Breastfeeding is one of the most wonderful things a mother can do for her child. Being able to nourish your newborn and experience that special bond is amazing.
Although breastfeeding is greatly beneficial to your baby, nursing can wreak havoc on the breasts. Increasing in size during pregnancy and then being engorged with milk for months can take its toll on your breasts in the form of volume loss and drooping.
Most women who breastfeed notice that their breasts sag and are not thrilled with this change for obvious reasons. Fortunately there are non-surgical solutions that can help prevent sagging and get those boobs looking perky again once your baby is weaned. You just have to put in the effort and work.
Why Do Breasts Sag After Breastfeeding?
Breasts sag after breastfeeding for a number of reasons. Most women point their finger solely at breastfeeding itself but it all starts with pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the Cooper’s ligaments, the bands that attach the chest to the muscle and provide support, are stretched along with the skin. This is a direct result of the increase in bust size women experience during pregnancy. This size increase is the body’s way of preparing for breastfeeding and can cause breasts to droop because of the additional tension put on the ligaments. Over time the Cooper’s ligaments lose elasticity and are no longer taut. Picture them as a worn out elastic band.
After the baby is born and as mother begins nursing, the breasts take another hit because milk ducts grow and are filled with milk. As a result, additional stretching occurs. During the first few days after birth, breasts tend to get quite full and heavy due to milk production which does have an impact. After two weeks they return to the size they were during pregnancy and stay that way until you decide to wean your baby. Having larger breasts for an extended period of time stretches the ligaments even further and causes unwanted sagging.
Besides breastfeeding, a woman’s age can also be a factor for the cause of saggy breasts. Various studies prove that in women who are in their late thirties, their body’s skin loses skin elasticity much faster, and this can affect their breasts as well.
In addition, women who tend to consume more alcohol, carbonated beverages and nicotine also show signs of premature aging and weakening of their skin’s cellular structure.
How To Prevent (Or Save) Your Breasts From Sagging
Whether you are looking to prevent your breasts from sagging or is trying to fix the lost of shape and firmness, the following are some things you can do:
Wear A Good Supportive Bra
In order to keep breasts perky while still breastfeeding the first thing you must do is start wearing a bra all the time. Combating gravity is one of the best prevention methods.
Nothing can be done about the size and weight of your breasts but ensuring that they are constantly supported will help prevent unnecessary stretching of the ligaments that provide the support. This means wearing a bra at all times, even when you sleep.
In addition, make sure that you are wearing quality nursing bras that are of the correct size and offer the right support. It is recommended that you choose bras that have a supportive band and with wider straps. If you can, schedule a professional bra fitting.
Have Good Breastfeeding Posture
Avoid leaning over the baby to nurse. Most mothers do this unknowingly while breastfeeding. Instead, use a nursing pillow or some form of support to raise the baby to your breast’s level. Avoid slouching, and avoid angling your breast down for it to reach the baby. Improving this simple posture and positioning while nursing will help prevent your breasts from drooping.
Once your doctor gives you the green light, start exercising as soon as you can. Regular exercise will help you lose the weight gained during pregnancy (weight gain can also contributes to sagging) and will improve muscle tone while you are still breastfeeding.
Start simple with exercises like walking, jogging, swimming or even try your hand at yoga. Losing the extra weight combined with improved muscle tone will help tremendously.
During this time you will be exhausted because you are taking care of a baby all day so do what you can when you can. Just be consistent with your workouts and give each session 100%.
In addition to giving each workout your all, add some type of strength training to your routine. Muscle keeps everything (including breasts) in place.
As you exercise and start losing the pregnancy weight, make sure to drop the weight slowly. In order to prevent the breasts from sagging you need to give skin time to adjust to all the changes it has and will be experiencing. You went through 9 months of pregnancy, you are now breastfeeding and will soon be dropping anywhere from 25-40 lbs., so take it slow. Losing a considerable amount of weight too quickly can result in loose, sagging skin. This happens because rapid weight loss can cause you to lose too much fat tissue in the breast area that gives breasts their volume. So start with mild exercise and make the weight loss gradual.
Massage With Hot And Cold Water
While taking a shower, massage your breasts between hot and cold water. The hot water improves blood circulation while the cold water helps with toning and tightening of the skin. Always finish your shower with cold water. Alternatively, you can also massage your breasts with a warm wet towel and then use ice cubes to massage breasts in circular motion for no longer than a minute (to avoid numbness).
Keep Them Moisturize
You also want to keep skin moisturized while you are still nursing. Doing so improves skin’s elasticity and keeps it supple. Apply vitamin E oil, shea butter or coca butter to breasts at least 2 times a day. All three options deliver amazing benefits to the skin including improved elasticity, tightening of the skin and reduces the appearance of stretch marks that can develop on the breasts.
If you like to use essential oils, then use 2 drops of cypress oil, fennel oil, Carrot oil, spearmint oil and lemongrass oil to massage your breasts. You can also create a simple home remedy made with cucumber and egg yolk and apply to breasts.
Saggy breasts can also be prevented with the right diet. Following a clean diet rich in complex carbs, protein and healthy fats will provide the body with the necessary nutrients it needs to promote healthy skin and connective tissues.
Women who are breastfeeding should eat more fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants as well as foods high in vitamins like B and E to prevent sagging.
In addition, foods that contain some form of low saturated fat can also help you avoid saggy breasts. That’s because your cells need at least 50% saturated fat to maintain their firmness and elasticity. Therefore, mothers who starve themselves of saturated fat in their diets are unconsciously causing their breasts to sag.
Nursing mothers can also eat more egg yolk and butter which contains arachidonic acid, a critical ingredient, which facilitates the formation of junctions between skin cells, keeping them firm.
Foods You Can Eat To Have Attractive Breasts (Infographic)
Exercises To Firm Up Those (Already) Saggy Breasts
Promoting firmness and achieving that perky appearance can be done even if you already have saggy breasts! The best way to begin is by targeting what is beneath the surface, particularly the pectoral muscles. By working on the pectoral major, the fatty breast tissue is pushed out which will strengthen your breasts and tone them.