Through our adult life, our bra sizes stay more or less the same unless we lose or put on major weight. However, after becoming a mom it is not uncommon to find bras in your drawer that are 3 or 4 sizes apart! A bra for pregnancy, a bra or two of different sizes for breastfeeding and a couple of regular ones based on what your breasts decide to do (read: nurse, express, or comfort nurse) for the day.
During pregnancy, breasts get tender and may enlarge. The areolas and nipples too tend to get darker for a lot of women. Some women have even noticed a yellow sticky substance being secreted from their nipples. This is called colostrum, which is what babies feed on for 24-36 hours after birth. Colostrum can begin to be produced during pregnancy itself, so do not be alarmed at the leaking during pregnancy.
But after your baby is born, your breasts are in for a true-blue rollercoaster ride! We have explained it below to help you prepare for what’s to come.
Breast Changes After Pregnancy & Solutions
1. Big, Bigger, Biggest
After the stage of producing colostrum, your breasts will enlarge rapidly as the volume of milk produced increases drastically. This is caused by a surge of hormones that are released immediately after the placenta is released. And mind you, this is one of those after pregnancy breast changes that can be greatly uncomfortable. What You Can Do:
The only way to relieve yourself from the discomfort is to feed your baby as often as 12 times a day. Since most moms produce more milk than their babies will ever need; you may need to pump out and store
the excess using a breast pump. Warm compresses or hot showers are known to relieve the discomfort of being too full.
2. Nipples Flattening Out
If your breasts get too full, your nipples may get flattened out. While this may not cause you much discomfort, it can make it difficult for the baby to latch while feeding. What You Can Do:
A hot compress followed by some gentle expressing of milk should get them to protrude again so that your baby can latch on properly.
3. Engorged Breasts
Some women experience engorgement of breasts now which essentially means that their postpartum breasts become hard to touch, red and painful as the volume of breastmilk increases. It is the same inflammatory response as when you sprain your ankle. The tissue in the area swells up. This can make it very hard to feed the baby and is very painful. What You Can Do:
If applying heat isn't working then you may need to apply an ice pack to the area.
4. It's Beginning To Get Real Leaky In Here
There are two kinds of new-moms – the leaky ones and the ones who don't leak at all. If you are the kind that soaks t-shirt after t-shirt, don’t worry. You'll find that after 6 weeks of breastfeeding this usually lessens. What You Can Do:
Some women find that leaning over a sink while running a hot shower stimulates leaking and choose to do it before nursing.
5. The Maternal Instinct
'Let-down' is when milk gets released from the breasts into the milk ducts. Some women swear that every time they hear their babies cry or think about the baby, this 'let down' occurs. For other women, it begins when they start nursing. Some say they feel tingly or warm in their breasts after pregnancy and others feel nothing at all. Whatever is your “let down” experience, do not worry, you have enough to nourish your baby. What You Can Do:
Nothing. Your body will eventually pick up on your baby's hunger cues and naturally 'let down'. We know it’s tough to accept our inflating, deflating, sagging, stretched out breasts post-delivery as they have always been a symbol of our femininity. But like a mother knows, there is nothing more beautiful or feminine than motherhood. All these changes in your body are a constant reminder that you are a strong and courageous life-giver!
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