5 Breastfeeding Mysteries Answered BEFORE Baby Comes

Jeanne Sager
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Photo by mommiesbabies86
For first-timers, breastfeeding can be one big mystery.

So we're continuing our questions with family nurse practitioner Laura Keegan. She's the author of Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy: A Photographic Guide for Mom and Those Who Help Her -- a favorite of Gossip Girl's Kelly Rutherford and a title that makes us feel like we could be best friends already.

So we did the girlfriends' thing -- we asked her honest questions about our boobs.

Do I need to purchase a pump during pregnancy?

I don't recommend purchasing a pump during pregnancy, because there are individual differences among women in terms of which pump works best for them. Often women buy an expensive pump during pregnancy and find that the pump doesn't work well for them, and they're reluctant to invest in or rent another pump that could be more compatible.

When you purchase a pump, it's best to purchase one with a return policy that allows for you to try it for a couple weeks to see if it works for you. Hand expression is more effective than even hospital-grade electric pumps the first couple of days. You can then rent a pump or purchase one should you find you need one.

Should I toughen up my nipples during pregnancy? 

Toughening up nipples during pregnancy isn't helpful, is uncomfortable, and can damage your breasts.

Is it normal to have leaking breasts during pregnancy? What can I do about it?

Some women leak colostrum from their breasts during pregnancy and there's no cause for concern; it's normal. Use cotton or bamboo nursing pads and change them frequently.

How do I care for my sensitive sore nipples during pregnancy?

If you find your nipples are sore or chapped during pregnancy, it's a good idea to care for them with organic products that contain calendula to heal them. You can use the same products after the baby is born.  

What do I do about inverted nipples during pregnancy?

Inverted nipples usually resolve or lessen as the pregnancy progresses without any intervention and they don't cause any problems for many babies. Some recommend breast shells to help bring the nipples out. I don't routinely recommend breast shells to my clients. Although the shells are soft and the pressure on the areola is light, there's a risk that this pressure can put unnecessary stress on the underlying tissue.

In those cases where the inverted nipples do not resolve and the baby has a difficult time taking the breast, close attention to getting the breast deep in the baby’s mouth often resolves any issue. If not, interventions such as pumping and temporary use of nipple shields (after the milk comes in) can help to bring the nipple out, and with time the baby gets stronger and it becomes less of an issue.

Have more questions for Keegan? Check out her site Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy for more tips on breastfeeding and catch her 7 steps for getting ready to breastfeed.

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