The odds are that there is one thing every new mother who contemplates breastfeeding wants to know. Controversy about lactating in public arose in early June when Karlesha Thurman posted a picture of herself nursing her baby daughter. The problem was that Karlesha breastfed little Aaliyah during her graduation ceremony from California State University. The picture, posted on Facebook, drew many comments. Some felt it was inappropriate. Most new mothers probably are not fixated on whether they should or should not breastfeed in public but there is one thing that most want to know.
Breastfeeding has been touted as the “be all end all” in nourishment for healthy offspring. Mothers all over the globe commit to nourishing their babies with their own bodies just the way nature intended precisely because of all the benefits that breastfeeding provides. These benefits are not just for baby but for mom as well. Although breastfeeding is recommended for at least six months, breastfeeding for any length of time can be beneficial to both baby and mom.
Mom’s milk provides all the major vitamins and nutrients that baby needs during the first six months of life. Additionally, breastfeeding protects baby against certain ailments including allergies and ear infections. Breast milk may lower the incidence of meningitis and it is said to decrease mom’s stress levels thus lowering the prevalence of post-partum depression. Scientists also assert that there is a link between breastfeeding and cognitive development which could potentially boost a child’s intellect. Babies nourished with breast milk may be at lower risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and studies also show that breastfed babies are at decreased risk of being obese.
Most mothers who have contemplated breastfeeding are likely delighted to discover all the benefits. The benefits, despite criticism from others who think it their place to determine when and where one should nurse a child, appear to outweigh the drawbacks. There is one thing about breastfeeding, however, that every new mother probably wants to know. Every first time mom is likely wondering how breastfeeding will impact their physique.
While many women delight in the new and improved size of their breasts, many probably also wonder if investing in a new beach wardrobe is advisable. During pregnancy, the breasts begin to prepare for their main function; nourishing the new addition. The breasts become engorged and often very tender as an advanced network of ducts and lobules begin to gear up for milk production. For some first time mothers, especially those who may have been a little less endowed than their more buxom sisters, there is a secret thrill in being able to look down into an honest to goodness cleavage.
Regardless of the pre-pregnancy size of the breasts, however, every new mother probably still wants to know the same thing. Every new mother wonders what is going to happen to the breasts when the baby is weaned. Unfortunately for some, the news is not great. Generally, though every woman is unique, if there are no complications and the woman returns to the pre-pregnancy weight the breasts will return to their pre-pregnancy size. The breasts of women who keep some of the pregnancy weight may, in fact, remain a little bigger than they were before the pregnancy. For most women, however, the breasts go back to normal but they may not be as perky as they once were.
Once the milk production system begins to wind down and close up shop the skin which may have stretched to accommodate the engorged ducts and lobules goes back to normal and the breasts can appear to be deflated. While there is no way to prevent or predict what will happen in every case, the one thing every new mother who wants to breastfeed should know is that applying moisturizers to the breasts during and after pregnancy and to the nipples (before beginning to nurse), is the one thing that can be done to combat droopy, stretch marked skin.
By Constance Spruill