A new study has found that breastfeeding does not adversely affect breast shape—a belief held by many mothers who breastfeed their children. University of Kentucky plastic surgeon Brian Rinker, MD, and colleagues conducted the study with patients at the University of Kentucky HealthCare Cosmetic Surgery Associates. The study found that breastfeeding does not increase breast sagging.
“A lot of times, if a woman comes in for a breast lift or a breast augmentation, she’ll say ‘I want to fix what breastfeeding did to my breasts,” said Rinker. This common complaint roused Rinker to find out if breast sagging was a direct result of breastfeeding.

Rinker and his colleagues interviewed 132 women who had come to UK for a breast lift or augmentation between 1998 and 2006. The women were, on average, 39 years old; 93% had at least one pregnancy, and most of the mothers, 58%, had breastfed at least one child. Additionally, the research team evaluated the patients’ medical history, body mass index, pre-pregnancy bra cup size, and smoking status.

Results showed no difference in the degree of breast for those women who breastfed and those who did not. However, Rinker found that several other factors did affect breast sagging, including age, the number of pregnancies, and whether the patient smoked.

“Smoking breaks down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance … so it would make sense that it would have an adverse effect on the breasts,” said Rinker.

Rinker presented the findings of the study at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons conference in Baltimore.

[ Source: SurgeryScope – News from the Dept of Surgery at the University of Kentucky ]