Breasts 101

Understanding how your breasts will change during puberty.

 

Every girl’s breasts grow and develop differently.  You may be wondering if yours will ever grow, or wish that they would stop growing!  This page should help answer some of your questions.

 

How do breasts develop?

  • Before your breasts start to grow, your chest will be flat and your nipples may be small.
  • Then, small bumps (called buds) will start under your nipples.  These buds may feel tender at first, but this will stop as you get a bit older.
  • Your nipples and the area around them (the areola) may change in colour and your nipples will sometimes get hard and stick out.
  • As time goes by, your breast buds will get rounder and fuller and grow into the shape of your breast.
  • Breasts can grow slowly or it may seem like they sprout overnight!
  • Breasts usually start growing when you’re between the ages of 8-13, and they may continue to grow into your early twenties.

 

What size will my breasts grow to be?

  • Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and it’s hard to predict what size your breasts will be.
  • Your breast size is affected by things like your weight and your genetics (what runs in your family).

 

How long does it take to grow breasts during puberty?

  • Your breasts may be the first thing that develops during puberty, even before you get your first period.
  • You may find that you will not reach your full breast size until you are in your late teens or even into your early 20s.

 

What do normal breasts look like?

  • Lots of people feel self-conscious about their breasts, but there is no one normal way for breasts to look.
  • Breasts come in all different sizes, shapes, and colours.
  • It is totally fine for one breast to be a bit bigger than the other. Sometimes the size of your breasts will equal out after you are finished puberty, but sometimes not.
  • There are as many different breasts as there are faces, or hands, or belly buttons!

 

Can I change the way my breasts look?

  • The best way to love your body is to be comfortable with it. If you are unhappy with how your breasts look, try to change the way you think about your body instead of changing the way it looks.
  • If you want to make your breasts look bigger, you can wear a padded bra or add tissue or other stuffing inside your bra.
  • If you want to make your breasts look smaller you can bind them more closely to your chest.
  • You may also find that your breasts shrink or grow if you lose or gain weight.
  • Surgery is pretty much the only way to change the way your breasts look, and may be done to reduce breast size, for example, if the size of your breasts is causing you physical pain. (Surgery can also be done to increase breast size., however most cosmetic surgeons will not perform breast enhancement surgery on people under age 18 because their breasts are still developing.)

 

When and how do I get a bra?

  • Wearing a bra or not is your choice. When your breasts become a certain size, you might want to start wearing one, but the decision is up to you.
  • Bras come in many different styles, such as sports bras, padded bras, push up bras, etc. You may get several different styles so you have options depending on what outfit you are wearing, how active you are planning to be, or even your mood.
  • The best place to buy a bra is at a store where there are sales people who can help you. Don’t be afraid to talk to the sales person about what size bra to buy – they’re experts, after all!
  • It may also help to ask someone who’s used to wearing bras to help you like an older sister, your mom, an aunt, or a family friend.

 

Help! My breasts keep changing!  What’s happening?

  • The main reason your breasts change is because of changes in your hormones such as just before, during and after your period or during pregnancy when they may swell and grow larger. They may also feel heavier, or be sensitive.
  • You may find that changes in temperature may cause your breasts to look or feel different.
  • Weight loss or weight gain may also cause your breasts to change in size.
  • Just like the skin on other parts of your body, breasts are susceptible to pimples or dry skin as well.

 

Useful tip:

Although your breasts may still be growing and changing, it is a good idea to get to know how they feel and look so you know what is normal for you.  If you are worried about changes to your breasts don’t hesitate to check with your health care provider.

 

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