Does breastfeeding "ruin" your breasts? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been told this by several people,and am wanting to get some honest answers about it.I have been told that after breastfeeding your breasts shrivel up,shrink & "deflate".
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#2 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:02 AM
 
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I've breastfed a few kids for a total of 12 years or more if you add the years of breastfeeding all up. Right after they wean, my breasts look a bit forlorn, but they look pretty good now. I don't think you can tell.

There is a breastfeeding atlas, by Barbara Wilson-Clay, I think, with pictures of all sorts of women's breasts, and it's really hard to tell what age the women are, and whether they breastfed or not. I was wrong many times in my guesses.

Some young women with no kids have very saggy breasts, other older women that breastfed several children have very non-saggy breasts.
"They" (whoever they is) say that its pregnancy that stretches/changes your breasts not the feeding.
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#3 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:05 AM
 
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IMHO, anything that puts stress on your breast will gradually "deflate" them. That includes pregnancy, breastfeeding, and large weight fluctation of any kind. It isn't the breastfeeding per se, but the fact that they usually grow significantly when your milk comes in and whenever you get engorged, and then shrink when they're empty again.

So I'd say, yeah, breastfeeding can make your breasts saggier, but it's not the only thing that does it. Pregnancy makes a significant difference even if you don't breastfeed.
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#4 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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yes, it does. but i think it's completely worth it.


that is to say.... i started out with huge, perky, round C cup breasts... they swelled to a huge and gorgeous D... then i thoroughly filled out a C cup for awhile..... and now after nursing my dd for over 2.5 years, i'm almost sad to say that they're not even A-cups. :


HOWEVER i have learned to love them for what they are, and realize that they really "fit" me better. i'm not that perky, round-chested young maiden i once was, and i never will be ~~ and i'm ok with that. i'm now a fully ripe, mature, strong Womyn, whose milk has nourished a living soul!



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#5 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:24 AM
 
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I'm sure they do change. Right now mine are a C some hours and a D other hours.

But, I have to say, BFing has changed my relationship with my breasts in a very positive way. Before they just kind of sat there, attracting men in an uncomfortable way. Now, they are useful and I like them. Apparently they still attract men but I am much more comfortable with that now.
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#6 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
IMHO, anything that puts stress on your breast will gradually "deflate" them. That includes pregnancy, breastfeeding, and large weight fluctation of any kind. It isn't the breastfeeding per se, but the fact that they usually grow significantly when your milk comes in and whenever you get engorged, and then shrink when they're empty again.

So I'd say, yeah, breastfeeding can make your breasts saggier, but it's not the only thing that does it. Pregnancy makes a significant difference even if you don't breastfeed.
That's pretty much it. I'd say bfing does contribute to it, but vanity is so much less important than your child's health and well-being that I don't even care
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#7 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:49 AM
 
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Before kids/BF I had small perky "Madonna-boobs". DH says he likes them much better now. I guess whether or not they're "ruined" depends on what you think they should be.

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#8 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:53 AM
 
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I have to echo the previous posters and say that my relationship with my breasts is so much better now. I used to feel awkward and self-conscious about them, and worry about what other people thought about them. They are less perky now (and I'm in my 40s, so I would expect that even without kids), but I am happy with them and proud of them for working so hard and being so bountiful!
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#9 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 04:35 AM
 
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They do change, but one's body changes throughout life. It's inevitable. I would rather say, "yeah, my breasts are a little different because I bore children and breastfed them" than say, "I fed my babies formula because I didn't want to ruin my breasts, but they are starting to get saggy anyway."
Gravity has its way with everyone. At least having children gives meaning to unavoidable bodily changes.

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#10 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 06:49 AM
 
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To be honest, I believe its the pregnancy itself that deflates them so much. My breasts were the BIGGEST when my milk came in, and would have been that way even if i didn't breastfeed. Anything that gets overinflated so much, is going to stretch things out a bit and make them droopy afterwards.

I actually like my breasts BETTER now, btw.
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#11 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 10:00 AM
 
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I am nowhere near weaning. but my thoughts are this....yeah, they probably sag a lot more and are probably going to look deflated, but that's what a nice bra is for. I never walked around topless in public before getting pregnant...sure don't see the need to do so afterwards!

I was also concerned about what my poor stomach would look like after pregnancy, and I'm pleased to report it looks much the same as it did before. I still have about 10 pounds to lose and I could stand to tone it up some, but it's nowhere near what I'd been fearing. So sometimes the worst doesn't always happen.
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#12 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 10:19 AM
 
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I didn't BF with my first one and my breast didn't change too much. I'm only 4 mos. into it this time around and I can already see a difference. They sag more and slightly resemble a puppy dog's chew toy

I just wanted to say having done it both ways that I do think the BF'ing, not so much pregnancy, changes them significantly. Sure, you can get stretch marks and some sagginess from pregnancy in general but I think the BF'ing makes a pretty huge difference. I just thank my lucky stars every day that I have smaller breasts so that they aren't sagging to the ground.
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#13 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 10:37 AM
 
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In Papua New Guinea women have a curse they hurl at each other. "May your breasts be firm and high like a young girl's."

They would laugh at all the American women who want their breasts to look like those of an immature young girl's.

Just a little perspective.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#14 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
I have to echo the previous posters and say that my relationship with my breasts is so much better now. I used to feel awkward and self-conscious about them, and worry about what other people thought about them. They are less perky now (and I'm in my 40s, so I would expect that even without kids), but I am happy with them and proud of them for working so hard and being so bountiful!
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#15 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 11:18 AM
 
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I have better cleavage than I did pre-children, although it took me years to find the perfect bra to manage it . Like a PP, I would so much rather deal with the after effects of giving my child the best nutritional start possible than confess to them as adults that I valued my image more than their health.

Confession - when I'm done with kids, I'm getting a reduction and lift (for which I'm saving already) but it's more about the size than the sag and I was top heavy before kids.
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#16 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 11:40 AM
 
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i feared this too when i first became pregnant--but I think the overall process of pregnancy/breastfeeding etc has had a positive effect on my body. I no longer care about model-thinness, yet I still think i look pretty good for someone in their 3rd pregnancy : Human being-bodies change regardless, and IMO bearing children is the best possible cause of that

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#17 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 11:51 AM
 
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My girls arent "ruined" at all, they are different from what they used to be, but that is from age and pregnancy also. I nursed my kids for a combined total of about 6 years & my gals still turn heads (with the help of a rally supportive bra) Your nursing relationship for both you and your child is worth so much more than a nice rack- I promise.
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#18 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 12:50 PM
 
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My breasts are gorgeous and I breastfed one baby for 18 months and another for 25 months.

Personally I agree with those who have said that it's pregnancy that causes your breasts to change/deflate/sag/whatever, not breastfeeding. My mom formula-fed me and my three siblings -- she attempted breastfeeding for a week with me, but apart from that never breastfed a day in her life -- and her breasts are definitely not high and firm and perky anymore. There's nothing you can do to stop your breasts from changing during pregnancy, even if you formula feed from day one.

Besides which, hello, did I mention -- gorgeous breasts over here! (They are like the one part of my body that I am totally 100% happy with, can you tell? )
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#19 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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You know what "ruins" your breasts? Life! That's what "ruins" your breasts. I had what many would call "perfect" breasts prior to giving birth/BF'ing. Now they are a bit saggy, a bit deflated...but who cares? That's life. I wouldn't trade the bond that I have with my child due to BF'ing for any set of perky ta-tas!
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#20 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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I would have to say YES! My son only nursed from the right side. And, even though I tried to equal it all out by pumping on the left... they're still VERY lopsided (he's 4, been weaned since 3). Not the beautiful big boobs of yesteryear... at all! But, then again, neither is my ab region! But, he's sure a cute kid.
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#21 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 02:53 PM
 
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I wouldn'y say ruin but they did change them. Before DD I was a C and felt that was too big and getting in the way, after she weaned I was a nice B, They didn't get in the way as much, I could jog without straining myself
They are big again with nursing but I hope they go back to the B when DS weans in a few years.

I haven't yet seen a 40 year old that doesn't have droopy breast (without having work done)
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#22 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mntnmom View Post
I guess whether or not they're "ruined" depends on what you think they should be.
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#23 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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I've been breastfeeding for almost 16 months. Before ds, I had small (barely Bish), firm, perky breasts with small, bright pink areolas and nipples. Now my breasts are a bit bigger (small C when I'm not engorged), a bit saggier, my areolas are much bigger and darker, my nipples are bigger, and there are remnants of stretch marks all over them.

I LOVE my breasts. I look in the mirror and I admire them. What they look like, what they do, how they mean the world to my dear little boy. I recently saw a picture of my pre-baby boobs (browsing through dh's hidden file, lol) and while my old girls look quite arousing in a "girls gone wild," juvenile, "barely legal" porn kind of way, they look MUCH sexier and more womanly now. And this is not just my opinion, it's dh's as well. He much prefers my functional boobs, I think partly because he appreciates how important they are, too. I wouldn't go back to how they were for the world.
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#24 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 07:27 PM
 
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From my perspective, yes, but who cares? I mean WHAT would I be saving them for if I didn't use them now?

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#25 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 07:31 PM
 
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Pregnancy and breastfeeding changes your breasts, but doesn't "ruin" them. I prefer to think of my post-BF busom as "normal" and those perky boobs glorified in the media as "immature breasts."

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#26 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 08:16 PM
 
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I don't think they "ruin" but they certainly change. I have to agree with pp who said that pregnancy in itself will change them quite a bit. I started out a relatively perky C cup and 13 weeks into my pregnancy I was a D; by 20 weeks I was a DD and sagging. I'd lay down and my boobs would fall into my armpits. :

I'm 6 months into BFing and my breasts are certainly different, but not ruined. I never got huge dark nipples, but I did get stretch marks and saggy. Find a good bra (and enjoy the cleavage if you've got it). Breastfeeding is sooo worth it.

: co sleeping, babywearing, cloth diapering SAHM to two beautiful girls.
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#27 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 09:53 PM
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This is like asking if feet are ruined by walking, no?
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#28 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 10:06 PM
 
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OK, ya'll, I have a similar question! I am not too worried about breastfeeding ruining the 'look' of my breasts, but...

I them! Maybe because I waited soooo long for them, small though they are, or because I'm pretty comfortable with my body. I can't imagine being happier with them *after*. Anyways, they have always been very, erm, responsive, sexually. Am I going to lose that, during or after nursing my kids? I can't imagine them going through a couple of years' worth of breastfeeding and still being turned on by the DH... or am I compartmentalizing too much?

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#29 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 10:08 PM
 
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This seems sort of like asking if driving ruins your car. Breasts are made to breastfeed. How can using them for their intended purpose "ruin" them?

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#30 of 47 Old 03-14-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by taradt View Post

I haven't yet seen a 40 year old that doesn't have droopy breast (without having work done)
I'm over 40 and they don't droop, and I would never have work done on my breasts....So drooping isn't inevitable at 40 plus here. Mabye when I'm 70 it will be different....In that atlas I mentioned in an earlier post, some very pert looking breasts on those older women. But I think the point that several women have made is that they don't feel "ruined" either.

I guess it's like what my mother always used to tell me, it's what's on the inside that counts.....
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