Breast development can be an exciting and daunting time for pre-teens, teens and their parents.
Girls will find their friends are all developing at different stages, with some more developed than others. So, your aim is to convey a positive message about your teen’s body, and to find bras for your pre-teen and teen which offer support and instil body confidence at this critical development time.
It may be helpful for you to tell your child that girls commonly have one breast that develops faster than the other. Everyone’s breasts are different, and no two breasts are the same. Nipples come in all different shapes and sizes and this is usually determined by your genes. Breasts change throughout your life, and it’s important you look after them.
When breasts start to develop, a small bump called a breast bud grows under the nipple. This tends to start between the ages of 9 and 11 but can start earlier or later.
Sports tops and crop tops
If it’s not yet time for a bra, or your pre-teen or teen are embarrassed about their breast development, here are some options:
- The nipple area is often sensitive and can cause discomfort if it rubs against clothes. In this scenario I would recommend your child wearing a crop top and then transitioning to a bra when the breast is formed and can fill the cup of a bra
- Light padding is a good option as it can hide the nipples which react to temperature variations and can often cause embarrassment
- Sports tops are great as not only do they offer good support, they often don’t look like a bra. This is particularly so if you choose racer-back shapes
- If playing sport, wearing a sports top offers additional comfort and minimises the breast movement. This is ideal, as breasts don’t have muscles so the less bounce the better.
Should younger teens wear underwired bras?
I would recommend that pre-teens and younger teens wear non-wired bras.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, it can take a little getting used to wearing a bra, let alone an underwired bra. Non-wired bras are more comfortable at this stage.
Secondly, breasts can grow at different times which means you can be fitted for a bra one day and, within a few weeks, breasts may have grown again. Having a non-wired bra gives longer wear time as it means that there will be nothing uncomfortable digging into the breast if your child has a growth spurt.
Breasts can and will develop in their own time and own way. You can never tell how fast the breast will grow, so always check bra cups for breast spillage over the front or the sides of the bra.
What about older teens?
Often older teens may prefer to wear an underwired bra, especially if their cup size is fuller.
If they are wearing an underwired bra, check the wire comes right around the contour of the breast and sits behind the breast. If the cup is too small the wire will dig into the breast and will cause discomfort.
For more help and support with bra fitting for your child, please check out my personal styling for teenagers.