Why Are My Nipples So Low
The skin around the areola (the dark area where you can see through) of your breasts will usually stretch over the breast tissue underneath. The excess skin hangs down, forming what’s known as “tummy fat” on both sides of your body. When women have flat nipples it is often from this time. It may be that the nipple has a small base or it could be linked to milk ducts. Milk ducts play a role in the development of your nipple.
It may be that these don’t fully develop and pull your nipple inwards. This causes them to look like they’re not connected to the rest of your breast. If you’ve had children you may find that breastfeeding doesn’t feel comfortable at first because the nipples aren’t pointing downwards towards the baby. You should consult with your GP if you are concerned about this.
Nipple sensitivity varies from woman to woman, but for some it is very sensitive, while others hardly notice it at all. Your breasts may change shape during pregnancy and when nursing. However, most changes occur after menopause. After menopause, hormone levels fall dramatically causing the size of the breasts to drop by up to 30%. As well as being smaller, the nipples become more rounded and less pointy. They also lose their sensitivity and firmness.
Breastfeeding is an amazing way to feed your child. Breastmilk contains everything a growing baby needs including antibodies which protect against disease. It provides essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. In addition, it helps keep babies healthy. Breastfed babies grow faster than those fed formula and suffer fewer illnesses. Studies show that breastfeeding reduces the risk of childhood asthma and diabetes.
There are many factors which influence how easily you can nurse. These include:
whether you’re able to express enough milk;
how long you breastfeed;
how old you were when you started feeding your baby;
how much weight you put onto your chest before starting;
how large your boobs are;
how full your areolas are – larger ones take longer to fill up and make feeding harder.
If you experience any discomfort whilst feeding, stop immediately and let your partner know so he/she can help.
You might think that if you have never experienced any problems then there isn’t anything wrong. But, even if you are happy to continue breastfeeding into adulthood, problems can still arise. If you do experience pain you should contact your doctor who will advise you further.
Symptoms to watch out for include:
red lines appearing under the breast;
cracked, dry nipple;
painful sores on the nipples;
flaky patches of skin;
tingling or burning sensations;
red irritated spots;
lumps on the breast or nipple;
Women who use sunbeds to tan frequently report problems with their nipples. Not only does prolonged exposure cause serious damage to the skin cells but vitamin A and other chemicals used in tanning beds can irritate the nipples. Women who wear tight clothing which restricts circulation to the nipples are also advised to avoid tanning salons.
Exercising regularly is important to keep the muscles surrounding the nipples strong. Exercises which involve twisting motions, stretching exercises and using weights are particularly good for developing these muscles.
You can also try holding your arms above your head and pulling the bottom of each breast upwards as far as possible. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat 4 times. Then hold your hands back straight and lower them slowly until they touch your shoulders. Repeat 20 times.
Another exercise you can try is called a ‘pinch’ exercise. Stand upright and place your palms together just below the bust line. Pinch your fingers tightly together and raise them up to shoulder height. Lower them again and repeat 5-10 times. Next, stand sideways on to a wall and lean forward slightly. Place your palms together on the floor and bend your elbows. Keep your wrists relaxed and raise your forearms off the ground until they are level with your shoulders. Raise your arms up again and repeat 5-10 times. Now, squeeze your fists together and push them away from you. Do this 5-10 times.
A useful tip to remember is to apply moisturiser to the affected areas after exercising. Also, applying a thin layer of Vaseline to the nipples between feeds will prevent chafing.
Your breasts need plenty of nourishment too. Good nutrition is essential for producing optimum amounts of milk. Try eating foods rich in zinc, folic acid and calcium. Fish, meat, eggs, pulses, fruits and vegetables are all excellent sources of these vital nutrients. Don’t forget water! Drinking 8 glasses of water every day keeps your system hydrated and helps flush toxins from your body.
To reduce the chance of post natal depression, get involved in activities which give you pleasure. Exercise gives your mind something else to focus on and makes you feel good about yourself. Join a support group or talk to someone close to you about your feelings.
As mentioned earlier, breastfeeding benefits your health and wellbeing greatly. There are many organisations dedicated to providing information and assistance to new mothers. Contact your local branch or visit the website [http://www.breastfeedingassociation.org] for details.
Don’t forget, your breasts are precious jewels. Treat them gently.
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