For all of the focus on schedules, milk production, and latching on, certain key insights about breastfeeding sometimes get less attention. Here are six things that nursing moms should know.
Your breastmilk doesn’t look like milk.
Don’t panic if you see a thick, yellowish flow when you begin nursing. This first milk, or colostrum, is the nutrient-dense food that will sustain your newborn for his first few days. When people make reference to milk “coming in” two to five days after delivery, they’re referencing a whitish, thinner fluid that follows.
Eat well, but don’t worry too much.
Sure, you have the responsibility of manufacturing your baby’s food, but don’t let that stress you out. Instead, simply follow a well-balanced diet, including a couple of daily servings of high-quality protein. Opt for fatty fish like salmon two to three times a week to build up brain-nourishing DHA (a healthy fat) in your breastmilk. You can also supplement your nursing with DHA-rich formulas. Learn more here.
Don’t worry about your bust going bust.
Many women worry that breastfeeding will make their breasts sag or shrink once they wean, but this isn’t true. The Aesthetic Surgery Journal reports that breastfeeding has no impact on breast shape. A high body-mass index (BMI), large prepregnancy bra size, and smoking are some of the real culprits.
Breastfeeding sometimes affects your love life.
From sore nipples, to leaking during intercourse, to reduced vaginal lubrication—breastfeeding can indeed interrupt your sex life. Sex may be different than it was, but it can still be pleasurable. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Leaking breast milk is the result of your hormones and your milk supply normalizing. Sometimes milk may drip from the breast opposite the one being used, and sometimes just thinking about your baby can cause leaking. Use a cloth breast pad insert in your nursing bra to absorb drips, and change it often to avoid chafing.
Breastfeeding relieves stress.
Breastfeeding is an amazing way to relax and bond with your baby. It may take awhile for you and your baby to become nursing pros, but once you’ve found your groove, you’ll be putting your feet up and letting the peaceful hormones flow.