or making their own from cut-up cloth diapers. Carry extras when you go out and be sure to change them regularly.
  • If you have a double breast pump, pump on both sides at the same time to use leakage to your advantage, and to prevent wasting milk.
  • In a pinch, try lightly pressing your fingertip against the tip of your nipple to “turn off” the flow.
  • Wear dark colors, especially prints! At the very least, this will help to camouflage the wetness. You can also keep a jacket or extra top on hand in case of emergencies.
  • When nursing, save the expensive nursing pads and just place a cloth diaper over the opposite breast to catch any sprays or drips. Or, if you also bottle feed, try using a bottle or other “milk saver” to collect the leaking milk for later.
  • If you’re back at work and pumping during the day, try to stick to your baby’s nursing schedule.

Pumping more often to prevent leaks can have the opposite effect—stimulating more milk production—and that’s not your goal at this stage! Most importantly, keep a little humor and a lot of love in your heart and in your mind. Sure, leaking can be annoying, inconvenient and embarrassing, but this time in your relationship with your baby is short and very sweet, and you’ll miss it when it’s over.

If you need additional support during breastfeeding,visit to find a breastfeeding support group near you.