What to expect when breastfeeding...your breast and nipples.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as such we want to focus on Nutrition for our babies and what this means for us, our bodies, our babies and our boobs. We asked Maternity Wellness Coach, Maletsholo Bless to give us her insights into all things Nutrition over the next few weeks.
During pregnancy there are many changes that happen to breast, appearance, size, etc. this is due to hormones such as estrogen & progesterone that prepare your breasts for pregnancy and feeding.
One of the first signs or symptoms of pregnancy is breast enlargement, your breasts increase in size and tenderness, your nipple becomes more prominent or sticks out and hardens, and the Areola which is the darkened area around the nipple gets even darker.
This week we are going to tell you more about how to care and prepare and handle your breast before, during and after breastfeeding.
Breast & Nipple care
When caring for your breast and nipples there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- You have Montgomery glands around the nipple which secrete oil that keep your breasts clean and moist. Using soaps and gels dry them out and leave them with a bad taste (not nice for baba).
- If your nipples have cracked, try using a nipple cream that is rich in Lanolin and safe to use during breastfeeding. This will help heal and prepare your nipple for your next feed.
- Stretch marks (striae gravidarum) on breasts are caused by hormonal changes that affect the skin. The best way to prevent them is to make sure that the skin is fed as it stretches which is actually as a result of tearing of the dermis, using products high in Omegas will help to prevent and prepare your skin to help prevent stretchmarks.
- During breastfeeding, we suggest merely washing your breast with clean, warm water.
- Remember to wash your hands before and after feeding with clean water
- One of the most useful things to do after feeding is to rub a little bit of excess Breastmilk onto the nipple, allow to air dry and repeat at least 2-3 times before covering up again. The breastmilk helps to repair and prepare your nipples for the following feed.
The correct latch is very important when breastfeeding, not only does it make feeding your little one easier it will also prevent nipples from hurting or cracking when breastfeeding.
Some tips to help you get the correct latch:
- Rub babies cheek/bottom lip to encourage rooting, this will help baby to open up its mouth nice and wide.
- Position the nipple in between the nose and upper lip which will encourage baby to open wide enough so that the nipple is at the back of the palate and most of the Areola in its mouth and lips flanged around the Areola imitating a "Kellogg's k" position on the breast.
- The initial latch will sting a little with the initial let-down of the milk but shouldn't last too long. If you are feeling pain while baby feeds that is a tell-tail sign that the latch is incorrect. It's best to put in your index finger in-between baby's mouth & your breast to break the seal and then remove the baby from your breast and start again from the beginning.
- There are a few positions that moms can be free to try out but the easiest one is positioning baby's tummy onto mummy's tummy and hold baby almost like you would a rugby ball.
- Note that the baby's lower lip makes good contact because it's the lower jaw that actually extracts milk as the milk sinuses are compressed.
- The nipple should be positioned at the end of the throat so that milk can trickle down easily and swallowed.
Check-in with us again next week as we discuss Colostrum, Types of milk, Engorgement, Clogged ducts, and Mastitis.
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