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Q&A: Big boobs and breastfeeding?

My boobs are 36DDD. Are they too big to breastfeed?

Re: My boobs are 36DDD. Are they too big to breastfeed?

The Bump Expert

Nope. Babies can breastfeed on any size breast -- even those much larger than yours. It might be helpful, though, to employ a few tricks to make breastfeeding more comfortable for the two of you:

• Find a nursing bra that fits and offers great support. Get fitted by a professional if you can. And if you can't find a nursing bra in your size locally, don't compromise. Instead, fire up your computer and do a little online shopping.

• Try placing a rolled-up washcloth or burp cloth under your breasts for extra lift and support during feedings.

• Use a breastfeeding pillow -- or just some regular pillows -- to bring baby up to your boob. (This can keep you from leaning over and getting a sore back.)

• Experiment to find the position that works best for you. Many large-breasted moms are fans of the side-lying position and the football hold. Some are fond of the cross-cradle position too. Try each of them out to see what's most comfortable.

• Support your breast while baby latches on and eats. Take the hand on the side that baby will be nursing on, and grab your boob with your palm, fingers beneath your nipple and your thumb on top. (Stay a bit back from the areola -- baby needs to squeeze that part with his mouth to get the milk out.) You can compress your breast a little (squeeze it like a sandwich) to help baby latch on, and then offer a little lift and support with your palm during the feeding. This will keep the weight of your breast off baby’s chin.

• If you have large nipples, wait until baby has a wide-open mouth (like a yawn) before pulling him in to latch on. He'll nurse more effectively if he takes in lots of the areola. (It's okay if he can’t fit the whole thing though.)

• To help prevent engorgement, massage your breasts while baby feeds.

Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC