I always imagined that postpartum home life would mean a lot of my boobs sticking out all the time, but I never really thought much about how that would actually feel. Why would I have my breasts out all the time, you ask? Well, if you are nursing and/or pumping milk, your breasts and your nipples are going to be sorer than sore, and they will need to be aired out to prevent any cracking or additional discomfort. In between feeds and pumps, I try to air my nipples out as much as possible, which means I am either walking around topless or with my nursing tanks half down. But I’m cold sensitive, and even with the heat on, I need to at least have a hoodie on to keep the rest of me warm. When you’ve either got your nipples constantly being suckled on by a teeny tiny human, while also in between feeds having a breast pump suck milk out of your breasts at a hospital-grade rate, your breasts in the postpartum period are in for the workout of their life! And yes, this DOES burn calories whether you are nursing or pumping – wee!
I’m lucky so far in that I haven’t experienced cracked nipples, and given multiple lactation consultants and nurses have complimented Kaia on her “perfect” and “beautiful” latch, I haven’t really hurt at all, so I’m thankful for that. Occasionally, though, when she is finished eating on the breast, she will try to chew my nipple at the end as sort of a “send off,” which is not particularly nice. It’s a chew in a “twist” kind of fashion, and boy, is it NOT pleasant AT ALL. But I love nursing her; I love the closeness I feel to her, I love being able to stroke her hair and head and feel her warmth against me. I love the smell of her coming off of me, her mouth covered in my breast milk. I love the fact that my body is able (well, sort of, given the weight gain issue) to nourish my little baby. I’m hell bent on making sure that she has as much breast milk as possible, so if it cannot be directly from my breasts, I’m trying to pump as much milk as possible.
So yeah, I get why a lot of moms postpartum don’t want that many visitors over in the several weeks or even months post birth. How can you have visitors over if you constantly have your nipples sticking out everywhere? You need to prioritize comfort postpartum, and having your nipples covered would be uncomfortable. And if you don’t take care of your nipples and breasts, your nipples will be pissed at you and give you all kinds of issues, ranging from thrush (fungal infection on nipple that also affects the baby) to blebs (milk blisters) to the worst of the worst — mastitis (clogged milk ducts that go untreated and result in inflammation and breast infection requiring antibiotics – NOOOO).
So word from the wise: take care of your boobs.