Leaking breasts are one of the more common side effects of breastfeeding, and while they can be uncomfortable and a little embarrassing (depending on when and where they happen), it’s also perfectly normal.

Usually, the milk that leaks from your nipples is colostrum, which is a type of pre-lacteral milk your body produces during pregnancy to prepare for nursing your baby and contains antibodies that help protect them against infection and develop their immune systems. Colostrum can leak out of your nipples even when you’re not breastfeeding, and may be triggered by an emotional trigger such as hearing your baby cry or seeing pictures of them. Some mothers feel a tingling sensation, called the letdown reflex, before their milk starts leaking.

For many new moms, leaking breasts will stop once they’re established in their breastfeeding routine and have got their timing down. For some, however, leaking will continue to occur throughout their breastfeeding journey and even after they’ve weaned their baby.

You can reduce your leaking by regularly nursing your baby, which will empty your breasts and prevent overproduction. You might also try block feeding, where you nurse the same breast for a three hour period to reduce nipple overflow. Some experts recommend using a nipple shield or breastfeeding bra to protect your clothes from milk sprays and leaks. In addition, wear a shirt or dress with patterns that can camouflage any milk stains, and bring extra breast pads when you’re out and about in case of accidental leaks. breastfeeding leaking