Forget the Breast Feeding vs Bottle Debate. What about YOU?
Let's face it. Pregnancy can be rough on the body, and many women are shocked by the changes that happen both during and after pregnancy - no matter what their feeding choices are.
We get so caught up in whether "breast is best," that sometimes it's easy to forget how important your breasts are to YOU - both during and after pregnancy.
Being a new mum is an incredible time, but it's also a time when many women feel confused, lost and strange about the, well, strangeness of their bodies...
From sore breasts which suddenly feel like you've had a boob job with veins that were never there before, to nipples which look utterly foreign and post-baby rapid-fire size changes - it can be tough to keep up, not to mention find clothing that fits and is comfortable.
Many women focus on "shifting the baby weight" after they give birth, but forget that pregnancy often causes permanent alterations to your body.
For example, in their 'New Mum Body Survey' of over 7000 new mums - Babycenter.com found that a year after giving birth over half the respondents said that their breasts remained different to how they were pre-pregnancy.
Take Anna Paquin, who gave birth to twins and later remarked - "It turns out that pre-baby t-ts are, like, so much bigger than post-baby t-t-ts...!" and talked about how her post-baby breasts had changed so much from when she was pregnant that the costume she wore from season 1 of True Blood had to be altered!
So, while it's not healthy to dwell on horror stories of mastitis or sagging breasts, you do need to be aware of and prepared for these changes. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, you and your breasts deserve care and attention.
Read on to discover the top ways to care for your breasts during pregnancy and beyond - after all, these babies are going to be around even when your baby has grown up and left the nest!
Stretch marks. Cracked nipples. Swollen, tender breasts. All these are post-baby realities. But did you know that you can get issues with ducts even before you give birth?
Not to mention cracked nipples from leaking colostrum in the third trimester?
Care for yourself by devoting time to caring for your breasts via massage and keeping your skin supple. Taking some time at the end of each day to moisturize can work wonders to help you de-stress AND tend to any issues with cracked nipples or blocked ducts.
Some creams are available to help with stretch marks and the more supple you can keep your skin, the less likely you are to experience severe stretch marks. Take some time each day to put some music on, put your feet up, and apply moisturizer in small circular motions.
It's tempting when pregnant or feeling exhausted with your new baby to skip exercise and put it off until a later date (when they hit 16 or so?!), but this is a mistake. For one, keeping active during pregnancy can help you to stay healthy and keep your strength up - which you're going to need!
While exercise and toning can't stop ligaments from stretching as your breasts get fuller and heavier, you can keep your upper body toned and active by using gentle stretching exercise and light weights.
Having a comfortable sports bra can go a long way in making you feel like staying active during pregnancy and while nursing. Keeping the muscle underneath your breasts strong and toned can help to mitigate sagging later on. Remember not to overdo it and to always check the exercise you're doing is safe while you're pregnant..
The number one way to help protect your breasts during pregnancy and beyond is by getting yourself an excellent set of nursing and maternity bras.
Some women ask, "Do I really need to get special bras?" especially when in the early stages of pregnancy. But the simple answer is - absolutely.
Maternity and nursing bras are so much more than just bigger sizes that tend to be slightly less lacy and underwired than your usual lingerie. They're an important part of protecting your breasts. .
During pregnancy when your breasts get fuller, and after when your milk comes in, making them heavier still, strain is placed on your ligaments. This stretches the ligaments and can lead to sagging breasts.
Not only that but as you're probably all-too aware, hormonal changes can leave your breasts incredibly tender and sore. So, getting the right support from properly fitted maternity bras is really vital..
Maternity and Nursing bras are essentially the same thing. All nursing bras ones have clasps and cups that are designed to let you feed your baby without having to unclip your bra. Both Nursing and Maternity bras offer more support and tend to be softer with no underwiring.
Don't underestimate how much more comfortable you will be with these types of bras, especially as your milk comes in after you give birth!
While some of these bras don't come cheap, the investment for your comfort and you breasts is totally worth it. And don't worry, gone are the days when these bras were just shapeless sacks. Now you can choose from all kinds of designs, styles, and colours.
You'll probably want at least 3 bras during pregnancy and 4 while nursing, since breastfeeding leaks are common. A sleep nursing bra can be a lifesaver as well by offering support at night and easy access for feeding time.
At the very least, you'll want to start with an inexpensive bra extender to get more life out of your existing bras in early pregnancy.
Want to treat yourself (and your breasts) to soft, supportive maternity and nursing bras that keep you comfortable during this time of major change?
Click here to check out our wide selection of nursing bras for the styles and comfort you need, at prices you'll love!