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Thread: Let Down vs. Leaking

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Let Down vs. Leaking

    Hello:
    Would someone be so kind to explain the difference between let down and leaking.

    When I start to feed my dd, the breast I'm using begins to leak. I use breast pads in between feedings. I'm confused as to what let down is and how it differs from leaking.

    Thanks in advance.

    Nattylioness

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Let Down vs. Leaking

    Well, letdown is basically when the milk starts expressing--For me, unless my breast is very full, my son will nurse for 30 seconds or so before my milk actually "letsdown". Within a nursing session, you'll have a number of "letdowns". In otherwords, the milk doesn't flow constantly--they have to work to get it. (But we love those fat nursing cheeks all that sucking makes for!) Leaking is when milk leaks out of the breast in between feedings, or from the breast you're not nursing on.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Let Down vs. Leaking

    Hi There!

    Let-down is the common name for the Milk Ejection Reflex (MER). It happens when the breasts are stimulated--usually by the baby suckling at the breast, but any new nursing mother will tell you that something brushing against the breast or the sound of a baby crying can quickly cause a let-down too! The milk ducts within the breast contract and the milk starts flowing very quickly. Some women will even spray milk long distances!

    It's common to have several let-downs during a feeding session. You may notice a tingly "pins-and-needles" type feeling with your letdown (though it seems to feel very differently to many different women and some women don't feel them at all), and you'll notice a change in your baby's sucking and swallowing pattern. They will go from a suck-suck-suck-swallow pattern to a suck-swallow pattern and will take big deep gulps.

    Leaking is just any milk leaking from the breast. Sometimes it is caused by a let-down. It's more common in new mothers, and some mothers find that as their babies get older and their milk supply becomes more regulated that they don't leak as much.

    Hope that answers your questions!
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Let Down vs. Leaking

    Thank you so very much. Not sure if I can tell when "let down" actually occurs but I'll look for the sucking pattern mentioned. As long as baby is eating, I guess it really doesn't matter. Just curious.

    NattyL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,601

    Default Re: Let Down vs. Leaking

    Some women, myself included did not "feel" my let down for many weeks. When I did start to feel it It was very noticeable. I still have it today, 10 months. Leaking to me was just kinda like when the faucet is not turned off all the way, you just kinda leak or drip a little. Best of luck!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Let Down vs. Leaking

    Yep, as Brittan mentioned, some women don't feel theirs. Keep an eye out for that suck-swallow pattern and listen for big, deep gulps.

    How old is your baby? A very new baby should be having at least 6 wet diapers and 2-3 dirty diapers per day (the dirty diapers may become less frequent after 6 weeks or so). So keeping an eye on those diapers is a good way to make sure that baby is getting enough to eat!

    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Let Down vs. Leaking

    I'm confident that baby is getting enough to eat. She is almost 3 weeks and pees alot (about 5-6 a day) and poops quite often too (2-3). I'm not sure I quite understand the let down, but I will say that when dd gets latched on she sucks vigorously and I can clearly hear swallowing/gulping. After about 5-8 min. the sucks slows down significantly. Usually she gets herself off, I burp her and I can get her back on for another 5-7 minutes. While it happens that she stays on for about 20 min., it's rare. I'm not really concerned (any longer) about that.

    Thanks for the helpful responses.

    NattyL

  8. #8

    Default Re: Let Down vs. Leaking

    Sounds like she's doing great and getting plenty!

    Let us know if we can help with anything else

    Hugs
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

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