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  Breastfeeding – Leaking Milk
How am I going to survive the next few months with this fountain of milk spraying out of my breasts?

Inconvenient is the best description for the milk that tends to issue from the breasts, especially from those of first time mothers of newborns! It makes any trip into the public eye fraught with the possibility of embarrassment. Reassure yourself that very soon the supply will adjust to match the demand and the problem will ease. In the meantime there are two separate problems that this situation causes.

Firstly your let-down reflex may be too fast for your baby to handle, causing baby to struggle when feeding and be overwhelmed. Watch baby feeding, and as the letdown occurs and baby is swamped, gently remove baby from the breast. (Remember to break baby’s suction gently with your little finger before removing from breast) Then have a towel handy to mop up the first burst of milk. Once the flow has slowed somewhat you can reposition baby onto the breast and see if the situation is eased. Pumping some milk from the breast before the feed may achieve the same goal with less frustration for baby! By applying some pressure onto the nipple area the flow may be stemmed somewhat. A change of position may be of assistance. Some babies, when fed upright, learn to allow the excess milk to trickle from the side of the mouth and so overcome the overabundance. Feeding in a lying position, maybe even on your back, can slow the flow somewhat but may be difficult to get used to! Doing a complete feed from one breast only can also be helpful, but initially your discomfort between feeds may outweigh this method. Pumping milk from the overfull breast can help. However do be wary of using the breast pump too liberally, as the extra milk produced will again encourage your milk supply. It’s a question of trial and error to find the balance.

The second situation is the difficulty of going out in public without embarrassment. Especially doing the first month, the volume of milk which can spray out of your breasts at unexpected moments will amaze you. Timing a trip to the shops straight after a feed can reduce the risk of leaking, but the sound of another baby crying, or the thought of your baby alone, can be enough to produce milk. Experimenting with breast pads is the easiest course of action. Try to avoid the type with the plastic backing which can cause nipple problems due to the build up of fluid. Or keep those for very short trips and change them regularly. Like nappies, there are disposable and washable breast pads, and the choice is a personal one. Dark clothing with small busy prints provide a bit of camouflage.

Sleeping without soaking the bed can also be a challenge in the early weeks. A large absorbent towel under your body can help keep the rest of the bed dry. Extra absorbent pads, or a double ration of pads in your bra at bedtime can help you sleep longer, but keep a stash of fresh pads handy next to the bed for easy changes in the middle of the night.

Once feeding is well established, applying pressure to the breasts can slow the flow down considerably. However early on it is better to let the milk flow to avoid creating blockages.

See also:

Breastfeeding - After Caesarean

Breastfeeding - Alcohol to boost milk

Breastfeeding - Basic info

Breastfeeding - Breast infection continuing feeding

Breastfeeding - Breast Infection or mastitis

Breastfeeding - Difficulty

Breastfeeding - Effect of exercise

Breastfeeding - Effect of laughter

Breastfeeding - Engorgement Discomfort

Breastfeeding - Engorgement Pain Relief

Breastfeeding - Engorgement Reason

Breastfeeding - Fear

Breastfeeding - Feeding positions

Breastfeeding - Feeding when ill

Breastfeeding - Frequent feeding

Breastfeeding - Importance

Breastfeeding - Increasing Milk

Breastfeeding - In the beginnning

Breastfeeding - Jaundice

Breastfeeding - Latching

Breastfeeding - Leaking Milk

Breastfeeding - Let-down Reflex

Breastfeeding - Medication

Breastfeeding - Milk Consistency

Breastfeeding - Milk Release

Breastfeeding - Milk Starting

Breastfeeding - Mother's Sickness

Breastfeeding - Mother's Stress

Breastfeeding - Mother's Thirst

Breastfeeding - Nipples Healing

Breastfeeding - Nipples Painful

Breastfeeding - Nipples Washing

Breastfeeding - Overdue Baby

Breastfeeding - Reasons Not To

Breastfeeding - Restless Baby

Breastfeeding - Second Baby

Breastfeeding - Shape Of Breasts

Breastfeeding - Simplicity

Breastfeeding - Sleepy Baby

Breastfeeding - Some Advantages

Breastfeeding - Watery Breastmilk

Breastfeeding - Weight Loss

Breastfeeding - When To Wean

Breastfeeding - World breast feeding day
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