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Breast Visual Signs For Re-Lactation

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When your breasts get the message that your body is pregnant, or your body is being directed by breast stimulation to prepare for full lactation, certain changes occur to your breasts that are visible to the eye. These visual changes can be an increase in the size of your breasts (as much as one or two cup-sizes), changes in the pigmentation of your nipples and your areolae, changes in the size of your nipples and your areolae, and a more noticeable presence of blood vessels just under the surface of your breasts. The images in this Gallery are examples which you can compare to your own breasts, giving you an approximate reference number that can be communicated to someone who does not have the opportunity to observe your breast changes personally, such as a lactation consultant.

Nipple/Areola Pigmentation

Compare your breasts to these images to determine a reference number to which you can refer, to convey your current lactational status. The images in the following gallery generally progress from the lightest pigmentation to the darkest. You may judge that some images may be darker pigmented than a following image, but that is not important... it is just being able to refer to an example that is similar to your breasts that is important, and an expert that is not local can refer to this chart to judge your progress. Expect your breast pigmentation to change as your breasts progress toward complete lactation.

NOTE: If you notice that your pigment is changing over time in size, color, or shape, and you are definitely not pregnant or inducing lactation, please bring it to the attention of your OB/Gyn or a qualified Breast Surgeon.

Record on the chart (where you keep your menstrual history) your current reference number and today's date. If your pigmentation changes, your doctor can see your current coloring and then refer to this gallery on his/her office computer so that he/she might be able to see how much it has changed, and then they can better understand your concern.  

If you are stimulating your breasts to induce lactation, and you observe that your nipple and areolar pigmentation is darkening, that is an indication to you that your breasts are getting  closer to lactating.

Nipple/Areola Diameter

As your breasts develop, new acini tissues deep inside your breasts will develop, making your breasts increase in size. As they increase, your areolae naturally will increase in diameter, and your nipples will become larger in diameter. If you are anxious to see if your breasts are progressing toward lactation, you can better  judge whether your nipples are changing in diameter by using a simple Nipple Gauge that you can easily make. You can find it in our Tools & Gadgets section.

Breast Veining

When your breasts are preparing for lactation, the concentrated cellular construction inside your breasts that is developing your acini tissues requires extra nutrients that are transported to your breasts  in your blood. That requires your blood vessels to dilate, often making them "appear" for the first time under the surface of your breast skin. If you notice the vessels increasing in number or size, that  would generally indicate that your breasts are moving closer toward full lactation. They will continue to enlarge and maintain their presence during the time that you are lactating because the extra nutrients are needed to continue the production of milk.

You can see examples of this Veining in a Gallery found in the Anatomy Gallery section.
 

 

 

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Some women become concerned about their areolae and nipples getting so dark. If they are pregnant or actively inducing lactation it can be very normal. To alleviate some of your concerns, more images of women that have darker pigmentation may be located at the Anatomy Gallery Section

We welcome any images that anyone wants to offer of their own breast changes. Please contact  Ken at BreastCare@comcast.net  for information.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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