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Breast Buds in Babies: A Pediatrician Explains

sept07-babybudsby Roytesa R. Savage, M.D.

Question My husband’s granddaughter is only 6 months old and she is getting breasts. What can cause this?

— Sarah, California

Answer A baby developing breast buds can be nerve racking for family members. But no need to be too alarmed. This happens quite often!


Many infants—both girls and boys—are actually born with breast buds. To help prepare for birth, they’ve received a burst of Mom’s hormones, metformin estrogen. This can cause breast-tissue development, acne, vaginal discharge and breast discharge—all of which can take months to go away. During this time, your doctor will watch for any other signs of early development.

Six months to 6 years of age is another time during which breast tissue can enlarge—on one or both sides. The reason is not entirely clear, but many believe the tissue becomes sensitive to the child’s normal estrogen levels.


Usually, the condition won’t progress to anything serious, but a doctor should evaluate the child just in case.


When talking with your doctor, you may hear the term precocious puberty. This goes a little further than just developing breast buds.

We all remember getting acne, growing taller than our peers, finding hair underneath our arms. That’s puberty, and it happens because your brain signals your body to begin releasing hormones to your ovaries or testicles. It can begin as early as age 7 for girls or 9 for boys. Any earlier, and we call it precocious puberty.

We usually don’t know why precocious puberty happens. Most often, nothing harmful is behind it, but rarely, something like a brain tumor, brain infection or problems with the thyroid gland or ovaries can cause extra hormone production.

If breast development persists or occurs with other signs of puberty, your doctor will do a complete examination of your child and decide if any further tests need to be done.


After the doctor visit, you should continue to monitor the breasts and your child for any other signs of early puberty. Generally, the breast tissue will go back to its normal size, but this may take months. The point is that it should not get bigger until it is time for true pubertal changes.

If your child does have other signs of puberty, your doctor may put her on medications to stop or reverse the process.


ROYTESA R. SAVAGE, M.D., is a pediatrician in private practice and a professor at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.

Last updated and/or approved: May 2010. Original article appeared in summer 2007 former print magazine. Bio current as of summer 2007. This article is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.


Comments (2)add comment
written by Breyawna Jones , October 14, 2013

Hello i just found a little lunp in my 9 month old breast and they said the same thing it bothers me sooo much did your husband grandbaby have this or just enlarged breast ?
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Why children grow breasts
written by Shell Rosen, WA , January 04, 2008

Thanks for this article covering this topic online
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