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Breasts and Breastfeeding

Breasts are particularly responsive to hormonal fluctuations. During pregnancy, breasts undergo considerable changes in preparation for breastfeeding. It can be hard to maintain the same youthful silhouette after giving birth, but there are methods for taking care of your breasts.

Maternal Wellness: Embracing the Journey of Breasts and Breastfeeding.

Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding isn’t what causes breasts to become less perky after childbirth. Regardless of whether or not a woman is breastfeeding, her breasts lose their tone after delivery, however with proper care, her breasts may closely resemble their pre-breastfeeding form once she begins to menstruate again.

The start of it all

A woman’s bosom changes throughout her life. Until adolescence, boys and girls’ chests don’t differ much. At the onset of puberty, girls’ bodies start to produce higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, which increases the amount of adipose tissue, or fat, in the chest area. The amount of fat produced determines the size of the breasts, and internal suspensory ligaments and skin provide natural support.

New blood vessels are also formed during this time, as well as the glandular tissue that specializes in producing milk—on average, there are 15 to 20 lobes in each breast. Each lobe is composed of several lobules containing milk-producing glands. These create a network of milk ducts that merge before reaching the nipple.The dark skin surrounding the nipple is called the areola.

Breasts are usually fully formed around age 15–17.

Breasts aren’t perfectly symmetrical or evenly positioned, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. One breast is often slightly larger than the other. Nipples are also fairly diverse in shape and size. They are sensitive to touch and changes in temperature and will swell and become erect in response to cold or arousal. Breasts are an erogenous zone. Stimulating the nipples during intercourse is pleasurable for many women, and can even lead to orgasm in some. Nipple stimulation increases the production of oxytocin.


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Breast size and appearance is often a source of speculation, and a cause of insecurity in many young girls as well as grown women. An unhealthy view of her own breasts during a girl’s formative years can cause her to avoid conversations about bras and breast health, leaving her uninformed and more likely to make entirely avoidable mistakes that can have a permanent impact on her body. It can even cause bad posture if she has a tendency of hunching over to hide her breasts.

Loving your body is important for your physical and mental health.❤️

Changes in shape

The silhouette of the body changes over time. Aging, weight gain, and breast transformation during pregnancy causes stretching and loss of elasticity, and will gradually change the position, shape, and volume of your breasts.Body Silhouette Transformations: Aging, Pregnancy, and Breast Changes Explained

There are no muscles in the breasts, so while you can’t make them bigger by exercising, physical activity improves the quality of the skin as all the tissues receive more oxygen. The skin of your breasts is particularly thin and soft, and somewhat drier than on the rest of your body. Aesthetic dermatologists recommend caring for your breasts as diligently as you care for your teeth. Moisturizing creams, gentle scrubs, massages, contrast showers, and air baths can all help to maintain firmness before and after childbirth and breastfeeding.

Daily chest muscle exercises will help keep your chest muscles fit and firm, for example the isometric chest squeeze: Place the palms of your hands together and bring them up to the centre of your chest so that your elbows form a triangle in front of you. Press your palms firmly together for 30 seconds. Repeat 3–5 times.

Chest muscles are the natural support of your breasts, so it's worth training them.

Attention! Breast massage is not suitable during pregnancy, especially close to birth. It stimulates the production of oxytocin, which carries the risk of causing premature birth.

Support and style

The most popular form of breast support is the bra. Bra sizes have a number and a letter, e.g. 75C. The number represents the circumference of your chest beneath your breasts, and the letter represents your cup size. Bras usually have straps coming over the shoulders, and a clasp at the back, though endless variations are found in different styles. Bigger sizes often have underwiring for extra support, and some bras have padding for a push-up effect.

Finding a bra that looks good, fits well, and falls within your price range is not an easy task, but the importance of good structure, quality and fit cannot be stressed enough. Ill-fitting bras can cause breast, back, and shoulder pain, spine problems, bad posture, stretch marks, and chafing. Breasts size changes over time—keeping up with respective changes in bra size is just as important as keeping up with your shoe size.

When exercising, wear a sports bra. Tighter than ordinary bras, they minimize breast movement, alleviate discomfort, and reduce potential damage to suspensory ligaments. An appropriate bra is also important during pregnancy. As your breasts become bigger and heavier, put comfort before style—choose a bra made of natural fibers, such as cotton or silk, with large straps. Wearing a bra to bed can help prevent sagging, especially if your breasts have significantly increased in size during pregnancy.

Wearing a bra is a personal choice, and some women choose to go braless. In most cases, the bra isn’t strictly necessary, especially for women with smaller cup sizes. If she is comfortable with the idea, a woman can go through life without ever needing a bra.


Stretch marks and skin care

During pregnancy, the breasts grow larger and the areola becomes slightly wider and darker due to hormonal changes. Many women also get stretch marks—small red or purple marks that are the result of the skin stretching to accommodate the increase in size. Anti-stretch mark creams used during pregnancy can improve the elasticity of the skin and aid the healing of stretch marks, but they are unlikely to disappear completely.

Moisturising creams and exfoliating body scrubs help maintain the flexibility of the skin. Apply with circular movements, avoiding the nipple.

Contrast showers can also help—cold water activates blood circulation, firms the skin, and relieves heaviness, whereas warm water has a relaxing effect and dilates the blood capillaries. There is no need to shiver while shaving your legs or washing your hair—ending a regular shower with a jet of cold water will do. Start with your feet and work your way up to your chest.

Your health and lifestyle have an impact on the way your body behaves while undergoing changes. Your breasts are more affected by weight gain during and after pregnancy than they are by breastfeeding itself. It would be a big mistake to make changes in you diet that can potentially decrease milk production due to improper nutrition. The body changes gradually over the nine months of pregnancy and it takes about a year for it to regain its former shape.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

A woman’s nipples often feel tender when she starts to breastfeed. As the weeks go on, breastfeeding should become more comfortable, but sometimes it gets worse and the nipples can become painfully sore. You can use special ointments or creams to soothe your nipples and to prevent and treat these problems.

Your breasts may secrete a thick, yellowish liquid called colostrum during late pregnancy. This is the first, protein-rich milk breasts produce up to the second or third day after childbirth. It provides the newborn with many important nutrients. If it makes an early appearance, simply rinse your nipples carefully with warm water to clean them. Wearing breast pads can prevent the liquid from leaking onto clothes.

When washing your breasts during breastfeeding, rinse them with warm water and avoid using soap too frequently as it can dry, irritate, and even crack the skin of your breasts. Do not use strong-smelling beauty products with many active ingredients while breastfeeding. Ask your doctor about mild and non-toxic skincare products to protect your baby’s skin as well as your own. Use mild laundry detergent for the same reason.

Some mothers find it practical to use special nursing bras with a detachable cup. This facilitates both feeding and breast care while still providing skin to skin contact of mother and baby, which is essential in creating the unique emotional bond between them, and helps establish an easy breastfeeding rhythm.

When a woman stops breastfeeding, her breasts stop producing milk and there may be some loss of fullness and volume. Although there are always changes, exactly what they will be is impossible to predict. Some women’s breasts return to their original pre-pregnancy size, while others may have a permanent increase in cup size. Weight gain during pregnancy, age, and some habits, such as smoking, all have an effect on cell regeneration and skin elasticity. Properly inserted implants should have no effect on pregnancy and breastfeeding.

There is a wide range of treatments that can change your breasts for both aesthetic and medical reasons, such as exercise, vacuum procedures, and surgery. If you are considering an invasive procedure, consult your doctor for a breast exam, and consider any changes you’ve experienced during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or otherwise that might influence your choice.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women, and can result in the loss of one or both breasts, and in some cases, death. Early detection is paramount for successful treatment. You can greatly increase the chances of catching the disease in its early stages by having regular medical checkups and doing monthly breast examinations for any unusual lumps. Do this yourself or with a partner. Formations that cannot be felt can be detected via mammography or ultrasound examinations.

Early signs of breast cancer include:

  • Breast or nipple pain.
  • Breast swelling, swelling of the lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone.
  • Irritation, redness, thickening, or dimpling of breast or nipple skin.
  • Nipple retraction.
  • Discharge of anything other than breast milk.

Some discomfort is normal at certain stages of your monthly cycle—for example, your breasts may be swollen and tender during your period. Breasts also swell slightly as part of arousal. If you have any concerns or suspicions about your breast health, consult a physician to determine if anything is amiss.

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