Are you a small breasted woman with a lot of questions around nursing bras for small breasts? When I first started in the maternity activewear industry I never realised how many dilemmas that mums with small breasts actually face. Becoming familiar with these struggles over the years I believe there should be a suitable nursing bra solution for mothers of any shape and size.
Below are some of the most common challenges mums come across when searching for small breasted nursing bras and how you can overcome them!
1. I can’t find a nursing bra that is small enough.
When you’re an A cup through pregnancy and through the final stages of breastfeeding there certainly is less nursing bra options available to you, however, with a little research online you can find some great nursing bra options as a small breasted mum. In fact, it is now possible to buy small nursing bras with moulded cups for petite mums that require the likes of an A or B cup nursing bra.
Another big factor to consider is that a lot of mums can breastfeed their babies up until they’re 18 months old and during that time, usually after the first five to six months of breastfeeding, your breasts can settle down quite a lot and go back to a similar 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 a few days after giving birth when your milk starts to come in at full flight. But now you’re back to an A or B cup because you've been breastfeeding for quite a while and you're probably back into your exercise so your breasts shrink back to normal, and you’re still breastfeeding so you need a very small nursing bra.
Previously mums with small breasts would purchase nursing crops if they couldn’t find a cup or band size that is small enough. These work great as well and provide you with the flexibility and adjustability as your breasts change throughout this exciting time.
There are a few other nursing bra variations that provide comfort, support and easy breastfeeding access for mums with small breasts, such as:
- Nursing sports bras
- Seamless nursing bras
- Breastfeeding crop tops
- Nylon-spandex nursing bras
2. Nursing bras fold at the front because I can’t fill the cup out.
Mums with a small bust want a nursing bra that fits really well with their clothing. Something that looks really good underneath singlets, t-shirts, jumpers, etc. If you have quite a small chest you may want to try a nursing bra that’s not too rigid and structured so that you don’t have problems with;
- Not getting the right support,
- Breasts that move around inside the cup,
- An uncomfortable bra that’s not sitting on you right,
- A nursing bra that doesn’t look good under clothes due to the folding or full coverage in the front of the bra.
Quality stretchy soft fabrics work really well for small breasts because they mould to your body, rather than a nursing bra with a structured cup that you don’t fill out because it's too big. Something like a nursing sports bra is going to sit quite flat and provide support. The quality fabrics used in nursing sports bras are designed to retain its stretch to cater for a varying degree of bust sizes as your breasts change during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
That way if you go up in size during pregnancy and then reduce back to your pre-pregnancy bust size during breastfeeding the bra is going to continue to fit you, provide the right amount of support and not fold at the front at whatsoever.
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 so much during pregnancy they will grow somewhat when the milk comes in days after giving birth, however, how much they will increase in size is different for every mum.
FOR EXAMPLE: If you’re a B cup, your breasts may grow a little throughout pregnancy but nothing major. Then after having the baby they still may not grow just yet, however, within 4-6 days after giving birth and once you start nursing they can grow to a C, D or DD cup within hours or overnight. Then after a few months of breastfeeding start settling back down and look similar to your original B cup size each time you breastfeed and eventually getting back to your normal B cup.
Remember it’s not necessarily a pleasure having bigger breasts due to an oversupply of milk, mothers in this situation often wish that their breasts were smaller during breastfeeding as they have to deal with more enhanced:
- Sensitive breasts
- Engorged and painful breasts
- Leaking breasts
- Breast pumping
4. I’ll just wear my pre-pregnancy bra throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Although as a mum-to-be with small breasts you can get away with wearing a pre-pregnancy bra a lot longer than other pregnant women there will come a point in time where you need a specialised bra to handle the leaks and increasingly sensitive breasts. You also need to consider that wearing wired bras during periods of quick fluctuations in breast size becomes very uncomfortable and can cause inflammation and infections such as mastitis.
Not to mention the support you will want when that unfamiliar increase in breast size begins to happen when your milk starts to come in after giving birth. If you are a first-time mum-to-be start doing your research on nursing bras that are the most suitable for your lifestyle. You will be very thankful that you put the time in finding just the right nursing bra for your specific requirements.
Consider things such as:
- How active you are going to be and what kind of support you will need in a nursing bra or nursing sports bra.
- Padding. Nursing bras provide the padding and comfort that your nipples need as they enlarge and become sensitive.
- As soon as you become slightly uncomfortable in your normal bra you should be prepared to purchase a nursing bra.
TIP: Be prepared to buy a nursing bra once you get 6 to 8 months through your pregnancy as you will most likely need a nursing bra to take advantage of the adjustability to fit comfortably around your underbust as your bump is growing a lot at this time.
Same goes for mum-to-be’s that plan on wearing a bralette throughout their entire pregnancy. When you start breastfeeding you are 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 in preparation for breastfeeding.
5. I don’t like nursing bras because they provide too much coverage.
If you have small breasts you may not want or need the full coverage that most nursing bras provided. A lot of mums with smaller breasts like to wear lower cut tops and don't want any bra showing out the top. Plunge or deep V-neckline style nursing bras are specially designed specifically for this reason and are becoming more popular and easier to find online.
6. I’ll just buy a nursing bra that is a couple of sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy breast size in preparation for when my milk comes in.
A common mistake made by mums-to-be is buying a nursing bra that is too big. How your breasts change during and after pregnancy is different for everyone and because of this, it is very difficult to generalise especially when some mums with smaller breasts grow from a B cup to an E cup for a period of time when breastfeeding.
Some mums might be a B cup pre-pregnancy and they go to an E cup for a period of time when breastfeeding. Then quickly go back to a B after breastfeeding for a little while.
So some mums-to-be will buy a nursing bra that is a couple of sizes bigger than their pre-pregnancy breast size and will 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, you will notice more of a fluctuation, since any changes in size are going to feel quite significant. 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 as big of a change. When you go from nothing to something, it is going to be like, “Whoa I've got boobs!” And if you’re an active mum, the changes in breasts size will affect you in ways they haven’t before, especially when you’re exercising.
If you are a first-time mum then it is going to be very difficult to know how much or little your breasts are going to change in size. So it does pay not to get a nursing bra that's too big if you are a first-time mum-to-be in particular, because if you go from an A cup to a B cup then the nursing bra that you have bought that is a couple of sizes bigger isn’t going to do the job.
TIP: If you haven’t had too many changes in breast and band size early on in your pregnancy wait until you are in your third trimester then purchase nursing bras that have plenty of room to adjust and expand with you as your breasts get bigger when the milk comes in. Pregnant and nursing mothers should purchase nursing bras that have stretch in the cups and plenty of adjustability in the band. This will allow for fluctuations and breast growth.
7. If I have a flat chest do I need a nursing bra?
In short, yes!
- You’re still going to need to access your breasts for breastfeeding or breast pumping.
- Your nipples are also going to become very sensitive and a nursing bra is specially designed to provide the softness and comfort to not aggravate your already sore nipples.
You will need padding for protection against leaks.
8. I’ve got small breasts so I don’t think I need the support of a bra.
Another common nursing bra mistake that mums with smaller size breasts make is thinking that because you've got small boobs you don't need the support. Even a B cup will bounce around quite a lot, so you still need support, even if you do have a small bust.
If you’re an active mum, in particular, you want to get precisely the right fitting nursing bra. This is where nursing sports bras for small breasts really are in a league of their own to provide the perfect fit, comfort and support while allowing room for your breasts to grow as your milk comes in after giving birth.
Even if you don’t see much change in your breast size, say you go from an A cup to a B cup, finding the right level of support is very important. You still want to make sure that you've got good support to help minimise the risks that can come with other bras.
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.
That’s why we specially designed the “Sweetheart Bra”, a small cup nursing sports bra for small breasted mums that want an encapsulating cup that provides voluptuous volume, comfort and great support.
Features of the Sweetheart Bra:
- Specially designed for an A to C cup size.
- Pretty nursing sports bra with a flattering plunge neckline.
- Pop clips with drop down cups for easy nursing.
- Enough foam moulding to prevent leaks and discretion.
- No removable padding so you don’t have the issues of padding folding on itself in the wash.
- Normal style straps with padding and the option to convert it to a racerback at the back.
- Moulded cups designed to be ultra supportive for mums with small breasts, perfect for any exercise including high impact.
- Seamless cup design for ultra comfort even if you’re not exercising.
- Nylon-spandex fabric with moisture-wicking fabric lining to draw moisture away from your skin.
- Constructed to look more like a normal sports bra rather than a nursing bra.
- Perfect for extended breastfeeding when your breasts have gone right back to pre-pregnancy size and getting back into exercise.
The other great thing about the Sweetheart bra is that it is a foam moulded cup that sits flat. So it looks fantastic underneath your clothing giving a really nice shape under the likes of t-shirts with no crinkles or folding while giving you the protection and support you need.
9. No one makes a nursing bra for a plus size with small breasts.
Trying to find a size that fits well can be difficult for some mums.
- 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.
Let's say if you're ribs are expanding but your bust isn't, it can be hard to find a plus size small bust nursing bra that fits you. You might have to go up to a size to get it big enough to fit around your belly and back, but you don't necessarily have a bigger bust so you end up with a nursing bra that's fitting 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.
- 6 variations in the hook and eye nursing bra connection.
- Nursing bras that come with a band extender.
10. My breasts are too small to breastfeed.
First-time mums with small breasts quite commonly 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. Breastfeeding with small breasts is usually less complicated than breastfeeding with larger breasts and the amount of milk you produce generally depends on how often you breastfeed.
FOR EXAMPLE: 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 time an element of breast size can affect breastfeeding is if you are affected by the uncommon breast condition; insufficient glandular tissue known as IGT or tubular breasts. If you have any worries with this when breastfeeding 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 breastfeeding pillows don’t provide much assistance and a lot of traditional breastfeeding holds don’t work due to you having to have the baby lying pretty much on your chest. If this is the case for you then the best way to get your baby into position to breastfeed is to cradle him or her.
11. Nursing bras won’t give me the support I need to continue exercising while I am pregnant & breastfeeding.
Super active 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 for their lifestyle. But as a first-time mum, in particular, you may not realise the hassles involved in removing your sports bra to breastfeeding while you’re out and about or training until you are right in the thick of breastfeeding.
The thing is a nursing sports bra provides you with all the features of a sports bra but with a lot of added bonus that makes mum life a whole lot easier throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding such as:
- 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 racer back designs.
Bonus Tips: Best nursing bras for small breasts
The best nursing bras for a small chest depends entirely on what you personally need from a nursing bra. At Cadenshae we have developed a range of small size nursing bras and nursing sports bras that cater to a range of different needs.
The BRAND NEW Sweetheart Nursing Bra is HERE and 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 is designed with moulded cups that are ultra supportive for active mums with small breasts.
The Smoothie Nursing Crop is soft, silky and provides a supportive fit that can be used for low to moderate exercise and as a nursing sleep bra. It is specially designed to fit mothers with small breasts perfectly and accommodate them extremely well as their bust and underbust changes throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
“Amazing. I love this bra! It's better than words can describe. It's super comfy and (the fabric) feels so nice! I've even been wearing it as swimmers over summer. I'm just about to purchase a second one. - AB”
The Playtime Nursing Bra is designed to provide absolute ultra-comfort for sensitive nipples and smaller breasts. The soft stretchy fabric and adjustability in the straps, band and back connection allow it to grow with you as you have those sudden changes in breast size. An optional crossover racerback style of straps makes it a perfect small size nursing bra for a firmer fit or daily wear/sleeping when worn with normal straps.
“Best bra for every day. This is my second purchase after falling in love with my first bra and I can't recommend it highly enough. Thank you for creating such an amazing, supportive, stylish design for breastfeeding mums. It's worth the price, the customer service is fantastic. This bra is perfect for everyday wear. I haven't had any issues with leaks. the design is sleek so it's not even obvious you are feeding when out and about. - Hayley”
Written by Nikki Clarke.