Facts You Should Know About Bras and Boobs

Some girls can’t wait for them to come and look forward to their arrival as they would their birthday, first kiss, or a soccer championship.Other girls dread them as much as eating a big plate of Brussels sprouts or changing the kitty litter.

But most girls have mixed feelings and are not quite certain why they have them and what to do about them. Boys don’t have them, but they’re likely to be curious about them.

What’s the mystery subject? We’re talking about breasts. If you’re a girl, look down and there they are or will be soon. They are just two mounds of flesh, but they get a lot of attention. As a girl matures and goes through puberty, breasts tell the world that this girl is leaving girlhood and entering a new stage in her life.

Because large breasts get attention (just look at magazines, TV, or movies), some girls may worry if their breasts are small or if they mature more slowly. Girls with large breasts may be unhappy, too, because their shape attracts attention they don’t want. The truth is that beauty doesn’t come in just one bra size. There are all sorts of female shapes and sizes in the world, and all are beautiful.

But breasts do more than just look nice. Girls have them so they can do an important job later in life. Someday, if the girl grows up to have a baby, her breasts can provide the milk the baby needs. Breast milk is the very best food for babies and mom is the source. And it doesn’t matter if those breasts are small, medium, or large. All sizes can produce enough milk to feed a baby.

When Do Breasts Start Growing?

Breasts can start growing as early as age 8 or as late as 13. Some girls’ breasts grow slowly and others grow quickly. Some girls may feel like their breasts will never start growing. But it’s just that girls start developing at different ages and different rates. One girl might have more developed breasts at 12, whereas her friend could be still flat as a board.

Breast development happens in stages. The first stage starts during the early part of puberty, when a girl’s ovaries enlarge and estrogen, an important female hormone, begins to circulate in the body. Doctors often refer to the early stages of breast development as “breast budding.” Get it? Budding — like a flower has buds.

A breast bud is like a small raised bump behind the nipple. After breast budding happens, the nipple and the circle of skin around the nipple (called the areola) get bigger and a little darker. Then the area around the nipple and areola starts to grow into a breast.

As breasts keep growing, they may be pointy for a while before becoming rounder and fuller. For some girls, one breast might be a little bigger than the other one. A girl’s breasts may continue to grow during the teen years and even into her early twenties. Fully developed breasts come in all shapes and sizes.

Breast size gets a lot of attention and many girls may wonder how they can make their breasts grow faster or bigger. Despite what some magazine ads say, there isn’t any magic cream or pill that can speed up the process or make a girl’s breasts larger than they are. In fact, breast size is mostly determined by heredity and a girl’s weight. So if a girl’s mother has big breasts or small breasts, the girl can expect to have breasts of similar size. And a girl who has more body fat is more likely to have larger breasts.

Getting a Bra

Once a girl has breasts, a bra is a good idea, especially when the girl is exercising and playing sports. Bras can protect breast tissue and keep the breasts supported. Some girls may also like that bras smooth out their silhouettes and make them feel more comfortable. A bra can make a girl feel less exposed when she’s wearing a light shirt, such as a T-shirt.

Some girls look forward to getting their first bras, but others dread that event. Like anything new, wearing a bra can be tough to adjust to. They can be difficult to fasten and adjust. Once a bra is on, it can bag or gap, ride up, dig in, or pop open. The straps can slide off a girl’s shoulders or dig into them. And a bra can peek out of a girl’s clothing. Not only that, but a girl’s brother might think it’s just hysterical to pull it so it snaps against her back. (If you are a boy, do not do this!)

The ABCs of Bra Sizes

Wearing the right size bra can decrease the number of other problems a girl will have with her bra. For instance, a bra that’s the right size won’t pinch, gap, or slide around. So it makes sense to spend some time learning about bra sizes.

There are two parts to a bra’s size: the chest size (also called the band size) and the cup size. The chest or band size is represented by a number (32, 34, 36, etc.) and is the part of the bra that runs across a girl’s chest and around her back. The cups are the parts of the bra that hold the breasts and come in letter sizes (AA, A, B, C, etc.).

Bras come in many sizes, which are different combinations of the chest sizes and cup sizes — 32AA, for instance. It’s important to get both the chest and cup sizes right to ensure a proper fit. Some bra manufacturers are now starting to offer cup options in half sizes in addition to regular cups to help girls get a better fit.

What Size Bra to Buy?

A girl might feel shy about her growing breasts and not want other people talking about them, looking at them, and measuring them. But it’s wise for a girl to get measured so she knows her correct bra size.

The women who work in the bra departments of stores can help a girl with this measurement. A girl also can do it at home if she has her mom or a friend help her. Here’s how to do it:

  • Run a tape measure just under your breasts, all the way around your back and ribcage. The tape measure should rest flat on your skin and lie straight across your back — not so tight that it digs in, but not so loose that it sags down in the back.
  • Make a note of your measurement and add 5 inches. That’s your chest size.
  • To measure cup size, take the tape measure around your body across the fullest part of your breasts.
  • Write down this number and subtract your chest measurement from it. The difference between the numbers is a way of figuring out your cup size. If the difference between the two numbers is less than 1 inch, your cup size is AA. If it’s 1 inch, your cup size is A; 2 inches, you’re a B; 3 inches you’re a C, and so on. For instance, if your cup measurement was 33 and your chest measurement was 32, that’s a 1-inch difference. Your bra size is 32A.
  • If your chest measurement comes out as an odd number (such as 31 inches or 33 inches), it’s usually a good rule to round down to the next number. Most bras have a few sets of adjustable hooks and eyes, so you can adjust the tightness. It’s a good idea to round down, rather than round up, since bras tend to stretch over time.

What Kind of Bra to Buy?

A first bra used to be called a “training bra” it was for girls who didn’t yet fit into the cups of standard-size bras, but needed basic support and comfort.
These days, many girls’ first bra is a sports bra, a type of bra worn by active women of any age. Sports bras prevent fully grown breasts from jiggling around when a woman is playing sports or exercising. Because they’re flatter in the cup area, sports bras also make really good first bras for many girls. In fact, because of sports bras, and dresses and tops that have built-in bras, a girl might not need a training bra or a more traditional bra early on. Not all sports bras are alike, so a girl should try on a few to figure out which ones she prefers.
In addition to sports bras, there are a lot of other types of bras. The most natural-looking bra is a soft-cup bra, which doesn’t do much to change the shape of a girl’s breasts. Soft-cup bras come in different fabrics and thicknesses and some may have an underwire. Underwire is a U-shaped wire inside the fabric that goes under the breasts to help support them. If a girl’s breasts are C cup or larger, an underwire bra is a good choice.
Other bras may have more structured cups and some come with padding inside. Minimizer bras are also available for girls who want their breasts to appear smaller. These bras are usually made of relatively thick fabric and often have substantial backs and straps.

A Girl’s Changing Shape

Breasts are just one sign that a girl is getting older and on her way to becoming a woman. If a girl has questions or concerns about breasts or bras, the good news is that there are plenty of women and older girls to ask.
And if a girl is worried about how slowly her breasts are growing, her doctor is also a good source of information. More often than not, a girl is developing normally and before she knows it, she’ll be bra shopping, too.

small boobs bra hacks you need to know

Finding bras for small boobs can be a nightmare – but thankfully, we’ve spoken to the experts to bring you the information you need to know about finding a better fit. These are the bra hacks for girls with small boobs…

Get Fitted!

We cannot stress enough how important this is. You might think you’re a 34A, but you could discover you’re more like a 30C, for example. “We recommend you have a bra fitting at least every 6 months just to ensure you haven’t changed size,” says Suzanne Pentland from b.tempt’d. “Diet, stress and exercise and hormones all effect our breast size so ensure you get fitted regularly.”

So what should you look for?

“A correctly fitting bra should sit firmly but comfortably around the body,” explains Suzanne. “The underwires should lie flat against the rib cage, and contain the whole breast. The breast should be contained within the cup with no puckering or bulging in the cup fabric.” Mimi Holliday’s Sarah Jenkins adds: “Buy a bra on the loosest hook and eye to account for stretch; throughout its (long!) life you may want to take it in to the tightest setting.”

Don’t be restricted by what’s in the shops.

Srsly. If you’re quite petite on top (take note if you’re usually a size 8 or below in tight tops), chances are you might be a 30 or 28 band, which you won’t find stocked in most underwear shops. But there are a whole host of brands that will cater to your size and trust us, you’ll be grateful you’re in a comfy bra, even if it means you can’t just buy a standard high street set.

Material can make all the difference.

Certain materials like lace can fit tighter than stretchy synthetic fabrics, so if you find a brand you LOVE but it’s just a tad too big, try a style in a different fabric. “Rigid lace and embroidered bras can fit firmer, but some bra styles also feature stretch lace fabrics,” so lace isn’t always tighter, explains Suzanne. Sarah agrees: “A heavier lace will tend to fit a little more tightly and provide more support than a thinner lace with more stretch.”

Make a padded bra work for you.

“With padding, make sure you’re scooping your boobs into place on top of the padding. You don’t want the bra just sitting on top like a pillow,” says Boux Avenue buyer Lisa Annand. “Some bras will have the boost at the bottom, so you will need to lift your boob upwards and sit it on top of the pad. This is common in balconette style padded bras, which create a ‘shelf effect’ cleavage, where your boobs are pushed upwards. Whereas, padded plunge bras often have padding at the side and so you will need to scoop your boobs in towards the centre of your chest and sit them in place. This will create a nice central cleavage.”

bras and boobs

You might even need to go up a cup.

Sarah says: “Check the fit closely – is it sitting smoothly and snugly around the body and no overspill on the cup? (Yes, overspill can happen on a small bust too!) Buying a padded bra can mean going up a cup size – never think your size is concrete.”

Getting gapes? Try another style.

From our humble experience, if you’re getting that annoying gap between the top of your cup and boob, it could mean a few things. But most likely, either your cup is too small or the band is too big. “If a bra is heavily padded, you will need to ensure it is a firm fit at sides and back to prevent the padded cup standing away from breast,” explains Suzanne.

But all breasts were not created equal.

“Small boobs still have variation in shape, so try try try until you find a bra that’s perfectly you!” says Sarah. “Certain styles will just suit more than others, so experiment with shapes.”
For example, in our experience, if your boobs are further apart, plunges and push-ups will be ideal to create cleavage. But if you have a fuller, rounder shape and find straps dig in around your armpit, try a multiway or triangle style, where the straps sit further in and can be adjusted more easily. Or if you’re getting a lot of gaping, it may be that your boobs just don’t suit a standard plunge or T-shirt bra, especially if there’s more volume at the bottom of your boob than the top. Try a half cup or balconette design instead.

Bras with boning in the side can add structure and shape.

“It pushes the breast to the centre of the chest for great shape, and can help maintain the longevity and structure of the bra, too,” says Sarah. Suzanne adds: “Side boning anchors the bra to the frame, preventing the sides from collapsing helping you to feel supported.”

Tired of push-ups but want some cleavage? Try contouring.

Start off by using a slightly darker powder or bronzer, a couple of shades darker than your natural skin tone. Brush this from between your boobs out and around the top in an outward C-shape (basically outlining the shape of your boobs). Then, apply a shimmer or illuminator to the rounds of your boobs and on your décolletage to catch the light and create a 3D effect.

Puckering at the nips? Try a few in the same size.

“The majority of bralets are single layer fabrics, which are very unforgiving when trying to fit,” says Lisa. “This makes it very hard to get something to fit skin tight and can result in creases and puckering in the fabric. This could either mean there is too much space (or not enough, depending on the cut), or that the seam is slightly too long. Try a couple of different bras on if this happens as each garment could alter very slightly.”

Straps keep slipping off? There’s a few reasons why.

“Always look out for bras with fully adjustable straps,” says Suzanne. “Your bra straps should be tight enough that you can put only 2 fingers underneath the straps. If you can pull your straps away any more then they are too loose.” Lisa agrees that the first port of call is to try tightening them or to position them closer to the neck to reduce the strap slipping off the shoulder.

18 Fun Facts You Should Know About Bras and Boobs

As new moms, our breasts become a popular topic of conversation.  Are we using them to feed our babies?  They’ve gotten bigger!  They’ve deflated!  What on earth has HAPPENED to them, anyway?  Given how much we discuss these crazy orbs, I thought I would arm us with fun facts to interject into these boob-filled chats.
#1 – Women own, on average, nine bras.  (Eight sexy ones to mollify their husbands and one that they actually wear.)
#2 – Ancient Greeks thought the Milky Way was made from drops of breast milk from the goddess Hera.
#3 – Vogue magazine first used the word “brassiere” in print in 1907.  Only grandmothers and Duggar family members continue to use this word today.
#4 – 36C is today’s average bust size, which has increased from a 34B over the past 15 years.  Which is, no doubt, due to…
#5 – The 290,000 breast enlargement surgeries performed in the U.S. in 2013 alone.
#6 – Most women will change in bra size six times over their lifetime.  (But continue to try to stuff themselves in their old, way-too-small favorite one.)
#7 – According to studies, British women have the largest breasts; 50 percent wear at least a D cup.  (“Hey, want to take a family vacation in London?” –My husband)
#8 – $16 billion was spent on bras worldwide last year.  Apparently, much of that was devoted to investing in enough fabric to cover British women’s breasts.
#9 – The woman with the worlds biggest breast augmentation is a 38KKK.  (“Why, oh why, did she do this?!” — The woman’s lower back)
#10 – There is an NGO that fights for women’s rights to be topless.  (Finally!  A women’s cause that most men wholeheartedly support.)
#11 – The left breast is usually bigger than the right. (Million-dollar idea: Push-up cups for right breasts.)
#12 – The average breast weighs one pound or, approximately, one Olsen Twin.
#13 – In China, you can major in bra studies.  I assume they’re graded on a curve.
#14 – The first push-up bra was introduced in the 1800s. Because, you know, corsets didn’t torture the female body nearly enough.
#15 – The most expensive bra in the world is Victoria’s Secret’s $15 million Red Hot Fantasy bra from 2000.  For that price, Gisele had better come with it.
#16 – In 2008, there were nearly 18,000 breast reductions performed… on men.
#17 – The largest natural breasts recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records are 112 pounds.  No, they are not Simon Cowell’s.
#18 – Implants miraculously saved an Israeli woman from death by Hezbollah rocket attack. During the war, she was wounded in the chest by shrapnel but survived because of her boob job, done two years prior. While the patient is fine, the implant, unfortunately, did not survive. (R.I.P. brave implant)
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