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As your body prepares for birth, hormones and increased blood flow can cause swelling of the breasts. It’s normal for your breasts to feel swollen and sore, and you can expect your nipples and areolas to darken. It’s normal for your breasts to get bigger, too—a cup size or two.

Starting in the second trimester, your breasts may start to produce (and leak) colostrum. Colostrum is a thick, yellowish substance that is an ideal first food for your baby, since it includes nutrients that will help nourish your baby and fight infections.

MetroHealth recommends breastfeeding for all mothers because of the advantages for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding can help protect babies from obesity, gives babies nutrients, lowers risk of ear infections, asthma, and respiratory infections, and promotes bonding between a mother and baby. Breastfeeding also lowers a mother’s risk for breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby for at least the first 6 months of life, and your body will change the amount of milk you produce to match your baby’s needs as they grow. Plus, hormones produced during breastfeeding can be calming for both mom and baby.

MetroHealth offers free breastfeeding classes where you can learn the basics of breastfeeding preparation, feeding and pumping techniques, and newborn nutrition from our certified lactation consultants.

Sign up online here