Ok, so let’s park what’s going on inside your body for a sec and think about the changes you’re noticing on the outside. The most obvious might be changes to your chest, a sign that you are growing up and becoming a fabulous young woman, and just so you know, those changes? They’re totally normal and all part of the process!
What changes is your body undergoing and what do you need to know about them? Every girl develops at different times, some notice breasts starting to appear as early as 7 years old, while others might be in their late teens. Every single one of you is unique, so the first tip: be kind to yourself. And the second tip: try not to compare yourself with your friends! To help demystify those budding boobs, we’ve put together this handy guide to tell you everything you need to know.
Developing breast buds is one of the first signs of puberty and it’s completely normal to feel awkward and confused about it. They’re basically small raised lumps behind the nipple area. Breast development, or to give it its technical name ‘thelarche’, starts with a small lump the size of a 10p coin, noticeable under the skin, behind the nipple.
Don’t worry if your breast buds don’t develop at the same time, lots of girls think this lump is something more serious because it only appears on one breast. Please don’t worry, it can take up to six months for the other breast to start developing. It’s completely normal.
Budding boobs don’t need support right now, so you don’t have to wear a bra, but if they feel sore, you might find a soft cup bra or crop top more comfortable. Breast buds won’t disappear, and they’re not replaced by anything, they just continue to grow into the breast shape you’re more familiar with.
In a nutshell:
Boobs, breasts, boobies — we all have different names for them. You may notice them starting to develop two years before your period arrives. They’re made of milk glands, tissue, fat, and muscle and it’s completely normal for one to grow before the other — it can take a few months before the second starts to develop. They can feel tender, especially if they’re accidentally knocked, but that’s normal as your breasts develop over the next few years.
In a nutshell:
If you feel conscious your breasts are showing through your clothes or they jiggle about when you’re doing P.E perhaps it’s time for a first bra or crop top. But don’t dread it, there’s a huge selection of bra designs and colours to choose from so getting fitted for your first bra might even be fun!
It can be a confusing time though, so don’t be afraid to talk to someone, perhaps a parent, sister or guardian who will understand how you’re feeling. We get that it might be awkward talking to a close relative so you could speak to a friend who’s going through the same thing, they probably feel the same as you.
You’re bound to have loads of questions, so here’s just a few we get asked all the time by people just like you…
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!
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!
No, breasts can continue to grow for a number of years after your first period’s arrived.
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!
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.
In a word, ‘No’.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.