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How Not to Leak When You're Breastfeeding

5 strategies to minimize (or at least hide!) the wet spots.

How Not to Leak When You're Breastfeeding

Just about every part of new parenthood is a logistical nightmare, and nothing beats the first few times you have to head out and leave your baby at home. Especially when your breastfeeding boobs don’t realize you’ve left your baby at home. And you start conveniently leaking breast milk.

A lot of shirts were harmed in the early months at my house. And several friends and coworkers had the uncomfortable pleasure of seeing just what happens when you don’t plan for breastmilk leakage. To help you avoid the same fate, here’s some strategies for not leaking through everything you own when you’re breastfeeding.

1. Nursing pads will save your life. Seriously, you need these. I thought I could skate by with disposables, and I did keep a stash of disposable nursing pads on hand and in my purse for a long time. But I found that I was saturating them too fast for this strategy to be cost effective. I bought some washable, organic nursing pads, and they were money very, very well spent.

2. Try to limit the time between expressing breast milk. Spreading my breast pumping sessions took a lot of creativity, and it will take more or less finessing depending on your circumstances. But the more often you can empty those milk-filled breasts, the less likely they are to leak. My job had a very strict break schedule that was set by the state, so I didn't have much flexibility on when I could pump. I ended up pumping during our fifteen minute breaks and having my husband and daughter come meet me to nurse at lunch.

3. Stick to a schedule. I got used to a very particular pumping schedule, and so did my body. Breastfeeding is an incredibly efficient system, and your body will learn the times that you typically express milk so it can provide for that feeding or pumping session. If I tried to skip a feeding or pump session, there was no way to pass the memo along to my milk ducts, and that's usually when I'd leak. Consider carrying a hand pump in your purse for the times you're away a little longer than anticipated.

4. Invest in some high-quality nursing clothes. Not only does a nursing wardrobe make access easier, it usually also helps with the side effects. Many brands build in a little extra padding around the breast area, or have strategic folds or draping that can hide an “oops” moment. At the very least, nursing-specific garments are usually machine washable and made to withstand some milky spills.

5. Plan for leakage. As much as you may try, sometimes things happen. Consider bringing an extra shirt to work with you, and definitely pack extra nursing pads. You can also bring a light scarf or sweater to hide under if you do leak. I generally wore a tank top under any shirt, and learned the hard way that dark colors and patterns hide wet spots the best.

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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