The Boob Special. What happens to boobs after babies…
Be it breastfeeding or bikini shopping, showering with your little one or bemoaning the forces of gravity, chances are good you’ve indulged in some boob chat over the years. Many of us with older kids have been asked something like; “Mummy, why do your boobies point downwards?”
Let’s get one thing off our chest. Here at Parents Guide we celebrate women's bodies in all shapes and forms. ALL boobs change after babies. What differs is how we choose to handle that change. What feels right and comfortable for Dolly is likely different for you or me, but being armed with knowledge is helpful for everyone.
For those who are considering having something ‘done’ to your boobs, you’re not alone. Enquiries for breast surgery have skyrocketed in recent years, especially in the ‘women with children’ demographic. In this article, we explore the mechanics of what happens to our breasts after babies so us mum’s can explain and hopefully feel beautifully comfortable with the natural forces at work. We also explore the different breast surgery options.
We respect this is a deeply personal decision for any women – and we wanted to get our facts straight.
We’ve got you covered there, thanks to the wise words and wisdom of Wollongong reconstructive & cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr Adrian Sjarif. We picked Dr Sjarif’s brains to answer all your burning questions about boobs.
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and gravity… oh my!
If you were rocking the braless look in your twenties, hitting the baby making/birthing/feeding years may have taken the wind out of your sails (literally). While breastfeeding often gets the blame for, ahem, deflating things, it’s actually pregnancy who we should be pointing fingers at. Indeed, plenty of women who choose not to breastfeed report that their breasts changed both in shape and volume after pregnancy.
“A woman’s body changes a great deal during pregnancy under the influence of hormones,” says Dr Sjarif. “ The effect that these hormones can have on a woman’s breasts can be enormous.” Think rapid changes to size and volume. “The skin stretches under this rapid size gain… and following birth, the breasts maintain this size if breastfeeding but shrink and involute if breastfeeding is not instituted,” Dr Sjarif adds.
Ahhh so that explains the deflation.
What we can thank breastfeeding for is the sometimes, well, lop-sided look we may end up with. While this may be a negligible difference for some women, others report differences of up to a cup size. Age and our pal gravity are also perky breast saboteurs. As we get older, the connective tissue in the breasts gets older too. This causes it to stretch out as the ratio of tissue to fat changes. And no-one is immune, whether you’re an A or an E cup.
Bigger, smaller or something in between?
Breast augmentation is certainly one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in Australia and indeed, worldwide. This is because it has the ability to change the size, shape and volume of breasts. Dr Sjarif has patients who see him for a variety of different reasons, many of which relate to the changes in their bodies after having children and their desire to restore their breasts in a way that boosts confidence and self-esteem.
“Women choose to have breast augmentation for a number of reasons,” says Dr Sjarif. “For women who have had children and possibly breastfed one or multiple kids, the common outcomes are breasts that have deflated with significant loss of volume.” The solution for a permanent 'fix'? Breast augmentation.
While considered surgery, breast augmentation with the right surgeon is a safe and highly effective procedure, though you’ll definitely be feeling a bit tender for a little while afterwards. The key to feeling comfortable with the decision to have breast surgery? Research and finding a surgeon who you trust implicitly. It’s crucial to have a thorough and informative consultation and ask any and all questions to your surgeon so that you feel comfortable with their level of expertise.
For some women, breast augmentation isn’t really their bag (pun intended) but they still have concerns about the look and placement of their breasts. A breast lift, or Mastopexy is designed to return boobs to their rightful position (pert and perky) while eliminating sagging. Basically, a lift literally repositions the breast tissue, hoiking it upwards to defy the effects of gravity. It’s one way of saying ‘see ya’ to your thirty/forty-something breasts and returning them to the glory of your teens.
“A breast lift is an effective means to restore the shape of a woman’s breasts to how they were prior to having children,” says Dr Sjarif. So what’s involved? Dr Sjarif fills us in. “The nipple is moved up, and breast re-shaped so that ‘fullness’ can be achieved,” he says. “ In some cases, a small implant may need to be added in addition to the lift to provide some volume, but in many situations where shape is the goal and volume is sufficient, a lift alone can achieve the required results.”
And then we’ve got the other end of the scale, breasts that bother their owner with their size. Breast reductions have been gaining popularity in Australia as women realise that they don’t need to live with back and neck pain, irritation and the nightmare that is bra shopping. A breast reduction involves small incisions being made in the breast through which excess breast tissue, fat and skin is removed. This reduces the total size of the breast and the amount of tissue remaining. It also changes the shape and position of the breast.
That’s where Dr Sjarif and his expertise comes into play. At his Wollongong clinic, every patient is treated as an individual, with specific needs and desired outcomes whether it’s bigger, smaller, lifts or re-constructive after surgery and breast cancer. When it comes to plastic surgery, knowledge is power.
Breast surgery is a deeply personal decision and if it’s something you want to explore, then finding the right expertise is critical. We hope this article has provided some useful information. Here at Parents Guide we respect your right to choose and our goal is to support all women by providing facts in a supportive and non-judgemental manner.
Yay for wonderful breasts in all shapes and sizes!
This article has been written in partnership with Parents Guide and kindly sponsored by Dr Adrian Sjarif.