Pregnancy Changes: Preparing to Breastfeed

May 15, 2012

Many pregnant women wonder how they can prepare for breastfeeding before their baby arrives. The truth is, your body does most of the work for you. While pregnant, you’ll notice some major changes in your body, many of which are meant to help you prepare for breastfeeding.

Some moms wonder if they need to “toughen up” their nipples before baby arrives, and the answer is no. In fact, doing so can actually damage your nipples and make it more difficult to breastfeed. So, don’t worry! Your body naturally handles the preparation you need for frequent breastfeeding. The best thing you can do to prevent sore nipples, is to ensure your baby has a good latch. In fact, many hospitals have breastfeeding classes you can take while pregnant to learn about breastfeeding and techniques that assist with latch. A Lactation Consultant can also help when the time comes.

Once pregnant, your breasts will undergo some serious changes. Your milk ducts and other milk producing cells will begin to grow. Likewise, more blood will flow to your breasts to aid in growth. As you move further into your pregnancy, hormonal changes will cause your breasts grow even more. At this point, it’s very common for your breasts to feel sore or tender. Consider wearing a highly supportive maternity bra to minimize any discomfort you may experience.

As your due date approaches, your breasts may begin to leak a fluid known as colostrum. This milk, also called the first milk, is packed with nutrients to help your little one fight infection after birth. Washable or disposable bra pads can help protect your clothes and keep you as comfortable as possible during this time.

Your body’s changes can sometimes be uncomfortable, but they should never be painful. If you notice any unusual lumps or nipple changes that cause discomfort, talk to your healthcare provider. They’ll be able address these problems and help relieve any discomfort.

Moms, did you notice these changes while you were pregnant? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Pregnancy Changes: Preparing to Breastfeed

  1. My friend felt a lump when she was pregnant, it worsened throughout pregnancy and after delivery. She quickly became mysteriously ill, only to learn she had Stage 4 Cancer! PLEASE listen to your bodies. If it’s concerning make sure you aren’t dismissed and proper diagnostic exams are performed!!! Several midwives, OBs and lactation consultants ALL told her it was milk ducts.

    • Hi Christi,

      Great advice – listening to your body is so important, and many times, you have to be your own advocate when it comes to your health. Thanks for taking the time to share your friend’s story with us.

      – Kathy

  2. Pingback: Preparing to Breastfeed When Pregnant | Pregnancy Awareness

  3. Over this past few years, there’s been a lot of discussion and debates about the issue of breastfeeding. The decision is off course a very personal one, and not only that there are mothers who really wanted to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is the best gift that you can give your child. Not only that, it is a wonderful moment between a mother and a baby that you will cherish forever. Good luck!

  4. I’m 8 months pregnant and I experienced itchiness is my nipples. I’m sure they are clean. They are just extremely itchy that I get to scratch them. Is there anything that I could do, medication to apply or home remedy to use to prevent the itch?

    • Hi Gloria,

      First – congratulations on your growing family! Itchiness in the breasts and nipples is a common pregnancy change that is caused by your changing hormones. Because your breasts typically get bigger during pregnancy, the stretching skin can lead to itching and flaking, too. Lanolin, such as Medela’s Tender Care Lanolin, is commonly used for sore nipples due to breastfeeding, but it can also be used to relieve itching and help protect your sensitive skin. We suggest that you reach out to your healthcare provider, as they would be best suited to recommend treatment.

      Hope this helps!

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