Big or small, perky or saggy, lopsided, wonky, wobbly, celebrated or hated, us ladies have to learn to live with our boobs.
Before puberty, we barely gave our chests a second thought. As a child I quite happily ran around without a top on in the summer. I could see that all the women in my life had at least one boob, with most sporting a robust chest, but it never crossed my mind that one day I would grow a pair of my own.
As I started to develop the first signs of my own little chesticles, there were whispered comments amongst the grown ups and the odd comment or giggle from them that went over my head. Then all of a sudden I got whisked off to a department store and before I knew it I was trussed up in my first bra. How did that happen and where did they spring from?
From that moment my life changed forever. At school, the boys would ping my bra strap as entertainment. Outside of school, men would look at my chest, leaving me feeling at times, rather violated. At a young age I learned that boobs brought issues, from unwanted attention to the horrors of breast cancer. I also learned that it’s important to look after your boobs.
From bras to diet, exercise to general TLC our boobs need taking care of. So sit back and enjoy these ‘titbits’ of advice we have put together for you.
We all know we can exercise to improve our body shape and tone our bums and tums, but there are also exercises you can do to improve your bust.
Of course, only a talented surgeon or a specific diet is going to help you in the cup size department. But you can give your chest a boost with a few simple exercises, as well as look after your breast health.
A limited number of reps with weights that are heavy enough will increase chest strength, develop muscle and improve the overall shape of your boobs. Next time you are in the gym, ask the staff to recommend some exercises for you, but be careful as working the wrong area can push your boobs downwards rather than outwards (a slightly embarrassing conversation I had with my young, male trainer at my local gym, but worth it!). If you work out at home, check out YouTube for some great videos.
Us ladies can feel quiet self-conscious when it comes to working out, as the lesser and more well endowed amongst us both feel uncomfortable with our insecurities. Wear workout clothing that makes you feel good, and for bigger boobs make sure you strap them in and support them, especially doing cardio.
Once you get to your middle age and you’ve been wearing a bra for a while, you might think you know what you are doing when it comes to choosing one. But do you really?
If your bra is too big, they jiggle about unsupported. Wear one that is too small and your boobs can spill over the top, while the bra itself digs into your skin and you can’t wait to whip it off at the end of the day.
When was the last time you were measured properly for a bra? In fact, have you ever been measured? Our weight fluctuates throughout our lives, so our bra requirements are going to change with our body shape. And just like how jeans from one store will be a perfect fit and the same size in another will be too large, or too small, the same will happen with bras.
Measure your back size. Go on. Grab a tape measure. Measure where the bottom of your bra will actually sit on your body. In the UK, bras are sold in inches, so round up any part-inches. If your back size is an odd number you will need to go up or down a size to find the best fit.
Next, measure your bust around the nipple area – this will help you work out your cup size. As a rule, 1 inch bigger that your back size makes you an A cup, 2 a B, 3 a C, 4 a D, 5 a DD and so on. Get it right and your bra will fit properly all over – the material will be a snug fit and cups supportive.
If it’s too tight or loose you are wearing the wrong size. You can adjust the straps for a better fit, but if this pulls the back up too high, then you may need a smaller cup. Don’t measure yourself during your period though, as your boobs tend to swell and you could end up with the wrong size.
Once you find the right size, you can have some fun with your bras, opting for a balcony fit, underwire and padding to boot your boobs to suit your outfit, or extra support if you are doing sport.
A well-fitting bra does not just boost your bust and your confidence. Badly-fitted bras can leave you with scars, back pain, shoulder pain, posture issues, neck pain and saggy boobs to name a few!
Watch your weight
Being overweight will add fatty tissue to your boobs. If you are only carrying a few extra pounds, this might not even be an area of concern, but carry too much weight and you are heading towards tricky territory.
Extra weight puts extra stress onto the tissue and ligaments in the chest area. If you then lose the extra weight, this stretched tissue does not ping back into place, leaving boobs looking saggy and deflated. Some women barely notice a change, but some women can become distressed as their perky bosoms begin to resemble Spaniel’s ears or a tennis ball in a sock.
Sadly, sometimes the only remedy is surgery, but by watching our weight gain/loss, exercise and a good bra, we can combat the sag without having to go under the knife.
We all have different boobs and they all behave differently, so it’s important to be aware of what is and isn’t normal for you. By using your hands and your eyes, become the ‘breast of friends’ with your boobs.
Self-awareness will help you to understand what is normal behaviour for your boobs and when you need to speak to your doctor. Make sure you are familiar with what normal feels like for you.
Your doctor will be more than happy to show you how to do self-checks, and you should always be aware of the natural changes to your breasts during your menstrual cycle. But self checks should never replace any medical screening you are called for – your own self-checks add to breast health programmes and never replace them.
You’ll wash and condition your hair, you’ll cleanse and moisturise your face, but do you take care of your boobs? Probably not as much as you should, right? The skin on our chest and cleavage is thin and delicate. Combine gravity with sun exposure and you’ll soon see that years of abuse will result in fine lines and crepiness in this sensitive area.
This area of our body is not immune to spots, pimples and blackheads either, especially if you spend a lot of time in a badly fitting bra or sweaty sports bra that isn’t made from breathable fabric.
Add sensitive nipples into the mix, especially chaffed ones that have been rubbing against clothing or chomped on by a hungry baby, and things can all look and feel a little miserable. So next time you visit the beauty counter or are considering treating yourself to a new skincare product, remember to buy something for your boobs, too.
We couldn’t write an article about boobs and not mention breast cancer. None of us know the true causes or if we can prevent it altogether, but we can do our best to reduce our chances of being diagnosed with cancer and also increase our chances of recovery.
My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid 60s. The doctor called it ‘typical older lady cancer’ that was not aggressive and easily dealt with if caught early, so the best advice is to always check your boobs and go for screenings.
However, we can look after and monitor our health by being breast friends with our boobs. Watch your weight, take exercise, watch what you eat and drink.
Mum’s cancer was caught early and she made a full recovery. There’s a lot of information out there, but also some myths – we recommend reading the Breast Cancer Now website, which offers clear, well written advice as well as a myth buster.
Norks, chesticles, boobs, the girls, melons, bristols, bosoms, jubblies, bazookas, baps … call them whatever you like. Just don’t neglect them.
We spend a great deal of time, effort and money on our hair, nails and faces. It’s also important to look after our boobs ladies.