Why Do My Breasts Leak When Baby Cries? 6 Helpful Tips For You

One common thing among Breastfeeding mothers is the changes in their bodies, usually the breast size and the bond they form with their babies.

The long months spent in the womb and nurturing create a bond that is evident mentally, psychologically, and even physically.

In many women, evidence of this bond is exhibited when the mother’s breasts leak when baby cries.

And while some women have already gotten used to it, some first-time moms may be wondering why their breasts leak when baby cries.

Why Do My Breast Leak When Baby Cries?    

Research has proven that many breastfeeding women lactate when their baby cries.

This was formerly thought to be a myth, but mothers trying to show their level of closeness with their babies have proven that it is common for Breastfeeding women to have leaking breasts whenever their baby cries.

Interestingly, this doesn’t only happen when their baby cries; hearing any baby cry at all can trigger leaking breasts. 

To help answer your question, why do my breasts leak when baby cries, we’ll consider a few things that go on between a woman and her baby during breastfeeding.

Milk letdown in women is triggered by the release of oxytocin hormones associated with birth and breastfeeding. These hormones become more potent during breastfeeding due to the strong bond between the mother and baby.

And can be triggered by the crying of a baby. On hearing a baby’s cry, the mother’s body signals the brain that it is time for sucking, and the estrogen hormones are released, causing an increase in milk production.

And while it was postulated that milk let only occurs when the baby is sucking, the new research counters that.

Oxytocin and prolactin are two main hormones responsible for breast milk production. The oxytocin hormones are more active and easily released.

When the mother is triggered, the oxytocin causes the myoepithelial cells around the alveoli – where the already produced breast milk is stored – to contract, releasing the breast milk, causing a milk letdown.

When Does Leaking Occur?

Leaking breasts occur differently in different women because of the difference in body types and the causes of the leak. Here are some situations where you are likely to experience milk letdown;

During Pregnancy      

Some women begin dealing with leaking breasts even before the baby comes, which disputes the postulate that sucking is the sole cause of leaking breasts. 

This usually occurs towards the end of the third trimester and may last into the first few weeks of breastfeeding.

Overabundant Milk Supply

If you’re the type with more breast milk than your baby can take at a time, you will often find milk dropping and even staining your bras. 

This can be embarrassing for women who have to leave home for work or the grocery store. Since you can’t control the supply, you’ll constantly find yourself cleaning up in the ladies.

Read Also: How Long Does It Take For Breast Milk To Dry Up

When the breast has not been sucked for a while

This is also related to the overabundance of breast milk. Babies are known consumers if they’re not sleeping; they’re sucking, which should balance out with your milk production in normal conditions. 

If your baby’s constant sucking, you still experience a milk letdown in the slightest break, you’re likely on the side of producing much milk.

When You Shower With Warm Water

This is another trigger associated with the bond between you and your baby. The warmth from the water reminds you of your baby’s warm mouth whenever he sucks, which triggers milk release. 

Apart from hearing your baby cry, seeing a baby or perceiving your baby’s scent can trigger a milk letdown. All this has to do with how sensitive you are to your baby’s presence.

Also, having sex while breastfeeding can trigger the release of oxytocins and cause your breasts to leak, which can be inconvenient for some women.

If your breasts are leaking during intercourse, here are some suggestions for coping with it.

  • Present the issue to your partner and let him know about your concerns.
  • Ask him how he feels about the situation. Often, women worry about their partner’s view of the situation, making them uncomfortable. If this is your plight and your partner doesn’t have an issue with it, you’ll feel more comfortable after discussing your insecurities with him. But if you aren’t comfortable having sex with leaking breasts, you both can decide to abstain from intercourse until you stop breastfeeding.
  • You can breastfeed your baby before getting intimate with your partner or pump the milk into a breastfeeding bottle.

How Long Will I Lactate When My Baby Cries?

Many changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy and breastfeeding aren’t permanent; soon after a few weeks, the body begins to return to its original form.

Also, for women experiencing a milk letdown, it is only a matter of 6-8 weeks of breastfeeding before their body adjusts to normal.

Since the reaction is a function of her mind, she subconsciously adjusts her mind, which helps to control the triggering of oxytocins.

While this may seem strange and uncomfortable for some, it is a common thing amongst women, and the reason some people may not have heard about it because some women do not see a reason to talk about it since it is normal.

For a new mom, the discomfort and embarrassing experience may be challenging to deal with in the first week, but gradually the body will adjust to the situation.

A mother’s nurturing part is always sensitive to her baby’s needs, which always alerts her mind. While you may be wondering, “why do my breasts leak when baby cries” understand that it is an implication of how much you think about your baby, which if you consider it, is the essence of motherhood.

How to Deal With Leaking Breasts

Dealing with leaking breasts can be very uncomfortable for many women. Although some women have found a way around it, others have resigned themselves to their fate, but many still wonder why their breasts leak when baby cries and what they can do about it.

Here are some tips to help you cope with the situation;

  • Using your hand or wrist, press firmly against the breast nipple or fold your arms tightly across your chest to stop the leak for as long as possible so you can make a discreet exit. In the early weeks, you establish your milk supply; you may want to limit this practice since efforts to prevent leaking can cause your milk supply to decrease. 
  • Use breast pads for short-term purposes. They are available in all shapes and sizes, including disposable and reusable. It is possible to make your own breast pads out of cloth diapers, cotton fabrics, or men’s handkerchiefs. Always change your breast pads frequently, and do not use pads with plastic liners that trap wetness against your skin. 
  • Choose clothing with light colors and small prints that hide the leaks and stains it leaves behind. 
  • Place a bath towel over your bed sheet to protect your mattress and ensure the sheet underneath is not wet. 
  • Feed your baby before nighttime to reduce the milk in the breasts (but remember that breasts are never truly empty) and allow time for sex or sleep, whichever comes first.

You should also pump your milk often and store it in feeding bottles.

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Conclusion

Motherhood is an incredible journey and should be enjoyable to both the baby and mother. However, it can be a little stressful and embarrassing sometimes. You’re either attending to a crying baby, changing diapers, or trying to hide the stains of your leaking breasts.

Women who aren’t new to the vocation understand why certain things happen, but for you who are just starting, having a milk letdown may have you wondering why your breasts leak when baby cries. This article answers such questions and more about leaking breast milk and how to deal with it.