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The Buds

Puberty is something that happens across many stages. One of the first changes a girl may notice are breast buds forming. 

What are breast buds?

A breast bud, as doctors often call this first stage of breast development, grows as a little bump under the girls nipple. After the bud develops, the skin and the nipple will get larger and slightly darker. 

How does the process start?

The development of breasts begins when the hormone estrogen begins circulating throughout the body. 

What does it feel like?

Girls can feel a variety of sensations when their buds develop. They can feel tender, sore, even tingling and aching. 

How long does this last?! 

The buds are only the beginning of the development of the breast. As the buds continue to grow into the actual breast it can take 3 to 5 years to develop full breasts. Usually after buds form, a girls period may begin usually 1 to 3 years after she first gets her buds. 

Ok, she has buds...does she really need a bra?

It's a good idea for girls to decide when they feel they are ready to wear a bra. Some girls may feel more comfortable wearing a bra once her buds form. The skin and chest area may feel sore and sensitive. Other girls may be mortified at the mere idea of wearing a bra. 

What else happens around this time?

Around the time that breasts begin to develop, girls may notice other changes with their breasts. You may notice that one breast is larger than the other, as well as little bumps around the nipple. These things are completely normal. 

Is there anything that we need to see a doctor about?

Generally, there is no need to consult a doctor once breast buds develop. When might you need to see a doctor?

  • If the breast buds form before the age of
    • 7 years old in Caucasian girls
    • 6 years old in African American girls
  • If there is any discharge, rash, redness on the breast. This can indicate the possibility of an infection in the breast.