The size of your breasts may not determine the ability to breastfeed. Mothers with smaller breasts can have normal milk production since an increased milk supply occurs when there is high demand. Frequent feeding sessions can help women with smaller breasts create increased demand and milk supply to meet the baby’s nutritional requirements.
Read this post to learn about the milk supply, storage, breast changes, and tips to breastfeed with smaller breasts.
Do Small Breasts Make Enough Breast Milk?
Breast size may not affect how much milk is produced each time. The ability to produce and store milk depends on the number of alveoli with milk-creating cells present in the breast. Most women develop enough glandular tissues during pregnancy, irrespective of their breast size (1).
Larger breasts with more fatty tissue may not have more milk supply since fatty tissue does not have any role in milk production or storage. The alveoli, which cluster together to form lobules, could determine milk production. Women with fewer breast alveoli, irrespective of their breast size, may have to feed more often as their baby grows older.
How To Breastfeed With Small Breasts?
The following strategies may help to meet infants’ nutritional requirements in mothers with small breasts.
- Frequency: You may feed more frequently to ensure the baby gets enough milk in each feeding session.
- Feed from both breasts: Babies can get more milk if you feed from both breasts in each feeding session.
- Latch: Ensure that your baby latches correctly to the nipple.
- Breastfeeding hold: Mothers with smaller breasts may try V-hold with two fingers than U-hold or C-hold around the areola to make the feeding comfortable. Ensure that your fingers are not placed on the areola.
- Seek support: If you need more help to establish feeding positions and techniques, seek support from a certified lactation consultant.
Breastfeeding Positions For Women With Small Breasts
You may feed in any comfortable position for you and your baby. Laid-back breastfeeding is recommended for all mothers in the initial stages regardless of breast size. You may try various breastfeeding positions to find the comfortable one. You may read more about the various breastfeeding positions and techniques here.
Tips For Breastfeeding From Small Breasts
The following tips may help to feed well from small breasts.
- Ensure proper latch and position: This may help the baby to suck and swallow enough milk.
- Begin to feed with a low-producing breast: This may empty the low-producing breast before feeding on the more productive breast, enhancing milk production.
- Feed frequently: Milk production is enhanced when the prolactin hormones are released in response to the sucking reflex. If the baby is fed more frequently, mothers may have more milk supply.
- Use pump: Breast pumps may help empty the breasts and create an artificial demand to enhance milk production.
- Use comfortable nursing bras: Pick a nursing bra that fits you well without causing discomfort.
- Track baby’s growth: If your baby is growing and developing at a normal pace, this indicates that they are getting the required nutrition from breast milk.
Do Breasts Go Through Changes For Breastfeeding?
Breasts go through changes during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding. You may notice increased size and fullness of breasts during pregnancy. These changes may also occur two weeks after delivery since the breast milk production adjusts to your baby’s requirement at this time. Areola and the nipple skin color may become darker in breastfeeding mothers.
Why Does One Breast Have More Milk Than The Other?
Natural asymmetry can be the reason for uneven milk production from breasts. One breast may have more milk than the other in the following circumstances.
- More milk-producing tissue (glandular tissue)
- Forceful letdown response
- Large milk ducts
- Baby consumes more from one breast, stimulating it more than the other
You may speak to a certified lactation consultant to determine the possible underlying cause for one breast producing more milk than the other.
Will Breastfeeding Change Your Breasts’ Looks?
The breast may change in appearance in all women, irrespective of lactation or not. Pregnancy usually causes more breast changes than breastfeeding. Increased breast size and fullness during pregnancy may cause stretching of ligaments supporting the breasts.
It is a myth that breastfeeding may make the breasts saggy or droopy. Breasts may appear less firm due to the following conditions.
- High BMI (body mass index)
- Several pregnancies
- Larger pre-pregnancy breast size
Breasts do not have any muscles and may go back to pregnancy size after two or three weeks of delivery and gradually reach pre-pregnancy size if you have the same bodyweight. Fat tissues eventually replace milk-producing tissues within six months or after stopping breastfeeding.
What About The Storage Capacity Of Breasts?
The storage capacity of breasts is not directly related to the breasts’ size. It depends on the milk production and the number of lactation tissues (alveoli) in the breasts.
Storage capacity may vary slightly in each breast. You may use breast pumps to know the amount of breast milk stored in each breast. This can be measured by pumping the milk-filled breast until it is empty. You may pump in the morning, one or two hours before feeding. Pumped milk can be stored in a bottle for later use (2). Speak to a lactation consultant if you feel the breast milk’s quantity is less than what it should be or there is a significant difference in each breast’s milk storage capacity.
When To Be Concerned?
It can be concerning if breast size is not changed during pregnancy or the first week postpartum. This may indicate lactation failure, true low milk supply, or hypoplastic breasts (insufficient glandular tissue), which may interfere with adequate breastfeeding. However, some women without any breast changes in pregnancy or postpartum can have a normal milk supply. You may talk to your doctor if you are concerned.
Milk supply does not depend on the size of the breasts. The storage capacity could depend on the alveoli or lobules present in the breast. Adequate breastfeeding sessions are vital for maintaining healthy breast milk production and supply, irrespective of the breast size. You can breastfeed your baby on demand and may seek support from a lactation consultant for individualized recommendations.
2. How Much Milk Should You Expect to Pump?; Breastfeeding USA