Can Breastfeeding Cause the Areola to Change Shape?

Does breastfeeding cause the areola to change shape or look deformed? 

Doctor Answers 12

Pregnancy changes in your breasts

Thanks for the question - You're correct that being pregnant can cause your breasts to enlarge. This can put significant stretch on the Cooper's ligaments (the major supporting elements of the breasts) and the skin. These changes of shape can include the areola. This typically can lead to areolas that are larger than pre-pregnancy. Hormonal changes can also lead to darkening of the areola which can be permanent. I hope this helps.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Breast feeding and areola size

Breast feeding and pregnancy typically change the size and shape of the areola as well as the nipples and breast.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

You're absolutely right that breastfeeding can change the areola and nipple shape.

You're absolutely right that breastfeeding can change the areola and nipple shape.

This is because the suction on the nipple and the brown area around it (areola) can cause some distortion of the nipple and also when the breast volume decreases this again can cause alterations in both breast shape and nipple and areola appearance.

If you are considering treatment for this it would be sensible to complete your family so that if you do have a procedure the changes bottom by breastfeeding will not cause further disruption to your nipple area.

I wish you the best of luck if you do decide to go ahead with any treatment.

Best wishes yours sincerely,

Adrian Richards

Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon

Surgical Director of Aurora Clinics

Adrian Richards, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 148 reviews

Breastfeed and nipple/areolar size and shape

Breastfeeding can result in the nipples and areola stretching and enlarging.  This also applies to using a breast pump (those suckers could have bailed out the Titanic!). 

Once a woman is done with childbearing, the changes in the nipple and areola can be addressed either alone or in combination with an augmentation or lift or reduction.  Sometimes we can get a result that looks even better that what you started with! 

From one mother to another.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Areola can change after pregnancy and breast feeding

Size, color, and shape of the areola can all be changed during pregnancy and breast feeding.  Most plastic surgeons would wait 3 to 6 months after breast feeding to do anything surgically to address the issues. 

Always best to see your board certified plastic surgeon and together come up with a plan to meet your goals.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Changes in your breast after breast-feeding


A woman's body undergoes significant changes after pregnancy and breast-feeding. Many women find that their breasts are somewhat empty and may have stretch marks after pregnancy and breast-feeding. This is very common. It is also common for a woman to notice changes in the position and shape of the nipple and areola. A woman should wait at least for six months after finishing breast-feeding before considering breast surgery at that time, an evaluation by a board-certified plastic surgeon is the first important step. Your surgeon may recommend a small breast lift that can include an incision around the areola. At the same time as the lift, the size or shape of the areola may also be adjusted.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Breast feeding and areola changing shape or looking deformed

It is not the breast feeding per se that causes areolar stretching - it is the pregnancy and the hormonally mediated breast enlargement that cause it.

Once breast feeding stops and the breast achieves its new dimensions you will need to decide if you are happy with the shape, size and location of the breasts. If not - a Breast Lift (Mastopexy) can BOTH reduce and make the areola perfectly round while lifting the breasts and making them perkier.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Changes in the areola with pregnancy and lactation

Many of the hormones released during pregnancy cause the areola to darken and enlarge. Some people believe this is an evolutionary adaptation that allows the baby to identify and latch on to the nipple. I don't have the article handy but I recall being told that the average areola prior to pregnancy measures approximately 35mm in diameter whereas it measures 42mm afterwards.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Breast feeding and areolar shape

Contrary to popular belief, breast feeding does not significantly alter your breast or areolar size/shape. It's pregnancy itself that can alter breast size and shape, this includes the areolas. Once you're done having children, it's appropriate to consider an areolar reduction or mastopexy to restore your breast shape to your pre-pregnancy condition. Some patients also need breast implants to achieve the look they desire as pregnancy and breast feeding can cause loss of volume/size of their breasts.

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 377 reviews

Yes the areola can change

Breast feeding can change the areola and make them larger and sometimes less round or uneven.  All changes in the breasts from pregnancy have reasonable surgical solutions available to make significant improvements.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.