Sheldene’s thoughts on…
Breast is best
I absolutely loved breastfeeding. After the initial struggles of the first few days, my baby and I settled into the wonderful symbiotic relationship of a mother breastfeeding her child.
We gazed into each other’s eyes as she snuggled into me, nuzzling and kneading my swollen breasts before slumping back in a satisfied stupor. Her little cheeks adorably puffed up by the action of sucking. I was very happy that she and I took to breastfeeding so easily. I know this is not the case for every mother. I knew that not only was she getting the best nutrition she could possibly get, I was benefitting too.
Research has shown that breastfeeding may lower a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer, especially if they breastfeed for over a year. Part of the reason for this is that menstruation is suppressed during breastfeeding, which lowers oestrogen levels. Researches have also deduced that – even during the brief period that women breastfeed in the modern age – most women are more careful about their lifestyle choices. That means no alcohol, no smoking and an improved diet – things we should be doing whether we are breastfeeding or not.
So, once again, I am reminded that we are not always a victim to our genetics when it comes to matters pertaining to health. We can do a lot to lower our risks of getting breast cancer by the lifestyle choices we make. If you are able to breastfeed, please don’t ever electively decide not to do it, because of the possible negative impact it may have on your breast shape or size. Pregnancy alone will affect the size and shape of your breasts. After pregnancy, most (not all) women will experience a loss of breast volume and elasticity in the skin of the breasts, regardless of if they breastfeed or not.
What can you do to limit the negative impact of pregnancy and breastfeeding on your breasts?
- Wear the right bra. Be prepared to be measured and fitted with a good bra a few times during your pregnancy and when you breastfeed. You may even want to wear a bra at night.
- Control your weight gain during pregnancy. Excessive weight gain and subsequent loss will lead to deflated breasts.
- Lose your post-partum weight slowly.
- Moisturise and massage your breasts before, during and after pregnancy. Oils that contain vitamin E will help maintain your skin’s elasticity and help prevent stretch marks.
- Exercise – although breast tissue is not a muscle and does not respond to exercise, building the pectoral muscles does improve the shape and fullness of the chest area as a whole, especially the upper chest below the collarbone.
- If they have sagged, they can be lifted. If they have deflated, they can be enlarged with an augmentation. If the nipples have stretched, they can be reduced.
Before pregnancy, my breasts were a small B. I loved the size of them during breastfeeding and I said to my husband that, once I was done, I wanted to have breasts that looked like that again – a full C. Thanks to a little silicone, my breasts look better after having babies!
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