Does breast size matter when it comes to breastfeeding?
I’m sure if you haven’t asked this question yourself, then you have heard someone else asking instead. Does your breast size indicate how much milk you are able to produce?
In short, the answer is no. Breast size does not matter. Women with small breasts can produce just as much milk or more as those with larger breasts.
Research into milk production vs. breast size indicates the amount of milk you produce depends predominantly on these factors:
▪️How frequently and effectively your baby breastfeeds
▪️How much functioning glandular tissue your breast contains
Glandular tissue is the epithelial tissue capable of milk synthesis in your breast. During pregnancy you can often expect your breast size and shape to change in order to prepare for your baby. In early pregnancy, increasing hormone levels often cause your breasts and nipples to become increasingly sensitive and sore. As pregnancy progresses, you will usually notice an increase in breast tissue. For some, this change can occur rapidly whereas for others it may only begin occurring towards the end of pregnancy and after birth.
Can nipple shape & size impact breastfeeding?
For new mothers facing breastfeeding attachment difficulties, nipple size and shape can certainly impact the baby’s ability to attach effectively. Babies may find it difficult to attach to inverted, wide or small nipples. There are of course ways to approach these issues through pumping and/or using a nipple shield.
What if there are no breast changes in pregnancy?
If you have noticed little to no change in your breasts throughout pregnancy or birth and struggling with low supply you may wish to consult with a midwife or lactation consultant. In addition to a consult and feeding assessment they may prescribe you galactagogues to help increase your supply – alongside a stash of @milkygoodness_ lactation cookies as well of course!
Written by Keryn Thompson RM & IBCLC (L-301766)
Marasco, L., Marmet, C. and Shell, E., 2000. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Connection to Insufficient Milk Supply? - Lisa Marasco, Chele Marmet, Ellen Shell, 2000. [online] SAGE Journals. Available at: <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/089033440001600211> [Accessed 1 March 2021].
MR, N., JM, S. and WE, J., 2012. Lactation failure due to insufficient glandular development of the breast. [online] PubMed. Available at: <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4058994/> [Accessed 1 March 2021].
Vanky, E., Nordskar, J., Leithe, H., Hjorth-Hansen, A., Martinussen, M. and Carlsen, S., 2018. Breast size increment during pregnancy and breastfeeding in mothers with polycystic ovary syndrome: a follow-up study of a randomised controlled trial on metformin versus placebo.