Breast Problems After Breastfeeding
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 breast? 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 significantly. Breast size is determined by how much fatty tissue there is. Producing 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 are 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 a study in 2007 showed that breastfeeding itself is not the culprit. Other factors that can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding 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
- 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 while breastfeeding, for instance, which is caused by congested blood vessels in the breast, is common while breastfeeding. Once it's resolved, it may leave one breast slightly misshapen.
Any dimpling or puckering of your breast may be a sign of a breast lump underneath and should be evaluated by your doctor.
Do Asymmetric or Uneven Breasts Come From Breastfeeding?
Breast tissue extends up toward your armpit. So as breast tissue swells with milk and then shrinks again after breastfeeding, the contours of your bust line may change.
Many women have uneven breasts before becoming pregnant as well as after breastfeeding. It's possible for one breast to return to its pre-pregnancy size while the other stays larger, droops or flattens more. Some women end up with one breast a full cup size smaller or larger than the other after breastfeeding and simply learn to love the body that nourished their babies -- no matter what its shape.