What does it mean being flat-chested?

flat chested
A 25-year old
flat-chested woman

Sometimes a woman's breasts don't develop much during puberty but she remains "flat-chested" — without any or much palpable breast tissue. Typically, flat-chested girls do have a nipple that looks swollen or elevated, but for some reason the breasts don't grow in size at all. Flat-chested girls do get pubic hair and start menstruating just normally AND their breasts do have milk glands — it's just that the breasts don't grow in size like most girls.

Unfortunately experts like doctors and lactation consultants don't really know WHY this takes place. It IS known that typically flat-chested women's hormone levels are just fine and they can often successfully breastfeed, so it may be that this represents a problem in the connective tissue inside the breast and not in the actual duct / alveoli system of the breast. It has been suggested that maybe flat-chested women's breast tissue is insensitive to normal levels of circulating hormones.

But no matter what the cause, it won't hurt to eat healthy so as to give your body the best chance to have everything working properly.

A flat-chested woman
A flat-chested woman

During pregnancy the breasts do usually develop more and grow in size, and flat-chested women CAN breastfeed and produce milk. A totally flat woman's breasts can grow to a A or even B cup during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. However, obviously with small 'storage space' the baby might need to nurse quite often.

Am I abnormal or deformed?

A flat chested woman is not abnormal in the sense that her breasts are functional and can make milk. She's also not abnormal in the sense that there are many many other women out there with a flat chest (or almost that). They typically used padded bras so you don't necessarily notice it from outside unless you know the person.

A woman's breasts size AA cup
Nearly flat-chested woman — size AA

It is true that a flat-chested woman's breasts did not develop as most women's, and lack the fatness, but like already noted, it is not known why this is.

Are you truly flat-chested?

We receive seemingly an endless stream of comments from "flat-chested" teenagers who are very worried about their breast growth. For example: (These are edited for spelling and punctuation)

I am 13 years old. I just got my period but I am very flat chested. I don't even fit into A cups. Will my breasts still grow even though I've already gotten my period?

I am barely a 32A and I'm so depressed. Every girl at my school has breasts and I must be like the smallest. I really want them to grow but how?? how?? I don't want surgery. Does exercise help? Can you give me any advice.

Well I'm 13 and I'm flat. I was wondering if you can tell me what to eat and exercise to make my breast bigger. I'm almost 14 and I'm still wearing traing bras plz. help me

Hi, I am thirteen years old and I am flat chested. I am so obsessed with my boobs I don't go anwhere. I sit home every day, I hate life, I have recently tried to kill myself and I don't know what to do. I am going to try a herbal pill that will try to help. If not, I am going to try to do plastic at home with a friend. Do you think this a good idea?

I have a question. I am 15 and have had my period for about 13 months, and my breasts are not growing at all. Why are they not growing? They don't even fit in an alomst A cup. My breasts also look like hypoplastic tubular breasts.

Hello, I really appreciate this website, and the q&a page with other girls' questions really helps, but I have a problem and need advice. I am 15 and I had my period when I was 13, and I have pubic hair and all the other signs of puberty, but I don't even fit an A cup yet. I am normal weight, but almost completely flat-chested. Please give me advice, because I think by now I should be developing more, like the other girls my age, and I'm afraid I'm abnormal.

I'm 16 years old and just got my period. I have NO breasts, whatsoever. I barely fit into a 32 A. All the guys in my school call me "flat" and every girl in my school, including the freshmen, have bigger breasts. Will I ever grow any more? I don't want to be this size for the rest of my life! I'm afraid to go to pool parties and have a serious boyfriend because I don't want him to see that I have no breasts. Please help!

very small breasts
A 35-year old woman. Never pregnant. Inherited a small breast shape from her mother. Maternal aunt also is small chested.

First of all, many of these girls mention being almost an A cup or so — which is not flat-chested. It may be small breasts, but not truly flat-chested. Secondly, if you're a teenager — and especially if you haven't yet gotten your periods or just recently got them — your breasts are probably still developing and growing, and it's too early to know if you're going to be a true flat-chest.

Another reason why teenagers sometimes have up size A or AA is if they're dieting a lot or even anorexic. So make sure you eat well and healthy; women who are underweight usually have very small breasts. A fatless skinny body means no fat in the breasts either.

I am almost 18 years old and I got my period when I was 16. I was flat chested before my period and I still am. Now when I say flat I mean absolutely flat. No bump at all. Are you truly telling me that that is how I will always be? I should get some breast shouldn't I? I don't even look like a girl. please give me some hope!! Could I have a disease or something?

Hello, my name is stephanie and I am 16 years old and I have no chest at all. I am a 32A. Actually I don't even fit into a A cup. I only weight 95 pounds, but I eat like a big. I hate it so much. I cry every night, because I can't be like any of the other girls. I go to school with a pretend bra that makes people think I have a chest. I hate it because I can't show of my good shape with a tight shirt, I could only wear big t-shirts and I am getting sick of it. I don't go out with any guys cause I don't want them to find out that I am wearing this bra. I don't go shopping with my friends, and I NEVER go shopping for a bathing suit. I just don't want them to find out that I have this bra on. If people find out about this, they might tell the whole school and I will be sooo embaressed. I need help. I haven't got my period yet and I am so sick of not being normal. Can you help me?

USUALLY, flat chested girls' nipple grows bigger or looks 'swollen'. If that is not the case, and if you got your period fairly late... or especially if the period has not yet started at 16, there is a possibility of some hormonal disorder or delayed puberty. It is advisable to see a doctor.

Breasts grow during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Your breasts may be very small before pregnancy, but they do grow enormously during pregnancy, and are even larger during breastfeeding. See this progression of pictures that someone sent in to us. The lady exclusively breastfed her baby till she was 5.5 months, and was continuing to breastfeed at 22 months.

A woman's breasts size AA cup
— AA cup

38 weeks pregnant

3 weeks postpartum

12 weeks postpartum

What about swimsuits or bikinis?

Many flat-chested girls and women have written to us, noting how they are scared to go swimming, or just refuse to swim, because when they wear a swimsuit, everyone would notice their flat chest. Is there anything you can do if you have this problem?

Of course, you can go swimming and just ignore what others might think. Chances are, not all people pay attention or notice you that closely anyway. However, if this is a REALLY big distress to you, there is something you can get that will help hide the flat chest.

You can get a one-piece swimsuit with a built-in bra and padding. Try also padded tankini tops. Both of those are better than bikinis. However, avoid low necklines. Another possibility is to sew little pockets to an existing swimsuit, and then place gel inserts in those pockets. If you have yet other ideas, let us know!

What kind of formal or prom dress to wear?

High school seniors with little or no chest often wonder about prom dresses. They may feel nothing fits them if they can't wear strapless dresses. But, there are choices for you, too. First of all, a dress with a halter. You can search Macy's or Promgirl.com websites or others for a "halter prom dress", and find a nice selection.

Other ideas:

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Part 2: What if I'm TRULY flat chested — can I get bigger breasts?

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