March 28th, 2022
How Do My Breast
Change After Nursing?
Written By: Elisa Agostinho
Life as you knew it before baby is gone forever – in the best, most wonderful way possible! That goes for your body, too. It’s not always so great, but those pregnancy body changes that remain are so, so worth what you get in return. And right now we’re talking about your boobs, and what you need to know about breastfeeding.
Breast Changes After Nursing
Your pregnancy breasts are not your pre-pregnancy breasts, and your post-pregnancy, post-breastfeeding breasts are different still. If you’ve opted to breastfeed you may be looking down or in the mirror and wondering: Will my nipples change after breastfeeding? Can I somehow make my nipples and areolas smaller after breastfeeding? What do healthy breastfeeding nipples even look like? Keep reading for the answers.
What Do Healthy Breastfeeding Nipples Look Like?
There are as many nursing nipple sizes and shapes as there are nursing moms. We’re talking large, small, flat, inverted, pointing in different directions, etc. They are ALL normal. What’s important is recognizing infections – either caused by blocked milk ducts, known as mastitis once infected, or thrush, a yeast infection – and treating the problem accordingly.
Blocked milk ducts can be treated with moist, warm compresses, and by gentle massage under a stream of warm water in the shower. If that doesn’t work and you start to experience flu-like symptoms, that could indicate you’ve developed mastitis, though you’ll probably know, given the inflamed, painful, crusty nipples that usually accompany it. Your doctor or breastfeeding coach can help you determine the best way to move forward and share additional tips on clearing your ducts and keeping them clear, if that’s the case. Antibiotics and OTC pain relievers will usually be part of the solution.
Thrush, which can be passed from mama to baby and vice versa, is common. Symptoms include nipple pain, inflammation, and irritated and/or itchy white patches around your nipple and in the baby's mouth or on their tongue. Again, seek help from your doctor; thrush also calls for antibiotics, as well as an antifungal cream.
Neither mastitis or thrush is a deal-breaker when it comes to breastfeeding. You can continue to breastfeed under a doctor’s guidance and with proper treatment and care.
Do Breasts Change After Breastfeeding?
OK – here’s some honest breastfeeding talk: It can leave behind some permanent changes to your nipples, areolas, and breasts, to varying degrees. Breast skin and tissue stretched thin during pregnancy and engorged with milk during breastfeeding means your post-breastfeeding boobs may appear somewhat deflated, less dense, and saggy. Exercises that strengthen the muscles underneath and around the breasts may make your post-breastfeeding breasts look a bit more lifted.
I Swear My Nipples Got Bigger During Pregnancy- Do Nipples Get Bigger After Breastfeeding, Too?
It really does seem like your nipples blow up in size when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding, doesn’t it? And they do, since they’re retaining more fluid and engorged with milk.
"It’s not always so great, but those pregnancy body changes that remain are so, so worth what you get in return."
How Can You Make Nipples and Areolas Smaller After Breastfeeding?
You can’t, really, but Mother Nature and the passage of time will bring them closer – if not entirely – back to where they used to be.
Will My Nipples Go Back To Normal After Breastfeeding?
Take heart! You can pretty much expect your nipples to return to their pre-pregnancy size and lighten in color. Although those tiny bumps on your areolas that were already there pre-pregnancy – they’re called Montgomery’s tubercles – may remain more noticeable. Along the way, a go-to nipple cream can be a lifesaver. Nemah Renewing Nipple + Lip Balm, made with jojoba oil, calendula, and mango butter (yum!) is a naturally nourishing super-hydrator especially formulated to help calm, soothe, and renew nipples – as well as parched lips or other irritated skin.
A final word: If your post-nursing breasts and nipples end up not quite what you were used to before baby, well, embracing a new normal is just another part of the pregnancy journey. You and your body made a tiny human – that’s insanely mind-blowing!