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Navigating breast health during late 30s: Essential tips for mothers

Maintaining breast health while lactating in the late 30s requires special attention. Here's expert advice on what to do

Lactating mothers in their late 30s need to prioritise relaxation to contribute to their better overall health and milk supply.
Lactating mothers in their late 30s need to prioritise relaxation to contribute to their better overall health and milk supply. (Unsplash/Bia Octavia )

Breastfeeding is a cherished journey for mothers, providing essential nourishment to their babies while offering numerous health benefits. However, maintaining optimal breast health during the lactating phase, particularly in one's late 30s, demands careful attention to various factors. This article offers valuable insights and essential tips to support mothers in enhancing their breastfeeding experience and overall breast health during this critical phase of life. 

Also read: Why extended nursing by mothers should be encouraged

1. Prioritize Nutritious Dietary Choices

Optimal breast health and milk production depend on a well-balanced diet. Here's why certain nutrients are essential: 

Protein: Found in fish, poultry, eggs, and legumes, protein provides the building blocks for breast tissue and assists in milk production.

Calcium: Dairy products and leafy greens are rich in calcium, which is crucial for strong bones – yours and your baby's!

Omega-3s: Fatty fish, nuts, and seeds offer these healthy fats, aiding in breast milk composition and supporting your baby's brain development.

Hydration: Water plays a vital role in milk production. Aim for plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

By prioritising these nutritious foods, you'll fuel your body and ensure your baby gets the very best nourishment. 

2.Engage in Suitable Physical Activities

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial during breastfeeding. Here's how exercise and relaxation can benefit you:

Gentle cardio: Activities like walking, swimming, or cycling improve overall fitness and circulation without straining your breasts.

Strength training: Exercises targeting chest muscles, like modified push-ups or light weights, can help support breast tissue and maintain muscle tone. Remember to prioritize comfort and listen to your body.

Relaxation techniques: Yoga or meditation can reduce stress levels, which can positively impact milk production and breastfeeding success.

3. Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Prioritise relaxation and stress management techniques. Adequate sleep is crucial for hormonal balance and lactation, especially during the postpartum period. Limit alcohol and caffeine as these substances can pass into breast milk and negatively affect your baby's development and sleep patterns. Self-care activities like massage, warm baths, or meditation promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. Seek support from friends, family, or healthcare professionals when needed.

Also read: Oestrogen protects against obesity-related fatty liver, says study

4. Be Vigilant for Potential Issues

Awareness of warning signs indicating potential breast health problems during breastfeeding is essential. These may include engorged breasts, insufficient milk supply, sore nipples, mastitis (breast inflammation), clogged ducts, or unusual changes in breast tissue. Prompt assistance from a lactation consultant or healthcare provider is crucial if experiencing any of these symptoms.

5. Follow Best Practices for Breast Care

Maintaining proper breast hygiene and adopting correct breastfeeding techniques are vital for preventing discomfort and complications. Keep breasts clean and dry, wear comfortable and supportive bras, and moisturize nipples with lanolin or coconut oil to prevent cracking and soreness. Ensure proper latch and positioning during breastfeeding to promote effective milk transfer and minimize nipple damage. 

6. Choose Appropriate Clothing and Accessories

Nursing bras: These offer support and easy access for nursing, with clips or clasps for one-handed operation.

Breast pads: Disposable or washable pads absorb leaks and prevent discomfort, keeping your clothes dry.

Breastfeeding tops: Look for tops with discreet openings or flaps for convenient nursing in public.

Comfy fabrics: Opt for breathable, moisture-wicking materials like cotton or bamboo to stay comfortable and avoid irritation. 

These essentials will help you stay confident and comfortable during your breastfeeding journey. Remember, your comfort is key, so choose items that fit well and make you feel good.

7. Prioritize Regular Screenings and Tests

Engage in regular breast self-exams and clinical breast exams conducted by healthcare providers to detect abnormalities or concerns early. Depending on individual risk factors and guidelines, mammograms may be recommended for breast cancer screening starting at age 40. Discuss screening recommendations and personalized care plans with your healthcare provider for comprehensive breast health care.

Maintaining breast health during late 30s lactation requires a multifaceted approach encompassing nutrition, physical activity, lifestyle habits, proper care practices, and regular screenings. By incorporating these essential tips into their daily routine and seeking professional guidance when needed, mothers can promote optimal breast health and enjoy a fulfilling breastfeeding experience for both themselves and their babies.

Dr. Aabha Bhalerao is Consulting Senior Gynaecologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Hinjewadi, Pune. 

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