When learning to breastfeed, the whole experience can seem quite foreign. No matter how many books you’ve read or videos you’ve watched, there are probably still a million concerns running through your mind, one of which is "Are my nipples normal?" and "Will I be able to breastfeed if I have (insert your boob concerns here)?"
As a certified lactation educator counselor, these are some of the most common concerns I hear, aside from those about baby’s weight gain and feeding schedules. Women early on begin to question whether or not their body is equipped to actually produce enough milk for the baby. While I know it goes without saying, I try to always remind Mamas that there is a vast variation of what is "normal" when it comes to boobs—specifically nipple size, skin tone, and breast shape. The most important thing to ask yourself is, "Did my breasts grow in size or change in color during pregnancy?"
It may actually be helpful to ask your partner. Oftentimes they are the first to notice your breasts and nipples changes. If your answer is "yes," then your body is likely on the right track toward breastfeeding success.
Though there is a small percentage of women who experience conditions that cause them not to be able to reach their breastfeeding goals, for example, a diagnosis of insufficient glandular tissue, endocrine irregularities, or medical emergencies during labor that interfere with initiating breastfeeding soon after birth. In these cases it’s best to seek assistance from an IBCLC.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with or experienced any of the more serious examples I mentioned but are still concerned about whether or not you’ll be able to breastfeed, I’ve shared four of the most typical anatomical concerns women have and how to manage them in order to have a more stress-free breastfeeding experience.