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What does BF'ing do to your body long-term?

(51 Posts)
HPonEverything Tue 02-Aug-11 12:21:32

Am pg with DC1 and will definitely be giving BF'ing a go. However I want to be prepared and I can't get any info about the negative effects of BF'ing on your body long-term/permanently (e.g. saggy breasts), only the temporary stuff. Sorry if this sounds really vain, I know it does blush

I am hoping for honest answers from ladies who have been there done that, and perhaps any tips for limiting the situation. Many thanks.

CMOTdibbler Tue 02-Aug-11 12:24:14

None to my body at all. Saggy breasts come from pregnancy, not bfing, but I don't have them and bf for 2 years

Pootles2010 Tue 02-Aug-11 12:26:48

Honestly didn't make much difference to mine. They were pretty big to start with, got bit bigger, now back to normal. Know saggyness can happen to more flat chested ladies, but thats just from them getting bigger when preg then going back down so bf doesn't really make a difference.

Oh and it cuts your chances of breast cancer if that counts?!

ShowOfHands Tue 02-Aug-11 12:27:08

BFing doesn't make your breasts sag, pregnancy does. And long term effects are generally positive. You are at a decreased risk from ovarian cancer, diabetes, breast cancer, PND and some other things I think. It makes you lose weight supposedly too. Oh and it will help with your uterus returning to normal faster in the early days too. Protects against too many babies too close together. Lots of good things.

Cosmetically, my breasts look the same as they did pre dd and I bfed for 3.4yrs.

kaluki Tue 02-Aug-11 12:28:08

My breasts didn't go saggy and I bf both my dc till they were 10/11 months.
In fact they are bigger now than before pg.
My stomach however - now thats a different story. It looks like a sponge!!

EauRouge Tue 02-Aug-11 12:30:33

The long term effects are all good! Lower risk of many types of cancer and other things. My boobs were doing fine until I got pregnant with DD2. Just make sure you get fitted for a bra regularly (by someone who knows what they are doing, give M&S a wide berth) and invest in decent bras. Here's a BBC story on it, I've got a link to the study somewhere, I'll have a look.

HPonEverything Tue 02-Aug-11 12:35:01

Thanks so much all of you, I feel pleasantly reassured blush [vain emoticon]

ShowOfHands what do you mean by "Protects against too many babies too close together"? Does it stop you ovulating?

Positive health benefits to myself I had no idea of, really great to hear that!

FWIW I'm quite happy with my current body image (still 2 months to go) just worried it will all fall apart once baby arrives!

Thanks again smile

notso Tue 02-Aug-11 12:37:17

My breasts are REALLY saggy, am hmm as to whether it is pregnancy that causes it tbh as my SIL and friends who formula fed report no change or bigger breasts.

Still wouldn't change anything though, loved BFing my three.

coldcomfortHeart Tue 02-Aug-11 12:43:47

I was wondering about this the other day, as I really feel that surge of oxytocin prior to let-down. It's overpowering! I was just musing as to the long term effects of that massive surge time after time... it's supposed to be the 'love hormone' so I have visions of myself turning into a proper love-all peace-out hippy grin

OP my I got stretchmarks on my breasts in my first pregnancy but after feeding for 2 years they just went back to how they were- maybe a tiny bit smaller. Back to a generous D/E cup now I'm feeding DS2 though!

EauRouge Tue 02-Aug-11 12:46:54

OP- Exclusive breast feeding does suppress ovulation in most women but it's not 100% as a contraception. Most women start ovulating again when their baby cuts down on BF so usually at least 6 months, sometimes longer and sometimes shorter.

ShowOfHands Tue 02-Aug-11 12:54:50

Exclusive BFing theoretically prevents the return of periods/ovulation and gives a natural spacing to the children you have. As opposed to not bfing and you potentially ovulating within a few weeks of giving birth.

Of course you must NOT rely on this but it apparently is quite nice to have a break from periods while bfing (mine came back at 13 weeks, boo hiss).

LittleMilla Tue 02-Aug-11 13:01:20

I think it's had a good effect on me. I got stretch marks on my boobs during pg (no where else) and when my milk came in I seemed to get some more. But nothing you can see unless I was wearing a top so low cut I shouldn't be going out!

I managed to lose all but half a stone of my pg weight in just 8 weeks. And this wasn't down to any dieting. Just eating what I want (I have a crisp fetish and am NOT someone that survives on seeds, honest!) and walking for about an hour every day. And TBH, the walking was simply to get DS to sleep and is something that I think most mums find themselves doing.

We're not 12 weeks in and I love it. Just fed DS and am experiencing the 'high' that coldcomfortheart talks about.

Cannot recommend it highly enough!


worldgonecrazy Tue 02-Aug-11 13:04:53

My friend didn't breastfeed, her tits are around her waist. I did and mine are mostly perky but definitely not as perky as pre-pregnancy. Your breast tissue prepares for breastfeeding during pregnancy, so it really doesn't make any difference. Sagginess depends on number of pregnancies and genetics. You will probably need new bras post pregnancy regardless of how you feed baby.

Long term the effects on the body are reduced risk of breast cancer and reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

pickledparsnip Tue 02-Aug-11 13:14:42

I've been breastfeeding my son for nearly 2 years and have definitely noticed a change in my breasts. I guess they are a bit saggier, but mostly just not as full as they were. They look better than ever in a bra, but not as good as before when naked. I went through a weird phase in the early stages of feeding where I sort of mourned my old breasts, and was pretty mortified that I'd never get my old ones back. My whole body has changed though, it's more womanly, I quite like it!

pickledparsnip Tue 02-Aug-11 13:16:59

Oh and of course have a few stretchmarks, but they started in pregnancy. I am proud of the way my breasts look now, they may not be as perky as they once wer,e but they have provided nourishment for my son for nearly 2 years. I'm pretty damn pleased with that! The health benefits for me are a bonus, more importantly I did it for him.

Gemjar Tue 02-Aug-11 13:24:40

With DS1 by boobs were a bit droopy to begin with (they just looked like they were empty and deflated), but after a few weeks they kind of bounced back. I am still BFing DS2 but they seem as though they will be the same as last time so BFing definitely does not mean you will never get your body back.

Also, DS2 was born in November and since then I have lost nearly 3 stone. Now this is most definitely not down to diet and exercise as neither have been brilliant, so I can only put it down to bfing.

Pesephone Tue 02-Aug-11 14:16:04

Absolutely agree, bf does not make your boobs saggy, the changes happen regardless of how you feed the baby, your body changes through pregnancy wether you like it or not.

flickor Tue 02-Aug-11 19:06:06

it is the best thing for mother - research from the states is showing mothers that breastfeed have a much lower rate of ovarian cancer and breast cancer. It also reduces the size of your womb and for me I have lost all my baby weight. If you are worried about your boobies - it increase your cup size but I have not noticed huge changes in mine. Its great

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 02-Aug-11 19:25:35

i weighed less after 10m of bf than i did before i got pg despite spending that period eating nowt but cake.

Coldcomfortheart i don't know about long term effect of oxytocin on mum but in baby it is believed to lead to fewer tantrums later on. If not used (as in ff) the brain's oxytocin receptors atrophy and make it harder for the lo to self regulate their emotions.

SheCutOffTheirTails Tue 02-Aug-11 19:35:53

My periods came back after 8 weeks both times. Grrr

My boobs also not saggy.

nethunsreject Tue 02-Aug-11 19:38:32

Can I add that I am now as thin as I was when I left school 20 yrs ago after a year of bfing.


It's the thinnest I've been in 20 yrs too.

I look fabulous. wink

Boobs still fine - small but perky.

TheRealMBJ Tue 02-Aug-11 19:42:07

Long term it:

1. Decreases your risk for breast cancer
2. Decreases your risk for ovarian cancer
3. Decreases the incidence of osteoporosis
4. Decreases the incidence of PND
5. Delays fertility (if baby exclusively breastfed on demand, day and night not dummies etc, etc only for the first 6 months though)

sancerrre Tue 02-Aug-11 19:55:39

Another one here weighing less than pre pg - about 15lb so far (8 months in) despite eating a magnum and lots of choc every day. Also have grown up boobs for the first time in my life. I'm not stopping bf ever.

mrspear Tue 02-Aug-11 20:03:43

OP my breasts are back to the same size and position but i have struggled with weight lost; although this is due to far too much cake blush

Just tiny warning i noticed that my breasts became quite "vainy" - quite normal and it did go. BUT i would still BF all over again as i found quite a marvelous experience. I look at my little boy and think MY milk has made him this big! Clever! grin

HPonEverything Wed 03-Aug-11 10:18:58

Thanks all, great to hear your experiences.

I went to an antenatal group for the first time last night, half of which was devoted to BF promotion. Along with all the good stuff the MW said about it, she did say that 1) your boobs will droop and 2) your man will go off you if he is a boob man shock I felt like shouting out "not according to Mumsnet!"

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