Motherhood teaches women to become comfortable with their bodies as they learn to focus on breast functionality as opposed to the aesthetics of breasts and the body, says a new study.
The study, published in the journal Body Image, suggests that perfectionism is related to breast size dissatisfaction, but only in non-mothers.
Of the 484 Italian women surveyed for the study, 69 per cent reported breast size dissatisfaction, with 44 per cent wanting larger breasts.
"There is the fact that becoming a mother naturally results in changes to the appearance of the breasts, particularly in terms of their size," said study co-author Viren Swami, Professor at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Britain.
"But perhaps the most relevant is that becoming a mother — and particularly the experience of breastfeeding — may focus women's attention on breast functionality as opposed to focusing on the aesthetics of breasts and the body," Swami added.
Perfectionistic self-presentation — the desire to create an image of flawlessness in the eyes of other people — is known to contribute towards negative body image.
The study found that breast size dissatisfaction was associated with higher levels of two of the three factors behind perfectionistic self-presentation - non-display of imperfection and perfectionistic self-promotion.
However, this association was not found among the 54 per cent of women surveyed who were mothers. This was particularly the case among women who had more than one child.
"Our findings suggest that motherhood may help to decouple the link between perfectionistic self-presentation and breast size dissatisfaction," Swami said.