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  #1  
Old 07-07-2003, 07:37 AM
Carnac the Magnificent! Carnac the Magnificent! is offline
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Does breastfeeding permanently change nipple size?

In the past four years, I've dated fairly often, many of the dates being divorced women, most with kids.

Although I can't claim to have dated a statistically representative sample of women, yadda yadda, one thing I have definitely noticed is that some of these mothers have decidedly larger/longer nipples than their non-parental counterparts. (And, no, these moms are not nursing and haven't been for a few years.)

Does nursing a kid or two permanently change nipple size, or did I just happen to run across 10-15 statistical outliers?
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2003, 08:38 AM
Thinks2Much Thinks2Much is offline
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This is General Questions which means only factual answers are supposed to occur. I don't know that anyone has ever done such a study. I work for a breastfeeding company that does research into such things and I am not aware of any such study. I am not saying there never has been one, but if there has, it is likely to be obscure. I can tell you that there is a very wide range of nipple size that naturally occurs without breastfeeding having been involved where some women have much larger ones versus smaller ones in others. I do know there is a study showing race is a factor in nipple size. I can try to dig it up if you are interested. Were all the women in your sample size the same race?

Now, if you had posted in IMHO, speaking as a woman who has breastfed myself, yes, my nipples did permanently change very slightly to be longer than they had been prior to breastfeeding. My husband had to ask me if I thought there were different as well - it was very slight, but it did happen.
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2003, 08:54 AM
Tarantula Tarantula is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisk72
...I work for a breastfeeding company...
My career guidance teacher never even told me these places existed !!!!!

The staff canteen must be exciting...

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  #4  
Old 07-07-2003, 09:19 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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The mind boggles.

A breastfeeding company?
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2003, 10:55 AM
Thinks2Much Thinks2Much is offline
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Our primary business is making breast pumps. We work with research teams that research the science behind breastfeeding so we can make our pumps more like a real baby. We have sponsored studies on nipple size so we can make pumps that are comfortable for all mothers. We also make all kinds of other products related to pregnancy and nursing, including the vacuum pumps that can be used to help deliver a baby.

We also work very closely with the LaLeche League, who you probably have heard of.

It is a different atmosphere to get used to. The artwork in this building is mostly of pregnant women or mothers and babies, some breastfeeding. We have balloons with nipples on them for demostration purposes. You have to really desensitize yourself to the sexuality of breasts around here or you don't last long. Anyone who giggles during their interviews doesn't make the cut.
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2003, 10:57 AM
CrankyAsAnOldMan CrankyAsAnOldMan is offline
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Well, I'd like to add that the human nipple stretches to 2 - 3X its normal length, when being suckled by a baby.

No idea if all that stretching results in a permanently enlarged nipple, however.
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  #7  
Old 07-07-2003, 11:24 AM
Amethyst Amethyst is offline
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Hmmm, this is a strange coincidence as I was planning on posting a question about pregnancy/breast changes.

While I'm still trying to achieve pregnancy, I was wondering what the effect of pregnancy and possible breastfeeding is on the breast overall. Obviously the breasts increase in size during the pregnancy etc timeframe, but what happens after? Do they get smaller? Do they get saggy? If you are a person whose breast tissue is dense, will they return to their normal form? Sorry for the quasi-hijack!

My vain mind is curious (if not a little concerned :-) )
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  #8  
Old 07-07-2003, 11:25 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by CrankyAsAnOldMan
Well, I'd like to add that the human nipple stretches to 2 - 3X its normal length, when being suckled by a baby.
Or by anyone else, I'll warrant.
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  #9  
Old 07-07-2003, 11:48 AM
Thinks2Much Thinks2Much is offline
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I don't know if it is any comfort, but they say the breast (not nipple) changes will occur from pregnancy itself regardless of whether you breastfeed or not.

Which changes occur are largely due to heredity. Look to what happened to your mother and your father's sisters, if any.
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2003, 12:44 PM
Delta-9 Delta-9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisk72
Look to what happened to your mother and your father's sisters, if any.
Nope. Ain't gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.
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  #11  
Old 07-07-2003, 12:50 PM
hedra hedra is offline
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Hot tip (IMHO-land) based on factual (GQ) info:

Get a good supportive bra during pregnancy to help reduce your personal tendency to sag.

Relaxin (the hormone, high production in pregnancy) allows your connective tissue to stretch more easily than usual (handy for childbirth!). Connective tissue is part of what keeps your breasts from sagging (Cooper's ligaments, IIRC). If you LET them stretch due to poor support, they will stretch more easily when relaxin is running around your system. A good supportive bra is the only thing you can change in the equation - can't change your own relaxin level, can't change how stretchy your collagen structures are to start with, can't change (within reason) how much your breasts increase in size/weight (other than managing your diet well so you don't gain excessive weight), but you CAN wear a good bra.

Post in IMHO regarding breast changes afterwards, and I think you'll find the whole range - women whose breasts sagged, deflated, stayed bigger, went back to way smaller, stayed firm, etc. My mom's stayed firm after breatfeeding 7 kids, mine did not after 1 (no paternal aunts to compare with, so can't tell if I just got my dad's side of the genes).
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2003, 01:32 PM
35340 35340 is offline
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Haven't started feeding yet, but I've already got the enlargement changes and don't expect them to go back.

Re:supportive bras: depending on how big you get during pregnancy, you might be able to stick with your regular bra with a simple extender. I've only expanded slightly.

Don't buy a ton of nursing bras until your milk comes in ... a family member went from a to ee and back again.
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2003, 07:20 PM
Carnac the Magnificent! Carnac the Magnificent! is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisk72
This is General Questions which means only factual answers are supposed to occur. I don't know that anyone has ever done such a study.

I do know there is a study showing race is a factor in nipple size. I can try to dig it up if you are interested. Were all the women in your sample size the same race?


MODERATORS: I posted here believing you allowed some wiggle room (pardon the pun) in answering GQ's--providing people don't go overboard. That said, this might be more appropriate for IMHO.

Can you please switch?
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2003, 08:49 PM
Seven Seven is offline
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My first wifes nipples went to gumdrop size after the baby. They remained gumdrop size.

I think a few first hand accounts are in order to answer this question. I will be happy to compile a collection of photos. Just e-mail them to me. heh heh.
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  #15  
Old 07-08-2003, 10:48 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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OK, enquiring minds want to know.

Do either nipple rings or breast implants impact on the ability to breastfeed?

(Yeah I know, a hijack, so sue me.)
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  #16  
Old 07-08-2003, 02:09 PM
hedra hedra is offline
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You have to take the nipple ring out to breastfeed (bad for baby's mouth, plus a choking hazard). If milk ducts were damaged during the piercing (moderately likely that one or more might be knicked or cut), some blocked duct reaction might happen initially (ouchies), but that duct would also shut down if it doesn't get emptied. It is also slightly possible that a duct would heal 'open' into the piercing hole, and therefore leak 'sideways' out the piercing hole. Increased sensitivity or scarring (especially after infection) could also make breastfeeding uncomfortable, and extensive scarring could block more ducts. But I don't know of any research on the topic, that's just based on breast physiology, plus anecdotal stuff.

Implants behind the breast tissue that did not affect the milk ducts (some methods do not bother the ducts at all) wouldn't have much impact. IIRC, Pamela Anderson breastfed all her kids, with hefty implants, before she had them deflated. Breast reduction is a much bigger deal re: breastfeeding later, as ducts are often damaged in the process. But anything that affects the ducts may have an impact.

See: bfar/a or Medela's site and pierced info.
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  #17  
Old 07-08-2003, 07:32 PM
plain_jane plain_jane is offline
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To the OP: when I was pregnant, I was afraid of getting really big areola (uh, what's the plural there? Areoli?) and nipples from breastfeeding, but lucky me I did not. Not while I was nursing, and not now. They are the same size as before.

However, my breasts are smaller. That part sucks, but if that was the trade-off, I'm satisfied.
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