When does it start?
The majority of girls will experience breast development in elementary school. While some will begin as soon as 1st grade, most girls are a bit older (8-12 years old). The initial breast development, often called budding, is typically the first sign of puberty.
What should we expect?
Not only will things begin to look different, they also will feel different too. Breast buds often begin as hard knots below the surface. The nipple and the darker area around the nipple, known as the areola, get darker and begin to poke out a bit creating a bump. While one may appear before the other, it is only a matter of weeks or months until the second arrives. Early on, it is also common for them to feel tender and/or itchy.
When do we shop for her first bra?
While every family must make this decision on their own, we recommend that you consider buying your daughter her first bra(s) when she develops breast buds (or earlier if she is a later developer who feels ready).
What is the “ideal” first bra?
There is no single bra style that is a perfect first bra for every girl. Consider the following likely options:
Pullovers without “cups” include camisoles, crop tops, and sports bras
Traditional training bras – like a traditional bra usually with a clasp in rear (some offer front clasps)
With or Without Padding?
There are good reasons for (and against) each, including:
Without Padding. Bras without padding will create the slimmest profile under clothing, but do very little to conceal nipples from being seen from underneath some shirts.
With Padding. Bras with padding have a more significant profile under clothing, but fully conceal and may provide additional comfort. Depending on the brand and style, the amount of padding varies widely.
Don’t limit her to plain white, but do keep her wardrobe (especially when considering very bright colors) in mind. (Also, if she doesn’t want her bra “to show” more than color matters, especially with many summer tops.)
Some of our best tips include:
Provide your daughter with positive but factual information in advance
Try on many different styles and sizes so she begins to understand her options
Continually remind her that opinions matter and you won’t hurry her along
Recognize bras may not fit ideally at first, but need to fit snugly
Rather than beginning with several bras, consider starting with just a few then returning for another shopping trip once after she has worn them a few times
How Often Should She Wear Her New Bra(s)?
Some girls are excited to begin wearing bras and begin wearing them 24/7/365, while others are a bit less sure they really want to wear one (and some simply do not want to do so). Remember she has lived her whole life without a bra, so it is normal to need some time to get used to wearing one every day.
Even if you decide it is important that she wear a bra every day when away from home, we don’t recommend forcing your daughter to wear her bra continuously at home (day or night). Remember that developing breasts can be extremely tender to the touch and even painful for your daughter. Some girls find relief by taking off their bras, while others never want to remove their bras.
How Private is this Milestone?
We believe it is important both parents are aware of and respond positively to this milestone. This is not, however, the sort of news to broadcast to the world at large by phoning everyone in your contacts list or posting the news on Facebook. Keep this a private yet positive matter and use to help her learn how to accept and love her changing body without feeling shamed or embarrassed. Also, be sure she knows she can tell her best friends if she so desires.
Co-written by Be Prepared. Period. & You ARE Loved