Like every single one of my friends, my breasts swelled during pregnancy. According to Christina Ahn, MD, associate professor of Plastic surgery at NYU School of Medicine, in anticipation of milk production there’s a hormonal effect during pregnancy that initiates engorgement and increased volume of the breasts. And for most of us, our engorged boobs don’t go away. Those puppies are large and in charge throughout pregnancy, and if you’re planning on breastfeeding, prepare for your boobs to get even bigger. “While breastfeeding, the skin stretches to accommodate the milk engorgement,” says Dr. Ahn. “Supportive ligaments may stretch with the added volume/weight. The nipple and areola become hyper-pigmented (darker) and possibly larger.”
See, nobody told me that when I was pregnant with my first child. Much like the excruciating pain of childbirth, discussing post-breastfeeding boobs is something people just don’t bring up. Maybe it’s taboo, or maybe they just don’t want to scare you, but now that we’ve been through it, boob-talk it is a common woebegone conversation among my fellow deflated friends. “They’re like pancakes now,” my friend Karen often jokes. “I swear I could hoist my boobs up over my shoulder.” It’s true. What used to be big, beautiful, boulders are now flat tires on a toddler bike. And that’s not all. Flatter boobs are just the beginning. “Breastfeeding will definitely change breasts,” says Anna Barbieri MD, an ob-gyn and professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Let’s face it, we sacrifice a lot for our children — including our perky pre-pregnancy breasts.”
As we know, women come in all shapes and sizes and our boobs are no exception. Who’s to say what your breasts will specifically look like, but, if you’re intrigued (and not too terrified), check out these illustrations of the ways your boobs may look after breastfeeding, and see if you can spot your fun bags.
More on Breastfeeding:
- 21 Things Only Moms Who Breastfeed Know
- Breastfeeding? 14 Times Your Boobs Will Leak for Sure
- How to Breastfeed in Public: Tips from Moms Who Are Pros at It