Breastfeeding Myths: Breastfeeding & Saggy Breasts
Many women worry about breastfeeding adversely affecting the shape and size of their breasts. Though doctors have hypothesized all along that it is pregnancy that changes women’s breasts and not breastfeeding, recent research backs up this claim. A group of plastic surgeons that perform breast lifts and breast augmentations studied the connection between sagginess and breastfeeding. They found no correlation. They did find a correlation between the number of times a woman had been pregnant and how saggy her breasts were. They also found that a history of smoking contributed to sagginess, which they attributed to the negative effect that smoking has on elastin, a protein in skin, which keeps it looking youthful and helps support the breast.
Do breasts shrink after breastfeeding?
Besides sagging, many women feel that their breasts are smaller when they finish breastfeeding than they had been before. Women’s breasts grow during pregnancy and again after birth. Many of us feel large breasted for the first time in our lives, during pregnancy and lactation, only to shrink back down when our baby is weaned. Since breastfeeding slowly works off the fat that gives breasts their size, women who breastfeed for several years may find that their breasts feel deflated. With time, the fat will be redeposited and their breasts will return to their prepregnancy size. One team of researchers found that women perceived their breasts as being smaller than they had been prior to getting pregnant, despite being their original size.