What Happens to Your Breasts After Breastfeeding

Jan 09, 2024
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Whether you’re pregnant, considering having a baby, or you’re currently nursing, you may wonder what breastfeeding will do to your breasts. The answer is more complex than you may expect.

Breastfeeding is often the best decision for the health and well-being of your baby, and that’s why around 75% of women choose breastfeeding. You may wonder, though, what the experience will result in for your physical body. 

The plain fact is that breastfeeding changes your breasts in both temporary and permanent ways. Dr. Stephen Chen helps women feel comfortable with their bodies again, either through services such as a breast lift or the more comprehensive mommy makeover. If you’re worried about what breastfeeding will do to your body, you should know you don’t have to live with changes you don’t like. 

Your breasts during pregnancy

Although you may be most concerned about the changes to your breasts due to nursing, the change actually begins much earlier during your pregnancy. Well before your breasts produce milk, changing hormones bring about other changes. For example, Blood flow increases, and blood vessels may become more visible.

Your milk ducts also expand, which may make your breasts larger. The ligaments that support your breasts also become looser as your breasts become larger. Many women develop stretch marks. Your nipples will likely become larger and darker, as well. 

Changes due to nursing

Changes during pregnancy occur whether or not you actually decide to breastfeed. More changes can happen when you begin nursing your baby. Your body continues to produce higher levels of hormones, and as your milk ducts fill, your breasts become larger. 

Because each breast is independent, the changes could lead to different-sized breasts or different-shaped breasts. 

After breastfeeding

The changes that many women are most concerned with happen after they finish breastfeeding. Your breasts may stay larger, or they may shrink. Once there’s no more milk, you may feel like your breasts look empty or stretched.

Many factors affect how your breasts change after pregnancy and breastfeeding. For example, the amount of weight you gain and whether your body mass index (BMI_ returns to its pre-pregnancy level, your genetic makeup, how many pregnancies you’ve had, your age, what your breasts looked like before pregnancy, and lifestyle factors like whether you smoke or not all make a difference. 

All of that means it’s nearly impossible to predict how breastfeeding will affect how your breasts look. The important thing to remember is that no matter how your breasts change, we can help you get the contour and profile you want.

When to consider cosmetic surgery 

If you’re considering having another pregnancy, it’s not a good time to think about breast surgery. It’s best to wait until you’ve finished having children.

You should also be at a stable weight and healthy overall. Smoking makes it more difficult to heal, so you should not be a smoker if you’re thinking about breast augmentation, a breast lift, or other cosmetic procedures. You should also be prepared to have assistance with childcare for about six weeks after your surgery.

If you’d like to learn more about how Dr. Chen can help you feel great about your body again, schedule an appointment to discuss your options.