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.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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