During pregnancy, you’ll be offered plenty of parenthood advice.
Friends, family, and even complete strangers will all offer you well intentioned but often unwelcome suggestions about all aspects of parenthood, including breastfeeding.
Along with unhelpful advice like ‘Dads should bottle feed to bond with baby’ or ‘Breastfeeding makes babies too dependent’, they might also tell you that breastfeeding causes saggy boobs.
This kind of misinformation leads many mothers to feel confused and start to doubt themselves.
And hearing this when you’re already breastfeeding, or planning to, can be disheartening.
You might feel breastfeeding is more important than potential breast changes. Or, you might worry about how breastfeeding could affect the appearance of your breasts.
However you feel, having concerns about changes to your body is completely normal. Despite wanting to provide the best for your baby, feelings about your postpartum body are valid.
Are you concerned about breastfeeding causing saggy boobs?
Saggy Boobs #1 What are considered saggy breasts?
The medical term for saggy boobs is breast ptosis.
The degree of ptosis (sagging) is measured by the position of the nipple in relation to where the underside of the breast attaches to the chest wall.
The degree of ptosis can range from mild to severe.
Saggy Boobs #2 What are normal breast changes during pregnancy?
During pregnancy women experience fluctuations in the size of their breasts. Lots of changes happen in preparation for breastfeeding a baby.
Some normal breast changes you might notice:
- The colour of your nipples and areola (the area around the nipple) gets darker
- The size of your areola increases
- Montgomery glands (the bumps around your areola) become more noticeable
- Blueish veins appear on the surface of your breasts
- Your breasts increase in size.
Some women notice only one or two of these changes. Others might notice them all – and more.
Your breasts are as unique as you are.
Saggy Boobs #3 Does breastfeeding cause saggy breasts?
If you’re worried breastfeeding will cause saggy boobs, you can relax.
Your breasts undergo these changes whether you breastfeed your baby or not.
The changes that occur during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your breasts to stretch.
You might be surprised to know this stretching begins as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. These weakening ligaments contribute to saggy boobs and the effect can increase with each pregnancy.
Saggy Boobs #4 Do breast pumps make your breasts sag?
Another myth you’ll often hear is that using a breast pump will give you saggy breasts.
Like breastfeeding, a breast pump doesn’t cause saggy boobs. The changes that happen to your body during pregnancy are the main cause.
Saggy Boobs #5 What else causes saggy breasts?
Just being pregnant can contribute to having saggy breasts.
There are also other factors, unrelated to pregnancy or breastfeeding, which also contribute to sagging.
Factors to be considered:
- Age – your skin naturally loses some elasticity as you get older
- Genetics – your skin’s natural elasticity can depend on your genes
- Weight – being overweight or obese reduces your skin’s elasticity and overall muscle tone
- Weight loss – rapid weight loss contributes to loss of elasticity and muscle tone. Aim to lose any weight gained during pregnancy gradually
- Exercise – lack of regular exercise contributes to reduced muscle tone, affecting the muscles that support your breasts
- Smoking – reduces your skin’s natural elasticity
- Breast size – in young women with large breasts, sagging might occur earlier in life due to gravity.
Saggy Boobs #6 Can saggy boobs be prevented?
You can’t control your age or your genes. But you can control other factors that contribute to sagging breasts.
If you avoid smoking, get some regular exercise and eat a healthy diet, you can give your body the opportunity to look and feel the best it can.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, there are ways you can support your breasts:
- Wear a well fitted, supportive maternity bra. You can read more about choosing the right bra in Nursing Bra – When Should I Get A Nursing Bra?
- Wear a specially designed sports bra for exercise; extra bouncing means extra strain on the ligaments that support your breasts
- Stay hydrated. This means inside and out! Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and moisturise regularly to help keep your skin supple.
Saggy Boobs #7 How do you fix saggy boobs after breastfeeding?
After breastfeeding, see a professional to be refitted for a new bra. Your breasts will probably return to their pre-pregnancy and breastfeeding size after your baby is weaned. It’s important to size down accordingly to continue to support your breasts.
Other breast concerns: when to see your doctor
All of the breast changes already mentioned are normal.
If you experience any of the following changes, it’s important to make an appointment with your healthcare provider:
- Flu-like symptoms while breastfeeding (e.g. fever, muscle aches, chills, fatigue). These symptoms could be signs of mastitis. You can read more about mastitis in Mastitis Symptoms and Treatment Of Mastitis.
- Dimpling or puckering of your breast
- Unusual nipple discharge (e.g. pus or blood)
- Nipple retraction (nipple turns inward)
- A lump in your breast. If you are breastfeeding, check out Blocked Milk Duct – Symptoms and Treatments for more information about a possible blocked duct.
While breastfeeding is certainly not to blame for the loss of perky boobs, there are other causes that are unavoidable.
Ageing and a gradual loss of skin elasticity are inevitable for everyone.
By following a healthy lifestyle you can reduce the effects of ageing on your breasts and body.
The evidence speaks for itself. If you are currently breastfeeding, thinking about breastfeeding, or lost in a sea of unsolicited advice, then rest assured. You will not be sacrificing the appearance of your breasts by breastfeeding your baby.
Enjoy this precious time. By breastfeeding, you’re giving your baby the best possible start to a life of good health.
Our bodies might change when we become mothers, but change isn’t necessarily bad. It’s simply different, and different can be new and beautiful too.