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Breast changes during pregnancy and nursing

Learning about your breast anatomy and physiology will help you to better understand how your breasts prepare and adapt in order to feed your baby.

You may notice:

1. Breast growthBreasts may start growing as early as 6-8 weeks. Your cup size may increase by 1 or 2 sizes. The growth happens because the milk-producing cells in the breast are multiplying to prepare for feeding baby.

2. Breast tendernessBreast and nipple tenderness is often the first sign of pregnancy.  The tenderness is caused by hormone changes that increase blood flow and affect breast tissue.  Tenderness may disappear after the first trimester.

3. Color changesYour areolas become darker and sometimes bigger to help provide a visual contrast for your newborn’s eye. 

TIP: Always speak with a health care professional if you have concerns or experience extreme pain in your nipples or breasts.

Get the right comfort and support for your changing breasts. 


Milk ductsEach breast contains many milk ducts, which are the holding tanks for your milk.  Milk passes through from these ducts and come together flowing through 9-15 nipple pores per breast.  

Let downWhen milk is squeezed into the ducts allowing the milk to flow, making it easier for baby to feed. Let downs can happen when you aren’t breastfeeding.  Sometimes just the sight or thought of your baby can trigger milk flow.

EngorgementWhen the blood flow increases to the breasts and the surrounding tissue starts to swell.  Engorgement may affect each woman differently. Some women experience breast soreness, hardness and enlargement.