Baby Friendly Manitoba:  Information for Parents

Breastfeeding:  The Let-Down Reflex

Let-down happens as milk is released into milk ducts in your breast. This usually happens when your baby sucks on your breast. You may even have a let-down when your baby or someone else’s baby cries, or for no reason at all. Some women don’t feel the let-down. Others may feel a pins and needles or tingling sensation. Others will have a very strong sensation or discomfort. Other signs of let-down include leaking milk from the opposite breast, cramping, increased vaginal flow, increased thirst, and relaxation.

Can I have a let-down if I’m not feeding my baby?

Yes. If you find you are soaking your shirts with milk at inconvenient times:

  • Wear one or more breast pads as needed. Change these pads to keep the skin dry.
  • Wear dark patterned clothes to hide the milk spilled on your tops.
  • Cross your arms and press the palm of your hand on the nipple area when you feel the let-down
What if my let-down is slow?

Make sure you are comfortable when breastfeeding. If you are embarrassed or anxious about breastfeeding, it may take a little longer for the milk to flow well.

  • Find a private, quiet place if you are uncomfortable.
  • Sit or lie comfortably.
  • Have a drink handy (non-alcoholic).
  • Massage your breasts or apply a warm face cloth to the breast before feeding.

If you have followed these tips and still have a problem with let-down, talk with your public health nurse, midwife, or a lactation consultant—a person with extra knowledge to help breastfeeding mothers and babies.


NEXT:  How Much and How Long