During the breastfeeding journey, there are a number of challenges that pop up. Whether it be related to increasing supply, finding comfortable nursing bras, getting your baby's latch just right, or creating time to sleep between feedings throughout the day and night, the list never seems to end. But one issue you might not consider until it presents itself is how a larger bust can contribute to breastfeeding woes. If you find that your breast size is causing even more nursing frustrations, you'll definitely want these tips for breastfeeding with big boobs to help you along the way. Luckily, international board certified lactation consultant Leigh Anne O'Connor has some pretty spot-on solutions to share with Romper.
Throughout O'Connor's journey helping women nurse comfortably, she's learned quite a few helpful tricks and tips. Whether it's how to help give your breasts some lift or the correct way to bring your baby to the breast to help them latch, there are several ways to take the frustration out of nursing for large-breasted moms.
If you find yourself struggling to nurse with a larger bust, feel that perhaps it won't be a possibility, or worry that you won't get the proper support you need — literally and figuratively — you're not alone. The good news is that you can find ways to make nursing work for you with a few of these simple tips.
1. Create Some Lift
O'Connor says that she learned from other nursing moms with large-breast feeding issues that "rolling up a cloth diaper like a tube and placing it under the breast gives it a bit of a lift." If you don't have cloth diapers, a hand towel, small blanket, or piece of clothing will do just fine too. This tactic offers your breasts some support and helps prevent skin-on-skin contact, heat, and rubbing that some moms might find a bit uncomfortable, especially during warmer months.
2. Find The Right Nursing Bra
Moms with larger breasts need more support than those who have smaller breasts. Expressing Mama suggested moms invest in and find truly comfy and supportive nursing bras once the initial engorgement goes down from the beginning of your nursing journey. Sometimes half the battle is just finding legitimate physical support for your breasts.
3. Bring Your Baby To Your Breast
Instead of bringing your breast to your baby, O'Connor also stresses bringing the baby to your breast when nursing. She shares that if you're picking up your breast to latch your little one that often creates a problem for you. You'll have to continue holding up your breast or run the risk of it falling out of your baby's mouth if you let go. Getting in the habit of bringing the baby to your breast helps with the issue, especially for bigger breasted moms.
4. Find The Right Nursing Positions
La Lecha League International (LLLI) shared that finding the right position to breastfeed in is a little trickier for moms with larger breasts. There are a few positions that are much easier and comfortable, including the cradle lap position, nursing while lying down, or the football hold position. Many women with large boobs have a difficult time utilizing the sitting position while breastfeeding, especially if their breasts may be closer to their laps sitting down. That's totally normal, and realize that you can experiment with several different positions until both you and baby are comfortable.
5. Stay Extra Clean
Breastfeeding Basics shared that big-breasted women are prone to skin irritation or infections because of the folds of skin underneath. Make sure to wash under your breasts with soap and water every day and dry off thoroughly to avoid extra moisture or irritation.
6. Get A Feel For Your Baby's Nursing
O'Connor says that "many moms want to be able to see their baby at the breast but sometimes that is really challenging." She encourages moms to trust their other senses when it comes to nursing too and get a strong idea of what it feels like when the baby is latched on and sucking. Especially if you're constantly struggling to view your little one nursing, it's important to get a feel for their nursing habits and "clues of comfort and satiety."
7. Take Advantage Of Manual Expression
Large-breasted moms can have overfull milk reservoirs, and the fullness can hinder a baby's jaw action or can shorten the nipple elasticity, inhibiting the baby's ability to get a deep grasp, according to LLLI. Learning to use a technique like manual expression can help you get milk flow started, make breastfeeding less painful at first latch, and help your baby get a better latch from the start.
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