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Wednesday, 18 September 2019 Posted under Breast Feeding

5 Ways to ensure Breast Health while Breastfeeding

5 Ways to ensure Breast Health while Breastfeeding

New moms are so busy and worked up taking care of their newborns that they tend to neglect their own health and well being. Moms need to understand that if they do not take care of themselves, then it will become very tough for them to care for their off springs. This especially applies in the lactation period. The mom has already gone through a lot in terms of delivering her baby and the hormones are busy creating havoc within her. She is in a delicate phase and on recovery mode when faced with the arduous task of feeding her little one. The primary unit involved in the breastfeeding process (apart from the baby) is the mother's breast, therefore it is vital to maintain the health of the breast to ensure a healthy breastfeeding relationship and routine for both the baby and the mother. Listed below are 5 ways through which new moms can ensure breast health during their breastfeeding journeys.

1) Wear bras of the correct size.  Pregnancy and lactation causes a change in the size of the breasts. The breasts can start increasing in size right from the time of conception, and continue to increase through pregnancy right up to postpartum. Thus it can get difficult and expensive to keep buying bras of different sizes. Unfortunately there is no way out of this one. It is unhealthy to wear a wrong sized bra and lactating mothers need to be extra careful as the wrong sized bra can even hamper milk supply. Nowadays bra extenders are available and it makes sense to stock up to 2 sizes bigger. You can also borrow from friends and relatives.

2)Take care of personal hygiene especially your breasts. This seems very basic, but it is extremely important. Due to fluctuating hormones lactating mothers often feel very hot and tend to sweat more. Regular baths are very important and if bras and tops get sweaty, they must be changed as damp clothes breed bacteria. This bacteria can even lead to infection which can be transmitted to the infant. One must wash their hands thoroughly before touching their breasts. If the mother is using breast pads then she must change them periodically as rancid milk is known to cause botulism in infants. 

3) Ensure the baby's latch is correct. Correct latching forms the very foundation of a smooth and stress free breastfeeding journey. If the correct latch is acquired at the very onset of breastfeeding then half the battle is won. This is the reason why in several parts of the world and even in few cities in India it is mandatory for a new mom to receive breastfeeding and lactation counseling at her bedside in the hospital. If you are unsure then seek the help of a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider.

4) Do not ignore any discomfort in the breasts at any point of time. Breastfeeding is supposed to be a comfortable and a rewarding experience for both the baby as well as the mother. If for any reason you feel any kind of discomfort or pain in your breasts, you must contact a lactation specialist or your doctor immediately. Pain and discomfort during feeding is NOT normal and must not be taken lightly. If neglected it can even lead to serious problems which can permanently damage your breastfeeding journey.

5) Perform periodic breast examinations. All women whether lactating or not should conduct breast examinations on themselves at least once a month, to check for lumps or any other anomaly. In the case of breastfeeding women, sometimes lumps do appear on the breasts when they are overfull or when the mother hasn't fed her young one for some time. In case the lumps don't go away even after feeding then it is very important for the mother to seek medical help.