Breasts are one of the first signs of puberty and many find this stage of development awkward and confusing to chat about. To help you learn everything there is to know about breasts and first bras, we’ve put together a few facts that will make everything clearer and less overwhelming.

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Breast Development

Breasts are one of the first signs of puberty and many find this stage of development awkward and confusing to chat about. To help you learn everything there is to know about breasts and first bras, we’ve put together a few facts that will make everything clearer and less overwhelming.

Breast Development

For many, changes to how their breasts look and feel is a good indication puberty has arrived.  Breast development, or to give it its technical name ‘thelarche’, starts with a small lump being noticed under the skin and behind the nipple about the size of a ten pence piece, its often called a breast bud. The average age for these changes to be noticed is around 10-12 years old, for some even younger.

So, what are breast buds?

  • Budding boobs are made of tissue, milk glands and fat.
  • A breast bud can feel quite hard to the touch and is often tender or sore.
  • The nipple and areola (that coloured ring surrounding the nipple) may start to protrude and even look a little swollen as the bud starts to grow.
  • Breast buds can feel itchy during this time as the skin starts to stretch and grow.
  • They don’t always grow at the same time, so don’t worry if only one breast is developing first, the other will catch up over time.
  • Budding boobs don’t need support straight away, so there is no need to rush out and buy a bra. But if you experience tenderness, you may find a soft cup bra or crop top helpful.
  • Breast buds are not replaced by anything else, nor do they disappear. They simply continue to grow into the breast shape we all recognise.

Your final breast size is partially linked to your own unique body shape and partially inherited (genetics from both sides of your family). By your late teens your breasts will most likely be fully developed, but it’s important to know that throughout many life stages breasts can change in both shape and size.

What are breasts made of?

It’s easy to get carried away with your new breast size and often we forget to ask what’s actually inside our breasts. Let’s take a closer look at parts of the breast and what they do!

  • Fatty Tissue - during your teens and early twenties and when the breasts are developing they may feel quite firm and dense, don't worry they do become softer as they grow. Breasts contain quite a lot of fatty tissue; this means they can increase or decrease in size depending on weight gain or loss.
  • Breasts themselves contains no muscle, so don’t be fooled into thinking you can do any form of exercise to make your breasts fuller. There are however muscles that lie behind the breast (Pectoralis minor and major) that help support the breast itself and very often it is the firmness of these muscles that helps keep the breasts lifted and in shape.
  • The lymph nodes are tiny in size; about 1cm and their job is to filter any excess fluid from your breast and to help your body fight infection.
  • Lobules sometimes referred to as your mammary glands are a few millimetres long and hollow. And this is where breast milk is produced and stored.
  • Ducts almost look like tree branches within the breast and are responsible from carrying milk from the lobules to the nipple, during breast feeding.
  • As you enter puberty you may notice that the circle surrounding your nipple starts to become larger and darker in colour. This is called your Areola no one really knows why this area changes colour during puberty, and it’s important to remember there is no right or wrong size or colour for this area to be, we are all different.
  • You may start to notice little spot like lumps on your areola, these are called Montgomery glands and just like the body produces oil to keep your scalp and face moisturised, these glands do the same for your nipple and areola.
  • To put it plainly the nipple is there to help deliver milk to a baby. But it is very sensitive and has many nerve endings, this is why when you are cold or the nipple is rubbed it can become hard and stand out.


Frequently asked questions

When will I get boobs?

Breast development can start as early as 7 years old, or as late as 15, with the average being around 9-13, so please don’t worry if your friends start developing or wearing bras before you, we’re all different and we all develop at our own pace. It’s not a race!

Why have my breasts stopped growing?

It’s super common for breasts to grow in spurts and even remain at the same stage of development for a while, from a couple of months to a couple of years. It won’t have any impact on the final size of your breasts, so be patient!

Do breasts stop growing once your period has arrived?

No, breasts can continue to grow for a number of years after your first period’s arrived.

What is my bra size?

First, take a tape measure and take it around the top of your bust and make a note it of in centimetres (cm). Next, measure on your bust (the fullest part) and then directly under your bust and write them down. There are a few calculators online that you can use to give you a measurement or you could go into a shop’s lingerie department and give them your measurements or even be measured. You don’t have to be naked to do this and you get to shop for a bra straight away!

How can I make my breasts grow bigger?

Because you carry the same genes as your parents, your final breast size will most likely be similar to the female members of your family; mothers, sisters, grandparents or aunts on either side of your family. As breasts contain a large proportion of fatty tissue, your overall body weight will affect your breast size too.

Will massaging my breasts make them bigger?

In a word, ‘No’.

Is there anything I can do to make my breasts bigger or smaller?

Trust us, there’s nothing you can eat or drink that will change your natural breast size. Our best advice? Love your breasts just the way they are! You are truly unique, so embrace what you have!

Does size matter?

Absolutely not, no size is better than any other. Your boob size is partly down to genetics, so you’re likely to take after your mum or dad’s side (weird right!) but it’s also true that no two breasts are exactly the same, they might differ in shape and size from one another, even when fully grown.

Once they have grown will they stay this size forever?

There are certain times in your life when your breasts will change in shape, for example during pregnancy, when they become fuller. Also, some forms of contraception can have an impact on breast size — it’s a hormone thing.

Why do boys think that big breasts are best?

Not all boys feel this way, but unfortunately the media (magazines, newspapers, movies or TV) have in the past, and sometimes still do, shown fuller breasts as something females should have to be more attractive to males. Of course, we know it’s not true, but for young, impressionable boys who view these images and want to fit in, they often believe this is how they’re meant to feel about breasts, even if they don’t actually care what size someone’s breasts are!

Do you have to wear a bra?

That’s your choice, bras won’t help in the growth or development of your breasts, but they might make you feel more comfortable and less self-conscious in certain situations. Either helping to conceal the breasts, so they’re less visible through your clothes, or reducing the amount of jiggling around when you’re being active.

When getting measured for a bra, do you have to be naked?

Most store assistants will understand if you prefer to keep your clothes on when finding the right bra size, they might even suggest your size just by looking at you. They’ll pick out some choices of bra for you to try on, but they’ll want to make sure the bra is the correct fit for your comfort, so will ask to check the under band and cups sit correctly. Don’t worry this will be done in private. They appreciate it’s a daunting shopping trip for teens, so they’ll be discreet.

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Your First Bra & Measuring For The Perfect Fit

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