Pregnancy and postpartum periods are filled with changes. Your breasts also undergo a lot of changes, one of them being lactation, allowing your body to produce milk for the baby. But while you’re so busy taking care of the baby, it can be common for you to neglect yourself.
You may notice that a lot changes about your breasts, thanks to the hormonal changes as well as breastfeeding your baby more than 6-8 times a day. From the pain and tenderness to tingling or leaking of breast milk, these are uncomfortable experiences, although they are normal and common. So it’s ideal to try to keep yourself as comfortable as you can while dealing with all these experiences.
Taking care of your breasts while nursing does not involve anything out of the ordinary. These are all normal and natural tips that will help keep you comfortable while taking care of your little one’s needs. After all, you’re constantly putting your baby’s needs before yours, so you might as well take a little care of yourself too!
Nipple Care and Hygiene
Maintain good hygiene overall. Wash your hands before breastfeeding. There is no need to specifically clean your nipples. Washing them with warm water during your shower should be enough. Avoid using soap on your breasts as it can cause dryness and irritation, along with cracking of the skin. You can also try using a drop of breastmilk to massage your nipples after breastfeeding. This moisturises your skin, avoiding dryness or cracking.
Use a supportive and comfortable bra
This holds true everyday, whether you’re nursing or not, but is especially important when you are nursing. Use a bra that fits well, but is not too tight. Cotton is a good fabric as it allows your skin to breathe. Comfort is key during this time - the breastfeeding and hormonal changes during this time will already cause enough discomfort, so wear a comfortable bra and try to reduce your discomfort.
Change your breast pads often
Leaking of breast milk will be a common occurrence and it is totally normal. But to be comfortable and keep your skin dry and clean, using breast pads is a good option. Change them often, before they become wet to avoid discomfort as well as keep away soreness and infection.
Make sure your baby is latching on correctly
Make sure that you position your baby correctly during feeding, and also ensure that the baby is latching on correctly. You can either take nursing classes before birth for this purpose or find resources online that will help.
When you remove your baby, don’t pull her off, but place a finger between the side of her mouth and your breast to break the suction first, and then gently remove your baby from your breast.
Correct latching and feeding can help prevent tenderness and infections.
Talk to your doctor
If you have sore nipples, talk to your doctor first. You shouldn’t use any lotions, creams or other products without discussing it with the doctor as the substances you apply on your body can affect your baby, or may even irritate your skin further.
Although breastfeeding is talked of as natural and beautiful, it is usually a struggle for most women, and it’s okay to not enjoy the process or find it painful or uncomfortable. Taking care of your breasts during this period can make a difference to the comfort levels you experience, so don’t neglect your self-care. Speak to a doctor or lactation specialist for more help.
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