I was blessed with a set of DD boobs. Well, I would say it’s both a blessing and a curse. I’m proud of my knockers, but they can also be quite a pain (sometimes literally: oh my aching back), and can make it nearly impossible to find clothes (and bras!) that fit. But maybe the biggest nuisance my large breasts have caused me was when I was breastfeeding.
During my first pregnancy, my boobs increased a size or two—that’s to be expected. But when my baby was born, and my milk came in…whoa mama, those things were GINORMOUS. And boy did it make nursing my tiny little newborn very difficult, especially at first.
Now, of course, breast size has nothing to do with how much milk a mother makes. As La Leche League explains, the fatty tissue of your breast doesn’t determine your milk-making capacity. It’s actually the amount and functionality of the glandular tissue deep within your breast that determines your milk supply (along with how efficiently and frequently your baby suckles, as well as a few other factors). As a lactation consultant, I’ve seen moms with large breasts and low milk supply, and I’ve seen moms with tiny breasts and oversupply.
But it’s not supply issues that make breastfeeding with large breasts complicated. It’s the size itself, and having to get a very small baby to latch onto a VERY large breast. Oh. My. God.
My first baby had some latching issues of his own. He was sleepy, and I would later learn that he was tongue tied, which I’m sure made it difficult. But my large breasts meant that I had to try a million different positions and holds to find a way for him to reach my boobs and stay in place.
And let me tell you, as a brand new mommy with raging postpartum hormones, this was no easy task. I often felt like I wanted to give up. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and my baby seemed to have no idea how to navigate the world of my giant bazookas either.
But I got through. And so can you. Let me tell you a few things that worked for me (andthe many large-breasted moms I’ve worked with as a lactation consultant).
Try different positions.
Many large-boobed mamas find that the traditional cradle hold just doesn’t work for them. A cross-cradle or football hold can be easier because they give you a little more control over your breasts and baby. I adore the more “laid-back” positions as well, because your torso opens up and can help support your baby. Click here for illustrated pictures of different positions. My best advice: try them all until you find one that works for you.
Support your boobies.
Some of us large-boobed mom have breasts that, ummmm, hang down pretty darn low. Many of us need to give them a little lift with our hand while nursing. Some moms like to leave a rolled up towel under their breast for that extra lift. You’ll probably also benefit from making a “nipple sandwich” with your hand, so that your giant areola can make it deeply into your baby’s teenie-tiny mouth.
Don’t worry if you don’t get as engorged as your small-boobed buddies.
Because you have so much more space in your boobs, you might not get as engorged as other women. That’s ok. As long as you feel a fullness a few days after your baby is born, that means your milk is coming in. And as long as your baby is growing well on your milk, you’ve got plenty.
Get a good bra.
You’re going to need a good, supportive nursing bra. Nothing with underwires and nothing too tight (both can contribute to mastitis), but something that will support your enormous jugs as you move throughout your day. You can get one while pregnant, but I’d wait until your last trimester, keeping in mind that your boobs will get a little bigger once your milk comes in.
Watch out for rashes.
Besides latching issues, having large breasts means that you are more prone to under-boob rashes. Between sweat and leaking breastmilk, it can be a breeding ground for yeast infections and dermatitis. I’ve had several bad rashes, and they are no fun. Whenever possible, it’s good to air out your melons, to minimize conditions that make rashes more likely. Wearing cotton bras, and keeping things as clean (and dry) as possible can also help.
Practice nursing in public.
Once you finally figure out how to nurse your baby, nursing in public can feel stressful, because you might wonder how you will pull it off without exposing your gargantuan bosom. First of all, screw anyone who cares about seeing a flash of your boob. You’re feeding your baby, and it’s legal to do so regardless of how much breast is visible in 49 out of the 50 states in America (get it together, Idaho). But I get that some of us prefer modesty. I recommend practicing nursing in front of a full-length mirror a few times. You’ll get a sense of what it looks like to an outsider (they often see much less than you do), and you can make any adjustments.
Get help: Don’t do it alone.
I can talk my ear off about how to position and nurse a baby while wrangling your oversize boob-machines. But nothing — nothing — replaces having someone show you how. It can be so much easier to get hands-on help with any of these sorts of issues. You can hire a lactation consultant (a good one is worth their weight in gold), or you can attend a breastfeeding support group, many of which are free.
Bottom line: You don’t have to go it alone, and figuring out how to breastfeed with your giant boobs is so worth it in the end. Also? In a few weeks, your breasts won’t be quite so enormous, your baby will be quite a bit bigger, and I swear breastfeeding won’t be such a complicated mess.
So hang in there, get the help you need, and breastfeed like the large-breasted boobie goddess you are.