The Ultimate Guide To Prevent (And Fix) Saggy Breasts After Breastfeeding
A common worry among breastfeeding mothers is that they will have saggy breasts after breastfeeding their baby. Well, pregnancy and breastfeeding DO bring a lot of changes to our bodies! But there are some ways to help prevent saggy breasts after breastfeeding.
You can follow some of these tips while you breastfeed. Some of these tips help fix sagging in your breasts even after you are done breastfeeding!
Unfortunately your breasts probably won’t look like they did before you had your baby. But the good news is that breastfeeding itself isn’t the biggest culprit. Hormones and body changes in pregnancy cause changes in your body and breasts!
So regardless of whether you breastfeed or how long you breastfeed you will notice changes. What I’m trying to say is… don’t worry about how breastfeeding is affecting your breasts right this moment!
Follow these tips to help prevent your breasts from looking saggy after breastfeeding – but know that even if you didn’t breastfeed at all you would have breast changes! These tips probably won’t get you looking like the perky teenager you once were… but they can help prevent and minimize sagging!
Tips To Prevent Sagging Breasts While Breastfeeding
1. Eat Healthy Fats
Eating healthy fats is essential to keeping your skin healthy! Omega-3’s are extremely good for your skin. They are found in fish and nuts, so include them in your diet. You could go for a supplement (like a fish oil pill) or just eat fish 1-2 times per week. Personally, I’d rather eat fish because the fish pills always make me burp fish… Yuck!
Omega-3’s are SO good for your skin! They help your body balance the hydration and oil levels that keep your skin moist. A diet low in omega-3’s can leave your skin less hydrated and more prone to stretching! A diet rich in omega-3’s keeps your skin from prematurely aging- all over your body! That includes your breasts.
When adding essential fats to your diet, be careful not to eat too much fish with mercury. Those include swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish. Otherwise, eating fish once or twice a week is optimal for your skin health! Have salmon or mahi-mahi tacos for dinner. Eat a handful of walnuts for a snack instead of grabbing a packaged protein bar.
2. Try Not To Gain Too Much Weight
When you become pregnant, try your best to keep your weight gain slow and steady. It can be hard! Eating a balanced diet and exercising can help. Sometimes the best form of exercise if just going for a walk.
Your breasts start to change when you’re pregnant. They prepare for breastfeeding even before the baby is here! It’s not uncommon for a woman’s breasts to increase by 3-4 cup sizes. Those changes can’t be prevented no matter how much weight you gain. But gaining more weight might exacerbate your breasts’ growth.
Your breasts preparing for baby will inevitably have some stretching. That’s just what happens when you get pregnant! Your body is made for breastfeeding – even if you decide not to! Eating healthy, staying active, and trying not to gain too much weight can help with how much your breasts enlarge during pregnancy. It doesn’t prevent it, but can less weight gain may prevent your breasts from getting any bigger.
3. Exercise For Muscle Tone
Keeping up your muscle tone can help to prevent saggy breasts after breastfeeding! There are certain arm and chest exercises that will help tone your muscles and keep your breasts supported.
Working out your chest and arm muscles help your body support your breasts. Doing push-ups is a fantastic option for toning those muscles. You can do them on your knees or keep your body straight and do them traditionally. You can also do chest presses to tone your chest muscles. Many gyms have machines or you can lay on your back and press weights straight into the air.
While maintaining a healthy weight by doing cardiovascular exercise and eating well is important, toning your muscles can really help. Having muscle tone in your chest and arms can help prevent saggy breasts after breastfeeding by supporting the skin, muscles and ligaments that hold your breasts up.
4. Maintain Good Posture (Breastfeeding and otherwise)
Maintaining good posture is another important way to prevent saggy breasts after breastfeeding. Similar to toning your muscles, keeping good posture helps support your breasts. Your muscles and breasts start to sag when hunching forward, so try to keep upright. When you walk and sit up straight, your chest wall supports your breasts against it so your ligaments don’t stretch holding all your breasts weight.
When breastfeeding, it’s tempting to hunch forward to feed your baby. Try to avoid this! It can leave you uncomfortable and contribute to saggy breasts. Don’t be afraid to use as many pillows as you need!
Sometimes you will be sitting for long periods of time. Newborns can take a long time to finish a feeding. Some older babies cluster feed in the evening. Prop yourself up, keep good posture and stay comfortable.
5. Wear A Supportive Bra
This one is probably a no-brainer! However when you are sitting at home with your baby and are exhausted it’s hard to want to wear a supportive bra. Sometimes you just want to let the twins be free! It certainly makes breastfeeding easier when there isn’t a bra in the way, right?
Well, if you can stand it try to wear a supportive bra. It doesn’t have to be a tight or restrictive bra. In fact, I recommend against anything too restrictive because it could lead to clogged milk ducts or mastitis. Just find a bra that gives your breasts support.
Stretching ligaments contribute to saggy breasts after breastfeeding. Having support for your breasts will help keep your ligaments from stretching. There are many good nursing bras that are supportive but allow for easy access to breastfeed.
6. Avoid Engorgement
Feeding your baby at the first sign of hunger cues is a great way to prevent engorgement. Try to keep your milk flowing so that your breasts don’t become over-full. Your skin can stretch when your breasts become overfull. Engorgement is common between 2 and 5 days after birth when your milk comes in.
Try to feed your baby on demand, when you notice they’re hungry. Even though recommendations are to feed your baby every 2-3 hours (and you shouldn’t go longer than that) – you can feed your baby more frequently! This will help you establish a good milk supply at the same time as preventing stretching from engorgement.
Weaning is another common time for engorgement. When you decide to wean your baby, go at it slow. Drop one feeding session every couple of days. Weaning slowly helps your breasts to adjust to the decrease in demand. They will start to produce less milk gradually instead of becoming over-full. Preventing engorgement can reduce stretching that contributed to saggy breasts after breastfeeding.
Moisturizing your breasts can help keep them soft. Your skin needs to be healthy and balanced when breastfeeding to allow for fluctuations in milk supply. Adding a moisturizer will help your skin handle stretching and prevent damage.
Stick with an all-natural moisturizer while you’re breastfeeding. Your baby is exposed to anything you put on your body so make sure there aren’t any harsh chemicals in the moisturizer you use. When you are finished with your breastfeeding journey, you can look into using a firming moisturizer. If you’re worried about the kind of moisturizer you use, gently cleanse your breasts before feeding your baby and then reapply after.
A good moisturizer is shea butter! it contains fatty acids that help your skin stay hydrated and balance your natural oils. Shea butter also is shown to have healing effects over time. If you are consistent with it’s use, you can not only prevent sagging but also help heal and fix saggy breasts after breastfeeding.
8. Wean Slowly
I mentioned this one earlier, and it is related to avoiding engorgement. Weaning should be a slow process. Keeping it slow makes you a whole lot more comfortable, trust me.
When you suit breastfeeding cold turkey, your breasts start to build up breast milk. They are used to your baby feeding so all of a sudden when your baby stops – the milk has nowhere to go. The milk builds up in your breasts and eventually leads to engorgement.
The best way to wean is to drop one feeding at a time. Give it a few days and then drop another feeding. This way your breasts don’t accumulate too much milk. When your breasts swell with milk, your skin stretches and becomes taught. Stretching your skin that much leads to sagging breasts after breastfeeding so try to avoid it!
It takes a few days for your body to react to the message that your baby is feeding less. Allowing your body time to reduce the amount of milk gradually helps prevent saggy breasts after breastfeeding!
How To Treat Sagging Breasts If You’ve Stopped Breastfeeding
I hope you read this information before you finished breastfeeding, or maybe before you even started! If not though, take heart.
The tips above can still help to reduce the amount of sagging after you are finished breastfeeding. Keep your breasts moisturized and always wear a supportive bra. Additionally, adding muscle toning exercises will make a big difference! It doesn’t have to be a lot – just try to do some push-ups every day. Toning your muscles will help draw your breasts back up and give them more support.
It’s always a good idea to maintain good posture. Combining good posture with exercise to tone your muscles is a great way to draw your breasts up and reduce sagging. Stay healthy by eating a diet rich in omega-3’s and other good fats.
There are just some things that will change after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Unfortunately, sagging breasts is one of those changes. Even if you follow this advice you will still likely have changes in your breasts after you finish breastfeeding. But these tips will help you minimize saggy breasts after breastfeeding!
Kealy Hawk, BSN, RN, CLC
Kealy is a Registered Nurse, Lactation Counselor, and most importantly a mommy! Her own baby feeding struggles gave her a passion to help moms throughout their feeding journey. She specializes in breastfeeding support and evidence-based formula recommendations. To talk with Kealy or take one of her breastfeeding or formula classes, visit https://littlebearcare.com.