Oh, those changes your body goes through during pregnancy. And after it. And after breastfeeding. Itâs all for a good cause of course, but some of these changes might make you feel a bit self-conscious.
Plus, you might be wondering, âIs this how Iâm going to look forever?â Well, I have some mostly good newsâ¦much of the changes your body goes through after pregnancy and after breastfeeding will return to normal when it comes to your nipples. Some wonât go though. And for some women, they will and they wonât. I know, totally vague.
Donât blame me. Itâs those hormones, doll. ð
Hereâs the rundown of the common nipple changes youâll notice going on during pregnancy, post-partum, and while breastfeeding.
Dark and Bumpy Nipples
Hormones, hormones, hormones. Thatâs the short answer.
It can start in the first trimester as your glands on your areola (called Montgomeryâs glands) and your nipples themselves become more prominent. They look darker too, donât they? Thatâs because your hormones are prompting the release of pigment-producing cells.
Will this last? Nope! A few months after you have that sweet baby, your nipples will go back to their natural coloring.
Sore, Cracked Nipples
This one, of course, happens when youâre nursing your baby. Itâs very typical to get sore nipples when you first start breastfeeding. I always had a tube of nipple cream on my nightstand for this very reason. My breastfeeding coach Vivien had recommended it.
Side note: It works in a pinch for dry, cracked hands and feet too during winter months. Try it!
I will say this thoughâ¦you should be sure you get a proper latch with your baby. I talked about useful latch techniques in this post. As I said, itâs normal for some nipple pain in the beginning as you get used to this whole mom thing.
But watch your baby see if sheâs gaining enough weight and making enough dirty diapers. It could be that youâre just not getting the right latch on there which is whatâs causing the soreness.
Will it stop?
Yes! And it will end before youâre all done with breastfeeding so hang in there!
Hey, guess what other fun happens to you with your nipples? They will leak! This may start while youâre pregnant as your breasts get ready with that liquid gold known as colostrum to feed your baby with. For me, it didnât, but for many friends of mine, they started leaking out milk before their babies were born.
One of my friends was about 36 weeks along when she was at the supermarket. She minded her own business, pushing her cart down the aisles when a baby in another aisle began to cry. To her horror, her breasts leaked out milk all over her shirt, and it was, according to her, hugely noticeable.
Lucky for her, it was chilly outside, and she had her jacket with her, so she covered up with that.
During your postpartum days, especially soon after having your baby, you will be VERY prone to milk leakage out of your nipples. The easiest way to deal with this is to use breast pads in your bra. They absorb any of this leakage and prevent mega-embarrassment.
Changes in Shape
Something else that starts to happen during pregnancy is the shape of your nipples. You may notice along with the darkening of them that they get larger. If youâve always had large nipples like my friend Amanda told me, you wonât notice a change in shape.
Those of us who have smaller-sized nipples will start to become alarmed. Mine got bigger, and they stayed mostly that way too. Even still. Other friends of mine were happy to report that their nipples appeared to return more or less to the size they were.
In essence, itâs a crap-shoot. On the plus side, your husband will be impressed.
Nothing to worry about
But with all these changes, you really shouldnât worry. Theyâre all quite normal. And while some of you will go back to looking the way you did before pregnancy, others of you wonât. If any of it concerns you, you should bring it up during your prenatal checkups, or that post-natal exam you get a few weeks after having your baby.
Most of the time, thereâs nothing to worry about. Besides, youâll be too tired with that sweet baby to really care too much. And by the time you think about it again, youâll be over worrying about how your nipples look, believe me!