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Health & Parenting

Breast Problems After Breastfeeding

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The wonderful bond you create with your baby when you breastfeed is like no other. And experts agree that breast milk is ideal for your infant. But even though you want to give your baby the best start you can, you can't help but be concerned. What will nursing do to your breasts? Think of their size and shape, for example.

Throughout your life -- and especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding -- the size and shape of your breasts can change. Breast size is determined by how much fatty tissue there is. Making milk creates denser tissue in your breasts. After breastfeeding, both the fatty tissue and connective tissue in your breasts may shift.

Your breasts may or may not return to their pre-breastfeeding size or shape. Some women's breasts stay large, and others shrink. But sagging or staying full can be as much a result of genetics, weight gain during pregnancy, and age as a result of breastfeeding.

Will My Breasts Sag or Become Flat?

When you're nursing, the flow of milk can stretch your breast skin and tissue. That leaves some women with an "empty" or "stretched out" look to their breasts when the milk-producing structures shrink to the size they were before you got pregnant. It's a common cosmetic breast problem after breastfeeding, but it isn't a medical concern.

Women often fear that breastfeeding will make their breasts sag. But other factors can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding. These include:

  • BMI -- body mass index, a measure of your percentage of body fat
  • The number of pregnancies you've had
  • A large pre-pregnancy breast size
  • Age
  • A history of smoking

Will Breastfeeding Cause My Breasts to Be Misshapen?

Each breast is independent. So what happens to one breast during breastfeeding won't necessarily happen to the other. Breast engorgement, or painful overfilling of the breasts with milk is a common condition that may leave one breast slightly misshapen afterward, for instance.

Any dimpling or puckering of your breast may be a sign of a breast lump underneath and should be checked by your doctor.

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