Beginning on the first month of pregnancy, your body undergoes many visible changes. In addition to weight gain, you will probably notice a large increase in your breast size. A woman’s body has its own ways of getting ready for breastfeeding and it is important to pay attention to breast care during these crucial months.
Important aspects to note
Breastfeeding can be tiring and can burn up to 500 calories per day. It is important that you keep your body energized at all times. Also, read here about the various factors that can affect your milk production. Keep your nutrition intake as recommended by your health care professional or lactation consultant and take your vitamin supplements on time. Your body needs proper food and adequate rest more than anything else! Also, external breast care when breastfeeding is important for both you and your baby. It is totally normal to have some soreness and pain, especially the first weeks, but severe pain may be a sign of yeast infection.
Caring for your breasts
- Wash your breasts with warm water. Do not use any soap-based cleanser, which can dry the nipples. If you have soreness in your nipples, avoid drying with a towel. Your breasts should get enough air during the day.
- Wearing the right bra is important for your breasts. Do not wear under-wired bras that may impact the milk glands. Maternity bras are designed to help with nursing, so make sure that you use the best available option.
- Most of the nipple soreness and pain is due to issues related to latching. It is important that you baby latches correctly to your nipples. If necessary, seek help from a lactation consultant. There are many positions that are considered better for breastfeeding. This post discusses the 5 best positions for breastfeeding.
- If you have cracked nipples, do not use a moisturizer, unless recommended by your doctor. The best home remedy is to use your breast milk around the nipple and areola for a quick massage. Milk can help hydrating the skin. Another good natural idea is to use cabbage leaves on the breasts.
- Keep your nipples dry at all times (unless you are breastfeeding, of course). You may want to keep cotton pads handy. Avoid using synthetic clothes to clean or dry your nipples. Also, if possible, stick to cotton clothes on regular days.
- Switch your nursing positions. Let your baby suck both breasts equally.
- If you have soreness, you may want to try lanolin on the areola and nipples. However, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant if the pain refuses to subside.
- Wash your bras daily and keep a few extra bra pads handy. Make sure to wash your bra with a soft/mild detergent.
Finally, it is important you examine your breasts every week after childbirth, at least for the first six months. If you feel a lump (with or without pain and fever), this could be a sign of infection. Talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in milk color and don’t miss your regular appointments with your healthcare provider.