Mothers’ bodies undergo plenty of changes during pregnancy. Breasts play a crucial role in the nursing process, providing nutrients for babies during the first few years of their lives. So it is no surprise that you might notice changes during and after pregnancy.
These changes are expected since your body prepares for your baby’s arrival. And while breastfeeding, your body is continuously morphing to suit your infant’s needs. But what happens to your breasts once you start the weaning process?
Every mom has different experiences with their breasts. Generally speaking, though, you will notice changes post-breastfeeding. Here are some things you can expect once your baby is off breast milk.
How Does Pregnancy Change the Way My Breast Appears?
Pregnancy marks the start when you can see changes in your breasts’ appearance. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin cause physical changes to your body, internally and externally.
Milk ducts in your breasts will expand, so your breasts can grow bigger, and you will notice veins becoming more visible. Stretch marks are also more noticeable, and ligaments around your breasts will loosen and stretch to accommodate your growing chest.
Your nipples will also change in appearance during your pregnancy. You can expect it to turn a shade darker. The areolas and bumps (known as Montgomery’s tubercules) around your nipples will also increase in size and become more apparent. These changes can help your baby find your nipple while breastfeeding.
Will My Breast Shrink After Breastfeeding?
Many factors, including age, weight, genetics, breast size, and pregnancy counts, can affect your breasts’ appearance after breastfeeding. Some mothers’ breasts can return to their pre-pregnancy appearance, while others either stay the same cup size or even have their breasts shrink to a smaller size.
Some women experience shrinking after breastfeeding. But this has more to do with the changes in the hormones. A decrease in estrogen brought by aging can affect your breast size and cause shrinkage.
Other women notice their breasts sagging after breastfeeding. As mentioned above, different factors can cause this saggy appearance; however, breastfeeding is not one of those factors. Smoking, in particular, causes the skin to become less elastic.
Will My Nipples Shrink After Breastfeeding?
Your nipples and areolas can potentially shrink after breastfeeding. In fact, they will look lighter and smaller than they did before your pregnancy.
Again, this differs from mother to mother. But while your nipples will eventually shrink after breastfeeding, you are stuck with the excess stretch marks.
My Breasts Are Not Shrinking After Breastfeeding. Is This Normal?
Yes. There is nothing to worry about if your breasts stay large after breastfeeding. As stated earlier, many factors, like age and hormones, affect your breasts’ appearance.
Your breasts are also both different from one another. If one of your breasts shrinks, that does not automatically mean that the other will too. For instance, one breast might produce more milk than the other, so that breast will be fuller and appear larger.
How Do I Care For My Breasts During and After Breastfeeding?
Changes in your breasts’ appearance are inevitable, especially as you grow older and have more pregnancies. But while you cannot reverse the effects of aging (nor control how gravity pulls your breasts down), you can still care for them to keep them from looking saggy. Here are some tips to keep your breasts looking and feeling great:
- Wear a supportive bra that is comfortable and formfitting. Breastfeeding bras can keep your breasts from sagging. Plus, the right bra can make you look stylish in the clothes you enjoy wearing.
- Use skin care lotion or cream on your breast. Older moms experience dryness because of hormonal and environmental changes. The appropriate skin care can keep the breasts elastic and supple.
- Exercise regularly to keep your body healthy. Working out your pectorals can help lift your breasts and make them appear less saggy.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking affects the quality of your skin and can make it look older and saggier. Besides your looks, smoking can do plenty of damage inside the body too.
- Do not forget to take care of your nipples! Breastfeeding can cause soreness, blistering, bleeding, and cracking. You can apply lanolin, coconut oil, cream, or breast milk to help treat your nipples.
- Stay up to date with your breasts’ health by attending regular breast screening tests. You can either test yourself at home or have your doctor check your breasts at the clinic. Make sure your doctor knows about any lumps or out-of-place nipple discharges.
Your breasts are a part of your body. And like any body part, they need lots of care and attention. Healthy breasts can boost your self-esteem and make you feel confident.
What should I do if my nipples are sore and itchy after breastfeeding?
Visit your doctor if you experience pain and discomfort around your nipples. Shiny, crusty, or itchy nipples are signs of a yeast infection.
Is it normal to have asymmetrical breasts after breastfeeding?
Asymmetrical breasts are very common, and they can happen for a number of reasons, such as age, trauma, puberty, and hormonal changes. Breastfeeding does not cause asymmetrical breasts.
Will my breasts shrink if I choose to not breastfeed my baby?
Moms who choose not the breastfeed usually have their breasts shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size a few days post-partum.
Breasts are crucial for raising children. For many moms, breastfeeding is their way of nursing their babies. During pregnancy, mothers experience many bodily changes, including how their breasts look and feel.
Mothers experience some bodily changes after weaning their babies off breast milk. Some mothers say that their nipples shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size. Others say that their breasts stay the same size, if not bigger. Whatever happens to your body, know it will be a different story from mother to mother.
Keeping your breasts healthy and looking good can keep them from appearing saggy and old. Many moms want to keep themselves looking young and healthy, so wearing the right bra, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking can help them achieve that goal. Like any part of your body, your breasts also deserve some good ol’ TLC.