Recycle Leaked Breastmilk with the Milk Saver

Mothers who care about our planet recycle their boob juice.

The Problem: I may get a few details wrong because this dad isn’t lactating yet, but here goes… Breasts are spigots, sort of like two faucets sitting side-by-side. When you turn one on, for some women, the other one turns on too. It gets a bit leaky.

If you have only one breastfeeding infant, when he’s gulping from one faucet, the other faucet is sending milk down the drain. Or into your breast pad, or whatever.

Waste. Waste. Waste. All that wasted milk!

The Solution: Rent a second baby to suckle the dripping faucet. Okay, maybe “rent” is an unnecessarily inflammatory word. I’m merely suggesting that new moms leave home and live in a breastfeeding commune in the forest for 12 to 24 months, spending their time singing in song circles while swapping babies. Every drop is sacred, as they say.

Photo of the Milk Saver inserted into a bra and a photo of the Milk Saver kit next to the product box.

The Other Solution: Recycle your milk with The Milk Saver by Milkies. Technically, in the grand five-Rs, (reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim and restore), we’re really talking about reclaiming spent milk.

The Milk Saver is an insert for your nursing bra that collects leaked milk and stores it in a reservoir inside your bra. Your nipple fits through an opening and you just breastfeed. If you’re a real gusher, you can attach a sterile bag instead of using the built-in reservoir.

The company states:

“Slim and portable, no one will even know you are wearing it. Best of all — it collects your leaking breast milk when you nurse, allowing you to store extra breast milk effortlessly. When you have breast milk available all the time, you will never resort to formula.”

For you moms with supernumary nipples (extra nipples), there’s no word on whether the Milk Saver fits your predicament. I expect a Band-Aid bandage would probably meet your absorption requirements.

One mother weighed in on a Milk Savers review at noting that there isn’t a lid on the reservoir… “So you need to be careful not to tip it after nursing.” Yowza!

Now, my wife says she doesn’t need such a device. She simply presses against her leaky boob in order to stop it cold. And, she thinks leakage is much less of an issue starting between 4 to 6 months because once you begin adding solid food to your baby’s diet, he nurses less and your body naturally down-regulates (doesn’t produce as much milk).

There’s nothing like having Grandma around to join in on the conversation. She says in the 1960s she used a “milk cup” for collecting spent milk. I googled into a conversation about these cups and found a modern breast shell by Avent that Grandma says is exactly what she used, minus a bit of accent touches.

I have some questions for you moms…

  1. Would you carry a milk bottle, maybe even a milk carrying pack loaded with an ice pack, when you go out and about in order to save your milk? Isn’t the pure genius of unencumbered breastfeeding that you don’t have to lug around supplies like mothers who use formula milk?
  2. How much freakin’ milk do you gals leak anyhow?


23 Responses to “Recycle Leaked Breastmilk with the Milk Saver”

  1. Virginia says:

    1. I didn’t carry one around outside the home. I just dealt with the leasking and kept extra disposable nursing pads with me.

    2. While nursing I leaked heavily on past 6 months when ever I started nursing. I had a very strong let down which resulted in a lot of leaking.

    I think this would be a great product just for home use more than anything.

    February 10th, 2009 at 3:25 am

  2. Abby says:

    Phew, that was a hoot! I have breastfed three kids with a fourth to come soon. No WAY would I bother with a milk saver! It seems like such an unnecessary mess, and you’re right, the pure genius of breastfeeding is NOT having to lug around all these EXTRAS. I don’t think the 5 R’s should be applied to breastfeeding. There is no shortage since our bodies produce what our babies need, and a little leakage is not the same as waste. And like your wife, I have found that it’s plenty sufficient to just press in the “offending” nipple when leakage does threaten!

    February 10th, 2009 at 5:04 am

  3. Jeanne says:

    So…um. This to me is a silly product, but I did what Grandma did for a little while and could get 2 oz. from the leaking breast (your wife’s method, unfortunately doesn’t work for me). I stopped because we really just don’t use the bottle. I have a feeling that anyone who could get enough for it to be worth it wouldn’t really NEED that extra milk, as women with an oversupply (like me) aren’t concerned about running out of milk at the end of the day. Those I know who are worried don’t leak at all. But maybe my data is skewed.

    Also, my supernumary nipple never leaked, though it did get painful in the beginning. Just seemed to adjust to not being used.

    … since you asked.

    February 10th, 2009 at 5:20 am

  4. Molly says:

    I didn’t leak during the day, but had I know about this I would have used it for night when I leaked like a sieve. For someone who was pumping to have enough to give the baby while I was at work I really wanted to save every single drop!

    February 10th, 2009 at 6:18 am

  5. Patti says:

    Oh, I would have at least tried it. I pump all the time and definitely would cry whenever some got wasted for whatever means. And at least once with each kid I have been in a situation in the early months where I could not pump when I was supposed to and wet myself all over my shirt. Once it was in the middle of a meeting. Fun. I also would have liked to have been able to use in in the night, but something tells me it wouldn’t work so well while you’re lying down.

    February 10th, 2009 at 7:37 am

  6. Kelly says:

    If we’re talking about the 5R’s then I would hope all parts of this product can be recycled.

    February 10th, 2009 at 9:34 am

  7. KGS says:

    I don’t know about this product, but I would have jumped at the chance to live in AJ’s “breastfeeding commune” during the first 6 weeks with my daughter. Someone else to nurse the baby so I could get more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep? Sign me up!

    I’m not kidding, and I know that’s weird. We had some feeding issues and I was pretty desperate.

    February 10th, 2009 at 9:50 am

  8. amy@flexibledreams says:

    Oh, how I wish I’d had this when my first was nursing. Tossing those soaked nursing pads made me cry… it was like throwing away pure gold.

    February 10th, 2009 at 9:51 am

  9. Jessica Sheets says:

    I am laughing out loud at this post. My husband would probably have explained this post in the exact same way you did, with all the humor!;-) Thanks for the laugh. I’m pregnant for the second and didn’t ever use formula for my first so I don’t think I’d want to lug around all the extra stuff to save my milk this time around. I will admit that I did leak, though, but I just used really great breast pads instead.

    Now, if I had to pump and then feed on top of regular breastfeeding because of health reasons for the baby, then that milk would be even more precious, so maybe I’d consider wearing it on days I was home all day. But, just the thought of that thing leaking all over in public isn’t worth the stress of it for me!

    Again, thanks for the humorous yet insightful information!

    February 10th, 2009 at 11:24 am

  10. Angelique says:

    I used LilyPadz nursing pads. They’re a tacky-textured silicone and they prevent milk from coming out in the first place. Very comfortable, reuseable, easy to use, and hygenic. I LOVED them.

    February 10th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

  11. Amber says:

    interesting that when I was given those shells in the hospital, they said nothing on them about “collecting leaking milk”. They just claimed to keep the ol’ nips from being owie. I must point out, though, that all they did was press painfully into the, um, surrounding area (they ARE hard plastic, after all), and I threw them away after this discovery.

    That said, however, I never leaked enough to warrant a catch-cup. I almost wish I had, given that I often fell asleep duiring side A, and then the whole rest of the night was lop-sided. ;)

    February 10th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

  12. Mellissa says:

    I would have used them. I had a lot of breastfeeding problems with my son and would sometimes have to supplement his feeds with pumped breast milk because he wasn’t suckling strong enough to get all he needed. I sometimes held an empty bottle under the free breast when I was nursing him to catch whatever I could. Every little bit helped, and a hands-free device would have been MUCH easier.

    February 11th, 2009 at 3:38 am

  13. Marie says:

    I used the Avent shells for this with my first baby. There are two kinds by the way, those designed for catching milk and those designed for just helping keep the sore nippes aired out. Anyway, I found that when I was pumping / feeding on one side, I would sometimes leak as much as 1 or 2 ounces off the other side in a single sitting. When desperately trying to pump enough milk to keep the baby fed, it seemed worth it. That volume of leaking eventually went away, and as it became less, it was no longer worth the hassle.

    February 16th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

  14. lisa says:

    I think the Milk Saver is a pretty good idea…..especially great for home use when i would not be using a washable breast pad…. i would re-tool it with a small removable lid similar to no spill paint pots or the no spill blowing bubbles containers (an upside down funnel). I HATED waste…….even though i leaked like crazy (or especially since i leaked like crazy!!)

    February 16th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

  15. Bev says:

    I read through that conversation and was surprised people had difficulty finding milk cups. But they weren’t using the right name…they were SWEDISH milk cups (oh those Swedes). They were great for unexpected leaks and if you’re collecting milk for another baby (as I was), it helped a lot to save the leaked milk. As for carrying around stuff to save the milk, heck no. The whole beauty of breastfeeding is portability, but when at home, and trying to save milk, a milk cup or its modern equivalent is a big help.

    And we DID live in a quasi breastfeeding community when my kids were little. I think we all nursed each other’s babies when necessary.

    February 19th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

  16. Amanda says:

    I used a milk-saver simply because I leaked gallons every time I fed. I hated wasting any milk, I didn’t use disposable pads-I didn’t like the residue of absorbing beads they left on my nipple-yuk! They didn’t have this product when I was nursing my first baby. I worked 12 hour shifts so needed a day of milk stored plus extra in case of a spill. There were many times I was stressed about having enough stored milk. I got a milk-saver at my baby shower for my second baby and I love it. I have so much milk in my freezer I became a breast milk donor-I absolutely love it! It’s amazing how much milk is wasted and donor milk can save lives.

    February 20th, 2009 at 12:00 am

  17. Brittany says:

    For someone like me who can’t pump successfully, this would be great. Psychologically, my breasts dry up everytime I turn on a pump (brings to mind the large milking machines on dairy farms). I have no shortage of leakage from the unused breast though when I nurse. This would be a good way to “save up” some milk for night out to dinner without the kiddos. :)

    May 1st, 2009 at 6:12 pm

  18. Robin says:

    With this being my third go-round i find this product to be genius. I did leak heavy and felt bad that it was wasted.These will definitely go on my registry as a must have.

    August 1st, 2009 at 6:36 pm

  19. Sarah says:

    I have the Milk Saver and love it! I have an oversupply, so I leak everytime I feed. I have filled over 75 bags in the first 2 months of my baby’s life! Since I don’t need that much, I donate my milk. Some people seem to be confused that you wear it all the time. I guess you could, but it’s primarily for during feedings. As for having to carry around more stuff, it fits in the diaper bag. It’s not a hassel at all considering you’re not leaking all over your shirt and you can bless someone else if you have extra by donating

    September 2nd, 2009 at 8:15 am

  20. Leah says:

    I leak all the time since I was 3 months pregnant but since my milk has came in I actually leak about 90% more. I am a first time mom and now he’s a month old if I would of known about these I would have gotten these sooner. I have used the nursing pads and they dont last me a hour. I have actually had to use my toddlers diapers so I wouldnt have to waste money on something that didnt work.

    September 26th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

  21. Barbara Rosenberg says:

    I am a grandma who is waiting for her 4th grandchild in 4 months. I used the original Swedish Milk cups with my children beginning in 1975 and they saved my life. None of my 3 children were big eaters and I had enough milk to feed triplets each time! My milk often let down when we were out, at the sound of any baby crying! So having something that would catch all that overflow and not come through my shirt was a blessing. I also got a breast infection the 2nd week of nursing my 1st baby, and it went away quickly and I never had another one after using the milk cups. Of course the fact that I looked like my breasts were 2 sizes larger than they were was an issue, but I was willing to live with that.

    I was going to buy a pair for my DIL, but then saw that LaLeche says to absolutely not use them. Any idea why?

    December 1st, 2009 at 8:58 am

  22. Tara says:

    oh my gosh! this is so smart, and for a man to invent them, he sould get an inventor of the year award! i wish i had these my first time nursing! and i WILL have them this time! where can i buy these? im going to buy as many as possible! (i personally think all u ladies who say its a dumb idea are just upset that a woman didnt invent it!)

    June 30th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

  23. Jessica says:

    I wish I had these with my son! For the first 3 months I leaked like crazy all the time, and especially when he was feeding! To think I could have save so much more milk! After the first few months I quit leaking as much, but still a few months of use is worth it! I definitely understand that these are not meant to be worn as breast pad replacements. They are way to big for that. But definitely a great idea for at home and during feedings, or engorgement while you are preparing to feed or pump. I’m excited to get these for nursing my daughter when she arrives in a few months :)

    September 19th, 2011 at 11:44 pm