Saggy Boobs – Is Breastfeeding The Cause?

Saggy Boobs - Is Breastfeeding The Cause?

During pregnancy, many of us are subjected to both pleasant and unpleasant unsolicited advice and information.

One unpleasant taunt pregnant women hear is that if they breastfeed, they will have to deal with undesirable breast changes after weaning.

Saggy boobs, stretch marks, colour changes and more – all things some people believe are caused by breastfeeding.

Though you may feel breastfeeding is more important for your baby than the breast changes it might cause, it’s normal to be concerned as to how your breasts might be affected by breastfeeding.

Saggy Boobs After Breastfeeding

So, does breastfeeding cause permanent changes to your breasts? Is it responsible for saggy boobs?

Breast Changes During Pregnancy

If you’re worried about breastfeeding is the culprit for saggy boobs, you can relax.

Research shows that breastfeeding does not cause your breasts to sag. Rather, it’s pregnancy that can contribute to this.

For many mothers, breast soreness is the one of the first signs they have that they are pregnant. Indeed, from very early on in pregnancy, your breasts start preparing themselves for breastfeeding.

During pregnancy, you may notice that:

  • The colour of your areola and nipple darken
  • The size of your areola gets bigger
  • Montgomery glands (little pumps around your areola) become more prominent
  • Veins on the surface of your breast become more prominent
  • Your breasts increase in size as the milk making tissue grows inside them

As your breasts grow during pregnancy, the ligaments that support your breasts can stretch. This may contribute to your breasts sagging after pregnancy (whether you breastfeed or not). Breast sagging may be more obvious with each additional pregnancy.

You may find it helpful to wear a comfortable and well-fitted bra during pregnancy to support your breasts as they grow. For more information about when to get a maternity bra, read here.

Other Factors That Can Contribute To Saggy Boobs

There are other factors that can contribute to saggy boobs such as:

  • Getting older – your skin naturally loses some of its elasticity with age
  • Smoking – it reduces your skin’s elasticity
  • Being overweight or obese – means less muscle tone and reduces your skin’s elasticity
  • Lack of regular exercise – this can reduce muscle tone, including of the pectoral muscles that help give your breasts lift
  • Genetics – your skin’s natural elasticity plays a role

Breasts After Weaning

While breastfeeding, your breasts are filled with milk. Once weaning occurs, milk making cells in your breasts gradually shrink and fat cells get laid down again. This process can take several months to complete and as it occurs, your breasts usually return to their pre-pregnancy size.

When To See Your Doctor

There are certain breast changes that mean you should see your doctor. For example, see your doctor if you notice:

  • Flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, muscle aches, chills, fatigue). These symptoms might indicate mastitis.
  • Dimpling or puckering of your breast
  • Unusual nipple discharge (e.g. pus or blood)
  • Rash on your breast
  • Nipple retraction (turned inward)
  • A lump in your breast. If you are breastfeeding, read here for more information about a possible blocked duct.

So, you need not fear that breastfeeding will give you saggy boobs. Rather, to support the appearance of your breasts, make healthy lifestyle decisions. Don’t smoke, have regular exercise and eat a healthy diet — while also remembering that motherhood can change our bodies. Our bodies might change when we become mothers, but that doesn’t mean change is bad. It’s simply different, and different can still mean beautiful and healthy in a new way.

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Renee Kam is a mother of two daughters, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a physiotherapist, author of 'The Newborn Baby Manual' and an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor. In her spare time, Renee enjoys spending time with family and friends, horse riding, running and reading.

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