Lactation Specialist of Houston Newsletter
Myths About How Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Changes Your Breasts
By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD
Pregnancy & Childbirth Expert
There are so many myths and misconceptions about breasts during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I thought that I would give you a small list of myth versus facts list.
Myth: If you can't express colostrum out before the baby is born you won't be able to breastfeed.
Fact: Colostrum can appear at any point during pregnancy, or may not show up until after the birth. Either way it is completely normal and will have no effects on breastfeeding.
Myth: You should toughen your nipples during pregnancy so that you won't get sore nipples when you breastfeed.
Fact: "Toughening" your nipple is just short of sadistic. Many women say that rubbing a towel on their already sensitive breasts during pregnancy was the equivalent of sandpaper. There has never been any proof that this is effective. As for the cause of sore nipples during breastfeeding, it is usually malpositioning of the baby at the breast.
Myth: I have a huge areola and it's just getting bigger and darker. The baby can't feed on that.
Fact: We know that babies like high contrast colors, that is one of the reasons for the darkening of the areola during pregnancy, so the baby can see it! As for the getting it in the mouth of a baby, trust me they can. Babies take much more of the breast in their mouth than a bottle nipple.
Myth: When you are pregnant you shouldn't allow your partner to touch your breasts during sex.
Fact: Some women have incredibly sore nipples and breasts, even to the point that wearing a bra is painful. Others simply don't notice a change. Then there are even some women who love the added feeling in their breasts that make it especially enjoyable to have them touched. Best advice - do what feels right for you, and be aware that it can change trimester to trimester.
Myth: If you have flat or inverted nipples you can't breastfeed.
Fact: You can do exercises and even wear breast shields to help control inverted nipples.
Myth: If you have large breasts you can't breastfeed.
Fact: Women with large breasts can and do breastfeed successfully. Although sometimes there are better positions for the baby to be at the breast.
Myth: If you have small breasts you won't make enough milk to breastfeed, or you will have to supplement with bottles.
Fact: Size doesn't matter when it comes to breastfeeding. The amount of milk depends on the baby, not the size of the breast.
Myth: Breastfeeding makes your breasts sag.
Fact: No, actually it is partially hereditary, and mostly due to the tissue changes during pregnancy, as opposed to breastfeeding.
Myth: You can't breastfeed while pregnant.
Fact: Actually you can. It's called tandem nursing, nursing an older child and a baby. Since breastfeeding is a supply and demand process, you can and will make enough milk for two (or more!).
Myth: I won't be able to breastfeed because I've had my breasts pierced/enlarged/reduced.
Fact: This is not true in all cases. Many women who have had breast surgery or piercing can and do successfully breastfeed. You should contact your care provider to talk about the type of surgery you had and what you need to look for during breastfeeding. Pierced nipples work the same ad non-pierced nipples. Many mothers leave the rings in for nursing or you may choose to remove them.