Big breasts/chest and a tiny newborn?

Here is one hack of MANY that I have to offer - it's no-tech, low-prop (just pillows) simple af nursing for big chests



Typical positions like cross-cradle are accessible to you, for sure (sometimes with a tweak or two), BUT why not try a 𝕝𝕒𝕚𝕕 𝕓𝕒𝕔𝕜 position before anything else? I’m not talking lying flat on your back—think the position you take when you’re watching tv in bed, kinda propped up, kinda laying down.


It’s passive, comfortable and may provide a better angle to visualize your nipple/areola area. As a bonus, not only does the following sequence bring out baby’s innate reflexes (which often helps increase the comfort of the latch), but if YOU don’t overthink it you may intuitively make micro-movements with your body to accommodate baby without even thinking about it. This = more efficiency all around and less trying to replicate something someone taught you (which probably wasn't specifically geared to very large chests), which can take you out of the moment, prevent attunement and not help with feelings of self-efficacy.


This “laid back” nursing style is also called biological nurturing. I beyond love this position because parent's are in control, and there's no "exact" or "proper" way to do it. Try it out and see how you and baby respond.


Big breasts can be heavy. When sitting, holding the breast up to baby's level can be tiring and sometimes when you don't hold it the heaviness of the breast/chest on baby can be uncomfortable for them. It's also hard to see the latch with big breasts/chests when you're sitting up--which doesn't help with learning as you can't visualize it. Because bigger breasts are heavier they tend to hang lower as well. When you use a laying back position the breasts/chest lay against you, not on baby, and it saves your back, neck and shoulders extra work and pain.


Sitting and using marketed Breast/chestfeeding pillows brings babies up to a level that's often above the areola and nipple--it can get confusing and lead to frustration and painful latches. These pillows weren't necessarily designed for all bodies. Taking away the "props" can simplify things.


Here’s how to do laid-back nursing:


  1. Get in bed, but before you get in grab most of the pillows in your apartment/house/room and bring them to bed with you. If you don’t have a ton of pillows, grab some blankets, some hoodies, or whatever has a bit of bulk.

  2. If anyone is around that you don’t feel comfortable being naked in front of, politely ask them to leave. Take off your shirt and grab your baby.

  3. Start laying back in bed (or against the arm of a couch with your legs out in front of you). Your back should be at a 45 degree angle(ish). For extra comfort put a pillow under your softly bent knees and in the small of your back.

  4. Stuff a pillow along the side of you upper trunk, along the armpit to elbow zone, on the side you hope baby heads to. If you are pillow rich, put one on either side so that when you offer baby the other breast/chest you won’t have to adjust anything. This won’t always look like a big production, but at the start let’s have you supported like the queen/king/royalty you are so that you are physically comfortable and supported.

  5. Strip baby down to just their diaper—this helps to elicit their natural reflexes and feeding sequence. If your living place or hospital room is quite cold, you can put a blanket over-top of the two of you.

  6. Begin with baby facing you, laying on your upper chest, just below your clavicle. If hungry, baby will begin to bob their head in search of the breast/chest they are drawn to the area by smell and instinct.

  7. As baby bobs towards the breast/chest you do nothing more than support their upper back/shoulder zone. Some support baby's shoulders with their palm, pinky, ring finger and middle finger while their forefinger and thumb are around the nape of baby’s neck. You can do whatever seems to make sense for you and feels right. Because baby is lying on you and gravity is doing most of the work, you're just holding them gently and helping them out a bit. If they are bobbing all over the place give them a bit firmer upper back support---this supports their core which stabilizes their neck. You don’t have to hold them this securely after they have found the nipple. Holding their bum (as pictured in the illustration) is another option if they are wiggling down securely.

  8. Ensure the nipple is accessible as baby approaches the height of being able to feed. With large breast/chests sometimes baby puts their hands to their mouth frequently when in search of the breast/chest, if they can’t locate the nipple, which can be frustrating for parents. Help baby out a touch by bringing the nipple/areola zone a BIT closer to the midline of your body,if the breast/chest tends to hang beside your body. Do so by holding your breast with your free hand in a C-hold and shaping it for baby (squishing it a bit to form a nice mouthful---ensure your fingers are beyond the areola, to ensure they aren't in the way of baby latching). Holding and forming your breast/chest is a hell of a lot easier when you’re laying back at a 45 degree angle versus sitting up in a chair with breasts/chest hanging.

  9. Have the nipple/areola area held and available for them but do not push it in baby’s mouth. Hopefully baby latches themselves by first digging their chin into the lower areola and then taking a mouthful of breast/chest and nipple. Baby may latch and unlatch a few times or more until they find the most comfortable position for them. They are learning too. Once baby is latched you will likely be able to let go of the c-hold and just hang out.

  10. After baby latches let baby be supported in the crook of your arm (that’s hopefully supported by pillows like a queen/king/royalty) and let gravity hold baby. Breathe.


If you’re having a hard to seeing the latch or want the breast/chest higher, consider rolling a baby blanket, cloth diaper, scarf, etc. and putting it under your breast/chest to bolster it. Put the rolled blanket where the breast/chest meets the ribcage. This additional height may help you visualize the latch a bit better at the start. Some people use this prop at the start only and some use it for feeds ongoing.

I have a LOT more hacks for big chested parents. Please book a consult with me if you'd like some additional support in figuring this out. We have a cultural deficit of knowledge regarding breast/chestfeeding and adapting feeding for varying anatomies. Because parents don't openly breast/chestfeed so much that we are frequently exposed to different adaptations, how are we to know how to do this?! This is where I come in. Don't hesitate to contact me or email me with questions or to see if I would be a good fit for you.


Happy feeding!



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