Thursday, July 16, 2009

Breasts and more Breasts

I thought since I talked about nipples and the problems that you can have with them, we should talk about the breasts and their own problems. I will about breast implants to breasts infections to breast sagging. So get ready for alot of information.

Breast Implants-

Can you still breast feed your baby? You can but it widely depends on your how your doctor did the procedure. If your doctor cut at the fold of the breast or near the armpit, then it is likely no damage was done to the milk ducts or nerves. But if your doctor did an incision close to the areola, than that will be more of a problem for nursing. A cut by the areola is more likely to damage the milk ducts and nerves. You might need to ask for help from a lactation consultant to make sure that you and the baby are breastfeeding correctly. You also need to watch to make sure your baby is gaining weight and has 8 to 12 of each wet and poopy diapers. If that is happening and the baby is gaining then you should be fine.

Breast Infections-
I remember having this after my second child, my son, who decided to just completely stop nursing and didn't' let me wean him. I didn't pump enough and got to full and got plugged ducts. Then it got more painful to even move. So before long I decided to get on some antibiotics.
You can catch the pain from turning into mastitis by putting a heat pack and massaging the lump (sore area) downward to work it out. You can also nurse as often as possible through all of the pain to help not get mastitis. I always put aspra cream (that you use for sore muscles) with a hot rag over the cream and sore area. I also massage my breast downward with the cream while I am putting it on.

Sometimes mastitis will come unannounced and you will feel like you have the flu. When you feel this way you know that is it not just a plugged duct. Now is when you call your doctor and get on antibiotics. The pain will usually start going away before the day is over, but you want to take the medicine until it is gone. Get alot of rest to make sure that mastitis stays away. Depending on how many antibiotics you are going to be on, you might want to add some acidophilus to your daily routine to make sure you don't get any yeast infections, which can cause plugged ducts.

Keep nursing while you are trying to treat your breast infection. The more you nurse the better off you will be in helping it go away. It won't feel pleasant, but it will help.

If the mastitis is untreated it can turn into something much worse. I have never heard of this but it is called "Abcess". It is much more dangerous than mastitis and sometimes requires surgery. So make sure you don't put off treatment for mastitis.

Breasts Concerns-
Here are some issues that may happen to your breasts that need prompt attention:
*A lump or an area that starts to thicken in your breast or underarm.
*Your breast or nipple starts to change color, texture (becomes wrinkle, scales) with the skin of the breast, nipple or areola.
*You have strange discharging out of your nipple.
*Your breast are changing in their size or shape.

I want to talk about inverted nipples and the best treatments for them. Also about Breast shells vs. Nipple Shields. I forgot to add this in when I talked about nipples, so I will add it into this post. I am very thankful that I don't have to use the shell or shield. I am not sure how I feel about them, but I am not going to tell you to use or not to use them. I don't have a right because I don't have to struggle with flat or inverted nipples. So you decide if they are right or not for you and your baby.

Inverted or Flat Nipples-

The picture on the left is an image of a normal looking breast or a nipple that protrudes normally. The picture on the right is one of a inverted nipple. A flat nipple is just flat against the areola and doesn't protrude, but doesn't sink in like a inverted nipple. (pictures are from You know that you have a flat nipple if it is not stimulated from being caressed or cold. A inverted nipple sinks into the breast when the areola is squeezed.
Here are some treatments to help you nurse with these two different kinds of nipples.
*You can use a pump before feedings to help bring out the nipple and have your baby latch on immediately after pumping.
*Help make your nipple erect by putting it between your thumb and finger and moving it around. You can also help it erect by putting a cold rag or cloth on it.
*You can use the breast shells as I mentioned below. Wear it a half hour before the feeding.
*You can wear a nipple shield as I have mentioned below.
Make sure that you are patient with yourself and your baby. If the baby becomes upset at the beginning of a feeding remember to pull it back off and try to calm your baby down. Then try to nurse again. You don't want your baby to associate the breast with unhappiness and tension. Until you find something to help your nipples and that works for you and your baby, it is going to be a struggle. Try not to give up to easy and remember to ask for some help.
Breasts Shells:

These have two parts to them. One part lays on your breast to help the nipple extend out. The second part is dome-shaped which it used as a protective layer for your nipple. This devise it to help the nipple protrude. You can wear it before and after you nurse, but not during. Make sure when you do nurse that your baby has a wide mouth the latch on to enough of the nipple.

Nipple Shields:

This devise it completely different in that you wear it during the feedings. The advantage to the shield it that is keeps you baby at the breast and gets it use to nursing. You do need to make sure that you find a good fit for you and your baby. It needs to be comfortable on you and it can't be to long or short for the baby to latch on to. If it is to long then it can choke the baby and if it is to short then the baby can't latch on correctly. A good way to measure is putting your little finger in your babies mouth with the fingernail facing down and moving the finger in until you find the babies palate. Then have the baby suck on your finger and see how far your finger in its mouth. The one negative thing about the shields are that some babies get nipple confusion. Your baby can become dependent on the shield and not nurse without it. If you decide to use it just be patient when you try to weaning the baby from the shield. Don't be in a hurry to wean the baby from the shield if it is helping. You can wait until the baby it older and has a hang of latching on and nursing well. You know your baby better than anyone else, so do it at your own time. If you want to try it without the shield, just try it a feeding at a time. If the baby can latch on well and nurses fine then you could probably start weaning off the shield. If the baby still struggles without, then keep using it longer.

They now have this new thing called the "Advent Niplette" that you can order. I don't know anything about it, so make sure you do some research on it and see if it will work for you. I read that it has a high percentage rate of success in the tests that they have done on nursing mothers.

Large Breast, Sagging Breast, Breast Size-

This has been the hardest part for me and having babies. When I got pregnant with my first, my breast got big because I was gaining weight. But then my milk came in and they got bigger. So be prepared when you get your milk in. Then when you are done nursing hopefully they will return to a good size. Everyone told me that they would return to their regular size and I saw my sisters return to the size before nursing and even get smaller. So I thought that I would be ok. Well not really. My breast stayed their size DD even after I was done nursing and they sag alot. I mean alot. My sisters can't believe the size of my breasts after they came from being a size B. So lets just say that they are not attractive. I did talk to someone about it and they said that is it just because I have extra skin and fatty tissue, so getting pregnant and gaining weight made them stretch. I also have one that is slightly bigger and one that sags more. You can't hardly tell the difference thanks to bras. Just make sure that you find a nice bra. The ones I find I have to throw away because they start stretching and not holding me up.

If you get alot bigger then you were, you might have to try different nursing position with your baby. Your baby might have a hard time latching on with just trying the cradle hold. Just remember, nursing comes just as easy for big breasted women as it does for small breasted women.
I shouldn't talk bad about my big breasts. I need to be grateful that I can nurse and that they make my babies so healthy and strong. So be grateful for your breasts everyday and talk nicely about them.

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