Nikki C is wearing the 'Embrace Bra' in stellar.
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, tanks, 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 the 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 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, but 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 on this, 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. A nursing sports bra specially designed for small breasts with structured cups will be a lifesaver.
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. 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.
And just so you know...Cadenshae makes bras for plus size women and smaller breasts - we've got you! Most of our smaller breasted bras (see below) will fit mamas up to size 20. If a woman needs more room, then she can use one of our extenders. We can make it work for you!
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 affects the glandular tissue, there's just not enough of it. If you have any concerns around this and breastfeeding, then a 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 offers 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 Sports Bras for Small Breasts.
At Cadenshae we have developed a range of nursing sports bras that cater to the smaller breasted mum.
Nikki J is wearing the 'Smoothie Crop Bra' in confetti/black.
The Smoothie Crop Bra is soft, silky and provides a supportive fit that can be used for low to moderate exercise, plus you can sleep in it! It's specially designed to fit mothers with small breasts and accommodate them as their bust and underbust changes throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
"I'm small chested so have never had to really worry about supportive sports bras, so it was such a shock to suddenly not be able to do certain exercises because of lack of support from my old sports bras with new my preggo boobs! This bra was amazing so comfy and I could get back into exercising no problems." - Shea A.
Amelia is wearing the 'Freedom Bra' in rouge.
The Freedom Bra fits a wide range of breast sizes, and is perfect for a smaller chested woman who prefers more coverage. Designed with comfort in mind the Freedom breastfeeding bra is an essential item 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.
Nikki C is wearing the 'Embrace Bra' in black.
Our new innovative design with a zip front, we give you the Embrace Bra! This stylish and discreet nursing sports bra with a zip front option provides all the comfort and support active mums between a B - D cup need. This design will make any small breasted woman feel beautiful and sexy...something every mother deserves!
"Very supportive and easy to use. Highly recommended to others as it was recommended to me!" - Naomi G.
Nikki C is wearing the 'Everyday Bra' in black.
The soft fabric and supportive fit make the Everyday Bra comfortable enough to wear whilst sleeping, yet supportive enough to wear during 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 throughout your early motherhood journey. The Everyday Bra was one of the first bras we designed and we haven't changed it. This racerback nursing sports bra is one mums want to wear ALL THE TIME...not just while working out. Perfect for size A - E cups.
"Love this bra! Super comfy and supportive! Highly recommended. Delivery was quick and packaged beautifully. Thank you!" - Pania.
So there you have it...the problems and the solutions for small-breasted women on the search for a good nursing bra.
We've got you mamas, and always remember...you've totally got this as well!
Written by Nikki Clarke.