Milk leaking from under the nipple shield

Why is milk leaking from under my nipple shield?

It is common for milk to leak from under the rim at the bottom of the nipple shield if the mother has a lot of milk as the baby can’t drink it fast enough. The leaking is a good sign because it shows that the baby can stimulate an effective let-down while using the nipple shield. It doesn’t change the effectiveness of the nipple shield nor will it result in the baby not taking in enough milk.

A) Describing milk leaking from under the nipple shield

When mothers have a large milk supply and the baby is breastfeeding effectively with a nipple shield, it is common for some of it to leak from under rim at the bottom of the nipple shield. The baby can’t drink fast enough to take in the milk coming from the nipple shield cone.

The leak is like a safety valve for the baby. It’s a good sign because it shows that the baby is able to stimulate an effective let-down while using the nipple shield and is able to extract milk from the breast.

Once the baby learns to latch onto the breast without a nipple shield, the extra milk will go into the baby’s mouth. This may increase the likelihood that the baby will choke while breastfeeding, but this is normal and a sign that breastfeeding is effective. 

The leaking can be contained by placing a cloth under the breast.

B) Common concerns about leaking milk from under the nipple shield

Leaking under the nipple shield does not change the effectiveness of the nipple shield. It does NOT mean:

  • The baby won’t get enough milk.
  • The nipple shield is not sealed onto the breast properly.
  • The nipple shield is the wrong size or style.
  • There is something wrong with the baby or the nipple.