Welcome to another blog post busting some myths when it comes to boobs and bras.
At B.X.M we’re on a mission to get more people thinking and talking about boobs, bras, and everything in between. The first, and most vital, step of this is arming you with as much knowledge as possible.
This is why we’re starting conversations around all of the things (we believe) we should have been taught in school.
For this post we're talking about how often you should go for a bra fitting and all of the different changes your boobs might go through in your lifetime.
How often should you actually have a bra fitting?
Most lingerie experts, including us, recommend that you get a bra fitting every 6 months. If that isn’t possible, for any reason, then you should be aiming to get one at least every year.
If your body is going through some changes, whether this be puberty, pregnancy, the menopause, significant weight gain or weight loss, or any other physical circumstances. Then your bra fittings should be closer to every 3 - 4 months.
Why so often?
Simply put your body and breasts will likely be changing shape and size all of the time.
Often these changes are small and incremental, so not something you might notice overnight, or even over a few weeks.
To make sure that you are both comfortable and supported you need to be wearing the correct bra size. And the only way to ensure this is to go for regular fittings.
Your boobs also have very little supportive tissue inside of them (just the skin and your Cooper’s ligaments), so need a well-fitting and supportive bra to minimise unnecessary stretching of the skin and ligaments and the resultant boob sag.
What kind of changes are we talking about?
This is a HUGE topic, so let’s break it down a bit.
(please note: we will be creating more comprehensive articles on each of the below topics, so here is a very brief overview. We have added links to any good and comprehensive articles we have found if you would like to learn more.)
At the most simple level, breast development usually starts between the ages of 8 and 13, and lasts until you are about 17 or 18.
It will start as what are called “breast buds”, small mounds of tissue that sit just under the nipple. These will slowly start to grow into fully-formed breasts.
If you would like to know more about breast changes during puberty, Always have an excellent and comprehensive article on everything to expect - click here to read.
As your breasts grow you will want to start to think about wearing a bra. Our boobs have very little supportive tissue in them, so it’s always best to start thinking about going for a fitting for your first bra.
If you’d like to know more about what to expect from a bra fitting, check out our blog article on it.
Weight loss/weight gain
Your breasts are made up of breast tissue (milk nodes, milk ducts, lymph nodes, etc.) and fatty tissue.
As you lose or gain weight, the concentration of this fatty tissue within your breast will change. Resulting in the overall breast size either growing or shrinking and their shape changing.
If you gain or lose weight you might notice your breast is fuller on the bottom, droops more or sits slightly differently on your chest wall (e.g. more or less space between them). All are completely normal but will change both your bra size and bra fit, as well as what bra styles might be best for you.
It’s important to note that every breast is unique and everyone has an individual ratio of breast tissue to fatty tissue. So, each of us will experience these breast changes slightly differently.
Arguably, the second largest range of changes your breasts will go through is during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Due to this, it is recommended that you get fitted every 3-4 months from the time you find out you are pregnant to when you wean, if you choose to breastfeed.
They can often be one of the first signs that you are pregnant, surging hormones and changes to their structure will mean that your nipples and breasts may feel sensitive and tender from as early as three or four weeks. They will also get bigger as the milk ducts and nodes develop - usually 2+ cup sizes.
Your back size will also increase as your baby grows and your ribcage flares to create space for it and your internal organs.
Your breast milk will usually come in anywhere from 14 days before you give birth, so it is worthwhile getting fitted for a nursing bra before your baby comes. If possible, try and go to someone who is a specialist in fitting nursing bras as they will be able to give you more advice on sizing and styles.
As you carry on along your breastfeeding journey your boobs will change shape and size, from feeling very full and firm in the first 2-3 months to getting smaller as you lose some of the fatty tissue that will have been created during your pregnancy.
If you would like to learn more about the changes to your boobs throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, Medela has created a very comprehensive guide - click here to read.
Hormonal changes & the menopause
If you are someone that experiences a period, you might notice your breast change in both shape and feel throughout your menstrual cycle. This is due to hormonal shifts within your body - increasing levels of estrogen and progesterone cause the breast tissue to swell often causing resulting in your boobs getting bigger and feeling more tender. Take a look at our blog article on bra fittings for our advice on when is best to fitted during your cycle.
As you approach menopause estrogen levels in your body will drop, causing your breasts to change in both shape and size. Getting smaller and possibly sagging as your breast tissue starts to shrink and become less dense. Not only will this mean a change in your bra size, it might also mean a change in the style of bra that you wear.
These changes will take place over several years, so it is important to ensure that you are getting fitted regularly and wearing a bra that fits properly.
If you would like to find out more about how your breasts might change during the menopause, My Menopause Centre has a host of useful articles - click here to find out more.
Why does it matter?
Ultimately, going for a regular bra fitting is an act of compassion and care. Both for yourself and for your boobs.
Ensuring that you are wearing a well-fitting and supportive bra is something that the current you is doing to benefit the future you. Not only will it limit stretching of the ligaments and skin surrounding your boobs (and the sagging that comes with that) it will also likely make them more comfortable - this is especially true for us bigger boobed babes, if you’ve ever tried to go braless for an extended period of time, you know what we mean.If you’re unsure what to expect or where to start when it comes to bra fittings, check out our recent blog post breaking all of this down for you.