A new study has found that breastfeeding does not make breasts sag.
This news will be welcome to nursing mothers who may well have been deterred from breast feeding because they thought it might adversely affect the shape of their breasts.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Rinker from the University of Kentucky was interested in exploring the issue because many women requesting a breast lift or a breast augmentation blamed their sagging breasts on breast feeding.
Dr. Brian Rinker and his colleagues conducted their study with patients at UK HealthCare Cosmetic Surgery Associates and found that breastfeeding does not adversely affect breast shape, and breast sagging was not a direct result of breastfeeding.
Dr. Rinker and his colleagues interviewed 132 women who had requested a breast lift or augmentation between 1998 and 2006 who were, on average, 39 years old.
Ninety three percent had had at least one pregnancy, and most of the mothers (58 percent) had breastfed at least one child.
The research team also considered the patients' medical history, body mass index, pre-pregnancy bra cup size, and smoking status.
The results showed no difference in the degree of breast ptosis - the medical term for sagging of the breast - for those women who breastfed and those who didn't.
However the researchers did find that factors which affect breast sagging, these include age, the number of pregnancies, and whether the patient smoked.
According to the study, weight gain during pregnancy was not found to be a significant factor in ptosis.
Dr. Rinker says smoking breaks down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance and supports the breasts and that would have an adverse effect on the breasts.
The study findings were presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons conference in Baltimore.