Does size matter? Does a small breast size cause low milk production?
The answer is a flat no, which means that this perception is a dead myth. In fact, in breastfeeding, the size of the breast is irrelevant. Small breasts can still produce the same amount of milk, if not more than, that big breasts can produce.
We often read this in magazines, or see it on TV or hear it from the mouths of people. Size is often equated with power or capability – the bigger, the better! Big food portion, big house, big hotel room, big arena capacity, big…yes, feel free to think of other “big things” that could matter.
Like everything else that varies in size, women breast sizes are not created equal. According to a 2013 survey conducted by lingerie retailer Intimacy, the normal breast size/average bra size in America is 34 DD and playing with this number, anything below that is considered small, and beyond that, large.
Note that breast size depends on the fatty tissue it contains that have nothing to do with how much milk the breasts will produce. Women with bigger breasts have great amount of fat in their breasts. The fatty tissue gives the breast a round shape and protects it from injury and it does not produce breast milk. Indeed, the fatty tissue is not responsible for lactation, the glandular tissue is. Since the amount of milk-making tissue is not related to breast size, breasts of different size (and shape) are entirely capable of producing sufficient milk supply for the children. Furthermore, the more the baby feeds, the more lactation happens. The key is emptying the breasts to keep things going.
A tiny note though, mother with smaller breasts will have a “smaller breast storage capacity” compared with a mom who has bigger breasts so the former may need to breastfeed a little more often. This “individual storage capacity” means that large breasts store more milk between feedings so the child does not need to feed as often in 24 hours. In one hand, low milk supply in one breast for example, can be caused by anatomical differences and that is the varying size of breast and milk ducts. Furthermore, moms with small breasts may find themselves pumping or nursing more frequently but other than the storage advantage, all breasts are created fair for milk production!
One exception that we would like to share is the insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) condition experienced by very few women (one for every thousand). IGT is also referred to as hypoplastic or underdeveloped breasts where women develop inadequate milk producing tissue during puberty and pregnancy hence hindering the breasts to yield enough milk. IGT is when the breasts do not change and grow during pregnancy (breasts should be getting larger as the mammary glands get ready for the nursing job ahead).
For IGT related cases, it is best to consult a doctor or a lactation consultant for options on how to boost the production of milk and to clearly address the issue.
In general, to increase breast milk production, moms might want to follow these five easy and practical tips:
- Feed baby frequently. How frequently? On demand (whenever the baby is hungry). Breast milk is digested in 1 ½ to 2 hours so babies need to be fed more.
- Make sure the child finishes one side then offer the other. Offer both sides of breasts for consumption.
- Refrain from pacifiers and bottles whenever it is possible, as the breasts should have fulfilled the sucking needs of the baby.
- Pumping is a good option as it empties the breast and therefore triggers lactation to ensure good milk supply. Pump for at least 30 minutes after feeding or an hour before nursing.
- Give mom the best time! Sleep well, eat a balanced diet, take a good rest, relax and unwind. Healthy mother, healthy baby, happy life!
Then specifically, how about the natural ways to increase breast milk supply? Check them out here.
You can also find the breastfeeding tips to increase milk supply fast here.
Mothers and babies have different needs and are subjected to dissimilar conditions and circumstances but making sure that first – the babies latch properly to get the nourishment they need, and second, the babies get to feed on demand or anytime they feel hungry, these are the two things that count to ensure that the whole breastfeeding experience is met.
As a conclusion, it is not the size but the time and the way the baby is fed that matter most!