While nursing, it is important to wear a bra that will give proper support to your breasts, as they grow fuller and heavier with milk. Without a proper maternity bra, the breasts tend to sag. Also feeding the baby becomes unnecessarily complicated if you are unable to quickly and completely put her to the breast.
An ordinary, properly fitting bra is enough during pregnancy. But immediately after delivery, you need to buy good maternity bras, which not only offer proper support but are convenient for feeding i.e. which are either front opening or have flaps that can be unfastened quickly.
- Use a bra that exposes the whole breast for feeding. If only the nipples are exposed, there may be problems with feeding.
- The fitting should be just right
- too tight a fit can cause blocked milk ducts.
- too loose or improper support may cause sagging of the breast.
- Try and use a cotton bra which allows the skin to breathe and prevents a build up of perspiration.
- Try for a bra with nursing pads to absorb excess milk.
- Wash bras well and dry them in the sun for proper hygiene.
It may take as much as two years after breast-feeding is stopped, for the breasts to reduce in size and return to the pre-pregnancy shape.
Nipple Care – Nipples vary in sensitivity. Constant friction can make the nipples dry and flaky while continual dampness from the dripping milk can make them prone to fungal infections. You may find, that to avoid soreness, you have to be extra careful throughout the breast-feeding period, but in the majority of cases they adapt sufficiently (after a few weeks of care) to look after themselves.
- Wash nipples with plain water, without using soap. Soap tends to dry out the nipples even more.
- Always blot off the water gently. Don’t rub hard.
- Touch only with clean hands.
- Keep leaking nipples dry with nursing pads or bits of cotton covered with muslin. Avoid plastic or synthetic pads as these exclude air.
- After each feed dry the nipples in air.
- Do not put cold cream or medicated cream on the nipples unless recommended by your doctor.
Nipples have built in lubrication from tiny glands around the areola. This is more effective and more hygienic than any cream. Soap may remove this protection
- Do not massage or scrub the nipples.
- Don’t pull a suckling baby off the nipple. Wait till he stops or pauses or insert a gentle finger in the corner of his mouth.
- Don’t let the baby suck on the nipple itself but always on the areola.
- At the first sign or soreness, adjust your position so that a different part of the nipple takes the main stress.
- Don’t give up feeding. If there is too much pain, feed the baby from the other breast for a while.
- At the first sign of trouble consult your doctor