Breastfeeding With Small Breasts

Will You Be Able To Make Enough Breast Milk?

Breastfeeding With Small Breasts
You can make enough breast milk for your baby even if you have small breasts. KidStock/Getty Images

Breast Size and The Ability To Produce Breast Milk

Your breast size does not determine your ability to breastfeed. Women with breasts of all different shapes and  sizes are able to nurse their children successfully. The size of your breasts is dependent upon the amount of fatty tissue you have in your breasts, not by the amount of milk-making tissue that you have. Women with larger breasts have a greater amount of fat in their breasts, but they do not necessarily have a greater amount of milk-making tissue.

So, if you consider your breasts to be on the smaller side, it doesn't mean that you won't be able to make enough breast milk. Women with small breasts are perfectly capable of producing a full, healthy supply of breast milk for their baby.

Breasts undergo changes during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding. They often increase in size and fullness, appearing much larger than they did before. Your breasts may also grow during the two weeks after you have your baby. This is the time when your milk production is adjusting to your baby, so your breasts may become larger, swollen, and engorged with breast milk. But, even if you don't notice a dramatic change in the size of your breasts during pregnancy or the first week postpartum, you can still breastfeed.

Concerns About Breastfeeding With Small Breasts

Most of the time, small breasts do not pose any issues when it comes to breastfeeding. However, on a rare occasion, small breasts could indicate a problem.

If the breasts do not show any growth at all during pregnancy or the first week postpartum, this could mean that there is insufficient glandular tissue, a true low milk supply, or lactation failure. In these uncommon situations, the production of breast milk after delivery is very low or absent. Breastfeeding is still possible, although a supplement will be necessary.

Small breasts due to a breast surgery can also be an issue. Breast reduction usually involves an incision near or around the areola. If the milk ducts are damaged during the surgery, it could have a negative affect on breastfeeding. Mastectomies, lumpectomies, or any procedure that requires the removal of breast tissue could also limit the amount of functioning breast tissue left to produce milk. It is very important to have your baby and your milk supply monitored if you decide to breastfeed after breast surgery. And again, even if aren't able to produce a full milk supply, you can still breastfeed. Breastfeeding along with supplementation allows you and your baby to experience the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding that include so much more than just nutrition.

Tips For Breastfeeding With Small Breasts

  • Look for signs that your baby is getting enough milk and keep track of your baby's urine output.
     
  • Take your baby to see the pediatrician regularly to monitor your baby's growth. Consistent weight gain is the best indicator that you're making enough breast milk for your baby.
     
  • If your breasts are very small, the amount of milk that they can hold may be less than larger breasts. They will still produce enough milk, but as your baby grows he or she may have to breastfeed more often.
     
  • Join a breastfeeding support group for advice and encouragement.
     
  • Remember that you can always call your doctor or a lactation professional if you have any concerns about the size of your breasts or your milk supply.  

    Sources:

    American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.

    Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

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