Puberty Periodicals: Volume 2 – Breast Basics

By: Dr. Neha Suri

Breast development can be an exciting chapter of puberty! It’s exciting because breast development tells us your body is healthy and doing all the right things. So, then why does something so exciting, sometimes seem… scary? Uncertain? Funny? And, it sure does bring up a ton of questions;  When are my breasts going to change? Why do my breasts grow? What will it feel like??

Well, look no further and join me, Neha Suri – your local pediatrician/Girlologist, as we talk about breasts, bras, and everything in between!



Remember our good old friends, estrogen and progesterone? Well they are at it again! These hormones (which live in our brains and were sleeping up until this time) wake up, travel to certain parts of our body – and cause changes. One of these lovely changes are breast growth and development.


Believe it or not, female breasts are one of the most vital parts of the body, as they have a SUPER DUPER important job to do later in our lives: to breastfeed our babies! cue the wide eyes — but only when the time is right, of course!


Most girls will start developing breasts anywhere from ages 8 to 12. Breast tissue, however, does not grow overnight (thankfully). Just like you, it goes through its own life cycle. Check out the different stages of breast growth below.

  • Stage 1- no breast development, pre-puberty – present from birth!
  • Stage 2 – small, tender, pea sized lumps develop behind one or both nipples, occurs during the “tween” or “pre-teen” ages, and is one of the first steps of puberty. This is a change you will FEEL before you can SEE. Note: unilateral (or one sided) breast lumps are normal, and not cancer!
  • Stage 3 – healthy fat tissue deposits behind the areola, lending to more visible growth at the chest.
  • Stage 4 – sometimes called the “double ice cream cone” phase, both breast and areolar tissue grow, leading to a double hump or double “scoop of ice cream” appearance. This stage while it is the most awkward, is luckily the shortest.
  • Stage 5 – development is finished, breasts finally appear like adult breasts.

It is important to know that adult female breasts come in all shapes and sizes, and how your breasts develop over time is perfect and unique to you.


To support growing breasts, bras can be worn, but are not necessary! In fact, in some cultures and parts of the world, bras are not commonly worn.  Some reasons why some girls may chose to wear bras are:

  • to provide shape to a shirt or dress
  • hide those pesky little points (aka nipples!) that tend to poke out when it is least convenient
  • to provide support to heavier or bigger breasts
  • to provide support during physical activity. If you choose to wear a bra, there are many options, as simple as a shelf cami (tank top with a built in bra), as athletic as a sports bra, and as fancy as a training bra.

We recommend you try on a few first, and test out your comfort levels.



As you can see, there are SO many changes that come with puberty. As a girl, it can seem daunting and intimating, but also can feel lonely at times. Here are three things we want you to keep in mind:

  1. Puberty is normal and natural, and it is a HEALTHY change that happens to our body – so celebrate it!
  2. It happens at different times for everyone, BUT it happens to everyone!
  3. The more informed and positive we remain about puberty, the more excited and confident you will be when your time arrives.

If you have more questions about breasts and breast development, or about puberty and all that it entails, make sure you go to a trusted adult, like your parent (not a sibling, cousin or a friend) – because we want you to get the right information in the right context!


Please also check out our super fun puberty classes called Girlology: Something New About You – hosted in person by our very own Potomac Pediatric Girlologists.


We hope you found this helpful. Stay tuned for more!