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Experiencing Let-Down Reflex


mother holding new baby's hand


Let down is the release of milk into milk ducts in your breast.  It usually happens when your baby sucks.

You may even experience 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 tingling sensation. And some may 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.

For some women, let-down is slow. If you have slow let-down, try these tips:

  • 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've followed these tips and still have a problem, talk with your public health nurse, midwife, or a lactation consultant.

Watch a Video to Learn More About Baby's Feeding Cues

Some women's breast milk may eject quickly and forcefully during breastfeeding - causing the infant to choke, gag and take herself off the breast. If you experience forceful milk ejection, try these tips:

  • Offer one breast at a feeding.
  • Hand express your breast milk until the first let-down or milk flows.
  • If your second breast is full and uncomfortable hand express for comfort only.
  • Vary your nursing positions. For example, try keeping your infant in an upright position with her head higher than the breast. Or lie back supported by pillows while your baby lies on top of you to breastfeed.
  • Be sure your infant is continuing to gain weight.

Remember: More feeding = more milk.

The more you feed your baby, the more milk you will make, as long as your baby is feeding well with a good latch

Resources & Links:
Get local contacts for breastfeeding 

VIDEO: Admission to Postpartum - Keeping Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
VIDEO: Baby's Feeding Cues and Behaviours
VIDEO: Breastfeeding Positions
VIDEO: Hand Expressing Milk
VIDEO: Latching Your Baby

Last Updated: August 12, 2013