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Small boobs = no milk?

(21 Posts)
whenhenshaveteeth Sun 15-Jul-12 07:55:43

Hi, I'm 29wks with DS2 and I'm worried about my future milk supply.

I'm fairly small-boobed and unlike my pregnant friends, I haven't experienced any changes in my boobage...

It was the same last time, then my milk took a whole week to come and after that I constantly felt like I didn't have enough. DS was crying and rooting around all the time, the amount of milk I could express was pitiful and my milk looked pathetic - a friend who had a child at the same time gave me some of her milk for DS as she didn't know what to do with hers (she was even slimmer than me, probably a tiny size 6, but her boobs grew like you couldn't imagine after the birth) and her milk looked all creamy and yellow while mine looked grey/blue skimmed milk.

So, do you reckon there's a connection between the size of your boobs during pregnancy and your milk supply? Is there actually a connection at all between the size of your boobs at all and your milk production even when the baby is born?

Did you do anything to enhance your milk supply? Anything that can hinder it?

ReelAroundTheFountain Sun 15-Jul-12 08:05:21

No. My norks are massive quite big and my milk supply was very low. Like you they barely changed throughout 3 pregnancies. I was surprised as I assumed I'd have a plentiful supply but not so.

mrswee Sun 15-Jul-12 08:17:47

my boobs were stupidly big, 38k bra was the biggest I could get but was a little small... I had very similar problems to you with supply.
I gave up in the end after a tourturous 5 months of combined feeding the trying to convince health visitors I had a low supply.

My doctors believed me and I ended up on Motilium, an anti sickness drug that has a side effect of producing extra milk. it as great for a while However long term use of them made me feel a bit down - another possible side effect, tat doesnt happen to everyone.

I think that possible a combination of a difficult birth with lots of drugs and my baby being born sleepy and not seeing her for the first hour while she was taken away and I was stitched up, could have had an effect on the start of breast feeding and my milk coming in. I wasn't very relaxed either for most of the first weeks and that is a vicious cycle when it comes to feeding.

I am preganant again and will try again to feed, it may be differnt this time, but if it isnt I won't tourture myself and will just move on.

HappyAsASandboy Sun 15-Jul-12 08:21:40

I'm sorry you felt that your boobs didn't make good milk last time sad

Small boobs are just as good at feeding babies as big boobs smile An lots of women have no changes in their boobs during pregnancy. Very very few women don't produce enough milk to feed their baby unless the feeding process is upset somewhere along the line (e.g. Infrequent feeding, baby not latched on correctly etc). Boobs are made to make milk smile

If you want to get off to a good start with feeding and stimulate your milk to come in as quickly as possible, you need to feed feed feed in the early hours and days. Babies normally want to be at the breast (though not always feeding), so for the first weeks I'd be aiming at offering and encouraging a feed every two to three hours, with each feed/attempted feed taking up to 30 - 60 mins (unless you're super blessed with a speedy-effective feeder!). It seems relentless and like they're always looking for food and never satisfied, but that's what they need to do to get you to feed them again and so get a good milk supply going smile When I suggest every two to three hours, I mean timing from start of feed to start of feed, so you might only have an hour or so not feeding begore its time to offer again.

On the points of pumping and the colour of your milk, pumping really is no indication if supply and milk comes in all colours. Some women feed multiple babies but can't pump a drop (I'm feeding 20 month old twins and if I pumped today I reckon I'd get about one oz total from both sides. If I pumped 4 times a day for three days, I'd be getting more like 6oz from each side --and have crazy engorged boobs as mine go bonkers with prolonged pumping--). Being able to pump or not really is no indication in whether your baby can get milk from your boobs. The consistency and nutritional content of your milk changes during a feed, during the day and from day to day. Sometimes it might look rich and creamy, sometimes thin and watery and sometimes even blue (like you've rinsed your jeans in some skimmed milk!). It is all good milk, designed to suit your baby and the environmental situation you and your baby are in. Try not to worry about what the milk looks like as it will all be delicious to your baby smile

It is really hard in the early weeks to have faith that your body can feed your baby. It is knackering squeezing 10 to 12 feeds of an hour into a 24-hour period, and you can go a bit crazy in the remaining 12 hours trying to sleep and worrying that you're doing the wrong thing. But as long as baby is putting on weight, making wet and dirty nappies, then feeding is going well. If they spend the non-feeding hours crying or not sleeping, often it's not a feeding issue at all, it's just how your baby is at that moment in time.

I have rambled on a lot. If you want to breastfeed your baby, it is often helpful to seek out a Breastfeeding group and/or ring one of the Breastfeeding helplines. They'll all be more than happy to talk to a pregnant lady and discuss some of your issues from last time, and a group might help when your baby is born.

Good luck smile

fruitpastille Sun 15-Jul-12 08:22:09

I don't think there's a connection from anecdotal experience. I know of smaller boobed women who fed successfully for many months and larger who felt they couldn't meet the needs of their baby. In fact although i am on the larger side and had no supply problems i often thought smaller boobs would be much easier for latching.

I would guess that the milk you expressed was fore milk. If you had been able to express more it would probably have been more creamy. Expressing can be very difficult to master and does not necessarily reflect your supply to baby who is much more efficient than a pump.

Things that help supply are lots of skin to skin contact, feed on demand, drink plenty and eat well. I have also heard that eating oats and taking fenugreek can help.

Good luck but don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work out!

WantAnOrange Sun 15-Jul-12 08:24:27

I am so small I have to buy from the "My First Bra" range in M&S. No one sells maternity bras in my size (I suppose they assume that if you're that tiny, you are too young to make a baby!) BUT my milk supply was very good when I had DS, and I have been leaking colostrum from about 10 weeks in this pregnancy.

There is no connection between size and milk production or quality (there really isn't any difference between the quality from one woman to another either).

The only way to increase your supply is to BF more. In particular in the early hours of the morning, as this is when the hormone that regulates milk production is produced (or somehting like that).

During a feed, milk will start of thick and creamy, then chage to more watery and blue so these differences are normal too.

Pumping is an art, I found that really slow going at first. I spoke to my HV and she showed me how to express buy hand which was really helpful, to understand how my boobs worked. It also helped to express from one breast as DS fed from the other, as his feeding triggered the let down reflex in both breasts.

HTH

whenhenshaveteeth Sun 15-Jul-12 09:32:47

Thanks everyone for your response and reassurance.

I'll stop giving grief to my boobs.

I was induced and pretty drugged when DS came out, it then took me ages to bond with him. On top of that I was uber stressed as both my mum and MIL were very ill (and have since died) and I wanted Ds to be in a routine as I needed to go back to college. I was also not prepared for the lack of sleep and probably didn't very well...

So maybe it was this more than my boobs that was the problem. I know this time will be different as I already have a toddler but he'll be going to preschool 3 times a week so at least I'll have a bit of time to myself. I'll just feed, eat and sleep this time.

Longtalljosie Sun 15-Jul-12 09:42:59

Heavens no! In fact, I think it's easier. I'm generalising wildly here but a lot of the women I know with latch problems seem to have larger boobs. Like you, I'm on the smaller side - and like you very little happened with my boobs in pregnancy. And then I had the baby and the boobs arrived three days later! I had tons of milk and bf for 13 months. Put it right out of your mind.

Childoftheseventies Sun 15-Jul-12 09:57:38

Your feed, eat, sleep mantra sounds like good one. It might be reassuring to hear that with dc1 i struggled and had to supplement with a bottle from about six weeks, but with dc2 I breast fed only for milk until she was over a year. Grew enormous boobs, well for me, grew from 32a to 32d. Back to the old tiny boobs now. Best advice I can offer is to not worry. Try breast feeding again, try hard atbit for a few weeks, but always thinking, oh well, bottles really are fine if this doesn't work, don't stress and see how you get on. Mixed feeding worked just fine for dc1 so don't dismiss that as an option. Good luck!

megandraper Sun 15-Jul-12 09:59:55

Mine are small and didnt grow much, and I have ebf 3 babies for a year each.

Chunkychicken Sun 15-Jul-12 10:06:20

My boobs are not particularly huge, 32DD before my first pg, so a reasonable size and I leaked from 20wks with my DD. However, I had a panic with her feeding when age suddenly appeared to have lost loads of weight at 3wks. This was exacerbated by stupid HV's making mistakes. Long story short, I had a diver day with my DD. Literally did nothing but eat, sleep & lay in bed and it helped massively to both my nerves/stress and work out how much my DD wanted/needed to feed, and I think contributed to my supply being adequate to feed her until about 9mths.

Also, I could never express much, unless DD skipped a feed, and the milk does look rather watery compared to formula or cow's milk, so I wouldn't worry on either of those scores.

Chunkychicken Sun 15-Jul-12 10:07:41

DUVET day not DIVER day. Stupid autocorrect on my phone...blush

SuddenlyMadameGlamour Sun 15-Jul-12 10:09:27

I also am very small busted and remained an a cup throughout my pregnancy. However when my milk came in they grew suddenly and if anything I had a problem with oversupply. My dd had colic and the only thing that settled her was to be on the boob constantly, so within a couple of hours I would be engorged and sore and need emptying! I think to prepare yourself just to feed constantly in the early days is a good strategy in the early days! It felt like it was all I ever did!

I went up to a d cup at my biggest and have now settled back to a b/c cup after stopping bfing around Xmas, so breastfeeding improved my boobs if anything! They're not big enough to sag!

I still had not so well meaning aunts saying things like "I can't believe you're breastfeeding, you've not got much up top!" Yeah thanks for that!

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Sun 15-Jul-12 10:15:45

Mine are modest and changed little during pregnancy but I was lucky to find breastfeeding very straight-forward and I continued to feed mine throughout their toddler years - it is rather amazing that for the first few months they were thriving on nothing else - so I guess they must work wink I hope things go much more smoothly this time round, and all our posts are some reassurance smile

ItsMyLastOne Sun 15-Jul-12 10:20:19

My boobs were relatively big (about 32G) and my milk too a week to come in.

I have several friends whose boobs went up to a B or C cup but breastfed quite easily and for well over a year.

My sister has 28J boobs and breastfed relatively easily but has never been able to pump more than about half an ounce, despite her feeding a lot and still feeding her DD at 22 months.

crazypaving Sun 15-Jul-12 11:32:36

I have mini boobs and my milk supply could've kept a dairy farm in business last time I bf. Really don't know where it all came from confused

milkyjo Sun 15-Jul-12 14:48:43

I am an A cup went up to B with my DS and brestfed him until 13 months. He was born on 25th centile and went up to 50th. Now at 19 months he is off the scale! There is new evidence that suggests boobs do not have large milk reservoirs in the ducts and that milk is produced during breastfeeding closer to the nipple so it doesn't matter how big or small your boobs are.

See research www.medela.com/IW/en/breastfeeding/research-at-medela/breast-anatomy.html

PetiteMaman77 Wed 31-Oct-12 12:56:03

Yeah I agree, i don't think bf is affected by boob size as long as there are no other feeding issues like latching etc. If you want some smaller sized nursing bras have a look at www.petitemaman.co.uk smile x

Jergens Wed 31-Oct-12 13:19:22

Just reiterating that there's no connection. I used to worry about this years before I even had kids and remember asking my physiology professor about it in a packed lecture theatre!
I'm normally an A cup (went to B postnatally). Never had an probs with EBF and fed for 16 months. I leaked tons of milk and had to wear breast pads for first 12 months.
HTH

greenhill Wed 31-Oct-12 13:25:59

Try not to worry too much and try and be as relaxed as possible to establish feeding. There is no point comparing yourself with others or your past experience, if it makes you unhappy smile

As long as you are eating plenty of food for yourself and for the baby (don't try to lose weight or exercise too much to start with); you have a good latch (get HV or MW to check this if having problems); you always offer frequently (even if the baby has just winded after a feed, sometimes they can fit a bit more in); and are not stressing yourself or are ill you should be ok.

I'm a size 6 and went up to a 36D when feeding my DC, they fed for nearly 18 months each and were on the 91st percentile for weight throughout this time.

I ate like a horse to keep up with them, slept when they slept and didn't push myself to do anything other than establish feeding to start with. Each time they had a growth spurt I'd just let them feed until the milk supply matched demand.

Hopefully you will have a lot less stress in your life this time around.
Good luck.

Gwlondon Wed 31-Oct-12 14:48:55

Mine are small, ended up with oversupply. Somewhere I read the analagy about a tea cup. If you have a smaller tea cup you just have to fill it up more often.

Don't worry about the size, all the changes are happening inside. Some of the changes happen after the baby is born - receptors? Can't remember. But that is why you need to offer lots of your milk in the beginning.

Good luck for second time. There is good info on www.kellymom.com And the book the womanly art of breastfeeding is good.

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