Breastfeeding makes a beautiful bond between the mother and the infant. The other health benefits to the infant and mothers are impeccable. Despite various advancements in feeding an infant formula, breast milk remains the best source of nutrition that fulfills the growing need of an infant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding without any water or other fluids for all moms for the first six months, with supplemental breastfeeding that could be continued until the infant and the mother desire.
However, despite all the benefits of breastfeeding, it is known to cause numerous physiological changes in the body, especially in a woman's breast. For example, there occurs deposition of fatty tissue in the woman's breast that changes the shape and size of the breast.
What Are the Commonly Encountered Breast Problems After Breastfeeding?
Numerous physiological changes occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The amount of fatty tissue determines the shape of the breast. Many changes in the breast occur to make the mammary gland functional and secrete milk. A woman’s breast changes the fatty and connective tissue deposition during breastfeeding. The change in size and shape of a woman’s breast is variable for all mothers. There are some sets of questions that are worrisome for almost all mothers while they are breastfeeding mothers.
The commonly encountered challenges and concerns by a woman after breastfeeding are:
Will My Breast Undergo Sagging After Breastfeeding?
Usually, pregnant mothers worry about their breasts undergoing sagging or dropping if they breastfeed their babies. Sometimes, these suggestions come from their experienced moms, which causes concern about choosing to breastfeed. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to many undesirable changes in a mother’s appearance. Although every woman is different, these effects are also variable. There might be some changes in the appearance of the breast, but this is not a medical concern that you should be worried about. Many other factors can lead to changes in the breast apart from breastfeedings, such as age, smoking, size of the breast before pregnancy, and body metabolic index. However, maintaining an adequate diet with appropriate nutrients can prevent any mishap for the mother during and after her pregnancy.
Will My Breast Become Asymmetrical if I Breastfeed My Baby?
Usually, the breasts of a woman are asymmetrical. There is a slight difference in the shape and size of both breasts even before pregnancy. However, during breastfeeding, the breast tissue swells while milk secretion and shrinks after breastfeeding cessation. Again this is a variable factor as some women experience a return back to their original breast shape after they stop breastfeeding. In some women, the size of one breast becomes like usual, and the other remains the same. Still, many women love the experience of breastfeeding, and they choose to breastfeed their babies despite all the changes.
Should I Undergo Screening for Breast Problems if I Am a Breastfeeding Mother?
Every woman must have a self-examination of their breasts even before pregnancy. Usually, the chances of breast problems are rare if a mother is taking care of the diet and appropriately practicing breastfeeding. However, it is good to get a screening for your breast to rule out any problem. Though, you may seek the help of your doctor if you are experiencing any discharge from your nipples or any lump or growth in your breast. Any unusual signs can be noted and discussed with your doctor.
Still, many mothers choose to breastfeed their babies, as no other food alternative could be as nourishing for a baby as breast milk. There are some measures that can be taken into consideration to avoid the occurrence of these problems.
How Can You Care For Your Breasts While Breastfeeding?
The changes ought to happen in every woman during pregnancy and breastfeeding as the hormonal levels are variable at different stages. However, the significance can be minimized if appropriate measures are taken care of. Some preventive measures for a breastfeeding mother include;
Wearing a supportive bra.
Taking good care of diet and skin.
Avoiding smoking or alcohol intake.
Self-examination of breasts once in a while.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes.
Why Is Breastfeeding Preferable Over Formula Milk?
Breastfeeding fulfills the optimum nutritional need for the growth and development of the infant. It is beneficial for the mother and the baby. It also acts as a protective shield against infections and reduces the chances of various systemic diseases, including diabetes, heart problems, and obesity, for the infant. It can even reduce the risk of certain allergic diseases like asthma and improves an infant's brain development. Breastfeeding minimizes the chances of breast and ovarian cancer in a mother.
Furthermore, skin-to-skin contact, which is essential for breastfeeding, helps develop a bond between the mother and the newborn babies. It is an experience that almost all mothers cherish.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends breastfeeding for the initial six months of life and continuing breastfeeding until the mother and the baby desire it.
Some studies claim that exclusive breastfeeding for the initial six months is associated with a
53% decline in the hospitalization for diarrhea, 27% decrease in respiratory infections of infants each month. However, partial breastfeeding leads to a 31% decline in diarrhea and 25% in infant respiratory problems.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to significant changes in a mother’s breasts. The hormonal changes in the body are responsible for this. However, most of the changes are temporary and can be avoided. Appropriate measures can be taken to prevent any mishappening to the breast. You may seek the help of your doctor in case of any discomfort or noticeable changes in your breast appearance. Cosmetic surgery is also an option for a mother if the breast appearance has undergone severe change while breastfeeding.