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Thread: Anyone with tubular breasts?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone with tubular breasts?

    Hi everyone I'm new here, so I'm sorry if I've posted this in the wrong place!

    I was wondering if there are any mums out there with tubular breasts, who can tell me whether or not they had any breast changes during pregnancy, and could or couldn't breastfeed? I am 20 weeks pregnant, and was expecting zero breast changes at all once I found out I had tubular breasts. My boobs, however, have got marginally bigger, were sore in the first 9 weeks, have days where they're really veiny and my nipples have got bigger too. Is this a good sign? I'm getting so excited thinking that I may be able to breastfeed - I'd do anything to be able to!! I'm just worried that the changes may not mean anything at all. Has anyone had the same changes as me and still not been able to breastfeed? And is there anything I can do to maximise my chances once the baby is born?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,355

    Default Re: Anyone with tubular breasts?

    Welcome to the forum a congratulations on the baby to come!

    I'm not a mom with tubular breasts, so hopefully it's okay if I answer your questions from an academic rather than a personal perspective.

    The fundamental thing about breasts is that you can't necessarily tell by outward appearance alone how well your breasts are going to work when it comes to milk production. Having tubular breasts is an indication of a potential problem, not a guarantee. The breast changes you are seeing are certainly a great sign that you will be able to produce milk, and that the only question is going to be how much- and that's something you have in common with all women! The great thing about breastfeeding is that it does not have to be all or nothing. Any amount of milk you can produce for your baby is great. And even if you never made a single drop, you could still "dry nurse" your baby, and even feed your baby exclusively at the breast by using a nursing supplementer (e.g. Medela Supplemental Nursing System, Lact-Aid).

    I know that a lot of moms with tubular breasts choose to do breast augmentation. If you had augmentation, that could potentially pose a further hurdle to production because any breast surgery has the potential to disrupt the network of glandular tissue and the ducts that drain it.

    The things you can do to maximize your chances of success at nursing are the same as for any other mom. Here's a list:
    - Nursing goes best when mom and baby are both healthy and strong after birth. So you want to strive for the best birth possible. In particular, you want to avoid things like induction of labor for non-medical reasons (inductions increase the risk of the mom having a difficult or complicated birth and/or a c-section) and use of narcotic pain relievers (they can cause your baby to be born very sleepy and unwilling to nurse). You also want to choose your labor pain relief options with care- all medical pain relievers carry side-effects which can make birth longer or more difficult and lead to more complications. This isn't to say you should not use pain relief if you require it- just that you should know your options and choose carefully among them.
    - Presuming your baby is born healthy, have him/her delivered immediately onto your bare chest. Most babies will nurse within a few minutes of birth, and you don't want to waste that opportunity. Your baby will warm up best with skin-to-skin contact with you- all he/she needs is a little hat and a blanket tossed over both of you.
    - Delay all routine procedures (bath, bracelet, weigh and measure, footprints, eye ointment) for an hour or more after birth- it is much more important that you get a chance to bond and nurse and enjoy your baby!
    - Room in with your baby. Healthy babies do not need to spend time in the nursery, and your baby will nurse more and you will learn his nursing cues faster if he's right there with you.
    - If you do send your baby to the nursery, make a sign for his bassinet that says "I am a breastfed baby, no bottles or pacifiers please. Bring me to my mom every time I cry, or every 2-3 hours if I don't."
    - Do not introduce artificial nipples unless it is medically necessary. Babies latch differently on bottles and pacifiers than they do on the breast, and that can screw up their ability to nurse.
    - If the hospital has a lactation consultant, make sure you see her ASAP. I also strongly recommend engaging an outside LC, preferably one who is an IBCLC, and calling her if you experience difficulties. In fact, I would look for the IBCLC now and get to know her, and explain what challenges you think you could be facing.
    - Make sure you have a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician. Your local La Leche League meetings are a great place to ask for doctor recommendations from other moms. You want a doc who understands normal weight gain in breastfed babies and who does not discourage nursing even when mom needs to supplement.
    - Familiarize yourself with normal weight loss in newborn infants (up to 10% of birthweight is considered normal and does not require supplementation) and also normal diaper output for breastfed newborns: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp...s/enough-milk/
    - Fill up your freezer with heat-and-eat meals. You won't have time to cook once your baby arrives!
    - Surround yourself with helpful people. Helpful people walk your dog, scrub your floors, clean your toilets, do your laundry, and cook or obtain take-out for you. They do not expect you to wait on them or to hand the baby over to them so that they can enjoy it.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,911

    Default Re: Anyone with tubular breasts?

    with mommals thoughts and excellent suggestions! Since you have lots of time, I would also suggest the books The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) and, as backup if you like, The Breastfeeding Mothers Guide to Making More Milk. No need to read the whole books but I would suggest the first few chapters of the WAB about birth and the early days especially, and good to have an idea of what is covered in both books generally before baby comes. The WAB is usually sufficient and does cover various low milk production issues including insufficient breast tissue issues. But the BMGTMMM goes deeper into the many reasons a mother may experience low milk production and many proven ideas for maximizing a mother's potential milk production. I also suggest, get your online info from established, evidence based websites that appear active (so you know the information is up to date and evidence backed.) A few good websites are this one, www.kellymom.com, and www.lowmilksupply.org There are some other really great sites out there but, unfortunately, a much larger amount of incorrect information. We know much much more about maximizing milk production than we did even a few years ago. Also be aware that while hospitals differ in the quality of breastfeeding support they offer, and some do an excellent job, in many cases the doctors and nurses, as great as they may be, will not have the training to help with breastfeeding issues.

    I want to reiterate what mommal said about knowing what is NORMAL as far as weight gain/loss and early days nursing frequency, breast changes in the early days after birth, etc. Many mothers with no suspected milk production issues are undermined by doubt if someone says baby is 'losing too much weight' or that "you have no milk yet" etc. (It is normal for a mother to have 'no milk' the first day or two, sometimes longer, aside from colustrum which is scant and barely noticeable, yet all a newborn typically needs.) It is very easy for a mom to lose her confidence, and that is hard to get back from. This may apply especially to a mom who already suspects she may have trouble making enough. Also, know that if supplements are needed, it is entirely possible to supplement baby while continuing to increase you milk production and continuing to nurse. It's all in how it is done. This is so important to understand. And yes it is possible to nurse long term while supplementing as needed, and very often supplements (if needed) are only needed temporarily.
    Ultimately, your breastfeeding & mothering experience will come down to what works best for you and your baby. There are many ways to breastfeed and it is not only about the milk.

    "But appearances can be deceiving! Some women with breasts that fit these descriptions have nursed babies-even twins-with no problems at all. And since nursing tends to build breast tissue, the simple act of nursing tends to increase the amount of milk we can make, for this baby and future babies." -The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, section on breast tissue insufficiency, page 382.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Anyone with tubular breasts?

    I'm pretty certain I have them, but have not been officially diagnosed. My breasts did not change a whole lot in my first pregnancy, my areolas got larger (they are quite large today), but I don't recall other obvious changes. After the births it took a little longer than average for milk to come in, and the babies got a little frustrated, but after that my breasts became hard/engorged/leaked/etc even though they wouldn't look a whole lot larger. I can still use the same bras from pre-pregnancy, I just fill them out slightly more (and they cause plugged ducts...). I was able to exclusively breastfeed my first two children to 2.5 years, who gained weight and hit milestones without a problem. I currently have supply issues with my third, but his latch isn't great, he had trouble transferring milk (still does?), and long-lasting jaundice complicated matters. His weight wasn't increasing after 2 weeks and we were forced to supplement. My first two babies weren't too interested in solids until 9 mo/year, and wanted to nurse very often until they got a majority of calories from solids. I always blamed this on smaller breasts not having much storage capacity, not knowing about tubular breasts. The frequent nursing isn't something I minded doing but it seemed unusual compared to other mothers I knew. I'm a little worried about the current one because I am nursing around the clock as usual, adding pumping when I can, but it may not get better. So keep in mind that even if you are able to produce a good amount of milk, other circumstances that would lower supply in the average woman may have a greater negative impact/be harder to overcome for us. If I had suspected that we would have such issues this time, I would have rented a good pump ASAP and tried to sustain a better supply early.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Anyone with tubular breasts?

    I just want to thank you for your really really helpful messages. Sorry I haven't replied sooner!

    I guess I won't know how much milk I'll be able to make until the baby arrives - it's so hard waiting and knowing there may be a problem though! I have bought the mother's guide to making more milk as suggested, and shall have a read through. Thank you again for your responses!

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