Breast development is one of the most dramatic physical changes a girl experiences during puberty. Its development starts when the oestrogen hormones signal the body to store fat tissues in the chest area. The process usually starts from age 9, sometimes as early as age 8.
It is important to know that every girl’s body is different. Some go through early puberty and others go through late puberty. However, if as at age 14 a child hasn’t experienced the first stage of breast development, it is important to see the doctor.
There are five stages of breast development girls go through to have a fully shaped and sized breast.
Stage 1(from age 8 or 9)
This is when the nipples get elevated from the chest level. The nipples become visible even though the breast is still flat.
Stage 2(from age 11)
At this stage, the milk duct and fat tissues are formed and this makes the breast rise a little above the nipple level.
Stage 3(from age 12.5)
At this stage, the breast and the areola continue to grow. The areola becomes darker and bigger.
Stage 4(from age 13 or 14)
The nipple and the areola projects out. It is during this time that a girl experiences her first menstruation.
Stage 5(from age 17 or 18)
This is where the breast matures into adult breast. The breast is molded and contoured in a full round shape.
When the breast gets to stage 3, it becomes visible in the dresses or shirts of the girls as they wear them. So, at this this stage, parents should buy or provide comfortable bras such as soft cup bras, training bras popularly known as “tube”.
The tube can help in managing the pains associated with the breast development.
Please carefully note that underwear brassieres are not suitable at this stage till the breast becomes fully developed. Also, the bras or tube shouldn’t be too small so as to allow free blood circulation during these stages.
These stages and puberty in general can be embarrassing, confusing and emotionally challenging to girls. During adolescence or puberty stage of girls they become prey for sexual predators. Some of them fall prey due to lack of awareness or fear.
Therefore, it’s the responsibility of parents especially mothers to pay attention, in general, bodies of their children so as to notice the changes occurring in these young bodies. The parents have to educate them on the changes or growth, and most importantly help them make the right decisions on how to manage the changes or development.
The breast development or puberty stage shouldn’t be neglected as “it’s just a phase, it’s natural, she will figure it out”.
At this stage, teenage girls need both physical and emotional support from their mentors, and everyone they look up to.
Written By: Mavis Tetteh