I remember when I was pregnant with my eldest son and getting all the solicited and unsolicited advice. I remember one person telling me I need to start "preparing my nipples" for breastfeeding by taking a scrubby sponge and roughing up my nipples a few times a week. "Uhhhh, no thanks." I quickly replied, knowing this old-wives tale was a bad, bad idea. This person quickly snapped back, "Jaimie, breastfeeding hurts. Your nipples are NOT prepared." She wasn't wrong. That's for sure. Breastfeeding did hurt. Bad. But that was because of my baby's undiagnosed tongue and lip tie and inability to latch properly. And I promise you "roughing up my nipples" would not have made this better. In fact... roughing up your nipples puts you at increased risk for nipple infections as it can break the skin and allow bacteria in. Roughing up your nipples is NEVER a good idea... But then many moms-to-be are left asking, "what SHOULD I do during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding! I want to reach my goals and have a good experience!" To these MamaBears I often remind them that their BODY is doing all the physical prep necessary.
Hormonal surges will trigger a myriad of changes in your breasts during pregnancy! Let's talk about them! 1.) One of the first changes you might notice if you have fair skin is that your breasts suddenly look like a "road map". The veins in the breasts are bringing all kinds of nutrients to your breasts to help develop breast tissue!
2.) Tenderness, fullness, and increased size.... Did you know that breast development is not considered complete until a female has experienced pregnancy and breastfeeding??? More glandular tissue is developed by the body with each pregnancy! This means you will likely experience a in increase in breast size. Even if you have a condition such as hypoplasia/IGT (insufficient glandular tissue), each pregnancy can result in increased glandular tissue production and potentially improved breastfeeding experiences.
3.) Darkened and enlarged areolas....
Yep. This one is pretty shocking for a lot of people. But it makes sense when you think about it! Babies are born with very poor vision. They need help finding the nipple! So your nipples and areolas will typically darken to act like giant targets for your baby to find.
4.) Enlarged Montgomery's Glands and secretions
Montgomery's Glands are the little "bumps" on your areola, surrounding your nipple. These glands secrete a unique "chemical" that smells like your amniotic fluid and lures baby to the nipple
5.) Colostrum secretion
Some pregnant women might experience colostrum secretion. There is a wide range of normal on this one. Some people have no secretion whatsoever prenatally, and that's okay! It is not a sign of being doomed to a poor milk supply. Others may end up with intermittent crusty film covering their nipples, while others, yet, might leak colostrum so intensely they need breast pads prenatally to catch the drip.
Woah, my body is doing all that?! Cool!! But there must be something I can do to help! Well, physically, no. Generally speaking, no prenatal pumping is necessary or useful. No supplements are necessary. Milk production is triggered when the placenta detaches from the uterus. The most important thing YOU can do to prepare for breastfeeding is to get educated! Below are a list of my favorite books to prepare you for breastfeeding: - The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Other ways to prepare? Take a class and schedule a prenatal consult with a lactation consultant for an individualized care plan. Address your individual concerns and build a plan for success so that you know exactly what you're doing when your baby gets here!
Click the graphic below to access your FREE breastfeeding class!
This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item through a link on this page Little Bear Services LLC will receive a small commission. You will not be paying extra for the item and you are not obligated to purchase any advertised items.
Please remember that all information on this blog is purely informational and is not a substitute for individual support. Little Bear Services, LLC is not providing medical advice and all information on this website should be used as tools for communicating with your healthcare provider and IBCLC to determine the best plans for you and your baby. If you would like to schedule individual support you may do so here.
Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, & IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central New Jersey. Mother of three, military wife, and lover of coffee, Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital and home births in Burlington County, Camden County, Mercer County, Atlantic County, Ocean County in New Jersey. If you reside outside of this service area, there are online courses and virtual support packages available! Jaimie is excited to serve your family! Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers now!
Keywords: Breastfeeding Preparation, Breast Changes in Pregnancy, Breastfeeding Class, Books for Breastfeeding, Prenatal Breastfeeding Consult, Prenatal Lactation Consult, Virtual Classes, Virtual Lactation Consultant, Online Classes