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Postpartum, Posteverything Boobs

Oct27

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Photo by Emmaline
Okay. Let’s talk about boobs some more.
Specifically, I’ve had more than several moms ask me about post-breastfeeding boobs. Do they…you know…bounce back? Will they be like they were before? Will they be different? Droopy? Saggy?
Behold! My magnificent answer: IT DEPENDS.
And it depends on a LOT. Genetics. Your age. Your cup size. How long you breastfed for. Number of children. Whether you previously had a lift, a reduction, or implants. For some women, just the pregnancy alone wreaks havoc, while others can birth and breastfeed multiple children and see absolutely no breast changes.
Basically, it’s a total freaking wild card.
Personally, I saw NO changes after nursing one baby. I was in my 20s, I was a 32A, I breastfed for five months but never really exclusively, as I was plagued with supply problems, my boobs never really changed much during that time — I think I was about a B cup. And after I stopped for good, everything was fine. I could still buy bras in the junior department, I could still skip wearing bras all together if I wanted to.
Then came baby number two. The clock had clicked past the 30 mark. I nursed exclusively for a good number of months (and spent several of them wearing 34D bras, yowzah). He weaned at 10 months. I never bothered with any creams or miracle serums, though I did wear bras or supportive tanks 24 hours a day for several weeks post-weaning. And honestly, things are just fine.
My boobs are DEFINITELY softer and probably not quite as (god I hate this description) “perky,” but really, they’re fine. Same size, no stretch marks, still nothing that could be described as saggy or deflated or tubesock-like. I am happy with them. My husband is very happy with them, oddly enough, and swears he prefers them now. (Hi honey! Thanks for never reading this column.) Since I got the short end of the Stretch Mark/Belly Pooch Stick, I am grateful for this small blessing of good post-pregnancy boobs.
But WHO KNOWS how I managed to luck out. Genetics? A benefit of being flat-chested? (SUCK THAT, everybody who teased me in high school.) Not nursing beyond a year? Not being past 35? Some combination of all of the above? Would another round of pregnancy and nursing completely change them all over again? Is it all just total ridiculous flat-out luck?
(And could I USE any more question marks today? Goodness. Back away from the rhetoricals, self!)
So…yeah. That’s all I can say about my boobs. Which have absolutely no bearing on your boobs, and offer no clues about what will happen to them after you birth and/or breastfeed a baby. Or multiple babies. I don’t think there’s any way to know for sure (although talking to your mother and grandmother might give you a basic idea of what to expect). The good news is that breastfeeding reduces your risk of certain kinds of breast cancer. Even if you’re not completely thrilled with the look and feel of your postpartum boobs, it’s definitely preferable to not having them around at all.
And now it’s your turn. Tell the nice Internet all about your boobs.


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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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28 Responses to “Postpartum, Posteverything Boobs”

  1. bessie.viola Oct 27 at 12:01 pm Reply Reply

    So, a lot of jealous here that you can go without a bra! I was a 36D pre-pregnancy, then had baby and nursed for 10 months (well, pumped exclusively) and am now a 38F. THAT’S a sexy number, for sure!
    Mine are softer and not as (GAH) perky as before, but they’re pretty much the same shape. I don’t worry about them too much, because I plan to have a reduction once we’re done with kids. I have a lot of back pain now, and I think that’s the biggest change.

  2. Danielle Oct 27 at 1:00 pm Reply Reply

    I was a 38DD prepregnancy, became a 40DDD during pregnancy and just stayed there. MASSIVE supply problems (and if I hear from ONE more person that nursing should have been easy for me because I have such big boobs! it will put me in a mood to axe-murder), started supplementing at 8 weeks and tried to pump and got not a drop at 3 months. But they’ve never gone back down. At least not in size. Saggy, the are, but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re in an F cup.

  3. Kate Oct 27 at 1:03 pm Reply Reply

    I went from a 36DDD pre-pregnancy to a 38/40 G/H by the end of the pregnancy and went up to an H/I after my milk came in. We’ll see what happens when wean (hopefully in about 6 months when he turns 1) but I don’t hold out much hope of getting back down to that DDD since I never lost the cup sizes I gained from birth control pills or weight gain even after I went off the pill/lost weight.
    I’m lucky enough to not have back pain so I wouldn’t care except almost none of my shirts fit. I really don’t want to invest in a whole new wardrobe (not to mention I’m now firmly in “plus sizes” which makes shopping a b*%#). Luckily sweaters are a little more forgiving. I’ve never been excited for fall to arrive before but I’m sick and tired of my 5 or 6 summer shirts.

  4. psumommy Oct 27 at 1:04 pm Reply Reply

    Mine were completely the same after nursing 3 kids for a year+ each. I’m nursing my 4th now (at 13.5 months)…I’ll check back to let you know what they look like when I’m done! :) Oh, and I’m 32…I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding since I was a few months over 24.
    Wow, that’s a long time. Huh.

  5. chiquita Oct 27 at 1:10 pm Reply Reply

    Splurge on a good bra and go for a fitting. Seriously. I just got complemented on my boobs from another woman a few weeks ago and asked if I was still nursing. Umm, no, but thanks. I think.

  6. NGS Oct 27 at 1:52 pm Reply Reply

    This is not quite relevant (in that it has nothing to do with postpartum anything), but I have stretch marks on my boobs from when THEY FIRST GREW when I was 12. I also have stretch marks on my thighs. So, I think a lot of the effects, as Amy says, are genetic and whether or not you were predisposed to any weirdnesses of the boobage kind pre-pregnancy.

  7. Joyce Oct 27 at 1:59 pm Reply Reply

    Yay boobs! Who doesn’t love a good pair o boobs? Or even a bad pair? What is a bad pair of boobs anyway? Wait, there is no answer to that question BECAUSE BAD BOOBS DON’T EXIST. So whatever your boobs look like postpartum, they are still boobs and are therefore great. Boobs = win.
    Um, put down the glass of wine woman.
    I heard once that it takes 6 months post-weaning for the milk ducts to really shrink down and the fatty breast tissue to take over. ? Mine seem pretty much the same after nursing for 10 months, maybe a tad softer, but no one is complainin. Of course it is my first baby and I’m 28… so… yeah. Thanks for letting me talk about my boobs to the internetz! That was fun.

  8. Joyce Oct 27 at 2:27 pm Reply Reply

    (In London so that was posted at 7:00, not 2… am responsible parent, I swear.)

  9. Anonymous Oct 27 at 4:01 pm Reply Reply

    Anyone here want to talk about nipple changes? I gained 2 bra sizes for each kid (and back down again), and my nipples are WAY bigger than before babies. I guess I’m stuck with that one.

  10. NGS Oct 27 at 4:32 pm Reply Reply

    This is not quite relevant (in that it has nothing to do with postpartum anything), but I have stretch marks on my boobs from when THEY FIRST GREW when I was 12. I also have stretch marks on my thighs. So, I think a lot of the effects, as Amy says, are genetic and whether or not you were predisposed to any weirdnesses of the boobage kind pre-pregnancy.

  11. eva Oct 27 at 4:51 pm Reply Reply

    I am 33 and breastfed my daughter for 17 months, which ended 5 months ago. I have “tube sock” 34B boobs now:( They were always kind of long/saggy even though they are not big. Just the bad luck of the draw. My tummy is tight though – no pooch!

  12. Camille Oct 27 at 4:51 pm Reply Reply

    I was 36DD pre-pregnancy, and am now a 36H (and still nursing a 7.5 month old). Try finding nursing bras in that size in any store near where most people live (and with boobs that size, you need a nursing-specific bra). Thank god for the interwebs! The last time I had “perky” boobs (hate. that. adjective) I was 12, but I still fear that my boobs will never recover. That said, I was never able to go braless (past 12 anyway) and have always had extra money in the clothing budget for good bras. I may start a boob job fund along with my daughter’s college fund though.

  13. Heidi Oct 27 at 6:12 pm Reply Reply

    Mah bewbs….Well, let me start by saying overnight TA-DAHHHH! there they were, and I bought my training bras at VS simply because I trained in a 36B bra.
    When I got pregnant, I was at a 36C. They BALLOONED to a 34DD. They were rock freaking hard. They stayed that way until I was finished nursing….Then, my once gloriously perky, large, lovely boobies skipped town.
    They look like two little sad sacks of gel hanging onto my ribcage. They’re now a 38D, and my left boob is larger than my right boob. No stretch marks, but damn. I’d rather have my perky boobs with stretch marks than these things.
    I come from a large chested bunch. My mother ALSO had the same problems. I don’t know about my Grandmother because she didn’t believe in bras, so as you can imagine, perky was never used when describing her chest.

  14. Kate Oct 27 at 8:15 pm Reply Reply

    @NGS, I have stretch marks on my breasts and my thighs from going through puberty so I knew I was doomed when I got pregnant. It was mildly amusing to see that the earliest stretch marks from my pregnancy were extensions of older ones though.

  15. Jaymee Oct 27 at 8:44 pm Reply Reply

    I am curious about those of you that say your boobs got bigger and stayed bigger. Did the rest of your body get bigger and stay bigger? I am just wondering because obviously if you didn’t lose all of your pregnancy weight then your boobs would most likely remain larger than they were pre-pregnancy.

  16. Kate Oct 28 at 7:23 am Reply Reply

    Well, I started out a 36DDD before the whole pregnancy thing, and ended up somewhere G/H range. Nursing bras for that size are the worst–they cost a ton and provide little support. But what else can you do?
    When I quit nursing, the best decision that I made was to go out and get a bra fitting and spend some serious dough and really good bras that fit really well–the next day I had several people tell me that it looked like I had lost 10 pounds.
    The worst part, though? I had been planning to get a breast reduction after breastfeeding–well before I ever got pregnant. When I was weaning, I called the plastic surgeon in town with the best reputation, and was told that they wouldn’t even CONSULT with me until 9 months after I quit breastfeeding because it can take that long for the boobs to go down/lose the baby weight.
    But yes, I can get back into my pre-pregnancy bras (I have one on now), even as big as I was.

  17. Olivia Oct 28 at 8:24 am Reply Reply

    I’m another one with stretch marks on my boobs from puberty, which is why I was totally not surprised that I got wicked stretch marks on my belly during pregnancy.
    Seven months into exclusively breastfeeding my first (I’m 31), and they are a 40DDD, up from 38DD. They don’t seem very different right now, just heavier. My only wish is that they don’t completely deflate when I stop nursing and turn into National Geographic boobs.

  18. Kathryn Oct 28 at 9:15 am Reply Reply

    went from a 34DD to currently a 34H in my 9th month… (extremely extremely grateful that there’s a specialty lingerie store 30 minutes from me where I can actually try on bras). would love for them to go back down… wish me luck!

  19. Danielle Oct 28 at 9:20 pm Reply Reply

    @Jaymee: Nope, lost all the rest of the pregnancy weight. Back in my prepregnancy pants (which I can now actually pull down without undoing the fly, something I couldn’t do before I was pregnant) and lost all but 5ish pounds of the weight — and that 5ish pounds is definitely the extra cup size. This is with my son now 11 months old and having weaned to formula (aforementioned supply problems, see above) at 3 mos. I had to shop for my bottom half in “regular” stores and my top half in Lane Bryant before the pregnancy, but now it’s really pronounced.

  20. Lori Oct 28 at 10:11 pm Reply Reply

    I was a 34 D prior to pregnancy and had pretty nice boobs if I do say so myself. I got up to 38 DD while exclusively nursing. They gradually shrunk back down to 34 D. I nursed my daughter for almost 17 months. They’re pretty much the same. A little softer, but still my boobs.

  21. Claire Lindstrom Oct 30 at 5:15 pm Reply Reply

    BREASTFEEDING DOES NOT CHANGE YOUR BOOBS! Just being pregnant does. There are many, many studies that show this, yet it is still a reason women give for not breastfeeding.

  22. Hanna Oct 31 at 6:42 pm Reply Reply

    I was 28 when I had my daughter, and had very nice 36C boobs before I got pregnant. After my milk came in, I was a 38DD and nothing fit! I nursed for a year, most of the time in a 36D after thing settled down. A few weeks after I weaned the baby, I finally lost that last 5 pounds and I was down to a 36B which I actually really liked. All my clothes fit again (except for the muffin top. Why?)! But the boobs were much softer, and distinctly un-perky. Also, baby had a side preference so I ended up with one boob a little bigger than the other! I’m preg. again, and the boobs are on the move. We’ll see what happens after the next one!

  23. Kate Nov 06 at 6:29 pm Reply Reply

    Before my son, I was a 40DD. I didn’t really change at all during pregnancy. After he was born, and my milk came in, I went up to a 40E.
    When we quit nursing two months ago at 16 months, I was a 38F (We were still nursing 8-10 times a day, and we quit cold turkey OHMYGOD. I was pretty sure my boobs were going to explode, and I actually watched some guy knock over a display in a store staring at my chest. If I hadn’t been in so much pain, it would have been awesome ;)
    My chest has since shrunk down to a 38D, but my poor boobs will probably never look like did before. I am 23, and my boobs like deflated balloons.
    I suppose I’ll just have to look forward to nursing another baby in a few years ;)

  24. Anonymous Nov 08 at 10:30 pm Reply Reply

    Hi
    I was in between a 34B-C cup before pregnancy (at 29) then amped up to about a very full C cup while nursing. (Though they would fluctuate a lot depending on how much she was nursing.) Then recently she weaned during the days and we encouraged the night wean over the course of about 3 nights. Yeah my boobs were pretty much going to explode. (she would point at them an say “oww” because that is what i would say as soon as anything got close to them.) About a week later I am down to a small b maybe even an A cup…they are softer. My husband says they are great. Though not sure he if he is just saying that to be kind:-) because yes all boobs are great (except maybe moops= man boobs) but they seen kinda little and sad after those hot mama loaners.

  25. Jacqueline Nov 09 at 2:10 am Reply Reply

    My boobs have gotten smaller and more deflated with each pregnancy I’ve had. I nursed for about 3 months after my first son was born and once finished I shrunk a bit. Five years later I had 2 miscarriages in one year and after each miscarriage I noticed that I had shrunk a bit more. I just weaned my second son after nursing for 12 months, and even though I’m pregnant again my boobs are just pitiful and sad. Like if I lay on my side they just look like loose skin:-( I’m definitely eying using my first post baby/nursing bonus on an enhancement. I don’t care what others think of they way my chest looks, but I know that I will be much more comfortable in my own skin if I don’t look like I have the chest of a 12 year old boy.

  26. Lise Nov 14 at 4:28 pm Reply Reply

    Did i miss something here? why are all these comments about boobies. i’m not complaining, i like talkin’ bout boobies, it’s just that i really wanted to read some embarrassing stories…
    Like the time 5 days postpartum when i forgot how to grocery shop. Just stood there in the store staring at my list (a friend made for me) and did not know what to do next.
    Or the many times we either forgot to buckle the baby in, or forgot to buckle the car seat in. I’m not proud of it, and you’d think you’d only do it once but jeeze…
    My husband has locked the car without getting the baby out and had to be reminded, “hey remember that child i pooped out my vagina, BECAUSE MY VAGINA REMEMBERS)
    All in all theres been less embarrassment and more potentially (or plain) unsafe situations. One time my husband and I and the baby all got a horrible flu and without consulting each other we each took some Ny quill, only to discover a few hours later when my daughter screamed that you cannot wake up from that stuff! We were so tired putting her back down that one of us (can’t remember who) didn’t buckle her into her swing (she had so much chest congestion she would only sleep in the swing) and i woke up to the sound of her rolling out of the swing onto the floor a few hours later. She was fine, but i felt like the worst mom in the world.

  27. stacy Nov 16 at 1:49 pm Reply Reply

    I am going to vote with genetics. My own mother had a boob job after her 3rd child, stating that “they deflated.” I was a 34B before, during pregnancy could wear my old bras up until the very last 2 months when I switched to a soft sports bra, went to a full C/small D when my milk finally settled and I was exclusively bf’ing. I weaned a month ago, and my boobs are so soft and floppy. A little droopy too. I’m back in my old bras, but I def think my boobs are smaller. If I have a 2nd kid then I know it’s prob going to get worse. Whatever. I mean, they’re just boobs.

  28. sc-anoni boobs Jan 24 at 1:49 am Reply Reply

    I was 34c pre pregnancy at the age of nineteen, the largest I got in a pregnancy was 36 h- but they changed intermittently, Now aged 33, after 5 kids I fed for up to two or three years each. Just finished feeding my three year old (took ages to get her to realise we’d finished tho) and three weeks later my breasts are down to 34d and looking less saggy and much softer than when I was breastfeeding. I’m glad I had all those sPecial moments with my babies and now I can have fun buying bras that are more fun than functional, yay! I was a little worried about my husband missing the big ones, but he seems content with these. Wonder if they will get smaller, or is this finally it now

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