As a new mom or mom-to-be, you are inundated with information about what to expect throughout and after pregnancy, but how often do you think about your boobs? Of all the changes your body goes through, your breasts see more than their fair share from start (conception) to finish (postpartum).
You may have heard that they’ll get bigger, and it’s clear that they’re essential for breastfeeding, but how much do you really know about what your boobs go through when you’re a new mom?
Here are five important things to know about your breasts during and after pregnancy.
- Your breasts begin growing as soon as you’re pregnant.
Your breasts begin changing pretty much from day one – well before you even know you’re pregnant! You may have heard that one of the first signs of pregnancy is tender or swollen breasts. This is caused by hormonal changes, which lead to increased blood flow and fluid retention. As your breasts swell and grow, they may feel itchy and sensitive. (Nothing a little all-purpose balm can’t soothe!)
As you go through these very first changes, you might need a new size, and you may find you need stronger support than you did pre-pregnancy. A good bra can help. The Bamboobies everyday bra – our first non-breastfeeding bra made without drop-down clips – gives you the well-designed and sustainable comfort you know and love. Crafted with the same super-soft fabric made from renewable bamboo as other Bamboobies bras, the everyday bra stretches to grow with you. As a bonus, you’ll be able to go back to it after you’re done breastfeeding – when you’ll likely want a little extra stretch and support anyway.
- The best time to buy a nursing bra is at about 36 weeks pregnant.
As we discussed a few months ago, timing your nursing bra shopping can be tricky. Your breasts can grow from your first trimester of pregnancy through when your milk comes in – after your baby is born. You’ll want comfort and support throughout that time of change, but who really wants to buy a new bra every few weeks? And since you’ll likely want more than one nursing bra (see number 4, below), you might be wondering when to make your investment so you can both plan ahead and find support now. While the stretchy material in Bamboobies nursing bras can help, you might still find yourself going up by anywhere from one to several cup sizes throughout your pregnancy. If you’re feeling ready to size up to what you will need once your milk comes in, experts recommend doing so around the 36-week mark, as that is when your breasts and rib cage have likely gone through most of their growth. Just make sure your new bra fits on its tightest setting so you can adjust for milk.
As you think about your options for a nursing bra, a comfortable, soft, and stretchy – yet supportive – bra is key. Consider the Bamboobies yoga nursing bra or super strappy nursing bra for super-soft rayon made from renewable bamboo fabric and straps that provide extra support across your back as your breasts grow and your weight shifts forward throughout pregnancy. The stretchy fabric grows with you so you can get more use out of your nursing bra, and the nursing clips and drop-down cups make either option useful once baby is here.
- If you plan to breastfeed, you will live in your nursing tank – so invest in a good one!
The early days of breastfeeding can be a complete whirlwind as you try to find a schedule amid feedings, diapers, naps (for baby, at least), and day-to-day life. You might find it easiest to stick to nursing tank tops for breastfeeding to get you through. They’re a staple for breastfeeding moms in the summer, and they pair easily with a button-down shirt or zip-up sweater in the cooler months.
The Bamboobies seamless nursing tank is a wardrobe essential for any breastfeeding mom or mama-to-be. It’s long, stretchy, soft, and comfortable and offers light, wire-free support. Built-in nursing clips and drop-down cups allow you to nurse easily, even if you don’t pair it with a bra. If you do prefer to wear a nursing bra with your tank, the easy access nursing bra is a comfortable option with thick straps to discreetly hide nursing clips from your bra and loose fit for easy access to nurse whenever you need to.
When it’s time for bed, you can stick with your nursing tanks, or you can opt for a nursing nightgown. (Let’s be honest, as much as we love wearing maternity pants and leggings after baby comes, it can be really freeing to ditch the waist – or belly – band when we’re trying to sleep!) The easy access nursing nightgown is designed for easy breastfeeding – a must when you’re waking up throughout the night and don’t want to fight with fabric just to feed a screaming baby.
- You may leak breastmilk. Nursing pads are your friend.
Leaking breastmilk is a common occurrence in breastfeeding mothers, especially early on. Breastfeeding operates on a supply-and-demand concept, so it can take your body some time to figure out how much milk to make and how often. Add in periods of cluster feeding and growth spurts, and you might find yourself dripping, leaking, or even spraying breastmilk from time to time. Some women who find they have an overabundant breastmilk supply or more sensitive let-down reflex may leak longer than the initial adjustment period.
It’s normal, albeit a little uncomfortable or inconvenient if it leaves you soaked in breastmilk. Using nursing pads can help protect your clothes and save you from multiple wardrobe changes. Many women find leaking is worst at night, particularly as their babies begin sleeping for longer stretches of time and the breasts become too full. A reliable pair of overnight nursing pads can help keep you dry through the night. (These make a great addition to any new mom care package!)
- You’ll need better support even after you’re done breastfeeding.
Your breasts go through a lot on your journey to motherhood, and they likely won’t go back to exactly the size or shape they were before. These changes might be subtle or more noticeable, and they can apply to the size, shape, or feel of your breasts or nipples.
You can thank hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin for changing your breast tissue. Milk ducts expand throughout pregnancy, and blood flow increases. Your nipples might look darker, your areola might look bigger, and you might notice more bumps. In addition, engorgement from breastfeeding can stretch out ligaments in your chest, which can lead to some long-term drooping or sagging. The stretched skin and shift in connective and fatty tissue in your breasts might even make them appear smaller or more lopsided than before. In short, your breasts are forever changed by pregnancy.
This is where the everyday bra comes back into play. It offers comfort and support and moves with you as you chase after your toddlers, run around the playground, shuttle teens to sports tournaments – whatever life after pregnancy brings.
You’re in a time of transformation, and your breasts are with you for the ride – but so are we! We’ve got your back and your front, mama!
American Pregnancy Association: Breast Changes During Pregnancy
American Pregnancy Association: Early Signs of Pregnancy
Healthline: Breast Changes in Pregnancy: What to Expect
Babycenter: Maternity and nursing bras: Everything you need to know
Babycenter: Breast changes during pregnancy
What to Expect: Leaking Breast Milk Postpartum
Healthline: How to Identify and Manage Cluster Feeding
VeryWell Family: Tips for Breastfeeding Moms Who Are Leaking Breast Milk
Healthline: Breasts After Breastfeeding: How They Change and What You Can Do
Medical News Today: How do breasts change during and after pregnancy?
The Bump: 7 Ways Your Breasts Change After Breastfeeding