As a new mother, it's normal to notice changes in your body, but asymmetric or uneven breasts can be an unwelcome surprise. Although many women start motherhood with some degree of breast asymmetry, but for some an imbalanced form only emerges or becomes pronounced during breastfeeding or after weaning.
Are you searching for signs to remain hopeful, or preparing for the possibility of permanent differences? In this blog post, we will explore the question of whether uneven breasts will even out after breastfeeding and discuss everything you should know about breast asymmetry pre- and post-breastfeeding.
What Causes Uneven Breasts?
There are several factors that can contribute to uneven breasts, including:
- Genetics: Asymmetry in the breasts is a common trait that is often passed down from generation to generation.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and breastfeeding can also cause asymmetry in the breasts.
- Weight Changes: Sudden changes in weight can also cause unevenness in the breasts.
Understanding Uneven Breasts from Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a dynamic process that changes constantly, especially during the first few weeks after the birth of your baby. It is not uncommon for your breasts to be uneven during this time, particularly if your baby prefers one breast over the other or if you tend to nurse your baby on one side more than the other. This is because if one breast gets more stimulation from a baby nursing or from a breast pump, it will produce more milk and grow larger than the other one.
Moreover, it is important to note that some women have naturally uneven breasts, and breastfeeding only magnifies the difference. In most cases, uneven breasts are not a medical concern and will even out on their own eventually.
However, if one breast has been consistently smaller from the beginning and did not get any larger throughout your pregnancy or the early postpartum period, you should consult your doctor. A small percentage of women may have hypoplastic breasts, a condition that causes insufficient or no milk production and could affect just one breast.
Can Uneven Breasts even out after Breastfeeding?
While some women may experience a reduction in asymmetry after breastfeeding, it is not a guarantee for all women. The extent to which uneven breasts will even out after breastfeeding depends on several factors, including:
- The Cause of Asymmetry: If the cause of asymmetry is genetics or hormonal changes, it is less likely that the unevenness will resolve after breastfeeding.
- The Length of Breastfeeding: The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more time her body has to adjust and potentially even out.
- The Baby's Feeding Habits: Some babies have a tendency to nurse more from one breast than the other, which can contribute to asymmetry.
What to do while breastfeeding to Correct Breast Asymmetry
If you're uncomfortable with your uneven breasts, there are several steps you can take to help even them out.
- Start every feeding on the smaller breast until that side catches up in size. This will help the smaller breast to produce more milk and even out the size of the breasts.
- If your baby has a preference for one breast over the other, try to figure out why. It could be that the nipple on that side is flat or inverted or that your baby has tight neck muscles (torticollis) that make it more difficult for them to turn their head in the direction of one breast.
- After you breastfeed your baby, you can use a breast pump to stimulate your smaller breast further. Pumping can increase breast milk supply, which should help to increase the size of the breast.
- Do not completely neglect the larger breast, or it could end up becoming the smaller one. Keep the milk supply up in your larger breast by pumping the milk in that breast while you're spending more time breastfeeding on the other one.
- If your breasts become overfull with breast milk, you can pump or hand express a little of your breast milk from that breast to relieve the pain and pressure and avoid the complications of breast engorgement. You can collect and store that breastmilk to use at a later time.
- Once your breasts have evened out, go back to alternating the breast you start each feeding on to help keep them from becoming lopsided again.
When to Seek Medical Attention
While uneven breasts are a common concern for many new mothers, it is not a cause for alarm as it is normal. However, it is important to seek medical attention if there is sudden and significant asymmetry, discomfort or pain in one or both breasts. This can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, such as mastitis or an abscess.