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Breastfeeding your baby is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your baby. Breastfeeding makes sure that your baby is well nourished and is free of diseases. It also gives your baby the strength to fight off any infections that may come his way.
World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration across the globe between August 1 to August 7 to promote and support breastfeeding and to improve the babies health around the world. This event also focuses on maternal health, good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security.
The benefits of breast feeding are immense not just for the baby but also for the breast feeding mother. Did you know that breast feeding is also said to help ward off postpartum depression? It also helps your body and specifically your uterus to go back to its normal size after birth.
But all these benefits do come at a cost. Your breasts become full of milk after the birth of your baby. But as you wean your baby, your breasts will lose volume, droop and become saggy; especially if you had large breasts, to begin with.
You may be upset that your breasts will never be the same again. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep the changes in your breast to the bare minimum. Drastic measures of reversing the changes in your breasts can include surgery.
But today, we shall discuss some natural and non-surgical methods of prevention of sagging of breasts after breastfeeding. With some effort, you can have your perky breasts back again. Read on to know more.
Why does sagging occur in women post breastfeeding?
The changes that happen in your breast when you get pregnant are very drastic. The hormones that flood your body when you get pregnant help your breasts to get prepared for breastfeeding. The ducts in your breast enlarge to prepare for the production of milk causing the breasts to look bigger than normal.
When the woman starts to breast feed the baby, the breasts become denser. With the increasing levels of milk in the breasts, they become larger. This stretches the skin over the breasts. Once you are done with breastfeeding the breasts shrink but the less elastic skin may not be able to cope with it.
Often, the levels of shrinkage are very different for the two boobs. One may shrink more than the other leaving you breasts looking asymmetrical.
What can you do to prevent saggy breasts while you are still breastfeeding?
- Do not lean to breastfeed
While you nurse your baby, make sure that you do not lean to help your baby reach your breasts, instead use a pillow on your lap to raise your baby to your nipples. This will help your back and will prevent the undue stretching of your skin.
- Wear supportive bras
When engorged with milk, your breasts need all the support they can get. Make sure that you wear a good and supportive nursing bra while you feed your baby. This will prevent sagging of your breasts.
- Do not eat too much of animal fat
What you eat contributes a lot to your skin tone. Too much of fat from non-vegetarian sources is not good for your skin's elasticity. Make sure that you consume fats obtained from plant sources like olive oil. Foods that are rich in vitamin B and E are great for the elasticity of your skin.
- Take alternating hot and cold showers
When showering, use an alternative method. Start with hot water and end with cold water and alternate between the two in the middle. This will help increase circulation of the blood in your body contributing to better elasticity of the skin.
- Do not wean your baby off breast milk all of a sudden
Weaning is best done gradually for the best interests of both your baby and yourselves. When you do it suddenly, all the milk disappears in a short period of time. Fat wouldn't deposit as soon causing your breasts to sag. Instead, you should try weaning slowly and give enough time to help fat deposit adequately.
- Do not try to lose weight fast
After pregnancy, women try to lose weight fast by dieting and exercising too much. Rapid loss of weight will cause your skin to lose its tone and elasticity. A slow and steady pace will help your skin cope with the weight change and prevent the sagging of the breasts.
Things you can do to prevent sagging of your breasts after you have stopped breastfeeding
Your breasts do not have a lot of ligaments and muscles. They contain tissues of fat and glands for the most. But the muscles that support the breasts can be exercised and strengthened. This will also help your posture and improve the overall look of your breasts. The exercises you can do are dumbbell pull over, pushups and chest presses.
- Application of creams on your breasts
When breast feeding you may not have been able to apply creams to your breasts as it may then be ingested to your baby. But you can still do that after breast feeding. Shea butter cream, coco butter cream and olive oil are some of the things you can use to keep your breasts soft, moisturized and toned.
- Massage with cold and hot water
This is similar to the alternating hot and cold water bath. But now you can use a towel to massage it with the alternate temperature of water. Use the hot water to increase the blood circulation and use the cold water (or ice cubes) to tighten and firm your breasts.