First-time moms have numerous concerns about breastfeeding and maintaining their child’s health. Many of our readers ask, “Do bigger breasts mean higher fertility,” “Do large breasts produce more milk for babies,” “Do breasts produce more milk as babies get older?” and many more. Today, we will talk about breast size and breastfeeding.
Contrary to a common misconception among first-time moms, large breasts do not produce more milk than small ones.
This article covers everything you need to know about breastfeeding and milk production as first-time moms.
Breastfeeding and Breast Size
Every pregnant woman experiences unique bodily changes during and post-pregnancy. Some women do not experience much change in their breast size, while some go 2 or more cups up. So, what does it depend on?
The size of your breasts depends on their fatty tissues, whereas milk production depends on the breast’s glandular tissues. Usually, all women have a similar number of glandular tissues to produce milk for breastfeeding.
While milk production in mothers may vary, it still does not depend on the breast size.
Some women may produce less breast milk if they have insufficient glandular tissue, also known as hypoplastic breasts. This condition restricts the milk supply due to the breast’s limited capacity to produce milk.
What Does Milk Production Depend on?
Now that we know that breast size does not impact milk production, the question is, what does milk production depend on?
Milk production post-pregnancy works on the demand and supply principle. If your baby is latching and taking milk, it stimulates the glandular tissues to produce more milk to fulfill the demand.
So, milk production depends on your baby’s needs and breastfeeding; the breasts produce more milk for feeding.
Small Breasts vs. Large Breasts
Now that we know the answer to “Do large breasts produce more milk for babies,” small or large breasts do not influence milk production. But they might impact the milk-storing capacity between feeds. When your baby takes milk, your breasts produce and store it in the milk ducts to supply the next feed. Babies usually take 75 – 80% of the accumulated feed, and the breasts make more till the next feeding. Click here to learn breastfeeding composition, so as to understand more about its benefits to babies.
Thus, women with smaller breasts feed their babies more often.
Factors Associated with Breastfeeding
Nipple Size and Shape
Just like breast size, women have unique nipple sizes and shapes. Whether your nipples are round, flat, small, large, pointy, or inverted, you must not shy away from breastfeeding your baby. If someone (except your doctor) has asked you not to breastfeed your child because your nipple shape or size is “unsuitable,” do not worry much about it.
Babies sometimes find it difficult to latch to flat, inverted, or large nipples, but you can get your baby to feed through error and trial. If you try frequently, your baby will latch and get used to it.
Lactating mothers are encouraged to consult a lactation consultant and use a nipple shield if needed.
Many breastfeeding mothers experience breast engorgement from the third day of birth to as long as ten days. Breast engorgement usually occurs when your baby is not feeding enough. Engorged breasts are swollen, hard, and painful with flat nipples.
This condition can make it difficult for your baby to latch, and you might need to express some milk before feeding your baby. Additionally, fuller breasts signal your body that the baby is not taking feed and will slow down production. Lactation specialists mention that full breasts make milk slower, and drained breasts make milk faster.
If your baby cannot feed for any reason and you want to keep the supply coming, you must express milk to feed them through a bottle or use it in solids (for children above six months).
Uneven Milk Supply
Besides, small and large breast concerns and “Do bigger breasts mean higher fertility,” uneven milk supply is another issue among new moms. Uneven milk supply in either breast could be due to numerous reasons, such as the size of the milk ducts or the baby’s preference for one breast over the other. It could also occur as a result of injury to your breast tissue or surgery.
A large number of women undergoing breast surgery wonder if they will be able to breastfeed their children. There is no definite yes or no without knowing the condition and the surgery performed, yet most women with breast implants, breast reduction, and other chest surgeries can breastfeed their babies. However, women with breast reduction and mastectomies may have difficulty expressing milk to their children.
Insufficient Glandular Tissue
Insufficient Glandular Tissue or IGT refers to improper development of the breasts during puberty. It is also known as mammary hypoplasia or hypoplastic breasts. These breasts are more than two inches apart and appear very small, thin, or tubular. This condition often impacts milk production for your baby. Women with IGT do not feel any changes during or post-pregnancy. Women with hypoplastic breasts may have problems breastfeeding their babies.
The signs and symptoms of insufficient glandular tissue:
- Tuberous or conical breasts
- The size difference between both breasts
- More than 1.5-2 inches of space
- Downwards pointed areolas
How to Improve Milk Supply?
When the answer to “Do large breasts produce more milk for babies” is no, there could be other reasons for less milk production. In case of a low milk supply, it is important to talk to a lactation consultant. Meanwhile, you can also follow the following to improve your milk supply:
- Make sure your baby is latching properly.
- Breastfeed your baby every time they are hungry; it could be as much as twelve times throughout the day.
- Avoid feeding through a bottle if your baby is latching, and you can breastfeed.
- Offer both breasts to the baby at each feeding.
- Hand-express or pump to draw out all the milk so your breasts produce more for the next feed; it will also prevent breast engorgement.
- Massage your breasts and hold your baby skin-to-skin to improve your milk supply.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stimulate milk production, especially before feeding your baby.
How to Improve Milk Supply in One Breast?
Sometimes, you might observe that one of your breasts offers less milk to the baby than the other. It could be due to one of the reasons mentioned above, and you can improve the condition by:
Preferring the Less Productive Breast
Considering the demand and supply rule, preferring the less productive side when feeding your baby is important. Allowing the baby to nurse the less productive breast will enable it to produce more milk for the baby.
However, do not ignore the high-production side, as it may lead to engorged breasts.
Pumping or Hand Expressing
To improve milk supply in one breast, hand express or pump to ensure your breasts are not full anymore, encouraging milk production. Massaging your breast before breastfeeding your baby can also help. Moreover, pump the less productive side in between feedings as well.
Using a Feeding Log
Maintaining a feeding and pumping log can help produce and express more milk when changing your feeding routine. You will notice changes eventually, and maintaining a log will help you improve the routine.
Do Bigger Breasts Mean Higher Fertility?
Opposed to many other misconceptions about large breasts, a study  by The Royal Society Publishing found that women with smaller waists and larger breasts are more fertile. Thus, they have a high reproductive potential due to a higher level of estradiol, the female reproductive hormone.
Though this does not mean that women with smaller breasts have difficulty conceiving, as the delay could be due to one of many reasons. Always consult your doctor in case of unplanned delay in pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
Thinking, “Do bigger breasts mean higher fertility,” “Do large breasts produce more milk for babies,” or “Why does my baby feed more often” is quite natural for first-time moms. You might wonder if it is because of the breast size, shape, or the nipple’s form. While children take more time and effort to latch to inverted and flat nipples, almost all women can breastfeed their children.
Whether you have small breasts or large ones, it does not impact milk production for your baby. Yet, it might affect the milk capacity, and you have to feed your baby more. Keep trying to stimulate your breasts to produce more milk. Also, massage and express milk after and between sessions to improve supply.
Will breastfeeding change how my breasts look?
Changes in breast appearance are among the most prominent pregnancy and birth changes your body experiences. Breasts become heavier, and areolas turn a darker color to prepare for breastfeeding. Your breasts will not be full of milk forever, but they will not be the same as pre-pregnancy. Nevertheless, you will always remember this beautiful journey.
Is breastfeeding harder with large breasts?
First-time moms with larger breasts find it difficult to feed their babies because they fear suffocating them. But you do not have to worry about it as your baby will stop feeding and breathe with their mouth in such a situation.
How much milk can a woman produce in 24 hours?
Women generally produce 25 to 35 oz. of milk in 24 hours, equaling 750 to 1035 ml, but the amount may vary from one breastfeeding mother to another. Yet, if you produce this much milk daily, keep feeding, expressing, and pumping to keep the supply running.
Do breasts produce more milk as the baby gets older?
The baby’s growth does not impact the milk supply; it depends on how much milk the baby takes. If the baby is on solids and feeding less, your body will produce less milk. However, if your baby is still breastfeeding a few times throughout the day, the milk production will be high.
Do your breasts stay big after breastfeeding?
As you stop breastfeeding your little one, your body gets the signal and eventually stops producing milk. In most cases, breasts return to their previous size, but some women may not experience the same. Sometimes, breasts stay the same as they were during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.