Teenagers often worry about whether their breasts are growing normally. Here’s some general guidelines for girls about when breast growth begins, when breasts stop growing after puberty, and how breasts continue to change throughout a woman’s life.
At What Age do Breasts Stop Growing?
Primary breast growth occurs during puberty, and breasts stop growing typically about 1-2 years after a girl’s first period. This is usually around age 13-14. After this primary growth stops, though breast changes will continue throughout a girl’s life.
Since breasts are made primary made of fat tissue and mammary glands, breasts will continue to grow and change shape , particularly during motherhood. There really is no age when breasts stop changing.
Breast Development DURING Puberty
The development of breast buds is often the first sign of puberty in girls. After breast buds appear, a girl will typically get her first period about 2-2.5 years later.
However the age of breast tissue development varies significantly from girl to girl.
Some girls who begin puberty later may not notice breast buds until 1-3 years after their first period. The buds may also appear at different times, with one breast growing faster than the other, but usually growth will even out after about 6 months.
Tanner Stages of Breast Development During Puberty
- Stage I: No changes in breasts yet
- Stage II: Puberty begins with the development of breast buds, which means a slight elevation of the breast tissue
- Stage III: Breasts continue to grow, but there is no separation yet of their shape (contour)
- Stage IV: Breasts shape changes with the development of a mound including the nipple region
- Stage V: Adult-like breasts; primary breast growth ends
Breasts typically stop their primary growth when puberty is complete, which is about 1-2 years after a girl has her first period. However, breasts may continue to grow and change shape up until around age 18. It’s also normal for one breast to have a slightly different size and shape from the other.
Breast Changes AFTER Puberty
Unlike a girl’s height, breasts will continue to change throughout a girl’s lifetime. This is because breasts are made primarily of fat tissue. When a girl gains weight, the body will add fat tissue, including changes to her breasts. This is not necessarily healthy, if a girl is gaining excessive weight.
- Breast Changes DURING Menstruation
Every month when a girl gets her period her breast size changes slightly. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone stimulate the breast tissue to prepare for possible pregnancy, which for most girls results in swollen, tender, or even painful breasts.
Girls can use an over-the-counter pain medication, like Aleve, to help manage breast tenderness during their period. Reducing caffeine is also thought to help. Breast tissue will return to normal after each period ends.
- Breast Changes DURING Pregnancy
During motherhood, breasts also undergo significant changes in order to produce milk. The lactation process causes significant growth in breasts, particularly in mammary gland tissue. While some women’s breasts return to their pre-pregancy size after birth and breastfeeding, most mothers will maintain a new breast size for the rest of their life.
Around the age of 35-40, if a woman does not have child, the mammary glands will gradually begin to shrink, and breasts may get smaller, depending on the health and weight of the woman.
Does the Shape of Your Breasts Change after Puberty?
Connective tissues and chest muscles support how breasts are shaped, and will change as a girl ages. When these tissues and muscles age, breasts begin to sag during later stages of life.
Eating healthy, engaging in routine exercise, and wearing a well-fitting bra, are all good ways to maintain healthy breast tissue. Maintaining strong chest and back muscles can help breasts maintain their shape, or ‘perkiness’.
Can You Change the Size of your Boobs?
Remember, there are no natural methods to make breasts grow. Despite all the hype and misinformation in the media, their are no vitamins, special diets, or exercises for breast enlargement.
If you feel your breasts are too large, maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to reduce excessive fat tissue in the breast, and wearing a supportive, well-fitting bra can help a girl feel more confident about the shape of her body.
Ultimately, breast size is determined by a combination of genetic factors, weight, exercise, and whether a woman becomes a mother.
Remember, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, so be self-confident with whatever shape your body naturally comes in. Boobs of all sizes are beautiful!