According to Brian Rinker, MD, a plastic surgeon at the University of Kentucky, breastfeeding doesn’t cause breast sagging.

"Expectant mothers should be reassured that breastfeeding does not appear to have an adverse effect upon breast appearance," says Rinker.

Rinker and his colleagues interviewed 132 women who were seeking breast augmentation or a surgical lift for sagging breasts. The women were 39 years old, on average. The majority—93 patients—had had at least one pregnancy. Most of the moms—58%—had breastfed at least one child.

Rinker’s team noted the women’s medical history, body mass index, pre-pregnancy bra cup size, and smoking status.

"Breastfeeding does not adversely affect breast shape, beyond the effects of pregnancy alone," says Rinker.

However, the researchers note other factors that are linked to breast sagging:

• older age;

• cigarette smoking;

• larger pre-pregnancy bra cup size; and

• greater number of pregnancies.

Age and cigarette smoking hamper skin’s elasticity, note the researchers.

[www.cbsnews.com, October 29, 2007]