Breastfeeding Guide

Will My Breasts Sag After Breastfeeding

Here's what experts know about breast sagging after pregnancy
Will My Breasts Sag After Breastfeeding

Our culture is obsessed with mothers “bouncing back” to our pre-pregnancy selves but is this possible - especially when it comes to our breasts?

You've probably heard your breasts will become saggier after breastfeeding, and while this is partially true, breastfeeding doesn't have as much to do with it as many believe.

Does Breastfeeding Cause Breasts to Sag?

Breastfeeding has been widely attributed as a major cause of saggy or droopy breasts. However, several studies conducted by doctors have proven this to be a misconception. 

These studies compared women who breastfed with pregnant women who didn’t breastfeed - and found no link between breastfeeding and breast sagging. The breasts of mothers who breastfed didn’t sag more than those who didn’t breastfeed. Instead, they found that breast sagging to be caused mainly by pregnancy-related changes, not breastfeeding. 

In other words, the sag many mothers experience is attributed to overall breast growth during pregnancy, regardless of whether or not you nurse.

Other factors include:

  • Age: younger people tend to have more skin elasticity than older people

  • The number of pregnancies: the more pregnancies you have had, the saggier your breasts may become

  • Genetics: some naturally have more skin elasticity than others

  • Whether the patient smoked: smoking breaks down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance and supports the breast.

Breast Sagging After Pregnancy

Throughout pregnancy, your breasts grow bigger due to increased levels of estrogen enlarging your milk ducts as well as pregnancy weight gain. 

After being pregnant — whether breastfeeding or not — the breasts usually return to their original size.

This shrinking process happens regardless of whether you breastfeed. Women who don’t breastfeed will notice their breasts shrink weeks to months after birth. Women who breastfeed will see their breasts get smaller in the weeks to months after they stop breastfeeding.

The now stretched-out skin may not have the elasticity to shrink down to match the smaller breast size. Breasts sag as the result of a higher ratio of skin to breast tissue.

How much your chest size changes during the whole pregnancy and postpartum process will also influence how much sagging occurs. If you go down by just a cup size or less, you'll likely end up with less sagging than someone who experiences a larger change in size. 

What Can I Do to Help Prevent My Breasts from Sagging?

While it might not be possible to prevent breasts from sagging entirely, here are things experts say you can do to minimize sagging:

  1. Wear a Supportive Nursing Bra Wearing a supportive bra is important to maintaining breast shape and lift. Bra support is even more important when you are breastfeeding because your milk-filled breasts are much heavier than before. Not providing the support they need during this need will cause the skin of your breasts to strain which can lead to sagging.

  2. Wean gradually. When you are ready to plan to wean, do it gradually rather than stopping abruptly. Slow involution gives fat tissue time to redeposit inside breasts and help them regain their pre-pregnancy appearance. 

  3. Avoid Rapid Weight loss. Breastfeeding can help women lose their pregnancy weight but be careful to do it slowly. Rapid fluctuations in weight can cause elastin and collagen loss, contributing to droopy breasts.

  4. Practice good posture. Have you noticed that while you are breastfeeding, you tend to slouch? When we hold ourselves up with good back posture, our breasts follow along and don't sag as much. Use a supportive breastfeeding pillow (our favourite is the My Brestfriend Nursing Pillow) to help maintain good posture while nursing.

  5. Drink plenty of water. Keeping your skin healthy and hydrated goes a long way in preserving its overall elasticity.

  6. Moisturize your breasts. Use a safe moisturiser to take care of the delicate tissues around your breasts. Staying well-hydrated helps to maintain the skin’s elasticity and slow the progression of sagging

  7. A Healthy Diet. Regular exercise and nutritious food are imperative for perky breasts post-delivery. Fad diets and food low on nutrition can steal the skin of its elasticity and result in droopy breasts.

  8. Exercise. By exercising your pectoral and back muscles, you can help to strengthen the ligaments surrounding and holding your breasts up, making them appear more toned. 

Bigger, smaller, saggy, leaky, beautiful

Our bodies - breasts included - are constantly changing throughout our lives. We think it’s important not to put any pressure on yourself to magically bounce back into your pre-pregnancy body. 

Whether your breasts are bigger, smaller, lopsided, or saggy, embrace their new-found beauty and try to laugh along the way. After all, they’ve done a truly amazing job, don’t you think?

Understanding firsthand the unique needs (and woes) of breastfeeding mothers, Claire has made it her life's mission to help make mothers' breastfeeding journey a little more comfortable by selling maternity bras in Singapore.

About the author: Claire is a nursing bra specialist, designer and founder of maternity brand Embrace. She is a mother of two and has spent four years breastfeeding her babies. Understanding firsthand the unique needs (and woes) of breastfeeding mothers, Claire has made it her life's mission to help make mothers' breastfeeding journey a little more comfortable.