Your breasts go through a number of changes during pregnancy. They become larger in size, the nipples become more pronounced and the shape of your breasts may even change. Even after you have your baby, your breasts may look and feel different than they did before you became pregnant. In most cases, the lumps you feel are normal for a new mother, but contact your doctor about any lump that develops in your breast.
Normally, the texture of your breast is smooth and soft. This can change slightly when your hormones fluctuate, such as right before or during your period. It is important to do regular self breast exams so that you can get to know what is normal for your breasts. This will make it much easier for you to notice an unusual lump.
During pregnancy, your breasts change and become more nodular. As your body prepares for breastfeeding, your milk glands swell and fill with milk, causing the normally smooth texture of your breasts to feel lumpy. This is most apparent during the early postpartum weeks.
Milk-filled breasts after pregnancy tend to have a texture that is uniformly bumpy, but these lumps are small. Unusual lumps, on the other hand, are most often pea-sized or larger, may be painful and can be found either near the surface of the breast or deep within the tissue. They may move or be stationary.
Sometimes, a milk duct in a breast can become blocked and inflamed. This creates a swollen red, painful lump with can lead to mastitis, which is common. If you have mastitis, you may also suffer from fever and chills,and your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.
Galactoceles, milk-filled cysts, are less common than blocked milk ducts, but they are similar. Unlike blocked milk ducts, they do not usually become infected, but they can swell up to large sizes — more than an inch across — and may need to be aspirated, or drained. These lumps usually feel smooth and can be moved around a little with your fingers.