As with other health or beauty issues, so with post-breastfeeding sagginess: “The best cure is prevention.” While breasts may not look saggy during pregnancy or breastfeeding, that is when sagginess begins.
It is essential to understand the cause of breast sagginess to prevent it.
Breasts are composed of fatty and glandular tissue, so they are not the culprits. Instead, droopy breasts following pregnancy and breastfeeding are caused by stress on the Cooper’s ligaments.
The Cooper’s ligaments are connective tissues that run alongside, under, and through the breasts. They connect to the chest muscles and provide essential lift and support.
As breasts swell and become engorged, these ligaments stretch and lose elasticity. When breastfeeding ends, breasts can deflate dramatically. This stretches our ligaments to the max. If your breasts also shrink, you can end up with loose skin.
Here are some tips:
1 Stay within recommended weight guidelines
Sudden or dramatic weight loss can cause loose and flabby skin. Breasts are especially vulnerable due to the dramatic ways they swell during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Avoiding too much weight gain during pregnancy will help prevent the equivalent weight loss and saggy skin afterward.
2 Do not wean too soon or abruptly
Weaning too soon or quitting suddenly is an oft-overlooked culprit of breast sagginess. It is similar to what happens when someone loses weight too quickly. The excess skin doesn’t have anywhere to go, so it just hangs there without elasticity or firmness. Weaning slowly allows your breasts to redeposit fats and recover their natural firmness.
3 Maintain good posture
Excellent posture is a must. There is a natural tendency to lean over your child while nursing. The best way to ensure that you maintain the correct posture is by investing in a nursing pillow so your child remains at breast level.
4 Moisturize your breasts like your face
Skin is the largest organ of our bodies. To prevent sagginess, your breasts need the same attention you give to your face.
Applying moisturizer improves elasticity and promotes collagen production. Collagen increases tissue connectivity and produces taut, firm, and youthful skin – the opposite of sagginess.
You can also apply different oils or butters, such as almond oil or shea butter. But remember that these ingredients add nutrients, while moisturizers lock in moisture.
Exfoliation in the shower will remove dead skin cells and increase moisture absorption. You can do this with a loofah or a DIY scrub like lemon and sugar or olive oil and sugar.
5 Drink more water!
This cannot be said enough. While moisturizers lock in moisture from the outside, it can only be locked in if moisture comes from the inside. In other words, hydrate.
One of the reasons Jennifer Anniston looks so great is that she chugs a whopping three liters of water daily. The rest of us are mortals, so aim for two.
6 The no-brainer: Don’t smoke
We all know the health hazards of smoking. It also takes a significant toll on your skin, which could unravel all your other efforts to prevent pendulously. Smoking reduces the ability of the skin to repair itself, and it decreases circulation. Enough said.
Massage can significantly help the recovery of your ligaments by drawing blood to the surface, increasing circulation, and stimulating muscle growth.
While applying moisturizers, oils, or nut butters to your breast area, make it a massage by turning your knuckles in small circular motions. Aim for the side of the breasts and lift your breasts to massage underneath.
You can add essential oils like lemongrass, spearmint, or fennel for additional cell stimulation, but only use a few drops. These oils are potent and can cause a burning sensation.
8 Alternate hot and cold showers
This is a well-known trick that is good for overall health. Why? Hot water increases circulation and opens the pores for detoxification. Cold water seals the pores and produces tight and glowing skin.
Remember the old Hollywood trick of sticking your face in a bowl of ice cubes for youthful and glowing skin? It works. Now apply it to your breasts.
If the shower trick is too time-consuming, consider alternating between ice packs and a heating pad underneath your breasts. These can also provide additional support while nursing.
9 Strengthen those pecs
Breasts consist primarily of connective tissues that connect directly with the underlying pectoral muscles. When strengthened, these muscles provide an immediate lift.
These are the most effective exercises:
- Chest presses
- Dumbell flyes
If you don’t have time for a complete set of push-ups, try doing quick wall push-ups in groups of ten throughout the day. Those will quickly add up to 100—the farther you separate your hands, the better the workout for your pecs.
If you are a yoga fan, aim for upper body strengthening poses. These include
10 Stay on top of your diet
A clean and healthy diet is another must. Stick to foods that are nutrient-rich and boost collagen and elasticity.
Foods and beverages to embrace:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Lean fish and meats
- Dairy in limited amounts
- Herbal teas
Foods and beverages to avoid:
- All processed or refined foods
- White flour, bread, and rice
- Starchy vegetables
- Sugar, snacks, and desserts
- Alcohol or carbonated drinks
Why shun these latter foods? High fructose foods, alcohol, and carbonated drinks cause collagen breakdown in the skin.
11 Double down on your supplements
Many supplements for healthy skin, hair, and nails contain the ingredients you need for collagen production and skin firmness.
Omega-3 fatty acids support collagen and improve the overall elasticity of the skin.
Vitamin D fights inflammation. The less energy your body spends fighting inflammation, the more power it has for collagen production.
Vitamin C and other antioxidants fight free radicals that attack skin cells and deplete them of much-needed moisture.
Vitamin E is every woman’s secret weapon for beautiful and firm skin.
12 Invest in the right bra to Fix Saggy Breasts After Breastfeeding
You must have excellent, comfortable, supportive bras that fit correctly and hold the breasts in an uplifted and firm position. Many women wear bras day and night while nursing. This 24/7 support helps the ligaments repair themselves. Most bodily and skin rejuvenation occurs at night, so you reap many benefits by wearing a bra in which you can comfortably sleep.
Here are three options:
Pepper Nursing Wirefree Bra
Although a little pricey at $65, this bra has over 2,000 five-star reviews. It is a wireless bra made with luxe fabric, so you won’t feel uncomfortable digging or poking. It is designed to evolve with the breasts’ change in volume throughout breastfeeding and comes with a wide hook and eye, ballet-style closure.
The fabric is a lightweight blend of polyamide and elastane. Colors are light rose and black, and sizes range from extra-extra small to extra-large.
Desirelove Nursing Bra 3 Pack Maternity Seamless Bras with Removable Spil Prevention Pads
This bra is a fan favorite with over 7,000 positive reviews on Amazon. It is designed primarily as a sleeping bra, but you can also wear it for everyday activities. The removable pads and molded foam cups provide ample support, and the wire-free construction allows for extreme comfort.
The fabric is a breathable, stretchy, lightweight blend of nylon and cotton. It comes in neutral colors and in all sizes.
HOFISH Women’s Seamless Sports
Many women wear sports bras all the time while they are breastfeeding. They provide additional and much-needed support and tend to be seamless, wire-free, and made of breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics. This bra has a soft blend of nylon and spandex. It comes with a convenient top clip design, neutral colors, and a wide variety of size options.
This bra is suitable for low-impact activities, but if you engage in medium or high-impact exercise after breastfeeding, it is best to invest in a bra band to prevent further strain on your ligaments.
13 Plastic surgery
If these options do not help prevent sagginess from breastfeeding, you can also consider breast augmentation or a lift. However, be aware that surgery can impair breastfeeding in future pregnancies.