All mammals, humans included, have a unique feature that distinguishes them from other beings – mammary glands. In humans, these glands are more prominent in females, forming what we commonly refer to as breasts. Breasts come in various shapes and sizes, each type beautiful and unique in its own way.
In this post we’ll go over 11 different types of breasts by size and shape. From the fuller, round types to the slender, elongated ones, we’ll explore the diversity and beauty inherent in this aspect of human anatomy.
We should mention that there’s really no such thing as good or bad when it comes to breast size and shape. Each type has its own unique characteristics and changes over time because of pregnancy, weight fluctuation, and age. That said, treat this guide as a fun way to get to know your body better, not as a strict definition of what breasts should look like.
What Are The Most Common Types of Breasts?
For the different types of breasts we’ll categorize them based on two main factors: size and shape. These categories are not rigid and can overlap as breasts are unique to each individual.
Similarly, we’ll also be looking at the different types of nipples that are commonly observed. As we examine each type, remember that all these variations are completely normal and a part of the rich diversity of human anatomy.
1. Round Breasts
Round breasts are often considered the stereotypical breast shape. They are equally full at the top and bottom, forming a round appearance.
While some people naturally have this shape, others may achieve it through surgical procedures. It’s important to note that not having round breasts is perfectly normal and does not impact a woman’s health or ability to breastfeed.
2. East West Breasts
East West breasts have nipples that point outward in opposite directions. This type of breast usually has a wider space between them, and they tend to be more spread out across the chest. This shape is common among women with smaller to medium-sized breasts.
Again, this breast type has no bearing on a woman’s health or breastfeeding capabilities.
3. Side Set Breasts
Side set breasts are similar to the East West type but with more space between them. The breasts are fuller than the East West type and have a wide space in the middle.
Women with side set breasts might find certain types of bras, like plunge styles, more comfortable and flattering.
4. Tear Drop Breasts
As the name suggests, tear drop breasts are round but slightly less full at the top. They are a bit fuller at the bottom, resembling a teardrop. This is a very common breast shape, particularly as women age and the effects of gravity become more apparent.
5. Slender Breasts
Slender breasts are narrow and long, with nipples pointing downwards. They are usually common among smaller-breasted women, but can also be seen in women with larger breasts. Women with slender breasts may find balconette or demi-cup bras to be a good fit.
6. Asymmetric Breasts
Almost every woman has some degree of asymmetry in her breasts, but for some, the difference is more noticeable.
Asymmetric breasts are when one breast is noticeably larger than the other. This is completely normal and usually not a cause for concern unless there’s a sudden change in size.
7. Bell Shape Breasts
Bell shape breasts are similar to teardrop breasts but are generally heavier. They are narrower at the top and significantly fuller at the bottom, resembling a bell. This shape is common among women with larger breasts.
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8. Athletic Breasts
Athletic breasts are wider, more muscular, and have less tissue. This type is common among athletes and fitness enthusiasts, but can also be naturally occurring. Despite the name, you don’t have to be an athlete to have athletic breasts!
9. Relaxed Breasts
Relaxed breasts have looser tissue and nipples that point downwards. This is a common shape among older women, though younger women can have relaxed breasts too. Like all shapes, this is completely normal and part of the body’s natural aging process.
10. Close Set Breasts
Close set breasts have little to no space between them. They touch or almost touch at the center of the chest. Women with close set breasts may find bras with a shorter center panel or a plunge style more comfortable.
11. Wide Set Breasts
Wide set breasts have a larger space between them, with breasts sitting on the far side of the chest. This is the opposite of close set breasts. Women with wide set breasts may find that balconette styles offer a great fit.
What Are The Different Types of Breasts and Nippes?
Breast sizes are typically categorized by a combination of a number and a letter, representing the band size (the measurement around the chest right below the breasts) and the cup size respectively.
The common breast sizes are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H cups. Large breast sizes fall under I, J, K, and L cups. Women who get breast augmentation or require medical bras may have other specific sizes.
Small breasts usually fall within the A-B cup range. They can come in any shape including round, athletic, or east-west. The size of the nipple doesn’t always correlate with the size of the breasts; hence, small breasts can have small, medium, or large nipples.
Medium breasts typically range from C-D cups. They can also take on any shape and have varying nipple sizes. It’s important to note that bra fitting is not an exact science and women who wear a C cup in one style or brand may wear a D in another.
Large breasts are usually classified as E cup and above. These can be bell-shaped, round, or pendulous and can have small, medium, or large nipples. Women with larger breasts might need more support, so they might opt for bras with wide straps or full-coverage styles.
Nipples can also vary greatly in size and shape. Some people have small, pointed nipples, while others have larger, rounder nipples. The size of the nipples can change with temperature, arousal, and during and after pregnancy.
Flat nipples blend into the areola and don’t protrude. This is completely normal and usually does not cause issues with breastfeeding.
Protruding nipples stick out from the areola. The degree of protrusion can vary and can become more pronounced when cold or stimulated.
Inverted nipples retract inwards instead of pointing outwards. This is a natural variation and usually doesn’t cause problems, though it can sometimes make breastfeeding more challenging.
What Do Natural Breasts Look Like?
Natural breasts are incredibly diverse in appearance, with no two pairs exactly alike. They can range in size from very small to very large, and in shape from round to teardrop or more elongated forms. It’s common for one breast to be slightly larger or differently shaped than the other, a characteristic known as asymmetry.
The nipples, too, can vary widely, appearing small or large, flat or protruding, and in some cases, inverted. The color of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple, can also differ among individuals, just like the position of the breasts on the chest, which can be high, low, close together, or wide-set.
Natural breasts may have a smooth texture, or feature small bumps known as Montgomery glands around the nipples. All these variations are normal and contribute to the unique beauty of each individual’s body.
Is Breast Shape Important?
The importance of breast shape is significant in various aspects, including physical health, self-esteem, and personal comfort.
From a health perspective, knowing your natural breast shape can help in early detection of any potential changes or abnormalities, such as lumps, dimpling, or changes in size or shape, which could be signs of conditions like breast cancer.
Regular self-examinations and being aware of what is normal for your breasts is crucial in this regard (3).
Breast shape also plays a vital role in psychological well-being and body image. Women’s perception of their breast size and shape can significantly impact their self-confidence and satisfaction with their bodies (8).
Studies suggest that dissatisfaction with breast shape or size can lead to lower self-esteem and negative body image (4).
From a practical standpoint, understanding one’s breast shape is important for choosing the right bra type.
Wearing the wrong bra size or style can lead to discomfort, back pain, and posture problems (7). Knowing your breast shape can guide you to choose bras that provide the right support and fit, enhancing comfort and overall appearance.
Going further, research suggests that certain aesthetic characteristics of breasts are associated with attractiveness (1). However, these preferences vary widely across cultures and individuals.
To sum up, the importance of breast shape extends beyond aesthetics and has implications for physical health, psychological well-being, and everyday comfort.
How Do You Know Your Breast Type?
Determining your breast type involves a combination of observing their shape, size, and the position of your nipples. Here are a few steps to help you identify your breast type:
1. Stand In Front of a Mirror
To get a clear view, stand in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight. It’s best to do this without a bra or top so you can see the natural shape and position of your breasts.
2. Observe the Shape
Look at the fullness of your breasts. Are they fuller at the top or bottom? Do they have a round or teardrop shape? Or are they slender and longer? These observations can help you determine the basic shape.
3. Check for Symmetry
Most women have some degree of asymmetry. One breast may be slightly larger or smaller than the other, or the shapes may not match exactly. This is perfectly normal.
4. Look At the Nipple Position
The direction your nipples point can also tell you about your breast type. They may point forward, outward, or downward. Some nipples are flat against the breast, while others might protrude. Some women also have inverted nipples, which tuck inward instead of pointing out.
5. Consider the Spacing
Look at the space between your breasts. Breasts that touch or almost touch in the center of the chest are considered close-set. If your breasts sit wider apart, they are considered wide-set.
6. Evaluate the Size
While cup sizes can vary greatly depending on the bra brand and style, having a basic idea of your size can also help you understand your breast type.
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How Do You Know Your Breast Size?
Measuring breast size doesn’t necessarily require a professional fitting or even a trip to a lingerie store. There are several alternative methods you can use at home to check your size. Here are a few:
1. Using a Tape Measure
This is the most common method.
To measure your band size:
- Wrap the tape measure around your chest, right under your breasts.
- Make sure it’s snug but not tight and record the measurement.
- For the bust measurement, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your breasts (usually over the nipples) and record that number too. The difference between these two measurements gives you your cup size.
2. String and Ruler Method
If you don’t have a cloth tape measure, you can use a piece of string or yarn.
To do it:
- Wrap a string around your chest as you would with a tape measure, then mark the spot where the end meets the rest of the string.
- Lay the string out straight and measure the length with a ruler.
- Do the same for your bust measurement.
3. Water Displacement Method
This is a less conventional method, but it can be useful if other methods aren’t working for you.
To do it:
- Fill a large bowl with water and place it in a larger shallow dish.
- Carefully lean over and immerse your breast in the bowl without touching the sides or bottom. The amount of water that overflows into the dish is equivalent to the volume of your breast.
- You can then take the measurement of this water to get an estimate of your breast size.
4. Breast Self-Exams
While not a method for measuring size, regular self-exams can help you become more familiar with the size and shape of your breasts, which can be useful in detecting any changes early.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Breast is Normally Bigger?
It’s completely normal for one breast to be slightly larger than the other (2). Most women have some degree of asymmetry in their breasts, and there isn’t a consistent pattern as to which breast (right or left) tends to be larger.
Do Nipples Get Bigger with Age?
Nipples can change size and color over time due to hormonal changes associated with puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
Aging can also lead to some changes in nipple size and breast shape due to loss of elasticity in the skin and the natural effects of gravity (6).
How Do You Tell If Your Breasts are Fat or Tissue?
Breasts are composed of both fatty tissue and glandular tissue (5). The proportion of each can affect breast firmness and size.
Typically, softer breasts have more fat, while firmer breasts have more glandular tissue. However, it’s difficult to determine the exact composition without medical imaging like a mammogram.
What are 3 Ways to Check Your Breast?
Here are 3 ways to check your breasts:
- Visual Check: Stand in front of a mirror and look for any visible changes in size, shape, or symmetry.
- Physical Examination: Using the pads of your fingers, feel your breasts while lying down and standing or sitting up. You’re feeling for any lumps or thickened areas.
- Nipple Check: Squeeze each nipple gently between your finger and thumb, checking for discharge or any physical changes. Always consult a healthcare professional if you notice any changes during these checks.
The Bottom Line
Understanding the diversity in breast size and shape is key to body positivity and health awareness. Our guide on the 11 types of breasts by size and shape provides insights into this variety, helping you appreciate your unique body and recognize any potential changes that may require medical attention.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Aesthetic Characteristics of the Ideal Female Breast (2023, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- An objective evaluation of breast symmetry and shape differences using 3-dimensional images (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Breast Self-Examination (2023, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Breast Size Perception and Satisfaction, Body Image, and Psychological Functioning in Caucasian and Asian American College Women (1998, link.springer.com)
- Development of the Human Breast (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of aging on breast skin thickness and elasticity: implications for breast support (2016, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Relationship Between Brassiere Cup Size and Shoulder-Neck Pain in Women (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Women with larger breasts are less satisfied with their breasts: Implications for quality of life and physical activity participation (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)