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Breast Feeding

Breastfeeding - excessive leaking

10/13/2000

Question:

Breastfeeding: When I nurse my daughter from one breast the other leaks about 1/4to 1/2 a cup of milk each time. I have about an extra pint of milk a day. My milk also tends to squirt out very forcefully from both breast. How can I stop this. It has been 9 weeks since she was born and I was told that things will adjust. Do I just wait it out or are there steps I can take to stop the flow from the other breast. I just collect the milk in breast cups but this doesn`t apply pressure to the nipple to stop the flow. Is this normal? My second question is on caffien. If I eat chocolate is there anything I can eat to counteract the caffien?

Answer:

Leaking of milk is common during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. The cause at this time is usually full breasts or let down reflex. It is usually considered normal for the breast to leak for the first three months after delivery.

Other causes of leaking can include, breast engorgement, nipple stimulation through clothing or during lovemaking, overuse of breast shells, and frequent expression or feedings. Some medications thyrotropin-releasing hormones, theophyllines, amphetamines and tranquilizers may affect milk production. If you are taking one of these drug types, contact your nurse midwife or physician to discuss your milk problem.

Some of the following may help you to live with the leaking: 1. Press the heel of your hand over the breast you are not nursing from 2. Wear breast pads 3. Decrease the pressure on the breast (have a large cup bra that fully covers the breast, so that your breasts do not "spill over" the cup 4. Wear dark colors and patterned clothing to conceal the wet areas

If you are still concerned, or this continues past three months you should discuss your problem with your health care provider who is aware of your unique situation.

Chocolate contains theobromine which is similar to caffeine, however there is much less theobromine in a chocolate bar than caffeine in a cup of coffee. Most experts believe that a moderate consumption of chocolate does not cause problems with breastfeeding.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati