It is not mandatory that your breasts should undergo a great deal of change during pregnancy, or after child birth. Some women may not experience much change. The hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy prepare your body for lactation. Breastfeeding and breast care may not go hand in hand for mothers as breast-care is not going to be a priority, your baby is. However, make sure you find time to follow these simple tips for your and your baby’s health.
WEAR A COMFORTABLE AND SUPPORTIVE BRA
Swelling of breasts, tenderness and tingling are normal when the breasts are filled with milk. As during pregnancy it is important you wear a nursing bra or regular bra that fits you well during nursing as well. The bra should not be tight or uncomfortable. Choose a breathable fabric like cotton. The bra should have broad band to support your back, on account of the engorged breasts.
The risk of infections are higher when you are lactating. Always wash your hands before breastfeeding. Wash your breasts with warm water. Do not use soap on your breasts, particularly the nipples. The natural oils produced by the glands located around your nipples keep the nipples and areola healthy and moisturised. Soap will wash away this oil and dry up and crack your nipples.
BABY SHOULD BE LATCHED ON PROPERLY
To avoid problems like engorged breasts, sore nipples, mastitis and plugged milk ducts, make sure that the baby is feeding correctly. Nurse every 2-3 hours at least. This will create a healthy schedule for the baby, as well as reduce the swelling of the breasts. Also the baby should drink from both the breasts equally. Make sure you are comfortable while feeding. Break the latch properly when the baby is done feeding.
USE COLD CABBAGE LEAVES OR COLD COMPRESS
to reduce pain and inflammation, if your breasts become painfully engorged and hard.
Use nursing pads or breast pads to soak leaking milk. Change the pads frequently to avoid infections. Nursing pads can reduce the chances of thrush and mastitis. Using pads can also alleviate soreness.
to avoid your nipples from becoming dry and developing cracks. Use breast milk to massage your nipples and areola, as it is a good moisturiser. Look for good creams that are safe on nipples, that you can use for additional moisturising. Make sure these contain no harmful chemicals or additives.
MONTHLY SELF EXAMINATION
Your breasts are going to be lumpy while you are breast feeding. Examine your breasts each month for persistent lumps; those that do not go away even after feeding or pumping. Get the persistent lumps checked by your doctor.
SORE NIPPLES? CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
Discuss with your doctor if you have sore nipples. The doctor will prescribe solutions like purified lanolin, hydrogel pads etc., Over the counter lotions and creams are not advised. By using such products you run the risk of further skin irritation and even clogged milk ducts.
Breastfeeding is the time you bond with the baby. Feeding your baby is good for both your and your baby’s health. However if you spend a little time and effort to care for your breast health during this lovely spell, the experience will be all the more beautiful. Breastfeeding and breast care can co-exist if you make an effort. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor if your have questions.