Let’s be real here: establishing breastfeeding can be a challenge whatever your breasts are like. But there’s a common myth that breastfeeding with large breasts is harder. We’re here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case.
So if your boobs are on the bigger side, and nursing is something that you want to do, we’ve got plenty of tips and advice right here.
In this article 📝
- Can you breastfeed if you have larger breasts?
- Why is it (sometimes) harder breastfeeding with bigger breasts?
- How do you breastfeed with full breasts?
- Breastfeeding with larger breasts: more tips for success
Can you breastfeed if you have larger breasts?
Yes, you can absolutely breastfeed with larger breasts.
Whether you’ve always been “gifted” in the boob department, or they grew a lot during pregnancy, there’s plenty you can do to make sure your breastfeeding journey gets off to as good a start as anyone’s.
Two things before we begin:
- If you’re finding breastfeeding tougher than you expected, you’re definitely not alone and there are plenty of places you can turn to for support. Your doctor or midwife will be able to point you to local breastfeeding groups or lactation consultants who can sometimes sort your worries out in one or two short meetings.
- If what you’re after instead is just friendly advice or moral support, you can turn to the other mamas in the Peanut community – we’re here all night!
Now, having said that, on to the advice.
Why is it (sometimes) harder breastfeeding with bigger breasts?
The idea that it’s always harder to breastfeed with large or heavy breasts is a total misconception, but there are some things to be aware of. First off, while you’re learning to nurse, big boobs can make it harder to see what you’re doing. The advice for feeding newborns is “tummy to mummy, nipple to nose”. But when you can’t see your own nipple from above, it’s harder to guide your baby in.
Get advice on Peanut
Tip 1: Holding your breast
If this is an issue, it can be helpful in the beginning to hold your breast with your hand while your little one is still learning to latch, especially if they’re still lacking in the head control department.
Plus, without saying that breastfeeding with large breasts is dangerous for your baby, they do need to be able to breathe through their nose while they’re feeding. This
becomes trickier if the weight of your breast naturally wants to fall on their face or chest.
To avoid this:
- Cup your hand underneath your breast to lift it (affectionately known as the hamburger hold)
- Press your thumb into your breast near your nipple to draw it away from their face
- Lean back slightly while you’re nursing
- Experiment with different positions until you find one that works
But hold up, you might be thinking. So that’s one hand to hold your breast, one arm supporting your baby’s body, one hand supporting their head… wait, what?
This is where a nursing pillow can come in handy.
Tip 2: A nursing pillow
Nursing pillows are meant to keep your back and shoulders comfortable and help you find a breastfeeding position that works.
But if you’re working with bigger boobs, they can also really help to solve the problem of simply not having enough hands to hold your baby and your boob at the same time.
How do you breastfeed with full breasts?
It’s especially hard for young babies to feed when your breasts are very full (AKA engorged). Breastfeeding with large, heavy breasts is also uncomfortable for you and it makes it more difficult for your baby to latch.
If you see your little one banging their head off your nipple, they’re trying to draw it out so they can latch better.
Tip 3: Hand-express to help your baby get started
If they’re still having problems, you could try to hand-express a little bit of milk before they can get going.
Do I always have to hold my breast while breastfeeding?
No, you will absolutely not have to do this forever.
Full boobs can be a problem for all breastfeeding mamas, not just those of us with a larger cup size.
With time, your body and your baby will find their rhythm, and problems with painful letdown or very full breasts will resolve themselves, even for those of us whose boobs are bigger.
While it may be stressful and frustrating now, keep reminding yourself that by the time your little one is a couple of months old, you’ll both be pros.
Breastfeeding with larger breasts: more tips for success
Tip 4: Match your supplies to your breast size
Nursing bra – A well-fitted nursing bra is your best friend when you’re nursing with bigger breasts. It’s best to avoid an underwire. If you’ve always had big boobs, this might be new, but there are lots of options out there that are really supportive (and thankfully, some of them are even cute).
Nursing clothes – If you can find something you feel good in that makes it easier to feed in public, you’ve won the nursing lottery. This might be a button-down shirt or shirt dress, a breastfeeding t-shirt with a panel that lifts up, or you might prefer a nursing cover. Or you could do things the old-fashioned way and just lift your shirt. Either way, make sure your nursing clothes are comfortable and work for your breast size.
A nursing pillow – As we explained above, a nursing pillow isn’t just for comfort. It can literally be the extra hand those of us with fuller cup sizes might need to get everything running smoothly.
Tip 4: Extra muslin cloths for boob support
Most mamas need more muslins than they think they will.
Mamas with larger boobs might find getting extra cloths especially useful.
Putting a rolled-up muslin under your boob can be an easy and effective source of that little extra support you need.
Tip 5: Make sure everything else fits too
Breast pumps – For many mamas, breast pumps are a lifesaver that can give you the freedom of letting someone else deal with your hungry baby.
Nipple shields can make it easier for your little one to latch if you have flatter nipples, and can protect your skin from cracking.
But neither of these products is one-size-fits-all, and if your nipple shields or the “flange” on your breast pump are the wrong size, they won’t work efficiently and it could even cause you pain.
So take time to consider whether you need to size up (or down) from the pumps or shields you’re considering buying beforehand, to get them right.
Tip 6: Bring the baby to the boob and not the other way around
This is probably the best tip we’ve seen from other mamas breastfeeding with bigger breasts.
If you hold your boob in your baby’s mouth without also holding their tummy to yours, your nipple will pop out of their mouth when you let go of your breast or shift position.
Tip 7: Don’t forget to look after your skin
One problem that most mamas with smaller breasts don’t have to face is the amount of underboob sweat there is to deal with while your baby hangs out on your chest.
You can also get rashes from leaked milk. So stock up on cotton t-shirts, and use nipple pads to soak up some of the excess moisture before it can irritate your skin.
Tip 8: Don’t suffer alone!
Remember: no breastfeeding, baby, or boob-related question is off-limits in the Peanut community, and you’ll find lots of other tips (and company during night feeds) right there.
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