What Does Breast Milk Let-Down Feel Like? It's A Strange Sensation
In the days after giving birth to my daughter, I spent a lot of time on Google. Although breastfeeding was going great, I was always concerned when I heard about moms feeling their breast milk let-down. I was pretty sure I couldn't feel mine and sent myself into a panic over my milk supply (which was totally fine), even though I wasn't sure what I was supposed to even feel. I mean, what does breast milk let-down feel like anyway? I imagined it was like a pipe bursting in my breast, but even that didn't seem right. (Spoiler alert: It wasn't right.)
I did end up feeling my let-down a week or so later, and it felt like when your foot falls asleep and "wakes up" with that tingling pins and needles sensation. But if you're also in a panic that you can't feel yours, the first thing you need to know is that not everyone feels their breast milk let-down. According to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Tania Archbold, many women don't feel their let-down at all, and that's totally normal. IBCLC Rachel O'Brien agrees and tells Romper that it can vary from person to person and isn't a sign that anything is wrong whether you feel it or not.
But if you do notice a new sensation in your breasts, it could be your let-down. "For women who do feel it, it can range from a mild tingly feeling, an increase in heaviness, or an intense tingly feeling that can border on painful," Archbold tells Romper. She notes that the intense tingling tends to lessen in the first few weeks, so you may not feel it at all once breastfeeding is established.
Still not sure if you can tell what it feels like? O'Brien describes it pretty perfectly — a boob sneeze. "You know right before you sneeze and your nose gets burn-y tingly, almost a bit itchy, and then you sneeze and the pressure lets go and you feel all 'ahhh that's better?' That's let-down," she says. "Boob sneeze."
And hey, you might need something to wipe up the leaking from a boob sneeze just like a real sneeze. But remember, if you don't feel your breast milk let-down, there isn't an issue. It's OK to feel it, it's OK to not feel it, and it has no reflection on your supply or the success of your breastfeeding relationship. But if the tingling hits, try not to claw your breast off. This too shall pass. (Also, pick up some extra breast pads.)