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, while others don't leak at all.
Leaking is not always associated with oversupply. Some mothers with low milk supply issues may also experience leaking from their breasts.
What Causes BML?
- Oversupply and engorged breasts.
- When your letdown reflex kicks in. This can happen when you hear your baby cry or when you think about breastfeeding.
- When you take a warm shower, it can cause leaking.
- Some women also complain about their breasts leaking during intercourse. This is due to the love hormone, Oxytocin.
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How can I Prevent Breast Leakage?
- Express some milk before your breasts become too full. Hand expressing is often used 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 and drain the breast, the less likely you will experience leaking breast milk.
- Apply cold compresses: Applying cold compresses to the breasts can help to reduce swelling and leaking.
- Avoid stimulation: Avoiding activities that stimulate the breasts, such as taking a warm shower or participating in vigorous exercise, can help to prevent leakage.
Making Life Easier, When You have Breasts that Leak
- Always carry an extra top and a few breast pads with you. Always wear a pair of breast pads under your bra, do not assume you won't leak.
- Freezing breast milk: If your one breast starts to leak while breastfeeding, you could keep a cloth handy, or you could collect the milk leakage with a special shield and store and freeze it for your baby. Recycle your milk with The Milk Saver by Milkies.
Will I Struggle with Breastmilk Leakage Until I Stop Breastfeeding?
90% of mothers who experience breast leakage continue to leak until about eight weeks postpartum. The other 10% will experience BML for up to six months postpartum.
What if I've stopped breastfeeding, and I'm still leaking?
Some mothers have breast milk leakage for up to three years after they stop breastfeeding, but this is not common.
Breast Milk Banks
By donating breast milk, you are helping other children obtain an excellent immune start. Human milk banks take donations of breast milk from cautiously screened donors. If you have an excess of breast milk, it's a fantastic gift you can give other babies.
Breast milk leakage (BML) is a common occurrence, with over 90% of new mothers experiencing it. It can be caused by an oversupply of breast milk, the release of the hormone oxytocin, or stimulation of the breasts. BML is often more likely to occur during the first few weeks of breastfeeding and may decrease over time. It is not always associated with an oversupply of breast milk, as some mothers with low milk supply issues may also experience BML. To prevent BML, mothers can express some milk before their breasts become too full, apply cold compresses, avoid stimulation, and wear breast pads. BML may continue for up to eight weeks postpartum for 90% of mothers and up to six months postpartum for 10% of mothers. In rare cases, BML may persist for up to three years after breastfeeding has stopped. Donating excess breast milk to a human milk bank can help other children obtain an excellent immune start.