Breastfeeding Does NOT Cause Breasts to Sag

Charlie - posted on 06/09/2010 ( 95 moms have responded )

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many new mothers choose not to for fear of sagging breasts. However, breastfeeding alone has no impact on a woman’s breast shape, according to a first-of-its-kind study presented today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2007 conference in Baltimore.

“Many women who come in for breast surgery tell us their breasts are sagging, drooping or are less full because they breastfed,” said Brian Rinker, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study author. “Although the amount of sagging in the breasts appears to increase with each pregnancy, we’ve found that breastfeeding does not worsen the effect.”

The study examined 93 women who were pregnant one or more times prior to having cosmetic breast surgery. Fifty-eight percent of patients reported breastfeeding one or more of their children. The duration of breastfeeding ranged from 2 to 25 months, with an average of nine months. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported an adverse change in the shape of their breasts following pregnancy.

As the first study to examine what impacts breast shape in connection to pregnancy, plastic surgeons found that a history of breastfeeding, the number of children breastfed, the duration of each child’s breastfeeding, or the amount of weight gained during pregnancy were not significant predictors for losing breast shape. However, body mass index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history, and age were significant risk factors for an increased degree of breast sagging.

Nearly 104,000 women had breast lifts in 2006, up 96 percent since 2000, according to the ASPS. In addition, more than 329,000 women had breast augmentation, making it the top surgical cosmetic procedure in 2006.

“Women may be reluctant to breastfeed because of this unfounded myth that doing so means the end of youthful breasts,” said Dr. Rinker. “Now, expectant mothers can relax knowing breastfeeding does not change the appearance of their breasts.”

Breast milk provides indisputable health benefits to infants. Research has shown breastfed infants have improved general health, growth and development as well as a lower risk of many acute and chronic illnesses than artificially fed infants.

Sagging or dropping of the breasts is a natural, inevitable process that happens to most all women at some point. The most notable sagging happens through normal life experiences.
Breasts can start drooping at any age, because they do not have muscles in them. They have ligaments and connective tissue. When the gravity pulls the breasts down, those ligaments and the skin can stretch, and so the breast droops. This depends on the elasticity of the skin and of the ligaments, as determined by your genes and diet and also, the normal aging process.
Some common reasons for sagging is when a woman loses weight and through breast involution.

When you lose weight, some of that fat disappears from your breasts. Typically the skin and the ligaments inside the breasts don't retract accordingly, resulting in an empty looking breast that then may sag.
things you can do to prevent sagging:

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Tone up your pectoral muscles! I don’t know why women get so upset over hearing this. Your breasts are not going to turn into man-pecs just because you do some pushups. It doesn’t work like that, for God’s sake. Those chicks you see on ESPN with man-pecs are not an example of what happens just from toning, so don’t worry about that. Also, if you hate pushups like I do, you can do them against a wall. Stand a foot or so away from the wall with your feet shoulder width or so, and push your bodyweight. It's really not hard and you will feel it, trust me. It works, and doesn’t make your knees ache. You can also do Fly reps and Chest Presses with dumbbells. No, it's not hard and it doesn’t take long.

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Use good posture. Standing up properly, with your shoulders back and chest somewhat-out, won’t necessarily make them sag less, but it will make them LOOK like they do. Hell, anyone can look like they have saggy breasts if their shoulders are slumped forward and their whole body is pointing downward!
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Keep your breasts smooth and silky. Exfoliate, use lotion. Keep the skin healthy! It helps to use adequate sunscreen, as well!

End Note: Going bra-free at home is beneficial for a nursing mother's lymphatic system (which clears her body of waste) and also for her mammary glands and milk ducts. Allowing the breasts to 'breathe' without a bra also decreases risk for bacteria infection and thrush by allowing the nipple and areola to stay dry and cool (but not chapped). As is true with breastfeeding, going bra-free does not contribute to the sagging of breasts. For more on the health benefits of going without a bra as much as you are able to do so, see the excellent book Dressed to Kill.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Nicole - posted on 06/09/2010

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Bethanie, pregnancy would have done that to your breasts whether you had breastfed or not. Your breasts would have still went through those same changes through pregnancy and following birth.

I think the point that this is trying to make is that breastfeeding, itself, is not to blame for breast changes.

At least, I think.... :oS

Minnie - posted on 06/11/2010

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People!



Whether or not you breastfeed your breasts go through hormonal changes during pregnancy and your milk still comes in after the birth!



Saying that your breasts are not the same as they were prepregnancy is not an indication that breastfeeding is the cause of the change. Of COURSE they're not the same. Before you weren't pregnant, then, you were!

Ashley - posted on 06/18/2010

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Sometimes, people just don't want to breastfeed and that is FINE. I wish mothers who breastfeed would stop looking down on mothers that don't. The only reason women HAVE to come up with "oh my beasts will sag"...is just to come up with some justification to the women who look down on them for not wanting to breastfeed. People shouldn't need to explain to anyone or have to make-up excuses for thier decisions. You don't need to justify yourselves ladies. If you don't want to breastfeed, that is your choice and you are not less of a mother for that!

Charlie - posted on 06/09/2010

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"So, the Doctor is saying that at the age of 25, it was inevitable for me to gain a bra size and have stretch marked, pancake boobs and all this must have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I breastfed my son? Really?"

It has happened to younger women who havent breast fed or had children , it all comes downs to genetics and deterioration of ligaments , fat , skin collagen and muscle behind the actual breast .

Being pregnant does two things , one your breasts enlarge at the same time women use their pectorals less decreasing muscle behind the breast responsible for keeping them high .

No where does it say that you dont gain in size when your milk comes in we all know it does what he is saying is it is not the cause of sagging breasts nor does it say your skin wont stretch that unfortunately is genetics .

Lacey - posted on 06/09/2010

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I agree...its sad when we come to a time in our world that because of false worry about our appearance we neglect to give our child the best start to life...breastmilk. God designed women's bodies to nurse their babies!

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Laura - posted on 06/20/2010

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The dr told me that the sag is due to pregnancy more then breastfeeding. It has been proven time after time. My best friend has 2 kids and never breastfeed and hers sag now. My mother breastfeed 3 kids and hers barely dropped at all. So it is due to pregnancy and genetics. Just like stretch marks it is genetics.

Jessica - posted on 06/20/2010

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Disagree! My breast were great before having children and now they are pancakes with stretch marks

Sarah - posted on 06/19/2010

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mothers shd worry more about there kids health than there breasts.there shd be a difference between one who has given birth and one who hasn't.thanpks for sharing the info with fellow moms.

sarah.

Heather - posted on 06/18/2010

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Being pregnant causes the breast to sag. The hormones produced during pregnancy change the breast tissue. It has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Shame on vain women worrying about their appearance than their child's health

Laura - posted on 06/18/2010

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well, with me and my little girl it seems my breast got a bit smaller from breast feeding I mean I only did it for a week because the little dear was rejecting my breast cause they were too big so I had to switch to formula unfortunately and I mean at least I was able to give her all those valuable nutrients I am upset I couldnt do it longer but since being on formula shes as happy as a clam.

Leiloni - posted on 06/17/2010

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My babies health is way more important than body image. If body image was everything then I would not put my body through pregnancies in the first place.

Kisra - posted on 06/17/2010

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great post! Maybe nursing does not sag boobies but having three babies stuck on the boob all the time, plus for some reason they all loved to pull, yank, and dance while nursing, I think they maybe had a little to do with my bobbies almost touching my knees. lol, lol... but I won't have it any other way. Like someone else posted, don't tell hubby I'm getting them "done" too!!

[deleted account]

Any chance I could get a link to this article?? I have some people I want to share it with. Also, I would really enjoy reading it!! Thanks!

[deleted account]

Thanks for the post. I usually don't read any of these posts as they are usually a bunch a moms with misinformation. I appreciate your evidence based post!!! It is such an encouragement to hear moms out there advocating for brestfeeding!!!!

Andrea - posted on 06/16/2010

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well i will have to agree with this! i gained a bunch of weight when i was 13 or 14 and sfter losing the weight my breasts have been streached out and very saggy! they have flled out a bunch since i am breast feeding but it makes me sad when they are close to empty :( because they are alot smaller then they use to be. my hubby does not seem to care so neither do i for the most part :)

Danielle - posted on 06/16/2010

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I agree with this, even though I did not breastfeed my son. I think boobs are like the rest of your body...and everyone's are different. Some women get stretch marks in pregnancy and some don't. Some women get saggy boobs after having babies and some don't. It either happens to you or it doesn't, and I don't think by not breast feeding you'll avoid either saggy boobs or stretch marks. I know women who didn't get a single stretch mark in pregnancy and yet they now have saggy boobs. I myself have very large boobs that are not saggy at all but I got hundreds of stretch marks with my son. Oh well!

A - posted on 06/16/2010

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I didnt read your whole post but just from personal experience, my breasts did not change at all (at least that was visable) during pregnancy. However, after starting to breastfeed they have. I am in no way complaining (who cares? feeding our child the best food is more important by far) but I've often heard ppl claiming that pregnancy changes breasts, not BFing. But that was not my experience. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but it does happen. Many women get bigger breasts with pregnancy ( I was hoping I did because I was small to begin with and kept a watchful eye) and even got comments from friends on how they were surprised I hadnt changed while I was pregnant. I also wonder if they feel "Saggy" to some people because you can't really wear very supportive bras while BFing because of getting plugged up. I cannot wear underwire bras because of this. I think its sad and pathetic women are more concerned about their appearance than their childrens health, though.

Jenna - posted on 06/16/2010

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Just a note to everyone: please keep this topic on the right track. This topic is about whether you feel you agree with the article if breastfeeding causes sagging. We all appreciate everyone's stories anf personal preferences, but please remember that every mother is allowed her own personal preferences. This is NOT a debate on whether you should breastfeed or bottlefeed for the baby'shealth benefits and it is absolutely NOT a place to condemn other women for their choices in parenting when it comes to breastfed vs. bottlefed.

Please keep up the great responses, but just remember one little thing - treat and think of every other mother on here as if she were your sister, mother, best friend, etc ...

Have a great day everyone!

Jenna - posted on 06/16/2010

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The bottom line is that the artical is both true and false at the same time. Whether or not your breasts sag is entirely up to genetics and diet. If you breastfeed and your genetics aren't friendly to stretching of the skin and ligaments in your body, then yes, it will "cause" your breasts to sag. If your genetics ARE friendly to such stretching and shrinking and your skin/ligaments are resilient, then no, it will not. However, there are exceptions... when you get so engorged you jump three cup sizes in 8 hours, it's very difficult for the body to adjust quickly enough to prevent scar tissue.

Breastfeeding alone does not cause saggy breasts, but it does expedite the sagginess if you are pre-disposed to non-resilient skin and ligaments on a genetic level. (albeit the exception of shock, lo)



As for putting bottle feeding mommies down (some of the above comments were interperated that way) There isn't an "opinion" on whether or not breastfeeding is the best start for your baby. How can you argue that giving your child immuunities and anti-bodies is not the best start compared to formula (which contains neither)? I'm not trying to knock the choice to formula feed; just the "argument" that breastfeeding isn't the best start. Sorry if that is offensive to formula moms, but some things are fact, and you can argue that 2+2 = 5 all you want, but the simple unchanging fact is that 2+2 = 4.





Edit: Also, skin and ligaments can stretch without creating scar tissue, and can sag as such. If you breastfeed, your breasts go from full to empty on an hourly basis. Breastfeeding over the course of a year or two or however long WILL cause sagginess due to that fact.

Angel - posted on 06/16/2010

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I never got saggy breasts from breastfeeding, nor have they sagged at all. If any1 has saggy breasts then my suggestion would be to invest in a good supportive bra. Although a bit annoying at times, I wear my bra all of the time while I breastfed my children. My children's health was more important to me than my physical appearance. I have gone up in cup size & my husband loves it. No surgery necessary. My 1st son I nursed for 19 mths, my 2nd son for 17 mths & I am now currently breastfeeding my 3rd son. Everyone is entitled their opinion, but this is mine. Breastfeeding does not cause saggy boobs!

Alisha - posted on 06/16/2010

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On the show Doctors they said obviously with each pregnancy your breasts will start to sag but they did say breast feeding DOES cause sagging

Victoria - posted on 06/16/2010

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Breastfeeding does decrease the risk of breast cancer though! Plus your kids are MUCH less likely to face ear infections and other sicknesses.

Jenette - posted on 06/16/2010

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For me even if breastfeeding was the 1 and only cause it's still well worth it in my book-I'm a mom so yes-my body looks like it's supporting another human being. I'm proud of that fact.

Corisa - posted on 06/15/2010

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Sadly, I have to disagree. My breasts were tiny AA cups and are now drooping after I've had two babies. I have no stretch marks on my stomach but by breasts are covered. It's not going to stop me from breastfeeding in the future, but it does make me want a breast lift in the up and coming future. We'll see how that goes :S

Leigh - posted on 06/15/2010

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I have to disagree with this study as well. I think they are just trying to convince women to breastfeed, and find out they were lying after it is too late. I'm all about breastfeeding and I did it with both my children and my boobs were fine after my first but with my second, it looked like I had just won over Pam Anderson in a big boob contest. I was so engorged and huge that after I was done they have never been the same. There may be many factors in breast change during pregnancy and you have to be realistic that breastfeeding is a big factor. Your breasts will change sizes dramatically and the stretching on and off throughout is not breast friendly. If they want people to breastfeed they should stick with honesty - that's it's the healthiest possible start that you can give your child. It's cost efficient too!

Nikki - posted on 06/15/2010

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I beg to differ, mine were nice and perky before I got pregnant, I breastfed and now they are saggy :o(

Candice - posted on 06/15/2010

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Im gonna disagree cause mine sag like a mo fo from breastfeeding..it aint from age or any of that bs..I am 24..I was 18 when i had my daughter in 2004 and my boobs were normal...breastfed for 14 months and they were saggy...that was 6 years ago and they still sag and will more cause i breastfeed my son...

your boobs might not sag from breastfeeding but some peoples do...i bet i can find a study saying it does cause it...you can find anything online..

I've already had someone try and tell me it didnt cause my boobs to sag and I'll say the same thing I told them...You arent me or my boobs so dont tell me what made em saggy

Amber - posted on 06/15/2010

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When i was pregnant for my daughter at the age of 17 my breast got huge 5 months into the pregnancy i didn't mind but after i started breast feeding and pumping i noticed my brest started to deflate lol these scientist say breast feeding is not what causes it or having kids doesn't cause it but truthfully it does that's coming from my doctor i am glad my daughter got the nutrients she needed but it's rough on the romance with my husband he doesn't look at me the same and truthfully i don't care i am happy with what i have no matter if pregnancy or breast feeding caused it my daughter is more important than romance don't listen to what scientist's have to say talk to your doctor he/she will actually tell you the truth

Ashley - posted on 06/15/2010

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I really couldn't tell you but I will tell mine....I could not breastfeed my children...(yes very rare blah blah) please no lectures because I tried pumping etc anywhos because I gained so much weight with my son then I lost all my weight my breast did look a little deflated but they did not sag anymore than normal. I just had my second child and still (so far) have not moved from original position LOL Now with that said if a woman will not breast feed just because it MAY cause sagging its a bit sad.....

Angie - posted on 06/14/2010

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Keep in mind for those who actually breastfed it's impossible to know if your breast started sagging and becoming less full because you breastfed or just because of the normal weight gain during pregnancy. There is no way to know what they would have been like had you not breastfed, they could have sagged anyway.

The only way you can really study is to look at those women who chose not to breastfeed and see what happened to them after pregnancy.

Angie - posted on 06/14/2010

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Liz, most women whether or not they breastfeed their milk still comes in and particularly for those who don't breastfeed they get really engorged since they are not expressing the milk but leaving it so they can "dry up".

Liz - posted on 06/14/2010

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Oh forgot something - people are saying its not the breastfeeding its the milk production - isnt that pretty much the same thing? Either way you need to remove the milk - whether a kid does it, or a pump, or you push its out - its all makes the boob empty...... and then flat? right? I mean thats totally when I had!

Liz - posted on 06/14/2010

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I agree and disagree - breastfeeding didnt just do it - but its sure as hell didnt help! I dont fall in any of the risk factors - and they went from a DD to a lower C - and they are flat... crazy flat. I went in for an ultrasound because we found a lump and three different doctors who all examined me at different times, all commented on the fact that my breasts were very flat and rather low for someone my age. I am 22 -
Oh and I do pushups to stop the granny effect, doesnt work.
That being said - i will breastfeed future children.... and then get a boob lift when im all said and done. Long and flat boobs lose over feeding my kid

Vicki - posted on 06/14/2010

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IMO its the pregnancy+ engorgement that happens in the first days whether or not you chose to breastfeed that causes the sagging. Also, gaining more weight while pregnant than previously in your life and then losing it after(which affects most of us) has a huge impact.

Jacqueline - posted on 06/14/2010

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Im young and truely did not care if i was going to have saggy boobs because of breastfeeding! I love nursing my daughter, (20 months) altho 2 weeks no booby has killed us both (pregnant due in 4 months). I was going to nurse and risk it lol! If it wasnt so wierd i would nurse forever!!!

Kimberly - posted on 06/14/2010

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Breastfeeding has nothing to do with it. It's the pregnancy that is making them do that. Breastfeeding or not your breasts are never going to look the same as they did before you got pregnant. Your body is going to produce the milk needed to BF and wether you do it or not, your boobs are going to grow greatly from all the milk and when the milk goes away they are going to be smaller. Breastfeeding has nothing to do with it. It's pregnancy that does it, and it's pregnancy that alters your entire body. Not breastfeeding. Don't deprive your child of healthy breast milk because you are selfish. They will change in appearence either way!

Karla - posted on 06/14/2010

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i do believe tht you should breastfeed your child for the many benifits it gives but i believe it is a persons right to choose what they want to do. I dont think people are intentionally sounding selfish but it does cause low confidence when your body changes so significantly. I hate the way mine look now but i am glad tht i breastfed for as long as i could as my child rarely gets ill.

Nicole - posted on 06/14/2010

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Even if breastfeeding did "cause" breasts to sag breastmilk is a child's birthright. artificial breastmilk is substandard- end of story. Every baby deserves human milk. Fear of sagging is the worst excuse not to nurse ever. it makes me ill thinking about those who made such a poor choice. here comes the backlash....

Becky - posted on 06/13/2010

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actually after breastfeeding my twins i cld tuck my boobs in my sox lol my breasts have never been the same since ...but i wld still do it again in a heartbeat

Melissa - posted on 06/13/2010

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also, i am the only woman in my family who has been blessed with shrunken boobs post-breastfeeding. everyone else either got bigger or kept what they had.

Melissa - posted on 06/13/2010

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that article was most likely written by a man or a woman who's body did not change with pregnancy or breastfeeding. after giving birth to my second baby, i still had full, perky boobs. enter engorgement and 8 months of breastfeeding and a second engorgement, and I now have saggy, shrunken breasts. only an idiot would think there is no connection.

[deleted account]

before I was pregnant I had saggy boobs. Heck even when I was like 15 they were saggy (overweight my whole life=very big, saggy boobs :( ... not fair!)

When I was pregnant they grew even bigger and sagged the same.

I bottle fed and guess what? still saggy!


breastfeeding is very important and I wish that I didn't lose my supply when My daughter is just shy of 2 months because I would have loved to continue.... I think posts like these are very important to everyone. breast is best...perky or saggy.

Carol - posted on 06/13/2010

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I agree with this study. I went up one cup size with this pregnancy from my bra size in highschool. A lot has to do with exercise. In highschool I didn't work out much but they where up there after highschool I went into the army and went down 4 cup sizes in 9 weeks then when I got to ait it went back up 4 sizes to what they where in highschool and stayed like that threw my first pregnancy with my second I went up one cup size. I've always had saggy boobs by some people standards but I would trade saggieness for good shoulders anyday. To me the only pain I want is the pain of letting go of 40 dollars for a good fitting bra.

Amy - posted on 06/13/2010

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I'm so glad you posted this...My mother and my sisters never breastfed, I was the only one out of all of us to try it, and guess what, we all have the same saggy pancake booby problem. So I guess I can prove in my situation that genetics suck. My mom had a problem related to one of the posts above, she went from full C to barely an A (but she did not breast feed) all of these changes happen because of the pregnancy NOT the breastfeeding

Hebatallah - posted on 06/13/2010

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sooooo....i dunno what's the solution for saggy breasts..only surgery....?there isnnt any other solution to make them more fully and lift

Karla - posted on 06/13/2010

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im 21 years old i breast fed my child when she was born just over a year and a half ago for 2 and a half months.I found tht mine changed significantly and i not hate the way they look so i dont agree with this at all.

Jenny - posted on 06/13/2010

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Disagree, I nursed my daughter for a 10 1/2 months, and my boobs are now smaller, flatter, and saggy. But everyone is different. I will still nurse my second child. I also LOST most my babyweight from nursing too. That was a Bonus. I forgot to mention I was 19 when I had her and now only 23..... bye bye boobies....but worth it.

Katrina - posted on 06/13/2010

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Breast feeding doesn't cause your breast to sag. The sag happens from gaining the extra breast weight from pregnancy and the milk production over 9 months, and then not breast feeding, and the "milk" drying up quickly causing a dramatic loss of weight in the breast not allowing the skin to shrink back to the normal apperance of the breast before pregnancy. Also in a way breast feeding can cause sagging if you quit breast feeding the same darn thing will happen unless you slowly quit breast feeding. I don't really see why anyone is worried about this though. Boobs sag and we all ended up with stretch marks. Just be thankful you've got a little one to show for the damage done. Some women have this stuff w/o the babies to show for it.

Meghan - posted on 06/12/2010

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I nursed my son for 10 months...and they look different than they did before...I wouldn't say saggy,.but they STAYED bigger too!! Basically is it nothing a good bra and some silicone interts can't handle!! :)

Roxanne - posted on 06/12/2010

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I would love to go bra free at home but I leak! I even wear a bra to bed because if I dont I wake up saturated. But I will go through this discomfit anyday just so my son has the best. And breastmilk is best!

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