When someone said to you that being a mother isn’t easy, they meant it in a much deeper way. Motherhood doesn’t start when the baby is born, it starts from the day you conceived. Keeping in mind that it’s not only your womb that’s gearing up for the baby, your whole body is included in the process, especially your breasts. Breasts go on a full bloom transformation, changing shape, size, softness and even color! The transformation starts during pregnancy, continues during the lactation period and breasts start to get back after you wean your baby off.
Most mothers have so much on their plate that breasts seem insignificant in the scheme of things. From eating emergency lactation brownies to keep a steady supply to changing diapers to putting food on the table and if she’s a working mom, oh boy! The evolution of the breasts is slight for some women, for others it can be moderate to dramatic. There are many factors like weight gain, hormones and genetics that come into play to determine how radically your breasts will alter, grow and behave.
But your nursing capabilities doesn’t depend on how well you produce milk so if your breasts aren’t changing much then don’t fret, consider yourself extremely lucky. I have seen women who have to go up 5 sizes during the whole pregnancy, lactating and weaning period! Sometimes women think that due to smaller breasts their milk production isn’t enough and they increase milk supply with lactation cookies, drinks and treats but that’s not the case. Every mother is equally capable of producing milk. Here are some noteworthy changes your breasts can go under so a heads up!
Breasts change during the course of pregnancy, it’s no overnight change. You can start noticing changes as early as 3rd or 4th week of pregnancy, yes when you probably just missed your cycle and probably thinking what’s going on. The breasts might start to feel tender, sensitive and delicate upon touch. Around the 12th to 15th week of pregnancy, your regular bras might start to feel a little tight and comfortable, so you better get yourself measured for a proper fit. As the second trimester kicks in, there are so many changes happening in the womb and also in the breasts. Your breasts are now gearing up for nursing, so milk-making glandular tissue and milk ducts are starting to grow in the breasts.
As the weeks pass by, your nipples and the areola will start becoming darker in color and bigger in size. The areola can sometimes take up to 40% of your breasts. You may also feel little, tiny bumps in your areola area, these bumps are known as Montgomery glands, these bumps have moisturizing oils in them which protect soreness, keeps the breasts from drying and also helps in keeping infection at bay. At this point you may feel that your nipples are sticking out more and becoming more prominent. It is now the last leg of your pregnancy, you are enormous, having all kinds of problems in sleeping, sitting, standing and doing daily chores of life and on top of that your breasts are leaking! The milk is ready in your breasts even before the child is in the world, which means sometimes you can feel something leaking from your breasts. You are now up and running to make milk and nurse your baby. If you ever feel you’re not producing enough milk you can always pop emergency lactation brownies to increase milk supply.
Now the time has come for what the breasts have been preparing for months, feeding the child. Get ready for all kinds of breasts related issues you could or couldn’t possibly think of. The first thing that you should be ready for is that your breasts are going to become even bigger, firmer and fuller within a couple of days after giving birth. The fullness of breasts isn’t solely due to the milk production, the blood circulation is also increased and lymphatic fluid can also be housed there. All this is happening as the pregnancy is withdrawing and milk-making hormones are kicking to work.
After about 12 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding or when you and your little one has somewhat created a routine, your breasts will start to normalize. Many women take this change in an alarming way, thinking that their milk production has dropped, which isn’t the case at all. If the baby is peeing, pooping and gaining weight steadily, it means your milk glands are hard at work. But if there’s in fact a significant drop in any of the above parameters, you can always rely on emergency lactation brownies to increase milk supply.
During the progression of your breastfeeding journey, your breasts will undergo various painful phases, which can happen anytime. Your breasts will swell when you miss a nursing and pumping session, they can become sore and tender due to baby bites and even worse you can have mastitis which is extremely painful, all the while still nursing the child because not feeding will make things worse. But it will all be worth it so hang in there!!
When you decide to introduce other food options in your baby’s diet, you start to wean your baby from your breasts. This is the time your breasts will go in their last leg of transformation, phew! As your milk won’t be the baby’s only source of food, the baby will slowly feed less and less, thus making the milk supply to diminish. Now if you decide to quit nursing after 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, the lactation changes will start to reverse and your breasts will be back to the preconception size in the best-case scenario, depending if you haven’t gained a lot.
Summing It All Up
Just like your life can never be the same after giving birth to a child, the same goes for the body changes, it will never be exactly the same. Sometimes the breasts remain large, saggy, smaller, softer, darkened or may even have stretch marks, so don’t worry, just embrace it!