Your Guide to Breast Development During Puberty

Dr Julia ThomsonDr Julia Thomson

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Dr Julia Thomson, Consultant Paediatrician

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Your Guide to Breast Development During PubertyWink emoji

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When will mine grow? Are mine big enough? Are mine too big?

One of the most noticeable physical changes to happen during puberty is the development of breasts. Breast growth can be exciting, annoying, and worrisome – sometimes all at once. Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are round and full, some are perky and pointed, some are big, some are small. All of them are normal. Here’s what you can expect about breast development during puberty.

What are the first signs of breast growth?

The first sign of breast growth happens when the breasts first start forming breast buds, small mounds of tissue underneath the nipples, like little berry-sized bumps. Breast buds can make your areola, the dark skin around your nipple, appear raised and puffy. The development of breast buds is one of the first signs of puberty starting. Breast buds tend to make their first appearance between the ages of 8 and 13.

What if one of my breasts changes before the other?

Sometimes one breast will bud before the other one. This is normal. Our bodies are very rarely symmetrical. But don’t worry - you will tend to notice any lopsidedness way more than anyone else. Likely, no one else will be able to detect any difference between your two breasts, so don’t let that stress you out!

Do breasts hurt when they grow?

Teen breast buds can feel tingly, itchy, painful and sore when they’re growing. The appearance of a new painful bump on your body can also make you freak out a bit. But don’t worry. Sore breast buds are a normal sign of breast growth. Your body is doing what it’s supposed to do.

As your breasts grow, you may notice you have stretch marks on your breasts. This is also very normal. Lots of women have stretch marks on their breasts. At first, your stretch marks may appear bright pink in colour. They will fade over time.

Your breasts will start to fill out as your breasts’ glands develop and get bigger. This can also make your breasts and nipples very sensitive. If your nipples feel sensitive, be sure to wear soft fabrics.

You may want to consult your doctor if you are experiencing lots of pain.

When will my breasts stop growing?

Girls’ breast buds will continue to fill out and develop into fully formed breasts. This takes a few years. Breast development typically isn’t complete until age 17 or 18.

Should I wear a bra?

As your breasts get bigger, you’ll probably want to start wearing a bra. Chat with your mum or an older adult you trust about purchasing a bra. Be sure to get a bra that fits and is comfortable. Bras come in different shapes and sizes, and not all bras are comfortable for all people. Picking out the right shape and size that works for you is the key not just for how it looks on under your clothes, but also for your health. A well-fitting bra will properly support the tissues and ligaments in your breasts to keep them healthy and free from unnecessary strain and tears.

Lots of shops offer a bra-fitting service. Try not to be afraid of getting a fitting. The staff have seen thousands of breasts before and can help you find a well-fitting, comfortable bra.

While they take some getting used to, bras can be quite fun. They come in different patterns and designs that can be fun to pick out and coordinate with your knickers or your outfit. Enjoy it!

What are breasts lumps?

Breast lumps are fluid-filled sacs located in the breast. In most cases, these lumps are harmless, but if you feel there is a lump in your breast it’s important to have it checked by a doctor as some breast lumps can be serious.

Can I make my breasts grow faster?

There is nothing much you can do to speed up or slow down your breast development or to change the appearance of your breasts. Just like your eyes, nose, or lips, what your breasts look like is up to genetics. No cream, massage, or exercise will change what your breasts look like or affect your breast growth.

Whether you are an early bloomer or a late bloomer, embrace it! Everyone develops at a different rate. The best thing for your body and mind is to feel good about yourself, and not stress too much about when you’re going to develop breasts. Look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate what you’ve got. Throw yourself a nice compliment while you’re at it.

You have the rest of your life to live in this body, so a few years here or there with or without breasts is really a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things.

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