As the parent of a teenage girl, you want to be there for your daughter, especially as she's going through the major changes that come with growing into a young adult. This stage of her life is likely to include a full range of emotions, a need to fit in with her peers, personality development and concerns about body image. For girls, breast development is one of the physical changes that come with becoming a young woman.
Teen Girls and Puberty
Breast development usually begins at the onset of puberty, which is generally when girls turn 10 or 11, according to KidsHealth.org. However, the age range is actually anywhere from 7 to 13 years old. After your daughter's breasts begin developing, they'll go through several stages. By the time she hits puberty, she'll have already gone through the first stage, which is when the nipple starts to raise. During the second stage, breast buds appear, the breast and nipple are both raised and the areolas also begin to get enlarged. Stage three involves breasts growing a bit larger and glandular breast tissue appearing, notes The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. During stage four, a girl's nipples and areolas become larger and start to form a second mound above each of her breasts. Stage five occurs as your daughter becomes a woman and her breasts become more rounded with raised nipples.
Body Image and Breast Development
Teen girls sometimes struggle with body image and all of the physical changes that are happening to them. Your teen may think her breasts are too small if she's not developing as quickly as her peers, or she may feel uncomfortable with the attention she's getting if she has larger breasts. It's important to remind her that no two girls are alike and that everyone grows and develops at her own rate. Take her shopping to help her find proper-fitting bras that can protect and support her breasts.
You or your daughter may have concerns about her breast development. If she complains that one breast is growing faster and is larger than the other, reassure her that this can be completely normal. As she continues to develop, her breasts will begin to even out, and by the time she's finished developing, they'll likely be the same size, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some girls have delays in breast development as well. If your teen daughter has not started puberty or developing breasts, consult her pediatrician. Puberty can be delayed by a number of things, such as illness or improper nutrition. It can also be caused by a constitutional delay, which simply means being a late bloomer.
Breast Pain Explained
Throughout your teen's breast development, she may be plagued with occasional aches and pains in her breasts. Tenderness of the breasts is a normal part of development, according to KidsHealth.org. Your daughter may experience sore breasts at the beginning of a menstrual cycle, when her body is producing extra progesterone and estrogen. This can cause her breasts to swell as well. Wearing a supportive bra can sometimes help with this pain, along with exercise, rest and eating a healthy diet. Limiting caffeine and salt intake can also help.
- Medline Plus: Teen Development
- KidsHealth: When Will I Start Developing?
- HealthyChildren.org: What's Happening to My Body?
- GirlsHealth.gov: Changes to Your Breasts
- KidsHealth: Why Are My Breasts Different Sizes?
- The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: Normal Breast Development
- HealthyChildren.org: Physical Development in Girls, What to Expect
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Delayed Sexual Development
- KidsHealth: Can I Make My Breasts Larger?
- KidsHealth: Delayed Puberty