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Leaking breasts: What it is and why it happens

It’s common for women who are breastfeeding to experience leaky breasts. Many expectant women, particularly during the third trimester, will notice their breasts leaking a yellowish milky substance called colostrum, which will make up a baby’s first few meals.

What causes it?

Women who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding don’t typically experience leaking breasts. For an expecting mom-to-be, as pregnancy draws to a close, her body needs to make sure that all of its systems are up and running prior to delivery. Colostrum is the substance that will make up a baby’s first meals, so leaky breasts are simply the body’s way of checking that milk production will be all set to go when it needs to be. Breasts may leak during the postpartum period as well due to milk production.


There is nothing that women can do to stop leaking colostrum, but because generally only a few drops seep out, this is an easier symptom to manage than most. Women can wear a nursing pad in their bra, and avoid wearing any tops that may get stained.

  • “How Can I Deal with My Leaking Breasts?” LLLI. La Leche League International, Jan 2016. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Nipple discharge: Causes” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Dec 2016. Web.

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