Real Talk: Your Breasts After Breastfeeding
In this third part of our four-part series on pregnancy and nursing, we’re diving into the breast changes that remain once the sun has set on the stages of pregnancy and nursing.
When all the maternity clothes have been handed down, the nursing pillow and breast pump have been donated to a good cause, and your little one’s diet is chock full of solid foods, you’ll know it’s official: You’ve finished breastfeeding. They say parenthood is a process of letting go, and weaning can be one big helping of the sentimental heartache that comes with watching your little one grow up.
On the one hand, your baby’s weaning means more freedom for you (like having another glass of wine without having to do the mental math about how many hours until the next feeding), and yet, once the nursing days are gone, it’s all too easy to long for those quiet cuddles. Somehow, chopping food into toddler-sized pieces just doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi as a snuggly nursing session. Some nursing moms experience sadness or depression during and after weaning, although it typically only lasts a few weeks. (Please do talk to your doctor if you’re feeling upset in a way that concerns you.)
Through all of these changes, you’ll also be getting acquainted with your post-nursing body, a process of letting go in and of itself. Unless you’re Heidi Klum, you probably won’t look exactly like you did pre-baby—although many women return to a very similar version of themselves. Your breasts after weaning in particular may bear some of the biggest changes in size and shape.
Post-Breastfeeding Changes to Breasts
The truth is that women’s bellies aren’t the only thing that expand during pregnancy. Your breasts, too, may expand to epic proportions over those 40 weeks, but nothing compares to the luscious size and, dare we say, perkiness you’ll experience as a nursing mom once the baby comes. The question is, what will happen to your breasts once you stop breastfeeding? Of course, the appearance of the breasts before and after nursing varies by individual since each woman’s body is unique. Nonetheless, you may expect several changes.
Ask any physicist, and they’ll tell you what goes up must come down. The laws of the universe apply to bra sizes, too. Breast tissue is composed mostly of fatty tissue, and while nursing, your breasts get larger because your body creates denser tissue for milk production. Once you’ve weaned your baby, those cells disappear, gradually drying up breast milk, and your breasts will get smaller again. It’s hard to say whether your breasts after breastfeeding will be larger or smaller than they were pre-pregnancy, but it’s safe to say they’ll be somewhat different. Your rib cage (and hence your bra band) may also be a different size since your torso expands while you’re pregnant. Getting a bra that fits your new cup and band sizes can increase your comfort and confidence and help you welcome your new figure with open arms.
Post-baby, your breasts may feel softer and less perky than they once were. Some may refer to this stage as “sagging breasts,” but we prefer to consider it “relaxed.” Heck, after all that work, they deserve to relax a bit. But counter to what you may have heard, pregnancy, not breastfeeding, contributes to your breasts losing some of their original firmness. Again, a new bra, especially one with cups made to fit your breast size and the tops of your breasts properly, like our 24/7 Classic Uplift Plunge Bra or the 24/7 Lace Contour Plunge Bra can give you the support and coverage you need. Intimidated by bra shopping? You can get some help with finding your updated bra size here.
Whether naturally big or small, breasts will stretch and grow during pregnancy. While nursing, these changes become considerably more pronounced because the breast is actively producing milk. As your milk production slows down, your breasts shrink back, sometimes settling near your pre-pregnancy size and sometimes staying a bit large. However, since the skin, tissues, and tendons had stretched to accommodate your milk-heavy breasts, they maintain a slightly stretched shape. This in turn affects the overall firmness of your breast. Remember, these fluctuations are entirely natural and nothing to worry about.
While there’s no magic solution to restore the firmness of your breasts, there are some things that you can do to improve the health and appearance of your breasts. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help tone and strengthen the muscles that support your breasts, giving you a more lifted look.
Finding the Right Bra During this Transition
After breastfeeding, wearing a good bra is crucial for your breasts' health and comfort. But you may ask, “How do I find the right bra during this transition when my breast shape and size change frequently?” Well, there is no perfect post-breastfeeding bra. The best bra for post breastfeeding is one that is comfortable and fits your fluctuating size. After all, it's a transition phase, and we believe comfort should reign supreme. You can continue wearing your maternity bras or any comfortable bra that you have. We recommend waiting until your size stabilizes to invest in more bras, as buying new bras every few weeks can be expensive and wasteful.
ThirdLove Breastfeeding Bra Solutions
At ThirdLove, we understand the challenges and joys of breastfeeding; the last thing you need is to struggle with your bra during this period. That is why we have created some amazing bras designed for new moms during and after breastfeeding. Let’s break it down and explore some of our best nursing bras.
You need easy-to-use, comfortable, and supportive bras when breastfeeding your baby.
24/7 Classic Nursing Bra
For all the breastfeeding moms, the 24/7 Classic Nursing bra is perfect for you. This underwire breastfeeding bra features front drop-down cups that allow you to nurse your baby easily and discreetly. The easy-to-use nursing clips provide quick access for breastfeeding, and smooth cups ensure a seamless fit under clothing. Nursing moms deserve the best, and this bra gives them just that. It has a back closure, a finely adjustable hook and eye, Pima cotton, and pleated straps with super soft lining for no-slip comfort. To polish its look, the bra has gold alloy strap adjusters for the most gorgeous finish.
Form Seamless Nursing Bra
Another fantastic option is our Form Seamless Nursing Bra. It is a super comfy wireless nursing bra perfect for new moms everywhere. It features a 4-way stretch fabric for the smoothest support, hook and eye closure with adjustable straps, and most importantly, drop-down overlay fabric for easy nursing or pumping.
As you enter the post-breastfeeding stage, your maternity bras might still be fitting. If your maternity bras still offer the comfort you need, there’s no rush to bid them farewell. Wear them until your size settles back into its rhythm. Once your size stabilizes, you can get new bras matching your size. If you are wondering how to measure your bra size after breastfeeding, use our online Fitting Room Quiz, and we will help you get the perfect fit. After this, you can treat yourself to the bras that make you feel fabulous. At ThirdLove, we have a wide range of bras to cater to your needs and preferences post-breastfeeding. Whether you are looking for the sexy, cozy, or sporty, we have the bras to celebrate the unique beauty of each phase of your life.
Whatever your size, shape, or stretch mark status post-nursing, your body will forever be changed by carrying and feeding a baby. Getting comfortable with your new figure may require some letting go of the past, but there’s one thing you can always hold onto: You’re a mother, and that’s nothing short of remarkable.