10 Common Breast Changes after Childbirth

Common Breast Changes After Delivery

When you are expecting a baby, you will notice quite some changes in your body, which may last even after you have delivered your baby. You are likely to notice changes in your breasts after delivery, for instance, your breasts may increase after childbirth. Women who have had smaller breasts before pregnancy may appreciate the increase in their breast size, others may not. They might experience engorgement and wonder how to reduce breast size after delivery so that their breasts appear normal. Many breast changes are normal after delivery, but it is important to discuss any unusual symptoms with a doctor.

How Do Breasts Change After Childbirth?

While pregnancy already starts affecting the size of the breasts and their appearance in a multitude of ways, childbirth seems to kickstart a different phase of growth altogether. Some of the changes in breasts are structural, while others might need to be corrected or treated as soon as possible.

1. Increase in Breast Size

While breast size undergoes an increase during pregnancy to help the child with breastfeeding after its birth, they tend to keep getting slightly bigger after the delivery, too.

Why This Happens

The diet of the new mother could be responsible for weight gain, which begins to reflect in the size of the breasts, too. Similarly, the hormones, which are yet to settle down after pregnancy, may continue to affect the body in various ways and as a result, the woman may have large breasts.

What You Can Do

Do your best to stick to food items that are nutritious and help you keep your weight under control. Invest in a bra that is comfortable and can support your large breasts without any trouble.

Increase In Breast Size

2. Bumpy Nipples

Once the pregnancy sets in, the areolas of the breasts start darkening over time. At the same time, the nipple also begins to jut out prominently. This is further accompanied by the appearance of tiny spots on and around the region.

Why This Happens

These numerous changes that take place on the breast and the nipple are all meant to help the baby spot the nipple easily after birth, and latch on to it. These elements help the little one breastfeed easily with poor eyesight and developing sensory perception.

What You Can Do

Time is the only factor that can reduce these changes. Following childbirth, your nipples would return to their original state after a few months or so, followed by other areas of the breasts, too.

3. Stretch Marks on Breasts

The body and the belly do increase quite a bit during pregnancy. Most mothers are aware of the stretch marks that appear on the tummy. But seeing the same on their breasts can be quite unnerving.

Why This Happens

Not all mothers have stretch marks on their breasts, and this can be termed to a hereditary reason. You might have an elastic skin that stretches and relaxes more frequently than others, causing stretch marks to be more apparent with weight gain.

What You Can Do

The best tactic in such a scenario is to keep the weight gain in check and maintain a healthy nature of food consumption. Most stretch marks fade away and lighten up in the first year itself. You might opt for skin treatments later on if you wish to.

Stretch Marks On Breasts

4. Asymmetrical Breasts

Breasts are not always perfect. You might have observed your own to be slightly lopsided, but not quite apparent immediately. However, after pregnancy, that skewed nature might be strongly evident.

Why This Happens

The lopsided nature of breasts occurs due to an unequal proportion of breast tissue on either side. This also is a factor for hormones to act on the breasts accordingly. Therefore, the larger breast seems to get even larger than before, making the difference apparent.

What You Can Do

The growth of the breasts that happens during pregnancy is normal, and there is nothing that can be done to control the rate of growth for each breast. Using the right bra can help improve their visual appearance in the initial weeks. Your breasts might return to their usual state in the following months.

5. Sagging Breasts

One of the biggest post-pregnancy breast changes is the sagginess that the breasts seem to get after pregnancy. The increasing size of the breasts during pregnancy is euphoric for many women. But the aftermath of saggy breasts can affect the body image and self-worth quite a bit.

Why This Happens

Numerous factors right from an increase in weight, to development of breast tissue, to the elasticity of skin play a role in the sagginess of breasts. Women who have had larger breasts to start with, do have a higher chance of experiencing saggy ones later on. Hereditary reasons cannot be excluded, too.

What You Can Do

Quite frankly, the only way to counter the sagginess in breasts is to make use of a bra that can make them look great, as well as maintain a controlled diet that doesn’t worsen the situation. A few creams or techniques can help tighten the skin to give them a perkiness, but that is just temporary.

Sagging Breasts

6. Engorged And Achy Breasts

Increase in the size of breasts during pregnancy is one thing. However, after delivery, many mothers tend to have breasts that truly seem engorged and might start hurting after a certain point as well.

Why This Happens

Lactation is proceeding at a rapid pace after childbirth and, at times, it can cause the breasts to be overfilled with milk. This puts stress on them and causes them to ache with the overflow. Leakage can be observed at times as well.

What You Can Do

Pumping out milk and storing it can quickly relieve the engorgement and reduce the aches as well. If not possible, using an ice pack or frozen cabbage leaves in the bra can help numb the sensation and reduce the pain.

7. Blocked Milk Ducts

The production of milk is quite an interesting process. Which is why some women wonder why their milk ducts seem to be blocked, even when they are lactating properly.

Why This Happens

The culprit in such a case is an improper bra. Women who continue to use bras with underwires after delivery, risk obstructing the milk ducts that lie under the breasts. This hinders the flow and generation of milk.

What You Can Do

Go for bras that have cotton bustiers that don’t dig into your skin. Breastfeeding bras with enhanced support are also available in the market.

Blocked Milk Ducts

8. Sore and Cracked Nipples

Nipples face the biggest brunt during pregnancy and even after childbirth. Amongst other changes that they undergo, there are instances when the nipples might get sore or even crack, resulting in pain.

Why This Happens

A mild degree of soreness is normal since your breasts have undergone a massive change. However, severe soreness or cracking is a sign of your little one failing to breastfeed properly or latch on to your nipple with ease.

What You Can Do

To reduce the repetitive irritation on the nipples, make sure your baby latches correctly while feeding him. There are certain creams or ointments you can use to soothe the nipples, which are safe for the baby, too.

9. Mastitis

The nipples jut out, the areola gets darker, and numerous tiny spots occur on the breast after childbirth. Amongst these changes, you might notice a bright red spot appear on your breast that gets painful and inflames quickly.

Why This Happens

Your breast is being exposed to milk and saliva constantly. If incorrect feeding leads to cracked nipples, the entire area becomes a thriving ground for bacteria, which can cause an infection termed as mastitis.

What You Can Do

Blocked ducts are the major culprits for the occurrence of mastitis. Make sure your breasts are pumped regularly to avoid the collection of milk in any specific area.


10. Abscess

Usually observed after mastitis, there might be instances where the initial red spot may turn yellow and sore, with a lump that is filled with pus.

Why This Happens

If a mother tends to ignore the mastitis and it is not treated right away, the infection can get worse. This becomes painful for the mother and unhygienic for the child, since his mouth can interact with the pus-filled area, too.

What You Can Do

Doctors might need to remove the swollen area to treat the infection entirely surgically. At times, a needle can also be used to remove the pus with minimal invasion.

Are These Postnatal Breast Changes Permanent?

Mothers might start opting for exercise to reduce breast size after delivery, which is a good thing. Most breast changes tend to fade away in a few months, while a bunch of them might be lifelong. Thankfully, there are always measures to make sure your breasts look their best as much as possible.

How to Maintain Breast Size After Pregnancy

Taking care of your breasts and making sure they look just as attractive as before after pregnancy can be achieved with ease by making use of a few tips.

  • Start exercising and focus on those areas that are responsible for strengthening your breast muscles and holding them up. These play a vital role in giving that firm and perky look.
  • While you may want to lose your pregnancy weight soon, don’t opt for an extreme diet to make it happen. The sudden weight loss could also affect your breasts. Opt for healthy meals instead.
  • Improving blood circulation in the area of your breast can help rejuvenate them easily. Alternate hot and cold water during your baths to stimulate the flow of blood through your body.
  • At times, breasts can also get hard and achy. These scenarios can be easily corrected by opting for simple breast massages that help bring back their firm nature.
  • Wearing a bra with a hardwire inside it, may not be the best choice. Keep wearing breastfeeding bras or ones with a cotton bustier instead, to help maintain a good breast size.

Despite undertaking different exercises and corrective measures, women often wonder how to decrease their breast size after delivery and to get them back in shape. It is important to note that the body has changed in various ways, and a healthy and fit body is highly necessary than anything else now.

Also Read: Breast Pain after Stopping Breastfeeding

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