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  • Writer's pictureDr Jesse Hu

Why do breasts look deflated after breastfeeding?

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

As a new mom, one of the most exciting parts of breastfeeding is watching your baby grow and get stronger. But it's also really common for moms to notice that their breasts look deflated after breastfeeding.

So what gives? Are you not making enough milk for your baby? Is there something wrong with your body? The answer is yes—and no! You're probably making plenty of milk, but there are still lots of reasons why this happens:

Changes in appearance of the breasts after breastfeeding is largely due to pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your breasts undergo a multitude of changes. Breast growth in pregnancy may be rapid during the early weeks, or the size may increase gradually. By the time the baby is born and the milk production starts, the breasts are likely to be one to two cup sizes larger than before pregnancy.

Breastfeeding can cause a decrease in breast volume.

Breastfeeding can cause a decrease in breast volume. A woman's body produces milk for her baby, and as the baby grows and nurses, her breasts produce more milk. When you stop breastfeeding, your body will naturally produce less milk over time--which means that as your baby gets older and no longer needs to nurse every few hours (or even at all), it's possible for your breasts to look deflated because they aren't being used as much anymore.

Breasts have more fat than other tissue in your body.

Breasts are made up of fat and milk ducts. Fat makes up the majority of breast tissue, which means it's a significant source of energy for breastfeeding moms. This is why you may find yourself feeling hungry more often than usual--your body needs the extra calories to keep producing milk! The fat also helps protect your milk ducts from injury and infection.

After six months of breastfeeding, the breasts start becoming smaller due to loss of some of the fatty tissue in the breast. Breast size is determined by how much fatty tissue there is.

By the time the baby is 15 months old, the breasts will be the same volume they were before conception, but not smaller. This is true whether one is still breastfeeding or not.

Breastfeeding causes the breasts to produce less milk when the baby stops nursing.

Breastfeeding is a form of supply and demand. When your baby nurses, your breasts produce milk to meet their needs. When the baby stops nursing, milk production decreases until it reaches a normal level for you (this is called "lactation"). Breast changes due to lactation will reverse when one eventually stops breastfeeding. The breast will return to similar to preconception size over the next three months. But if you get pregnant again, the whole process will begin anew. Since breastfeeding slowly works off the fat that gives breasts their size, women who breastfeed for several years may find that their breasts feel deflated. With time, the fat will be redeposited and their breasts will return to their pre-pregnancy size.

However, many women will feel that their breasts are smaller after weaning, which in actual fact, they do appear smaller. This is because the skin is a bit more stretched and the connective tissue and fatty tissue in the breasts can shift during pregnancy and breastfeeding, resulting in breasts to sag.

Breastfeeding isn't constant--it's a dynamic process!

How can I stop my breasts from looking deflated?

In conclusion, your breasts could look deflated after breastfeeding because they were full of milk before, but now they're not being used as much and you're not making as much milk as before. One of the ways to reduce that is to wean gradually. The more gradually you wean, the more you will help the fat tissue to redeposit inside breasts. That will help them regain their pre-pregnancy appearance more quickly.

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