picture of a mum breastfeeding

Caring for your breasts when breastfeeding

Lizz Banks
Authored by Lizz Banks
Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2022 - 10:22

Breasts change a lot during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your nipples may darken and get bigger, and pregnancy hormones will trigger the production of milk – making your breasts grow and prepare to produce breast milk. Then, with the birth of your baby, milk production kicks in and your breasts will fill up with milk.

When you’re breastfeeding and/or pumping, breasts don’t require any special treatment, but proper care, awareness and hygiene are important to help new mums feel comfortable and aid to combat any potential issues such as infection and sore nipples.

Becca Maberly, author and founder of A Mother Place, pregnancy, and postnatal expert, provides advice for new mums on how they can care for their breasts during breastfeeding, “The changes to your body, after having a baby, can often be quite dramatic, and women are often taken aback by the way their breasts look, especially after their milk comes in.  When breastfeeding, it is so important to take care of your breasts. 

Issues such as mastitis, thrush, sore nipples and engorgement are sadly very common amongst breastfeeding mums, and not just with first-time mums, second, third and fourth time mums can also suffer. Regardless how experienced-a-mum you might be, it is always a good idea to follow some simple guidelines for looking after your breasts and to speak to your Midwife or GP if you need any extra advice or medical attention.”

Breastfeeding Breast Care

There really isn’t anything special you need to do for your breasts when you’re breastfeeding, beyond practicing basic cleanliness, keeping an eye on the moisture levels of your skin and always monitoring any changes that might need attention.

As your breasts start to produce milk, new mums may experience tenderness, tingling and leaking of breastmilk – these are all normal. 

Practice Good Hygiene

Wash your hands before touching your breasts. Keep your breasts and nipples clean by washing them with warm water in the shower or bath. Avoid using soap on your breasts as it can cause dry, cracked, or irritated skin.

Change Breast Pads Often

Leaking breastmilk is normal while pregnant or breastfeeding, and whether you are using disposable or washable breast pads, make sure you change them often. Change them as soon as they are saturated as dampness can provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Clean, dry breast pads will help to prevent sore nipples, thrush, or mastitis. To help protect your clothes and underwear from leaks, Lansinoh’s award-winning disposable breast pads have been specially designed to draw milk away from your skin as quickly as possible.

The unique Blue Lock™ core instantly absorbs milk from your breast, ensuring that moisture stays locked in and allows the breast pads to hold up to 20x their own weight.

Treat Sore Nipples

To treat and prevent sore nipples, use Lansinoh’s HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream after nursing your baby. Composed of an ultra-purified grade of lanolin, it provides relief to sore and cracked nipples. The cream is 100% natural and hypoallergenic and has no taste or smell – meaning you can breastfeed your little one without removing the cream.

Wear a Supportive Bra

Choose a supportive nursing bra that fits well but is not too tight. A non-wired bra is recommended while breastfeeding so as not to restrict milk flow. Cotton is the perfect choice of fabric as it allows your skin to breathe.

Make Sure Your Baby is Latching Correctly.

Making sure your baby is latched properly can help to reduce some breastfeeding difficulties such as sore nipples. This, along with feeding on demand—i.e., not restricting feeds to a schedule—can help prevent the development of painful breast problems such as breast engorgement, plugged milk ducts, and mastitis.

Remove Your Baby from Your Breast Correctly

Once your baby has finished feeding, they should release your nipple to indicate that they are full. However, sometimes your baby may fall asleep at the breast, or you may want to adjust their latch if it’s not quite right. If you need to unlatch your baby, simply place your finger in the corner of their mouth to gently break the suction between their mouth and your nipple.

Treat Engorgement

If your breasts feel uncomfortably full, the skin on your breast is tight or your areola becomes hard with stretched nipples, you’re more than likely engorged. This can happen within the first week after your baby is born, as your mature milk starts to ‘come in’. Alternatively, if your baby has missed a feed or has slept for longer periods during the night, this can cause milk to build up within the breasts and cause engorgement.  To help relieve symptoms you can use Lansinoh’s 3 in 1 Breast Therapy Pads – which have been designed to be used hot to relieve plugged ducts and mastitis, or if you use them cold, they can reduce pain and swelling caused by engorgement.

Even though you are breastfeeding, it's important to check your breasts each month. While it's normal for your breasts to feel lumpy when they're full of milk, the lumps should go away with breastfeeding, pumping, or massaging your breasts. If you notice a lump that doesn't go away on its own within a few days, contact your doctor to have it checked.

For more information, visit https://lansinoh.co.uk/blogs/breastfeeding

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