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Hi Sandy and Marcie,
I just found out I’m expecting in eight months, I’m so happy! But I have one worry that I am embarrassed to ask about. I’ve always had a small chest and it just seems impossible that I will be able to breastfeed this baby. Am I going to have to formula feed?”
Thanks for writing! Don’t worry, bra size does not affect your ability to breastfeed.
Milk production is a matter of supply and demand, and research has found that while bigger breasts have more room to store milk, smaller breasts make milk more quickly. Most moms of all sizes will make plenty of milk by 48-72 hours after delivery.
As your pregnancy goes on over the next few weeks and months you will probably start to notice signs that your breasts are developing and changing. You’ll have more cleavage, your nipples will be more sensitive, darker and larger, and if your skin is pale when you look at your chest in the mirror you’ll see enlarged veins. Any of these symptoms is positive sign that the ducts and glands are going to be all good to go after baby is born. As you get closer to your due date you may even see spots of watery fluid inside your bra or nightgown or forming on the tips of your nipples when they get cold.
However, if your breasts don’t show any signs at all of developing during pregnancy and are not any fuller by your last month, let your care provider know. This is possibly a sign that lactation might be delayed or complicated by a physical issue. Sometimes someone’s breasts just need the extra hormonal surge of birth and delivery to kick into serious development and lactation, and by the time the baby is a week old about 95 percent of moms will be able to breastfeed without a problem. For about 1-5 percent of the time, though, women just don’t make enough milk for various reasons, such as insufficient glandular issue (a condition known as IGT or chronic low milk supply), scar tissue from breast surgery, a hormonal imbalance or thyroid issues.
But don’t worry, after you deliver the hospital or your pediatrician will be monitoring baby’s weight and number of wet diapers. If both of these stay in the normal range during baby’s first week of life that means he or she is getting plenty of milk. And if not, formula is perfectly fine.