Adapted from babycenter.co.uk
Many women think that breastfeeding causes your breasts to become saggy. It’s pregnancy, rather than breastfeeding, that may cause your breasts to change in size and shape after having a baby.
Other reasons why breasts may appear more saggy after you’ve have a baby are if you:
- have a high body mass index (raised BMI)
- have had multiple pregnancies
- are an older mom
- had a large pre-pregnancy bra size
- a smoker
Your breasts don’t contain any muscles. They are attached to the muscles of your chest wall by thin bands (Cooper’s ligaments). These bands aren’t very taut, which is why your breasts are able to move around.
When you become pregnant, your breasts will go through a number of changes. They will become larger as they prepare for breastfeeding, while your nipples and the skin surrounding them (the areola) may darken in colour.
Several days after your baby arrives, your breasts will become fuller and heavier. This is caused by the blood supply increasing to your breasts, and your milk coming in.
As your breasts increase in size, the ligaments that support them may stretch. It’s this stretching that may lead to slightly saggier breasts. This change will happen regardless of whether or not you breastfeed your baby.
A week or two after your baby arrives, your breasts should return to roughly the size they were during pregnancy. They’ll stay that way until you’ve been breastfeeding for about 15 months, or when you stop breastfeeding. When you return to your pre-pregnancy weight, your breasts will probably return to their pre-pregnancy size, too.
Your breasts may not be quite as perky as they were before, particularly immediately after you’ve stopped feeding. But the good news is that in the six months or so after you stop breastfeeding, fatty tissue will gradually replace the milk-producing tissues in your breasts. This will leave your breasts feeling fuller. Therefore, it is important to eat healthy. There are many exercises that you could also do to strengthen your chest muscles.
If you’re worried about your breasts drooping during pregnancy, the best thing you can do is support them with a comfortable, well-fitted bra. Wearing a well-fitted bra means a bra that will support your growing breasts. A well-fitted bra will give you the “tightness feeling” of being well supported. It should be snug yet comfortable. If the band feels tight but the cup is just right, extend the band with bra extenders rather that getting a larger cup size.
You will need to invest in several bras as your size changes or, get a well supported, good quality, seamless bra that will grow with your growing breasts. A seamless bra with nursing function will be an added bonus. You should start changing bras as soon as your pre-pregnancy bras no longer fits or, feels uncomfortable.
To help prevent sagging, you wear a supportive nursing bra throughout the day and at night during your pregnancy, and while you’re breastfeeding. A supportive bra can help to hold up your breasts, keep the ligaments from stretching, and prevent your skin from sagging.