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World Breastfeeding Week: 6 tips to care for your breasts while nursing

The World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is being celebrated under the theme “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”.

On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, we have compiled some tips for new moms to take care of their breasts when nursing.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : August 4, 2020 9:19 AM IST

Breastfeeding is good for both mother and baby. But when you start nursing, you'll begin to notice a lot of changes such as breast engorgement, nipple soreness, tenderness, tingling, and the leaking of breast milk. These are all normal experiences, but some uncommon problems might also arise during breastfeeding. For example, if you don't empty your breast completely during feeding, there are chances of developing plugged milk ducts, which lead to painful lumps. Plugged milk ducts and engorgement can lead to an infection called mastitis, painful swelling of the breasts that is often accommodated by flu-like symptoms. All these problems can be avoided with proper breast care. On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, we have compiled some tips for new moms to take care of their breasts when nursing.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 120 countries to raise awareness about breastfeeding. The World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is being celebrated under the theme "Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet". In line with this theme, WHO and UNICEF are calling on governments to make skilled breastfeeding counselling available to every woman. Here are some tips to help new mothers avoid problems associated with breastfeeding.

Wear the right bra

As your breasts begin to produce milk during pregnancy, they will become bigger and your pre-pregnancy bras will no longer fit them. Choose a bra that is comfortable and fits you well. Try nursing bras that allow you to adjust to your changing breast size as well as ensure proper blood flow in your breast's tissue. Cotton bras are also a good option as they allow your skin to breathe. Don't use underwire bras as they can put too much pressure on your milk ducts and cause mastitis.

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Practice good hygiene

Lactating moms are at higher risk for infection. That is why it is important to practice good hygiene while breastfeeding. Always wash your hands before touching your breasts or breastfeeding. Clean your breasts and nipples regularly with warm water. But avoid using soap on your breasts as it can remove healthy natural oils and create dry, cracked, and irritated skin.

Feed your baby correctly

Improper feeding can lead to many breast problems including sore nipples, engorgement, plugged ducts, and even mastisis. Make sure that your baby latches on correctly to avoid these problems. First of all, you should be comfortable while breastfeeding your baby. Make sure your baby has the whole nipple in his/her mouth along with a large amount of your areola.

Keep a regular feeding schedule

You should aim for about 8 12 feedings per day, or breastfeed your baby at least every 2 to 3 hours. This will help reduce engorgement of the breast as well as build a healthy schedule for your newborn. In addition, you should feed on both breasts equally. If your baby has a preference of one breast, offer him/her the other breast first.

Change your breast pads frequently

If you are using breast pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your shirt, make sure that you change them frequently and as soon as they become wet. Keeping those wet breast pads for longer can increase the risk of infection. When used properly, breast pads can prevent sore nipples, thrush, or mastitis.

Moisturize your nipples after breastfeeding

After you are done feeding your baby, massage your nipples and areola with your breast milk and let them air dry. This will keep your nipples moisturized and prevent them from becoming dry and cracked.

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