I remember the first time it happened in public. I was in Target when a baby in the aisle next to me started crying. I had left my son at home for some much needed get-out-of-the-house time, and it had been a while since I last nursed him. All of a sudden, it felt as though the gates had been let open and the floodwaters exploded out over the dam. I panicked as a milk supply large enough to feed a village soaked my white, paper-thin t-shirt. There I stood, looking like I had just partaken in a wet t-shirt contest on the beach in Cancun, only I’m in the baby butt ointment aisle of Target, 40 pounds overweight and dripping breast milk. Mortified, I left the cart in the aisle, clasped my giant purse up to my breasts and hurried out of the store.
So what caused this milk debacle? It’s called the “let-down reflex” and according to Wikipedia it’s “The release of the hormone Oxytocin that leads to the milk ejection or let-down reflex. Oxytocin stimulates the muscles surrounding the breast to squeeze out the milk. Breastfeeding mothers describe the sensation differently. Some feel a slight tingling, others feel immense amounts of pressure or slight pain/discomfort, and still others don’t feel anything different”. Furthermore, this let-down reflex “is not always consistent, especially at first. The thought of breastfeeding or the sound of any baby can stimulate this reflex, causing unwanted leakage”.
Moral of the story? NEVER leave the house without wearing a super lined bra stuffed with nursing pads and ALWAYS carry a back-up arsenal of pads in your purse… especially if, like me, your milk production rivals that of 10 dairy cows.
Sabina Melarti is the co-founder and designer of BLANQI along with Valerie Caron.
Tags: baby, mom, nursing