How Breastfeeding Actually Affects Your Breasts
Breastfeeding is a beautiful process. We all know about the numerous health benefits it offers to a baby. But, here we will talk about the effects breastfeeding has on a mother’s body, the breast problems you could temporarily experience, and how your breasts change during breastfeeding.One of the wonders of having a baby is being able to nourish and provide for it through nursing. For most mothers, this initial phase is challenging as one struggles to come to terms with the various changes in the body and hormones that are still all over the place at this point in time. There are so many myths associated with breastfeeding that many women are reluctant to nurse their infants for fear of what will happen to their breasts once the child has stopped feeding.
Here’s how breastfeeding actually affects your breasts, both during the process of feeding and after you have weaned your baby off.
One of the changes you might see in your breasts during breastfeeding could be increased sensitivity. While you are feeding your baby, your breasts, and especially your nipples, are likely to get very sensitive. This is due to the fact that the milk gets ‘let down’ only when hormones like prolactin and oxytocin are released and in order for that to happen your breasts need to be more sensitive to pick up on hunger cues being directed your way by the infant. Your nipples also end up getting far more sensitive since your baby is using them to suckle and if you are using a pump, that’s another reason why they get overworked and more sensitive.
This breastfeeding problem is usually short-lived and could be taken care through simple home remedies such as using warm compress and keeping nipples moisturiesd to prevent them from cracking.
The position of breasts could alter
When you are breastfeeding your child, the breasts increase in size as they are full of milk and slowly, once you begin the process of weaning, the breasts start to shrink back to their original size once again. Most women experience some amount of weight gain during pregnancy and as they start losing that weight overall, the breasts could settle on the body in a position lower than where they were before. This is also in part because of the change in the elasticity of the breasts during this entire process. For many women, in the first place, their breasts are uneven or even asymmetrical, so chances are they could be of different sizes as they shrink as well.
‘Breastfeeding causes breasts sagging’- this is one of the biggest myths associated with breastfeeding. While it is true that the ligaments that support your breasts stretch over the period of pregnancy and breastfeeding and there could be some sagging during breastfeeding, it is incorrect to assume that breastfeeding alone causes this. You can shape up your breasts after breastfeeding by doing simple exercises and massages. Here are some tips to prevent breast sagging after breastfeeding.
- Many women prefer to go braless during pregnancy. But, wearing a well-supporting bra is very important to prevent your breasts from sagging during pregnancy.
- Massage your breasts with a nourishing oil/cream. This will maintain the elasticity of breasts and prevent them from sagging.
- Try push-ups to keep your breasts muscles firm. When you stop nursing and start exercising and firming up all that loose skin, chances are your breasts will return to normal and be back to their pre-pregnancy size.
Nipples return to normal
One of the changes that you might notice in your breasts during the process of breastfeeding is that the nipples would start to appear darker n and will become much larger because of the hormones released in the body at this time. They may look ungainly initially, but you will find that as you begin weaning and the breasts return to size, the nipples do too. They will resume a light shade and the extra veins are also likely to disappear over time. So it is good to know that most of these changes in body caused by breastfeeding are temporary and you will regain your body soon enough after you are done nourishing your baby.
Last but not the least, there has to be some enduring mark of motherhood and if your breasts that nourish the child don’t express this, what will? You need to embrace your body in all its goodness and know that it has performed the wonderful task of giving life to and nourishing another human being; these minor changes are part of the enduring legacy of motherhood.