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 breastfeeding tips and advice right here. 🙌
In this article 📝
- Can you breastfeed if you have larger breasts?
- Is breastfeeding harder with large breasts?
- Breastfeeding positions for large breasts
- How do you breastfeed with full breasts?
- Breastfeeding with large breasts: tips for success
Can you breastfeed if you have 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, on to the advice.
Is breastfeeding harder with large breasts?
The idea that it’s always harder to breastfeed with large or heavy breasts doesn’t hold true forever, but there’s no doubt it can be difficult for new moms. Big boobs can make it harder to see what you’re doing when you’re first learning to nurse. Typically 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.
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Finding the right position that feels comfortable for you and helps baby to latch correctly is challenging.
And then there’s the awkwardness of trying to hold your breasts and baby at the same time—especially when you’re still recovering from childbirth.
Perhaps the biggest fear for Peanut moms is the risk that their boobs may block their baby’s nose while breastfeeding.
Let us quickly slide in here and reassure you that should your baby’s nose become blocked, they will release the latch to breathe.
But still, these worries are valid, and they can be alleviated with the right position and support (in every way that counts 👙).
🔎 Dig deeper: Can You Breastfeed With Implants?
Breastfeeding positions for large breasts
The struggle with larger breasts is real—back and neck pain, wardrobe wars, bra straps that won’t quit, the list goes on.
And that’s before you add pregnancy and breastfeeding to the equation.
So now that your newborn is safe and secure in your arms, how can you ensure they latch on comfortably while keeping your discomfort to a minimum?
We’ve gathered a whole list of breastfeeding positions but here are the most recommended breastfeeding positions for large breasts:
Holding your breast
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.
Holding your breasts also prevents the weight of your breast from naturally falling on their face or chest—meaning no blocked nose for baby.
To do 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
So that’s one hand to hold your breast, one arm supporting your baby’s body, one hand supporting their head… wait, what?
Ah, this is where a nursing pillow can come in handy. 👇
Nursing pillows keep your back and shoulders comfortable while helping you find a breastfeeding position that works.
And for large-breasted moms, they can help to solve the problem of simply not having enough hands to hold your baby and your boob at the same time.
One of the most popular nursing positions, the cradle hold allows you to free up one arm while you stay nice and relaxed.
Plus, with slight modifications, moms with bigger breasts can reap the benefits too.
- Sit upright in a comfortable chair or propped up in bed with pillows
- Lie baby across your stomach facing you
- Instead of placing their head in the crook of your arm (like a traditional cradle hold), place the breast you’ll be feeding them from
- Place baby’s head on your forearm or wrist area, using your hand to support their back
- You can then use your free hand to help shape the breast as your baby feeds
You can always enlist rolled up towels or a nursing pillow if you need extra support.
Another breastfeeding tip (if you’re sitting on a chair) is to place your feet on a small footstool or table to keep you leaning backward and your back ache-free.
Lying on your side
One of the better breastfeeding positions if you’ve had a c-section or are still recovering from a difficult birth.
It basically involves lying comfortably on your side and allowing the mattress to support your breasts as baby feeds.
You can also prop baby up with a well-placed folded blanket or pillow (same goes for you mama).
And yes, this position also gives you a free hand to guide your baby as needed.
A really nice option for those late-night feeds.
Also called the reclining position, the laid-back position basically means using your body to support both boobs and baby.
But don’t let the name fool you, you never want to lean back totally flat.
Instead, lie in a semi-reclined position on a plush sofa or bed, propped up with pillows to support your neck and shoulders—you want to be sure you can maintain eye contact.
From here, place baby tummy to tummy and gently guide them to your nipple.
If your c-section scar is still healing, you can always lie baby to one side.
Get cozy, mama.
How do you breastfeed with full breasts?
Breastfeeding with larger breasts is one thing, but it’s especially hard for young babies to feed when your breasts are overly full of milk (AKA engorged).
And between the tenderness, swelling, and pain, it’s also deeply uncomfortable.
Engorged breasts tend to happen as your milk comes in in the early days and weeks after giving birth.
But it can happen later in your postpartum journey, too, should you miss a pumping session or have more milk than baby needs.
As temporary as it is, engorged breasts can make it more difficult for your baby to latch.
You may see your little one banging their head off your nipple as they try to draw it out so they can latch better.
The best tip we can give? Hand-express to help your baby get started.
Once they do latch, allow them to completely drain your breasts.
You can also hand express or pump in-between feeds to relieve some pressure (and don’t forget the warm compress).
Breastfeeding with large breasts: tips for success
For those of us with a larger cup size, breastfeeding can take a little longer to master.
With time, your body and your baby will find their rhythm, and problems like full breasts or issues with latching will become a thing of the past.
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.
Until then, here’s our top six breastfeeding tips for large breasts:
1. Get a well-fitted nursing bra
A well-fitted nursing bra is your best friend when you’re nursing with bigger breasts.
Usually, it’s best to avoid an underwire.
If you’ve always had big boobs, this might be new, but there’s lots of options out there that are really supportive (and thankfully, some of them are even cute).
Just make sure to measure your bra size before you splurge.
2. Invest in comfortable nursing clothes
If you can find something you feel good in that makes it easier to breastfeed 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.
3. Stock up on 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.
4. Ensure all your breastfeeding supplies fit
For many mamas, breast pumps are a lifesaver that can give you the freedom of letting someone else handle your hungry baby.
And 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.
5. Bring baby to the boob and not the other way around
This is probably the best tip we’ve seen from other Peanut 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.
6. Look after your skin
One problem that most mamas with smaller breasts don’t 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.
7: Don’t suffer alone!
Because you’re not alone in this, mama.
Every new mom finds breastfeeding hard—no matter their cup size.
Bad days happen, but there are lactation consultants and support groups that can help you get through them easier.
Remember: no breastfeeding-, baby-, or boob-related question is off-limits in the Peanut community.
You’ll find lots of other tips (and company during night feeds) right there.
You’ve got this, mama. Really. ❤️