A bit about breast development

To help you know what to say to your teenagers (both girls and boys), it's good to be informed about breast development. Below, you'll find some quick facts, which may help when you talk to your teenager.

  • Your daughter's breasts will usually start to develop around age 9 to 11, but it's quite normal for them to start earlier or later than this.
  • Everyone's breasts develop at different rates.
  • Breasts are usually fully developed by the age of 17.
  • When your daughter's breasts start to develop a small bump, called a breast bud, grows under the areola and the nipple. As the breast buds grow, your daughter may notice tingling, aching or itching in the chest and the nipples may swell or become tender. This is all quite normal.
  • Your daughter's breasts will get bigger and rounder as the fatty tissue and milk-producing glands inside the breasts continue to grow. The areola also gets bigger and darker and the nipples may stick out.
  • Some breasts may develop asymmetrically (unevenly). While a difference in size may be obvious to your daughter, others won't notice. Be warned, creams, supplements, exercise or diet won't have any impact on evening out the breasts! But time mostly evens things out.
  • 65 per cent of boys will have some breast tissue at some time. If your son develops breasts, there is nothing to worry about. He is not turning into a girl. He may notice a slight swelling under the nipples, and the area may feel sore or tender. But while the swelling may last through puberty, his breasts will not grow any bigger.

It's good for your teenagers to get to know their breasts while and after they develop, as this way they'll know when something changes. If your daughter usually gets lumpy breasts before a period this is nothing to worry about - it is normal for her.