Nikki C is wearing the 'Sweetheart Bra' in petal.
It can be hard not fitting into the 'norm.' Whether that be small, or large. Women on both ends of the spectrum have it tough when trying to find suitable clothing, and I don't just mean for breasts, for most things...super tiny or XXXL jeans can be extremely hard to find too!
When I first started in the maternity activewear industry in 2014, I never realised how many issues mums with small breasts actually faced. I've now become familiar with a plethora of women's bra problems (small and large) and I'm now so passionate about ensuring there are suitable nursing bras for mothers of ANY shape and size.
I thought I'd share with you not only the most common challenges mums come across when searching for small breasted nursing bras, but the solutions to these problems as well!
If you're a mum who has a little 'more' check out this blog post, it will be more up your alley.
1. I can’t find a nursing bra that is small enough!
If you’re an A cup throughout pregnancy and the final stages of breastfeeding, there's definitely less nursing bras available to you. However, with a little research you can find some great options. In fact, it's now possible to buy small nursing sports bras with moulded cups for petite mums with A or B sized breasts.
Another factor to consider is a lot of mums breastfeed their babies until they’re around 18 months old, and during that time (usually after the first five to six months of nursing) the breasts can settle down and go back to their pre-pregnancy size.
FOR EXAMPLE: You may have been an A cup throughout pregnancy and gone up to a B, C or even D cup once your milk came in. But, now you’re back to an A or B cup because you've been breastfeeding for a while and you're probably back into exercise.
Previously mothers with small breasts would purchase nursing crops if they couldn’t find a cup or band size that was small enough. These work well as they are flexible and can be easily adjusted for changes that occur throughout the pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.
However, there are a few other nursing bra variations that provide comfort, support and easy feeding access for mums with small breasts, such as:
2. Nursing bras fold at the front because I can’t fill the cup out!
Women with a small bust want a nursing bra that fits really well with their clothing. They want something that looks really good beneath singlets, t-shirts, jumpers, etc. If you have a small chest, you may want to try a nursing bra that’s not too structured so you don’t have problems with:
- Lack of support.
- Breasts that move around inside the cup.
- An uncomfortable bra that’s not sitting correctly.
- A nursing bra that doesn’t look good under clothes due to excess material at front of the bra.
Stretchy, soft fabrics work really well for small breasts as they mould to the chest. The fabrics used in quality nursing sports bras are designed to stretch and retract with the breasts as they enlarge and shrink during pregnancy and nursing.
So, if you go up in size during pregnancy and then reduce back to your pre-pregnancy bust size when breastfeeding, a good bra is still going to fit you, provide the right amount of support, and not fold at the front at whatsoever. You can have it all!
3. I don’t think my breasts are going to get any bigger. I’m in the third trimester, producing colostrum and I’m still a B cup.
If your breast size doesn’t change much during pregnancy, they WILL grow when your milk comes in around 4-6 days after giving birth. However, it is near impossible to predict how much they will increase in size.
FOR EXAMPLE: If you’re a B cup, your breasts may grow a little throughout pregnancy but perhaps not significantly. However, once you start nursing they can grow to a C, D or DD cup within hours or overnight. It's quite unreal! Then, after a few months of breastfeeding, they may start to settle back down to your original B cup size.
Remember, it’s not necessarily a pleasure having bigger breasts. Mothers in this situation often wish their breasts were smaller for breastfeeding as they have to deal with:
- Sensitive breasts.
- Engorged and painful breasts.
- Leaking breasts.
Nikki C is wearing the 'Freedom Bra' and 'Classic Maternity Leggings,' both in bondi blue.
4. I’ll just wear my pre-pregnancy bra throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Expecting mothers with small breasts can get away with wearing pre-pregnancy bras a lot longer than their larger breasted counterparts, there will come a point where a specialised bra is required to handle leakage and/or tenderness. Women need to realise that wearing wired bras during periods of quick fluctuations in breast size becomes very uncomfortable, and can cause inflammation and infections, such as mastitis (infected and blocked milk ducts). As aforementioned, a woman will require more support once the the milk comes in.
Things to consider when looking for a nursing bra:
- How active you are going to be and what kind of support you will need?
- Padding. Nursing bras provide the padding and comfort nipples need as they enlarge and grow more sensitive.
- A nursing bra should be bought as soon as a woman feels uncomfortable in her 'normal' pre-pregnancy bras.
TIP: Be prepared to buy a nursing bra around five to seven months pregnant. You'll most likely need one at this point in time, as it can adjust properly to fit comfortably around your underbust.
The same goes for those women who plan on wearing a bralette throughout their pregnancy. When you start breastfeeding, you're going to need a nursing bra, so you may as well enjoy the comfort and support of a nursing bra throughout the final stages of pregnancy too. It makes sense comfort wise and economically as well!
5. I don’t like nursing bras because they provide too much coverage.
If you have small breasts you may not want the full coverage most nursing bras provide. A lot of mums with smaller breasts like to wear lower cut tops and don't want any part of the bra showing. Plunge or deep v-neckline style nursing bras are specially designed for this reason, and are becoming more popular and easier to find.
6. I’ll just buy a nursing bra that's a couple of sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy size in preparation for when my milk comes in.
A common mistake made by pregnant women is to buy a nursing bra that's too big. How breasts change during and after pregnancy differs for everyone and because of this, it's difficult to predict how much you'll grow.
FOR EXAMPLE: Some mums might be a B cup pre-pregnancy and they go to an E cup for a period of time when breastfeeding. They may then quickly go back to a B cup after nursing for a few months.
Some expecting mothers buy a nursing bra that is a couple of sizes larger than their pre-pregnancy breast size, and then stuff it with nursing pads in the meantime. But...that’s not really your best approach for a number of reasons:
- Nursing bras that are too big will provide little to no support.
- Nursing bras that are too big are uncomfortable.
- Nursing bras that are too big can contribute to sagging.
- Nursing bras that are too big won’t sit nicely under your top.
With small breasts, changes in size are far more noticeable. Going from an A or B cup to a C or DD is a massive change, whereas a DD to an F doesn’t seem too different. When you go from nothing to something, it's like, “whoa I've got boobs!” And if you’re exercising, the changes in size will affect you in ways they haven’t before.
If you're a first-time mother, then it's going to be hard to know how much or little your breasts are going to change. Trust me when I say, it doesn't pay to get a big bra in the hope you'll eventually fill it..,because you could only go from an A cup to a B cup, then the nursing bra that you have bought just isn’t going to work!
TIP: If you haven’t changed much in breast and band size early in your pregnancy thus far, wait until you're in your third trimester then purchase nursing bras that have room to adjust and expand with you. Pregnant and nursing mothers should buy nursing bras that have stretch in the cups and plenty of adjustability in the band. This will allow for fluctuations.
For even more information, check out: The Expert's Guide To Pregnancy Bras That Grow With You.
7. If I have a flat chest do I need a nursing bra?
In short, yes!
- You’re still going to need access to your breasts for nursing or pumping.
- Your nipples are going to become very sore (initially) and a nursing bra is specially designed to not aggravate your already sensitive nipples.
- You will need padding for protection against leaks.
8. I’ve got really small breasts so I don’t think I need the support of a bra.
Another common mistake small breasted-mums make is thinking that because they've got small boobs, they don't need the support. Even a B cup will bounce quite a lot, so you DO still need support.
If you’re an active mum, it's really important you get the right fitting nursing bra, as it'll provide the comfort and support needed, whilst allowing room for your growth.
If you’re an active mum and want to continue to exercise throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, a nursing sports bra specially designed for small breasts with structured cups will be a lifesaver.
At Cadenshae, we specially designed the 'Sweetheart Bra,' for this very reason. We realised women with small busts NEEDED a nursing sports bra for extra support, whilst providing comfortable encapsulating cups that also offer voluptuous volume!
Nikki C is wearing the 'Sweetheart Bra' in charcoal.
Features of the Sweetheart Bra:
- Specially designed for an A to C cup size.
- Cute nursing sports bra with a flattering plunge neckline.
- Pop clips with drop down cups for easy nursing.
- Enough foam moulding to prevent leaks.
- No removable padding so you don’t have the issues of it folding on itself in the wash.
- Normal style straps with padding and the option to convert to a racerback.
- Moulded cups designed to be ultra supportive, perfect for any type of exercise.
- Seamless cup design for superior comfort, even if you’re not exercising.
- Nylon-spandex fabric with moisture-wicking lining to draw moisture away from the skin.
- Constructed to look more like a normal bra rather than a nursing sports bra.
- Perfect for extended breastfeeding when your breasts have gone back to pre-pregnancy size.
The other fantastic thing about the 'Sweetheart Bra' is that it has a foam moulded cup that sits flat, so looks great underneath your clothing. No crinkles or folding! Woohoo!
9. No one makes a nursing bra for a plus size woman with small breasts.
Trying to find a size that fits well can be difficult for many mums. Even more so...
- If you're quite broad and you've got small breasts.
- If you've got a smaller bust size in comparison to your rib cage.
If your ribs are expanding but your bust isn't - it can be hard to find a plus size small bust nursing bra that fits. You might try going up a size so it fits around your back - but you don't necessarily have a growing bust - so you end up with a nursing bra that fits you around the band, but the cup size is way too big.
TIP: Look for nursing bras with a lot of adjustability in the band. Bras with six variations in the hook and eye are ideal, and nursing bras that come with a band extender are even more useful.
10. My breasts are too small to breastfeed.
First-time mums with small boobs often ask, 'can you breastfeed with small breasts?'
The actual size of your breasts has nothing to do with the amount of milk you can produce, and the amount of milk you produce generally depends on how often you breastfeed. Mothers with A cup size breasts can produce more milk than mums with DD size breasts and continue breastfeeding well past 12 months.
Most breastfeeding issues are due to a poor latch, leading to poor milk drainage and supply. The only reason breast size would affect breastfeeding is if you're affected by a condition called IGT or tubular breasts. This condition effects the glandular tissue, there's just not enough of it. If you have any concerns around this and breastfeeding, then a local lactation consultant can provide a diagnosis and recommend solutions for you.
TIP: One of the most common challenges when breastfeeding with small breasts is that nursing pillows don’t provide much assistance, and a lot of traditional breastfeeding holds don’t work due to the fact you have to have the baby lying pretty much on your chest. If this is the case, then the best way to get your baby into position to breastfeed is to cradle him/her.
11. Nursing bras won’t give me the support I need to continue exercising while I am pregnant and breastfeeding.
Super fit women such as marathon runners or triathletes often have smaller breasts and have perfectly fitting sports bras to provide the exact amount of support they require. But as a first-time mum, you won't realise the hassles involved in removing your sports bra to breastfeed while you’re out and about, or training until you go to do it!
A nursing sports bra offer you all the normal features of a sports bra, but with a lot of added bonuses that makes 'mum life' a whole lot easier! Nursing sports bras provide:
- Ultra soft and comfortable lining.
- Drop down cups for breastfeeding so you don’t have to remove the sports bra.
- Increased adjustability to provide the perfect fit as your breasts change in size.
- Flexible support, i.e. adjustable racerback designs.
Cadenshae's best nursing bras for small breasts.
At Cadenshae we have developed a range of small size nursing sports bras that cater to a range of different needs.
TheSweetheart Nursing Bra is specially designed for mums with a small bust. If you find that some bras you wear bend in the front because you can’t fill them out, then the Sweetheart Bra is going to be perfect for you. What makes the Sweetheart Bra even more unique is that it's designed with moulded cups that are ultra supportive for mums on the move!
"Comfy bra that provides good support and holds breast pads close, especially for my smaller chest. The smooth outer of the cups look good under tshirts. The padding is nice and thick and straps are strong. It holds its structure after being folded down for feeding. The extra adjustable clips make sure that the bra fits well." - Anna.
Nikki J is wearing the 'Sweetheart Bra' in petal.
The Smoothie Nursing Crop is soft, silky and provides a supportive fit that can be used for low to moderate exercise, and you can sleep in it! It is specially designed to fit mothers with small breasts and accommodate them extremely well as their bust and underbust changes throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Nikki C is wearing the 'Smoothie Crop Bra' in confetti/black.
The Freedom Bra fits a wide range of breast sizes, with more coverage and the specially made fabric cups provide even more comfort. Designed with comfort in mind the Freedom breastfeeding bra is essential through pregnancy and breastfeeding.
"This is a super comfortable bra with a wide back band to increase the comfortability! Good shaping and lots of room for me to grow while still fitting now fine too! It's super soft and feels great! And of course, the breastfeeding clips are fantastic! I'm wearing it now (16 weeks pregnant) just for comfort purposes and it is great for supporting growing boobs!" Alice P.
A new innovative design with a zip front, we give you the Embrace Bra! This sexy, stylish and discreet nursing sports bra with a zip front option provides all the comfort and support for mums between a B - D cup who are active and want to be comfortable and able to breastfeed anywhere, anytime. This design will make you feel supported and beautiful which every mother deserves.
Amazingly soft fabric and a supportive fit make it comfortable enough to wear while you sleep, yet supportive enough for light to moderate exercise. Quick drop-down cups allow for easy breastfeeding, while the fully adjustable back and straps cater for the varying sizes needed while going through your beautiful journey. The Everyday racerback nursing bra was one of the first bras we designed and we haven't changed it. We've kept it original because it is so well suited to so many mums, being a bra they want to wear all of the time. Available in a selection of vibrant colour combos, this awesome racerback nursing bra will quickly become a staple in your maternity wardrobe.
Written by Nikki Clarke.