As mothers prepare for childbirth, along with many other changes in their body, they will notice their breasts changing. So what breast changes should one expect during pregnancy? Dr Aruna Kalra- Gynaecologist and Obstetrics Surgeon, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram shares, "Around 6 to 8 weeks, women notice their breasts getting bigger, and they will keep on growing throughout the pregnancy. Hormone oestrogen is responsible for breasts development and enlargement during pregnancy. Women will also notice their veins becoming more visible due to the increased blood supply. Around 12 weeks, the skin of the nipple and areola will start to darken or 'pigment'. The following months, nipples may become more prominent and may feel sensitive or even sore. During the last few months of pregnancy, many women experience small leakage of a thick yellowish substance. Some women may leak earlier, and some may never leak at all."
Contrary to what some women believe, the size of your breasts doesn't play any role in your adeptness to breastfeed your baby. "Breasts are small or big, depending on the amount of fatty tissues within them. And it is not the fatty tissue that produce breastmilk, it is the glandular tissue in the breast, which is responsible for milk production. This tissue does not increase or decrease with the breast size," Dr Kalra adds. Therefore, women with all different breast sizes are equally capable of producing a healthy supply of breast milk for their babies.
Sometimes the process of breastfeeding can be hindered by the shape of the nipples. Some mothers have flat, inverted or retracted nipples. "For flat nipples, express either manually or with a pump to draw out the nipple. Mothers can use a cup or spoon to feed the milk to the baby, if necessary. The use of a nipple shield for breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples is helpful." Some mothers get sore or cracked nipples mostly due to poor latch-on. Ensure proper positioning, avoid soaps and shampoos, any cream or powder on nipples, leave some colostrum or milk on the nipple after breast feeding (it contains anti infective agents). "Severe, burning nipple pain for the entire breastfeed, radiating pain throughout the breast could be a fungal infection, which needs to be treated because it can cause oral thrush in baby."