Throughout your life, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the size and shape of your breasts can change. Of course, what breasts look like before and after breastfeeding depends on the person, since every woman's body is different. Still, you may experience varying degrees of unevenness in your breasts during the time you are breastfeeding.
Read on to learn more about how to get your breasts back to normal after breastfeeding and how to properly care for them.
What Happens to Breasts After Breastfeeding?
During pregnancy, changing levels of estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin cause physiological changes to the breast tissue. Milk ducts expand and blood flow increases. This may increase your cup size and make the veins in your breasts appear more prominent.
Along with the loosening of joints, your Cooper's ligaments — the ligaments that support your breast tissue — loosen and stretch to accommodate the growth of your breasts. You may also see stretch marks on your skin due to breast growth.
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.
Additionally, your nipples may go through some visible changes. They may darken considerably, the bumps known as Montgomery's tubercules might get bigger, and your areola may grow larger. These changes are part of your body's way of preparing for breastfeeding, making the nipples more visible and ready for feeding your newborn.
All of these changes will happen during the course of your pregnancy and don't hinge on whether or not you actually breastfeed.
Why Breasts Become Lopsided?
If one breast gets more stimulation (from a baby nursing or from a breast pump), it will produce more milk and grow larger than the other one. Uneven breasts can happen when a baby prefers one breast over the other or if you start nursing on the same breast most of the time.
Unevenness is usually more noticeable during the first few weeks after the birth of your baby when your milk supply is still adjusting. However, even after the first few weeks, your breasts can still become lopsided, particularly if you tend to nurse your baby on one side more than the other.
How to "Get Breasts Back" After Breastfeeding?
You can never fully restore the original size and shape of your breasts, but you can take certain measures to improve the lift and strength of your bust.
1. A Proper Bra With a Proper Posture
Sagging of the breasts is what most pregnant women feel bad about once they wean their child from breastfeeding. The well-fitted bra helps support your boobs which helps to reduce drooping. However, the outcomes depend on the right size, shape, and fabric to achieve desired support and comfort. Consultation with experts also helps in choosing the right fit. Furthermore, as you hold your child constantly and feed him, your posture changes, and it is slightly bent forward. Correct it and also correct your breastfeeding technique.
2. Exercise Regularly
Your breast glands, fat cells, and ligaments probably won't benefit from working out, but the muscles below your breasts (called pectorals) can. Toning the pectoralis major and minor will give your boobs a slightly more lifted appearance. Consider adding push-ups, chest presses, and free weight exercises to your routine.
3. Make Healthy Eating Choices
Weight changes have a significant impact on the appearance of your breasts. To avoid drooping of your boobs avoid crash dieting as it can affect the elastin and collagen in the boobs which can induce drooping. Also, you must cut your smoking and junk food consumption. Apart from that you must drink a lot of water and eat healthy food to get firm and toned boobs.
4. Moisturize and Exfoliate Your Skin
Moisturize your skin daily, focusing on the chest area, in order to maintain firmness and hydration. Select a herbal lotion with natural extracts which nurtures taut, youthful-looking skin. Also, be sure to use a body scrub or loofah to gently exfoliate your breasts while bathing every day. The removal of dead cells improves blood circulation and restores elasticity.
Bad posture, such as having a hunched or bent back, can cause the breasts to hang by their own weight, putting more pressure and tension on the breast tissue and aggravating sagging. Good posture, on the other hand, involves teaching your body to assume positions during movement where the least amount of strain is placed on supporting ligaments and muscles. By keeping your back straight and your shoulders back, good posture works to evenly distribute the weight in your body and help protect against sagging.
6. Massage Your Breasts
Breastfeeding provides a lot of stimulation to your breasts, but weaning leaves them with barely any stimulation at all. Massaging your breasts can help your breasts counter that in a better way. The various techniques ensure that your breasts receive stimulation from all directions, causing the blood circulation to revitalise and support the breast tissues in their repair and regrowth. Using olive oil or almond oil can cut down the sagging effect, and the massages can infuse strength in the muscles, helping them hold themselves together.
7. A Proper Diet
Your diet during pregnancy, and while you were breastfeeding would be different from the diet you must be following now. Whatever you eat, you must remember to include food in your diet that improves the muscle tone, make your skin supple, and combat the elastic skin by tightening it. For this, you must include food items that are rich in Vitamin B and Vitamin E, as they improve skin tone. Apart from that, you must cut down on the consumption of animal-based food items that are rich in fats. These can add weight to your breasts but reduce their suppleness.
8. Cosmetic Surgery
Due to changes in their shape, some people opt for surgical changes to their breasts after breastfeeding. This is a very personal choice and isn't right for everyone. Before considering any cosmetic surgery, it's important to consider the impact of such procedures.
If you're planning on another pregnancy, you may want to hold off until you are finished having children before considering surgery. Certain surgical procedures to the breast can make it virtually impossible to breastfeed in the future. Additionally, future pregnancies will result in changes to the breast tissue, even after surgery.
As with any major medical procedure, make sure to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons and any complications that could arise.
These are some ways to get your breasts back to normal after breastfeeding. Exercises and dietary changes can help in giving your breasts a proper shape. A quality, properly fitted bra gives added support that reduces the strain and stress on your breasts’ supporting tissues and muscles. Your breasts may not return to the shape that you had prior to your pregnancy, but these methods would improve the saggy and stretched shape. However, if you are particular about your body image and willing to go the extra mile, then opting for a surgical enhancement might be the right choice for you.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to understand the costs that come with the freedom to choose how you'd want your breasts to look like. The effect of breast augmentation on a consecutive pregnancy and any effects on your body as well as a repeat procedure would all have to be taken into account before making your final decision.