By the time you are in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy, your mammary glands are starting to produce the food for your baby, so it’s pretty normal for colostrum to leak from your nipples and dry up. The best way to deal with this is by washing it with warm water, avoid using a sponge, rough fabric cloth, and other products that have alcohol in them. It is also not advised to use a pump because it might induce the start of your labor. You can express the colostrum by hand and save it until your baby is here.
How do you clean colostrum nipples?
Here are 6 tips to help you clean the colostrum from your nipples.
- Stay hydrated – Pregnant or not, we all need to stay hydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine, a pregnant woman should intake at least 80 oz. of water daily. This amount will be used to make extra blood and amniotic fluid. Once you start breastfeeding, your water intake should increase to 104 oz. of water since you are technically making food in your body. This could be mainly water but eating certain fruits is also as good as drinking water.
- Wash with warm water – The safest way to ease the dryness of your nipple during pregnancy is by washing it with clean warm water. It should soften the dried colostrum and moisturize the skin at the same time.
- Avoid using soap or products with alcohol – Some women increase their skin sensitivity during pregnancy, so utilizing soap might make their nipples drier. This is not the case for all pregnant women, but most experience an increase in sensitivity not only to their skin but also to other senses, such as smell and hearing.
- Avoid using a harsh cloth or sponge – Again, we don’t want to apply harshness on the nipple, especially if the colostrum is leaking and dried. Sponge and stiff cloth might add more damage than ease the problem.
- Wear a maternity bra – It is also worth investing in maternity wear during this time because it makes a lot of difference compared to your usual clothes. It is inevitable for a pregnant woman to increase size or two during this time. After all, you are growing a life inside of you might as well do it comfortably. You can also choose to buy maternity bras that are also good for breastfeeding so that once the baby is out, you don’t need to buy another set.
- Moisturize using pregnancy-safe products – You’ll be surprised at how many harmful chemicals there are in the products that we use daily and how your usage would completely change once you pay attention because you only want to use products that are safe for your growing baby. You can apply moisturizing products to your dried nipples to ease any uncomfortable feeling but make sure that you consult your doctor for the products that are safe to use.
Changes that happen to your breast during pregnancy
You can expect an increase in your estrogen levels which would then make the ductal systems in the breast enlarge and expand.
This usually happens as early as the first trimester, and most women could go 1-2 cup sizes up during pregnancy.
Your rib cage will also expand to make space for the baby. Therefore, your band would also increase a few sizes up.
Darkening of nipples and areolas
Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin) are said to be responsible for the darkening of areolas and nipples.
The pigment could start to change in the first few weeks of pregnancy and could last until you are still breastfeeding.
Once you are done breastfeeding your baby, these areas will start to lighten again.
Feeling tender and swollen
Again, hormones are fully at work preparing your body for breastfeeding.
Increased blood flow and milk duct production could make your breast feel sensitive and swollen.
It’s also one of the earliest signs of pregnancy since it can start just a few weeks after conception.
Nipples stick out more, and areolas grow larger
Not only will your areolas and nipples change in color but also their shape and size.
It will be easier for your newborn baby to latch once your nipple is more visible due to the high pigment and size.
It still amazes me how a woman’s body could morph into something as beautiful as this to be exactly what your baby needs when they arrive.
Montgomery tubercles around the areola
These are the small bumps around your nipples once they start to change into your pregnancy breasts.
These bumps are called Montgomery tubercles, and their purpose is to lubricate the breasts for breastfeeding.
They are sebaceous oil glands that secrete an antibacterial oil that protects the nipple from drying out during breastfeeding.
Itching and dryness
Even with the sebaceous oil helping out, it will still be a conscious effort to keep your nipples moisturized because of all the stretching of the skin and all other internal changes.
You can try and minimize warm baths to also lower the chances of skin drying, apply moisturizing products after showering to lock in the moisture, and choose soft and comfortable fabrics to wear.
What color is colostrum?
Colostrum is often thick and yellow. It’s highly concentrated and nutritious since it is the first milk your body makes after giving birth.
Does a cracked nipple mean a poor latch?
This is usually on a case-to-case basis.
You first have to ensure that your baby is positioned correctly and that their lips are properly latched to your breast to get milk once they start to suck.
If you feel like you are doing it right, but your baby is not getting enough milk, or you are hurting while they latch, then consult your doctor to get the much-needed help.
Breastfeeding is such a bitter-sweet experience, not at all rainbows and butterflies from start to finish, no.
The reality is that we all have different stories about it, and they are all equally valid, and it matters.
Some do it with such ease and grace, while others shed blood and tears just to get their babies the best possible food.
Wherever you are in your breastfeeding journey, treasure it because once your baby is done breastfeeding and you start to get your body back, you’ll look back and realize how strong and capable you are as a woman and how beautiful you are as a mother.