Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Breast Health

As new moms, we’re always worried about the health of our babies, but as a breastfeeding mom, you should also consider your breast health.  If breast milk is the primary or any source of nutrition for your baby, healthy breasts are essential.  As we focus on breast cancer awareness during the month of October, we should remember that breast health is a year-long quest, and should be taken as seriously as other aspects of our health.  And now, as a breastfeeding mom, breast health is more important than ever.

Here are the six best things you can do for your breasts:

Measuring bra cup sizeWear the Right Bra:  Wearing a properly fitting bra is vital, not only to support your breasts throughout the day (and night!), but also to remain comfortable.  You can determine your bra size using our Loving Moments bra size calculator.

Women often believe themselves to be a certain bra size and continuously buy that size, no matter how it fits.  Don’t get stuck on a certain size.  The right bra for you is the bra that fits and supports you best!  Also, be sure to wear the right bra to meet your lifestyle needs.

Happy mother breast feeding her sonBreastfeeding:  We all know that breast is best for babies because breast milk has the most perfect set of nutrients for your little one’s developing body.  Studies show that breastfeeding also benefits mamas by reducing risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and reduces postpartum depression.

You may have heard the myth that breastfeeding causes breasts to sag…it’s not true!  The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that enlarged breasts due to milk production is not one of the causes for loss of breast elasticity.

Exercise:  Exercises does the body good in so many ways. Staying physically fit so the body is strong and able to fight off illness and diseases is just one example.  Exercising and maintaining a healthy body mass index can help to decrease your chances of breast cancer.

Exercise also helps strengthen muscles to improve posture, which is especially important if you have large breasts.  A strong back will help you carry the weight and reduce pressure on the back and shoulders.

Be sure to wear a properly fitting sport bra, even when breastfeeding, such as Leading Lady’s active wirefree nursing bra.   Your sports bra should encapsulate and compress breasts to prevent bounce, strain and sag, but also give you a full range of motion to be active.

Nutrition and Avoiding Alcohol and Smoking:  Eating a diet high in antioxidants (found in many fruits, vegetables and even coffee), can help the body fight cancers like breast cancer.  Limit excessive fat intake, alcohol consumption and avoid smoking, as they are risk factors for breast cancer.

Know Your Body:  Every woman’s breasts are different, including breast tissue density, nipple size and hormonal fluctuations.  Know what is normal for you so you can identify when you may have a problem, such as a lump, discharge, discoloration or deformation of the breast.  Consult your physician if you sense any abnormalities.  It could save your life!

Exams:  Self breast exams can also save lives and should be performed monthly, about 5-10 days after the start of your period.  Perform them in the shower, in front of the mirror and while lying down.  You OBGYN or primary care physician should also do a thorough breast exam every year.  The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women starting at age 40.

Wishing you excellent breast health as we focus on breast cancer awareness this month, and for many years to come!