My Young Daughter Is Already Developing Breasts. Is This Normal?

My 9-year-old daughter is already starting to develop breasts. Is this normal?
Virginia

There's a wide range considered "normal" regarding when puberty starts and how fast it progresses. For girls, puberty generally starts sometime between 8 and 13 years of age.

For most girls, the first evidence of puberty is breast development, but for others it may be the growth of pubic hair. As breasts start to grow, a girl will have small, firm, sometimes tender lumps (called breast buds) under her nipples. In some cases one breast will start to develop weeks or months before the other; the breast tissue will get larger and become less firm over the next few years.

The first signs of puberty are followed 1 or 2 years later by a noticeable growth spurt. Her body will begin to build up fat, particularly in the breasts and around her hips and thighs, as she takes on the contours of a woman. Her arms, legs, hands, and feet will also get bigger.

Some girls are excited about their budding breasts and new training bras; others may worry that all eyes are focused on their breasts. So it's important to talk to your child about how bodies change — sooner, rather than later.

Be prepared to talk about the expected events of puberty, including menstruation, when you see the first signs of breast development, or earlier if she seems ready or has questions. If you have questions or concerns about having this conversation, talk with your doctor.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010

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