After a mom stops breastfeeding, she may notice that her "girls" have changed. If their breasts used to be small, they may appear fuller. If they were perky, they may begin to sag. Dear Mom, please consider this one of the unchangeable Badges of Motherhood.
Moms all over the world have literally given nourishment (not to mention, antibodies) from their bodies to their little ones. What else can they give? Well, other than having had their bodies taken over for nine months until the baby was born.
Because a woman's breasts contain no muscle, there's really no way to "exercise" them back into their previous perky, high-up state, if they have begun to droop a little. A set of ligaments called "Cooper's bands" attach a woman's breasts to the muscles of her chest wall. Ah, so that's where the muscle is! When the woman's breasts move around that's because the ligaments aren't very tight. Maybe that's a good thing.
For every mom who's breastfed their babies, here's a few words: Bras with good support. Also, some of these moms who have been "under-blessed," they may be excited to see their breasts actually growing a little larger!
Go ahead and snicker. It's true, though. For the mothers who have been endowed with less than they'd like up top, pregnancy and breastfeeding may allow the girls to grow just a bit bigger. Here's where the fruit comparisons come in.
Oranges. These are the small boobs that really slender women may have. They can easily be contained in an A or B cup. Post-breast feeding, these women may be pleasantly surprised to see they fit into a B cup.
Grapefruits. Subsequent pregnancies and breast feeding may lead to "spillage." That's the girls spilling out of bra tops. Yay, moving to a bigger size! But. . .
Lemons. Yes, some women do experience shrinkage of the girls. They may begin resembling "little girls." Not every woman will experience the same growth or loss of growth. YMMV.
Yikes, this isn't good! After mom weans her baby, her girls may look stretched out or even "empty!" This happens because the milk-producing parts of her breasts return to their pre-pregnancy size. The skin has stretched out. (Hint: Buy a good cream and massage this into the skin of your breasts daily.)
Several genetic factors can lead to sagging and that empty appearance. These include number of previous pregnancies, age, a history of smoking, body mass index and even having large breasts before becoming pregnant.
Women who fear a change in the appearance of their boobs can do several things. If they smoke, they should stop. If they are overweight, they should lose weight. Some factors can't be changed. These include pre-pregnancy breast size, age and previous pregnancies. Again, it all comes down to good self-care.
As a breastfeeding mom's milk dries up, she may feel hard lumps within her breasts. If, for some reason, she wasn't able to wean gradually, this may be more likely to happen.
Not only will she "feel" lumps. Her breasts may actually "look" lumpy, like pancake batter. Ack! That isn't good! No, but it's much better than if she gets lumps that aren't caused by the post-breast feeding process, right?
If she's concerned by either the presence of lumps or a "lumpy" look in her breasts, she can always to go her doctor to verify that she hasn't developed breast cancer or even fibroids. As her body adjusts to the weaning and no longer breast feeding her child, the feel and appearance of her breasts should smooth out. But it will take time.
Moms, if you didn't have uneven breasts before you got pregnant, you may be less likely to have this problem after you wean your little one. The tissue in a mom's breasts actually extends up into her armpits, which actually does increase the possibility of those asymmetric breasts.
Both during breastfeeding and after, the breast tissues and milk ducts expand with milk, the shape of their girls may be affected. One breast looks smaller while the other may seem to be larger.
Even worse, some mom's breasts may sag unevenly or flatten out unevenly, with one boob looking to be a bit more full. Once she is sure she's not going to have any more children, she can undergo cosmetic surgery to even out the size of her girls.
The area right around a woman's nipples is the "areola." When a woman has become pregnant, had a baby and breast fed, her girls go through lots of changes. One of these can be a darkening of the areola, which may be slightly disconcerting to the mom.
While this doesn't change the outward appearance of her girls while she's clothed, when she is nude and she sees herself in the mirror, that's a change that may take a little getting used to. This change may lessen over time as her child grows.
The color of her areolas may also stay permanently dark. If it doesn't bother her, she should just roll with the flow and enjoy her new boudoir look. Oh. She should try to avoid sheer underclothing and tops, depending on the darkness of her areola.
This may go away. For some women who breast feed their children, their nipples may grow, becoming much larger than they were before breast feeding. Goodbye, flimsy sexy bras and hello, more substantial bras! Breastfeeding moms don't want to "turn on the headlights," so this is probably a condition they don't want to develop.
The areolas will also expand and stretch out during the time she is breast feeding her baby. Once she weans the baby and her breasts go back to a smaller size (if they do), the areolas may continue to look stretched-out.
If she breast feeds more than one baby, she may be dealing with this situation for a few years. But, because she covers and supports her girls in bras, this is something that's known only to her partner, doctor and herself.
Mom's bosoms can develop infections such as mastitis, which is an infection of breast tissue that occurs most frequently when a woman is nursing. According to WebMD, the infection can occur when bacteria (most of the time from the baby's mouth) enters a milk duct through a woman's crack in her nipple.
Breast infections can be very uncomfortable, causing nursing moms to feel severe pain, experience redness, tenderness or swelling around and on the breasts, and even fever and chills. It is important to note that there are some breast infection that do not heal on their own. Mom, then, needs to go to her doctor so she can be treated with over-the-counter medication.
If mastitis is not treated, for example, the infection can cause breast abscesses to form - filled with pus, dead cells, and fluid which causes even more pain. In severe cases, mastitis can be fatal if mom doesn't treat it.
There is such a thing as fungal infection (also called a yeast infection or thrush) that can form on mom's nipples or in the breast and can affect both mom and the baby. Sounds gross, right?
According to WebMD, this type of fungal infection can develop days, weeks or even months after mom begins breastfeeding. The cause is said to be "thrush," an infection that lives off milk.
Nursing moms should take note of the signs. Mom's nipples will become sore out of the blue and it usually will last longer than a few days. Other symptoms of this problem include nipples that become flaky, itchy, pink or cracked.
If mom has a breast infection, mom and the baby need treatment.
Yes, mom, "that" kind of leakage. It doesn't matter that you weaned your baby two weeks or even two months ago. Your girls will continue to produce milk. And leak it, at the most inconvenient times. Don't ditch the nursing pads!
Because you're going to notice some leakage into your bras and tops. You may also continue to feel shooting pains in your breasts as your body adjusts to not feeding your baby. You'll feel that let down sensation, especially when you hear or sense something that stimulated it while you were breast feeding.
Moms may also continue feeling a sense of fullness and yes, this will continue for as long as the leaking does. That tingling sensation she felt when her breasts were getting ready to let milk down will also continue.
Yep. Stretch marks appear even on the girls. Mom, think about it. Just like your tummy grew, your girls grew. Maybe they grew and grew. The skin surrounding your girls had to stretch to accommodate the new, bigger size. As the skin stretched, it stretched too much (sorry!)
The normal production of collagen inside your skin is interrupted during this growth and stretching process. The stretch marks are actually scars (okay, let's think of them as "battle scars).
If you used coconut oil on your abdomen while you were pregnant, try using it on the stretch marks you now have on your boobs. You'll be able to minimize their appearance. Other moisturizing creams may also help. Don't shower or bathe with very hot water.
"Did the baby suck me dry? I have nothing to fill my bra!" While this cry may burst forth from some mom's mouths, they may mourn the loss of those fuller girls. If they were already well-endowed, they may actually breath a secret sigh of relief.
Some moms may be concerned to find that, once they finish breast feeding their little ones, their breasts may actually become smaller than they were before they become pregnant. Maybe these moms can give themselves a small, no pun intended, measure of comfort. Because some fashions actually encourage or need smaller breast sizes to look attractive.
And, what about when they put the baby into the jogger to go for a slow jog? Their girls aren't going to be bouncing painfully around.
Quite a switch from the bigger nipples, right? Once mom's girls aren't devoted to feeding a baby six (or more) times a day, they will change in size and appearance. This includes seeing her nipples shrinking.
Maybe that's a better problem to have. But that all depends on the mom in question. As far as what she chooses to wear, she's not going to have to worry about prominent nipples poking out through her bras and blouses.
What if she plans on future pregnancies and breast feeding those babies? Will smaller nipples make that harder? She should speak to a lactation specialist about that. But, looking only at appearances, it's not quite on the same level as uneven breasts or larger nipples.
Sources: elle.com, webmd.com, redbookmag.com, momtastic, shared.com, Gizmodo U.K., The Social GMO, BabyCenter, Lillyella, Communicate Science, The Doctors TV Show, Value-Management.com.au, Dermink, Pinterest, DMarkBeauty, Pinky McKay, Pretty Local Kingsbridge, What to Expect When You're Expecting, Breastfeeding Place