All these breasts have succesfully nursed a baby/babies:
These are tubular breasts on an obese woman. They used to be A-cup before she gained a lot of weight.
"My breasts never changed during pregnancy or engorged after and with the help of a lactation consultant and a hospital grade pump we learned that I made no milk."
These small breasts appear hypoplastic, not having enough milk glands (glandular tissue), so there MAY be problems with milk supply.
But you can't judge by appearance alone! The proof is in the pudding: the true test of having insufficient GLANDULAR tissue (not enough milk-making tissue) is to check if the breasts make enough milk after giving birth.
What do you think?
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I have a lot of questions! I have some of the physical characteristics associated with hypoplastic breasts (widely spaced, sort of pointy and small). I also have some physical characteristics associated with excess androgens (mainly body hair). After my first baby was born I had a hard time with milk supply. He was born at home, put to the breast immediately, nursed on cue (there was some pain when I nursed). However he was very dehydrated (purple, limp) when our midwife visited on day 4. She panicked, I panicked. She made a lot of scary comments about going to the ER and also about me not being able to make milk. I was completely devastated. Our son perked up quickly after being dropper fed formula and the crisis regarding his wellbeing passed quickly. Our breastfeeding crisis was just beginning. We hired a lactation consultant, I pumped 8 times a day and fed him formula at the breast with a tube. I never got more than 10 ml when I pumped. I took herbs, ate and drank well. But I wasn't sleeping. I don't think I slept (actually) for a week. On day 10 I gave up breastfeeding. After crying all day I was talking to a friend and my baby started fussing. I put him to the breast and he nursed and nursed and nursed. At some point I popped him off and milk was spraying out of my breast!! From then on things were still very emotional and intense but eventually (four weeks postpartum) I had a full supply (he was gaining weight on just breastmilk) and he nursed until he was four! I didn't pump, I didn't supplement at the breast (it had become traumatic) - I just nursed him as much as I could and fed him formula from a bottle when he seemed hungry. We weighed him at home on a bread dough scale (also at our Dr.'s office). It was an awful, traumatic beginning to our lives as parents (my partner and my mom were HUGELY supportive) but we got through it. I did learn later that I definitely had a small capacity as my son needed to nursed very frequently even when he was an older baby.
I always thought that what happened in that first week was mostly stress related - he had a poor latch, our midwife came so late to check on us, then the panic shutting my body down, the no sleep, etc). I wonder if there is more to it than that. Currently, I have been trying to conceive another child with the same partner for almost two years (we conceived our son on the second cycle of trying) with no success. I am very curious to know if there is a connection between my breastfeeding experience and my fertility experience. I have just begun taking natural progesterone suppositories. No pregnancy yet. I would LOVE to hear any thoughts you (or anyone) have on this story. Thank you so much!
Hi, I am so glad I was able to read your article. I am one of those women. I did get colostrum with my first born 6yrs ago and then everyone around me was telling me how I would be getting milk soon, that I would feel fullness in my large breasts. It never came. I planned to breastfeed, went onto domperidone, was drinking special healthy milkshakes to support lactation but nothing worked. I did receive "bad looks and comments" but at the end I exepted that I simply, physiclly could not breast feed, put my cutieman on a formula and enjoy every minute of this precious little man. My mom and sister had similar problems so I took it as being familial. It wasn't until I had my US of my breasts (just preventive check up being 35 and on the Pill) that the radiologist suggested the type of my breast tissue and possible reason for not breastfeeding. After 6yrs I finally understood that in fact there are medical reasons for not able to breastfeed. I am expecting my 2nd baby very soon and I am very OK with the fact that after possible feeding her with my colostrum I will be a content mom to feed her with baby formula. As medical staff put it to me with my baby son 6yrs ago; Content mom = content baby. It turned out to be so true. He was such a happy baby, striving and reaching all his milestones and now he is such a great little man. Good luck to all the mom in similar situation.
Even though I would like to pretend that I have overcome this issue, I cannot. I can however say this: Thank you for this article, thank you for giving me an alternative the next pregnancy. Thank you for the information. At first I was literally belittling myself for not being able to breastfeed because I have this condition and I seriously thought that I was worthless and should have never been allowed to have children. Other moms left and right were judging me because I didn't do "what was best for my baby"...I know that I might not be able to breastfeed if I do have another child but I appreciate this information and know that I am not alone.
I have tubular hypoplastic breasts and hated them for years. They caused me all sorts of psychological torment and lowered self esteem. I was diagnosed with tubular hypoplastic breasts when I was 15, I was seen by three different doctors, a breast specialist, an endocrinologist and a plastic surgeon. I had no breast tissue until I was pregnant, as in my breast consisted of a bulbous areola drooping from a basically flat chest and now I have very little tissue - I am still only an A even with my lactating breasts.
I am so very lucky to have a supportive partner who is completely happy with them and boosted my confidence. We now have a one-month-old baby boy, and I am very pleased to say that despite the deformity and the fact that many people with tubular breasts cannot breastfeed, I have been successful in breastfeeding him. I was very scared during the pregnancy that I wouldn't produce any milk but the breast tissue appeared to rapidly develop during pregnancy, although the bulbous ends remained. After a few days my milk really came in, my little man had no trouble latching on and gained a pound on top of his birth weight within two weeks and has been steadily gaining weight since! I am very lucky and it appears from the other comments on this site that it is unusual to be able to produce milk with tubular breasts - but it is not impossible.
I am 21 year old and I have hypoplastic breasts. Years I was just furious on them and hate them with all my heart. Now, I resigned with this issue and accept the fact that they are ugly and not normal. Somehow, there is another me that is telling they are what they are, they look ok, they are only breast and my problem comes from a wrong sick perspective of socitety on beauty and in this big world there are true problems. But unfortunately the frustrated part always wins. I had (and sometimes have) many problems with my sexual life because of this, I feel ugly like hell, I feel my body is disgraceful, I wished I could were a top without a bra that's hiding them, I wished my parents support me on this (and not from a financially view), but most of all, I would like to feel beautiful. And now I don't care about myself, about my body and got a bit fat. I am tired to fight with this.
Sites and articles and books and so one likes this should be found anywhere. People are educated in a wrong way. There's no need to starve or make some plastic surgery for so called beauty. In time, another pattern will be created.
I respect all the women that reached to a certain level of wisdom where they feel happy, confident and beautiful with their body and most of all healthy and I understand and support all the girls that are in my situation.
I thank you for the kindness you are showing us through this site and I hope you will illuminate as many girls and boys as possible
I really like your site and hope to see more information about low milk supply, women who have dealt with low milk supply and pictures of small breasted women who went on to breastfeed sucessfully. I am a small breasted woman with one breast slightly smaller than the other (but not diagnosed as having hypoplasia) and I ended up having an extremely low milk supply when I tried to nurse my son. None of the lactation consultants I went to could figure out why my supply was so low and we did every test imaginable. I tried everything (and I mean everything) to increase my milk supply. I am still breastfeeding but have to use a supplemental nursing system for every feeding. I pump every 2.5 hours and can only pump about 4oz of milk per day total. So I have been searching the web trying to find more information about the causes and prevalence of low milk supply. I feel like there is just something wrong with my breasts, but they really look pretty normal and healthy to me.
I recently heard for the first time about this condition. I am one of the many women who have tubular hypoplastic breast. After reading all the comments on your site I now realise I had no real hope of breastfeeding my 2 babies.
It never entered my mind, during my first pregnancy, for a second that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed my baby. I was totally devasted that my milk supply never "came in". I tried absolutely EVERYTHING to increase my milk supply but nothing worked. Although I did give my son formula I had so much resentment towards that bottle it wasn't funny yet, at the same time, I knew it was my only option.
Whenever I expressed milk I would think I had done a fantastic job if I managed to express 20 mls! The only time I didn't completely resent the bottle was when I eventually filled a bottle with enough breast milk for my son's needs.
During my second pregnancy I was at least aware that not being able to breastfeed was a possibility. I was successfully able to breastfeed my daughter for just under 2 weeks before I had to start topping her up. Although I was more prepared for it this time, I still was very sad about my inability to be able to breastfeed my babies.
There was, however, one thing I was furious about. A certain breastfeeding association's booklet as well as conversations with phone volunteers from the organisation all basically said the same thing: Don't give supplementary bottles to your baby. Demand feed (which I had been doing before I even realised I had a problem)and only bottle feed if there is a medical reason to do so, but try to only give a bottle to your baby every SECOND or THIRD day!!! I couldn't believe what I read/heard from this group. I was absolutely furious. Needless to say I never again sought their help.
Although nutritionally there was no need to continue to do so, I kept breast "feeding" both babies and followed on with bottles. This certainly increased the feeding times but those breast "feeds" gave me some of the most special memories of my babies. I remember my son snuggling into and sucking from my breast (we both knew there was no milk but we both enjoyed the experience), he turned his head so I could see half his face as he looked up at me and gave me the biggest and cheekiest smile I have ever seen. He then resumed his sucking position to continue on with our alloted time!
Finding out 7 1/2 years later that my lack of breastfeeding success was due to a very real condition makes me feel so much better. All the guilt and all but a hint of sadness has left me. I might have failed in providing breast milk but it wasn't because of something I did or didn't do, while physically I'm not a weirdo or some kind of freak. It is real and has a name.
The only question that remains is why none of the midwives, medical staff etc never told me that my tubular hypoplastic breasts were the issue. Surely during antenatal classes and somewhere in all the baby information packages available this could be at least mentioned. Surely during one of the many doctor visits the possibility of a woman not being able to breast feed could be discussed with the mother to be at one of her many doctor's appointments?
Thank you so much for providing this website and allowing so many stories to be available to millions of women around the world and letting us know we are normal!
This comment is for Andrea.
WOW, your story sounds exactly like mine. I had my first baby and was planning on breastfeeding exclusively, no questions. My breasts have always been "really small and far apart" (that's what I used to say to my friends. Despite that, I never thought they were strange-looking and they certainly do not look like the pictures of hypoplastic breasts. Definitely I have more fullness than that and do not have the bulbous nipples at all. I was looking forward to finally having some good-sized breasts when I got pregnant. Well, I had NO breast changes, and no one asked me about it or brought it to my attention that that was a MAJOR red flag and I would probably have big problems. I think medical practitioners just aren't aware of this problem and their ability to intervene and prevent the baby from suffering needlessly. Anyway, I nursed exclusively on demand for six days. My son was born on the worst day, a Thursday. Day three was a Saturday. Day four was a Sunday. Day five when nothing happened I went to my midwife's office and she put me on Reglan and Domperidone in addition to all the other herbs I was taking at that point. (Fenugreek and Alfalfa). Two days later when nothing had happened on Wednesday, I went to see the best lactation consultant in town. After watching my son nurse and weighing him after each side, she commented that he had a perfect latch. She then informed me that he had not retained anything on either side. Also, at that point he was lethargic. She told me that I was to offer him a 2 oz. bottle in an hour or so and if he wouldn't take it to call the pediatrician so that we could take him to the hospital. Thankfully he took the bottle. I was devastated and rented a hospital grade pump to pump every three hours on the off chance that my milk was just extremely late coming in. After a month of pumping and adding Goat's Rue to the mix, I quadrupled my initial supply to an ounce a day.
After that I vowed not to go back on the birth control pill (which I had been on over 10 years straight when I got pregnant) to figure out what was wrong with me. Sure enough I ended up in the reproductive endocrinologist's office getting diagnosed with PCOS. At that point she put me on metformin, the birth control pill, and spironolactone.
After researching for a month in between appointments, I decided to ask her if she could do some hormone therapy with me to see if it would do any good. She put took me off the pill and put me on estrogen instead. I think I have felt some "twinges" in my breasts, and have noticed a few shape changes, but I don't want to get my hopes up.
It remains to be seen what happens with baby number two. We are not trying to get pregnant at this point, because I was hoping maybe I could grow some tissue first. I am afraid to get my hopes up, but Andrea, your account of your first breastfeeding experience is almost identical to mine. You have given me the most hope of anything I've seen yet. THANK YOU!Laura
Isn't it great to feel like youre not alone with your "weird" boobs after feeling that way for so many years? I have an 18 mo old and am currently preg with my second. During my first preg, I had no breast changes and did all the things I could think of after delivery to increase my milk supply, i.e. mother's milk supplements, goat's rue, the Medela supplementer, constant feedings, as was never able to produce more than 3 oz at a feeding. After extensive reading, I began a Metformin a few months before trying to conceive this baby, and immediately noticed tingles and twinges I had never felt. (I'd never had cyclical changes in my breast, never tenderness with periods). Since conception I've also begun natural progesterone and although I'm just in the first few weeks of pregnancy, I've had increased swelling over my whole preg last time, as well as increased tenderness. I'm hopeful that this time will be different. Just want to encourage everyone out there to really research your options. Lisa Marasco is a lactation consultant who's done extensive research about PCOS and subsequent lactation failure. Good luck!!
Well, I actually have one big breast and one very very very small breast and I'm breastfeeding. My right breast stopped growing but I still have milk. This happened with my second child. I went to a plastic surgeon; he told me I have one full size B cup and the other is an A.
I am currently 18 weeks pregnant, since I was a teen I keep worrying about my breast size.. I couldn't event fit an A cup, and now during my maternity time, I keep worrying about will I be able to breastfeed.. but after I found your website, I'm worrying no more, THANK YOU... you don't know how much this has meant to me... I keep hiding my real size by putting pads on my bras, but now even my breasts didn't grow to C cup, but at least something happen with it during my pregnancy and l loved it...
I am 27 years old and I have a beautiful son that is 8 years old. I was BORN with only one breast so you could just about imagine what I had to go through all these years. I've been to shrinks and doctors, and I tell them I don't feel whole because of my breast and all they can do for me is give me an antidpressant, I'm sick of it!!!!! I wish they had to walk one day in my shoes. Men or women. I can't even get a loop hole into a consultation and that is sad.
I am currently pregnant with my second child and am so thankful that I came across this article. I had a difficult time breastfeeding my first child and pushed it off as just not being more knowledgable, the fact that I had a c-section and her sheer size (she was 10lbs 2oz). Now after reading this article I think that I might suffer from tubular hypoplastic breasts. I know that the shape of my breasts are definitely not "normal." Now thinking about it I remember becoming engorged, but not getting much out when I pumped. This time I am definitely going to consult a lactation nurse and look into this more. And if anyone can tell me where I can find any kind of bras that actually fits, maternity, nursing or regular, it would be greatly appreciated.
I am a 20-year old mother of a healthy 4-month old boy. I found out I had breast hypoplasia when I was very young. There was a brief period of hormone therapy to try to correct my deformity, but it was unsuccessful. I have accepted the small size and shape of my breasts over time. But when I found out I was pregnant I became increasingly fearful that I would not be able to produce enough milk for my son to thrive and grow. All I could do was hope and pray. I put my problem in God's hands and focused on a happy and healthy pregnancy. The birth of my son came and thankfully, I was producing plenty of colostrum and my milk came in while still in the hospital. He nursed for 12 hours non-stop and afterward, while he slept I realized my breasts were becoming engorged!! I was so relieved and thankful. He has doubled his birth weight now and nurses every 2 hours, as if my breasts were normal!
So anyone out there who is afraid or just not sure about their ability to produce milk, talk to your doctor of course. But most importantly just give it a try anyways. My doctor said I would not last a week. It is more than worth a shot. Implants are always an option after you have weaned your child. Best wishes to everyone who shares my condition.
I was happy to read your information. I grew up in a valley surrounded by agriculture. The small city in the valley had many factories that pulloted the river. Perhaps this is why my breats never grew? Nobody else in my famliy has this problem. I have been riduculed and humilated for 36 years. It is horrible to not have any breasts. I do not feel like a woman. I was able to nurse my 3 children, but did so every hour and supplemented. There is not a person who has seen my breasts who has not had a mean comment, other than my husband. This includes doctors, OB's, dermatologists, surgeons, and breast sonographers.
I just graduated high school as a teen mom to a 15 month old. I have been diagnosed with tubular breasts, and I was able to breastfeed my daughter until she was 12 months! Out of only my right boob.. and as your probably guessing, it is alot bigger than my left one. I did have to supplement with formula but every three hours I could get 4 oz of milk out of both breasts.. that was on a good day. I did drink Mother's Milk tea and take the fenugreek pills to increase my supply, but I didn't think I could breastfeed that long! She is happy and healthy and it was frustrating.. especially in public, but it was the healthiest way to go!
My sister is in labour at the moment, and it has taken me back a few years to when I had my three boys.
My first lost weight continuously over the first four weeks of his life. I was determined to breastfeed, and all I ever read or was told by the midwives, doctors, even my mother, is 'everyone can breastfeed, just keep him latched on and nursing as much as you can'. We were inseparable, prompting my husband to tell me on several occasions to 'put that bloody baby down'. I nursed every moment he was awake. I pumped. The midwives checked and re-checked our technique. I ate and drank everything I was recommended to bring my milk in. I took fennel tea, which is supposed to help. In the UK, the midwives discharge you after breastfeeding is established, or after 28 days. They reluctantly handed me over to the health visitor after 28 days. At my first visit to the health visitor and weigh in, she told me to top up with formula. I felt devastated. I had failed at something that alledgedly everyone can do. Looking back at the photos of my baby at that time, he was quite clearly painfully thin. I was getting fatter and fatter. I can't believe everyone around me allowed me to suffer for four weeks under the delusion that I could nourish my baby, and allow my baby to suffer in hunger. Even the health visitor wouldn't admit that sometimes NOT everybody can breastfeed.
With my second child I was sure everything would be different. My mother had convinced me it was stress, a difficult birth etc the first time. This time I had an easy birth. My baby lost weight for 2 1/2 weeks before I started doing the same topping up routine. The midwife said 'your boys are just like that', as if it was something to do with them?!. Still I though somehow it was my fault, because of course 'everybody can breastfeed'.
My third baby had a congenital heart defect. He was in hospital for the first six weeks of his life, and had open heart surgery at 4 weeks old. He was breathing too fast to suck properly. I pumped, with the other mums, in the pumping room. One (woman) doctor laughed at the amount I managed to express. I had the same pump. I had the same stresses as them (many of the babies had significantly more severe problems that mine). AND YET - where the other mums filled an 8 oz bottle in no time at all, I could only ever get a couple of ounces, however long I pumped. Finally, I realised it wasn't anything I had any control over. I simply didn't produce enough milk.
I mixed fed my first two boys for over six months. I pumped furiously until my youngest came out of hospital, freezing anything extra for use at home. So actually, I did really well.
Why was I made to feel guilty, inadequate, useless? Why was I allowed to near starve my baby? What did those so-called professionals think they were doing? They could see how much I wanted to breastfeed. Why couldn't they have supported me by accepting the situation and prescribing domperidone (the very experienced nurse on the cardiac ward told what a great thing it was for increasing mild supply), rather than denying I had a problem for the sake of the 'everyone can breastfeed mantra'? Thank you so much for this site, and to the people who have sent in their comments. It is helping me to accept what has happened. I hope my sister won't have this problem, but if she does, at least I now know where to direct her.
I want to tell everyone about this. All the doctors, midwives
I am a 46 year old RN. I spent a number of years involved in LaLeche League and also functioned as a lactation counselor when I worked in Labor and Delivery during those years. I had very small breasts, but fortunately for me, it was all glandular tissue, and I was able to (VERY) successfully nurse 3 beautiful, healthy babies -- the last one to nearly 3 yrs old. During these last 9 years, I have worked exclusively in surgery and for the last 6 years, I have appreciated being able to work with a very gifted plastic surgeon (we have many surgeons that work at my center, but this young man is truly gifted and compassionate). Yes, I had breast augmentation surgery myself in 1997 and have never looked back. I am no longer self-conscious about my small breasts, nor do I feel the lack of proportion I felt before. I have seen a number of young women gain self-confidence from having mal-developed breasts (tubular, lack of development of one or both breasts, etc) "corrected". Obviously, it's a personal opinion and/or choice whether this is something to "correct". However, I've seen young ladies tear up with relief and gratitude at finally feeling "normal" when they go shopping for bras and swimwear. Please note: While I am a HUGE and extremely vocal proponent of breastfeeding, I think it's also important that mothers are able to feel good about their bodies -- whether it comes from within or from without. Breast augmentation does not necessarily mean "big breasts", nor does it necessarily mean multiple surgeries. This surgeon always counsels his patients to wait if they can until after they have had children before they go forward with their surgeries. He lays it all out there for them during consultation so that they can make a truly informed decision -- whether or not to even have surgery and when will be the best time to do it should they decide to go forward with it. Thanks for the outlet. This is a wonderful, informative and supportive site.
I've known for a while my breasts weren't 'normal'. (I'm 17 and my period started when I was 11, so I know my boobs aren't going to grow any bigger). I always thought I was just a freak with strange shaped breasts, but now I realise they are tubular...and this is heartbreaking to me. Not only do they look weird and ugly, but I won't be able to breastfeed properly. Do I go to my doctor? I've heard lots of stories about GP's not understanding the problem and dismissing patients unfairly. I'm so upset and don't knwo what to do.
First of all, you cannot really diagnose tubular and hypoplastic breasts just by tubular appearance alone. The true diagnosis only comes if the breasts truly will fail to produce much milk.
So it's not just the tubular appearance, but the true lack of milk glands (glandular tissue).
So... you'd need to wait till pregnancy and birth to know 100% sure. I understand though that yours MIGHT be underdeveloped. So you do want to prepare for the possibility... Don't go to a doctor, but during pregnancy get hold of a lactation consultant and discuss your options with her.
Women with not enough glandular tissue CAN sometimes breastfeed to SOME extent. They're just not making enough milk for the baby's needs, so the baby needs supplemental milk. So you can definitely plan on breastfeeding, but be on the lookout for the signs of baby not getting enough, and be prepared to supplement. And discuss all this with a lactation consultant.
I'm 24 years old and have always hated my breasts. My friends would call my breasts "pointy". I thought well once I have a child, they would get bigger, but after I had my child, my breats stayed the same. I always just thought they were normal, but I recently been diagnosed with hypoplastic tubular breasts. I found out from a lactation nurse whose was trying to help me breast feed my son. I struggled for a couple a days on breast feeding until the nurse told me that I have tubular breasts. It was so hard for me to hear that, since I was so adamant to breastfeed. I pumped for about a month and could only produce about 1/8 a cup a day if not less. I want people to know who are like me, that it's ok. Formula fed babies are just as happy and healthy. Hopefully others can read this and know they aren't the only one out there to have this problem. My husband loves my breasts and I have also learned to "love" them too.
I have PCOS and IGT [impaired glucose tolerance]. During my first pregnancy I had NO breast changes. I was not educated about breastfeeding, I thought it just magically happened! Was I sad, upset, disappointed and felt guilty to find out I had IGT and no breastmilk, not even a drop. Fast forward 4 years and I am pregnant again. I am on Metformin to help correct my PCOS. Imagine my surprise when mid-pregnancy I start to see breast changes! After I delivered my 2nd daughter, I was able to breastfeed her. I had to suppliment with formula, but by the time she started solids I was able to reduce the formula until she was on just breastmilk and solids (around 6-7 months). We never looked back. I did take Domperidone for 2 months starting a month after delivery. I stopped the domperidone and all the nursing kept my supply at the increased level. And guess what? We breast fed for 3 YEARS! I am one of the fortunate ones who seemed to grow breast tissue with 2nd (and subsequent) pregnancies. I think we are "done" but I'd love one more to see if I could exclusively breast feed! This was one of the sites that I came to to learn about IGT, so I wanted to post my success story. Thank you!!
I never developed breasts. I grew up in a river valley of an agricultural area. It makes me wonder? I look like a man and can never find a dress that is high cut to stuff my bra. I do not like to go swimming or our for special occasions.
I am 19 and I have a 10month old baby girl. I gave birth to her at a birth centre and had very set ideas that I would breast feed however when she came along I simply didn't have the supply. I could never work out why. Not being able to produce milk for my baby was absolutely devastating.
Having stumbled across this site I now know that I am not the only woman with what I used to call "deformed" breasts. Ever since I hit puberty I have been disgusted with my breasts to the point that I HATE being naked in light where I can see myself let alone anyone else seeing me.
Just last week I started to look into breast augmentation to fix my problem. I really thought I was the only person whose breasts looked like this.
Having seen the photos of other REAL women with the same problem as me has made me feel so much better. I no longer feel like a freak and I now understand that my not being able to breastfeed was not something I did wrong but a deformity I was born with and something I could not help.
I have always said I got in the wrong queue when I was being made and God gave me small breasts that didn't match the rest of me but now I know that I'm not alone.
Thank you so much for your site! For the past decade and throughout three children, very desperately wanting to provide life giving milk to them as infants, I had failed!!! Or had I? After my last baby was over a year old, I found your site and realized for the first time exactly what the issue was and is, and the weight of guilt left me for good! I do have severe issues with my ovaries.. so the discussion on that was very enlightening. The pictures were easy to identify: as soon as I saw them, I knew. This is me. And that other folks deal with the same thing as I have. Thanks again for helping me to identify the root cause of my lack of milk production ( and funny looking breasts!) releasing years of guilt!
This article is very helpful to me because I am a La Leche League Leader and I counsel woman who need help understanding why they are not experiencing a positive breastfeeding relationship.
ELLY G. EGENBERG
It is such a relief to put a name to my lactation problem. Uptil now it was very frustrating to know I could not provide my children the most natural and nutritious food possible. My first child nursed all the time and did not gain any weight in the second two weeks of her life - when I told this to the nurse she went flying down the hall to the Pediatrician and came back with an armload of formula and told me to supplement NOW! For all four of my children I breastfed what I could and supplemented the rest. Even using raglin (Rx for reflux that can increase milk production) I only increased my milk to about an ounce per pumping - that's to an ounce not an extra ounce. So to see these pictures and see myself it is a relief to know there might be help next time (if there is a next time) for me to increase my breast milk production with natural progesterone if my doctor agrees.
Thank you so much for this article/website. It is of great help and comfort to those of us who have this condition.
Can a person that had a complete hysterectomy with removal of their ovaries still produce breast milk?
Yes. The control of breast milk production does not depend on ovarian hormones, but on pituitarian hormones (prolactin and oxytocin). Search the internet for "induced lactation" to find more information.
I found your site very reassuring - I stumbled across it looking for sites on breastfeeding in public. I have always been a little insecure about my breasts not being very big - now I realize they are just fine the way they are, even at the age of 49 and after breastfeeding 2 babies.
I live in the UK and when my babies were born, it was expected that you would at least try to breastfeed and the midwives gave you a lot of support. Having said that, I still had to "top up" my babies - for all you women out there who think this is a terrible thing and I should have just "kept at it until the milk started producing", I think you need to be more compassionate towards women who find breastfeeding difficult.
I could probably have breastfed if I had been able to spend the first 40 days of the baby's life in bed, with all my meals brought to me and someone else to take care of the house, the husband and the other children, but that is not the reality for most women in today's society, and my body simply could not make enough milk to support my babies, both of whom were very big and very hungry.
I wasn't one of those women whose milk spurts across the room as soon as she hears a baby cry, much as I would have liked to be. I think women who lactate easily (and it has nothing to do with breast size) really don't appreciate that there are some women who just don't.
And in the end, as my babies began to lose weight rather than gain it, I "topped up" and I don't feel guilty about it. I think they got all the antibodies, and the bonding, but I wasn't going to starve them to satisfy my own determination to "do it right". My mother couldn't breastfeed either, so perhaps it was something genetic.
On the issue of breasts being sexualised - I'd say the nudity thing is right - I was raised as a child as a nudist and we had nudist friends - I saw a lot of people naked when I was a child and don't think anything of it - in the south of France, women go topless on the beach and men and women change their clothes on the beach - after awhile, it becomes totally normal and you hardly notice.
Here in the UK, I know women who have breastfed their children until they go to school - women breastfeed in playgroups, in church, on parkbenches, in restaurants and in public places all the time - I once stood next to a woman in the checkout line at the supermarket who had a new baby only a few days old - it was very busy, 6pm in the evening and the baby was obviously very hungry and she couldn't stand it anymore - she sat down on the chairs opposite the checkout, whipped out her breast and gave her baby what it needed. Her mother took care of her shopping - no-one batted an eyelid.
I can't remember ever feeling overly self-conscious about breast-feeding. I just did it whenever I needed to.
My favourite breast-feeding picture is of the woman who was a director of a large NGO who had to visit a famine area in the Sudan right after she herself had had a baby and was breastfeeding.
She said she was nervous about what she would feel, knowing she had milk to give and she could only visit the area for a few hours - and when she got there, she just felt she had to do what she could.
She asked them to find her someone who really needed help and they brought her a woman who had twins that she could not feed. So she sat down outside on an oil drum and fed both of them. Someone snapped a picture of her which appeared in the papers here. She was kind of embarassed but said she was glad she was able to help in the only way she could. To me, that picture is worth a thousand words.
Because of your site I now know that I have hypoplastic tubular breasts, which also explains why I had a horribly difficult time breastfeeding my 4 sons and had to supplement with formula following each pregnancy.
Here's my advice to anyone intending to breastfeed. Don't let doctors, nurses, so-called lactation specialists and 'breastfeeding support groups' make you feel guilty or inadequate about any decision you make. Do what you can if you choose to, but most importantly love and enjoy your baby.
I gave birth to four healthy extremely intelligent sons (two are twins!) who aren't allergic to anything even though they got formula early on. They are now adults.
Remember: your love, your sanity, your attentiveness and your presence are far more important to your baby than what comes out of your breasts.
Thank you for your balanced and informative approach to this topic. Lara
I have classic tubular breasts. I have four children and had almost no milk (they need to teach nurses that someone with tubular breasts my not have milk; they all think every woman does). I have a hard time finding a bra to fit me. I'm obese. My band size would be around 48" but my cup size only an A or AA. Can you help? The only bras I found that might work are mastectomy bras - which is a little embarrassing for me. I'm very lucky though my husband loves me just the way I am!!!
Check our bra fitting page - on the bottom are links to bra stores specializing in small cup sizes.
This is a wonderful site filled with excellent information! I wish I had found this info back when I was having my children. I had always planned, no, took for granted that I would breast-feed my children. But, to my horror, I would not produce milk. My breast size changed very little, hardly a noticeable amount and after my baby was born my milk never "came in". I had no breast engorgement what so ever. I was told it was because of having a c-section and that I simply needed to spend more time nursing and pumping. I gave up quickly. When I had my daughter, I was better prepared and started pumping right away. It also helped that she did not go into neo-natal because of breathing problems like my son and so latched on beautifully. However, once again, my breasts never engorged and no amount of breast feeding would satisfy her. I had no choice but to supplement with a bottle ON TOP of non-stop nursing. My daughter became one with me. She was constantly attached to my breasts - all day and all night. When she was sleeping I'd pump, but could never get more then an ounce between both breasts. Finally, when the fall semester began at my college and I was gone for 3 full days a week, my daughter refused my breast all together. The only reason I was able to go as long as I did with breast feeding was thanks to my regime of fenugreek and blessed thistle capsule I started after 3 weeks of unsuccessful nursing. After the first night I took those supplements, my breast were rocks filled with milk the next morning - but it was still not enough to forgo the formula. I still fed her about 16 oz of formula a day. I would try to cut it out to increase my milk supply with terrible results. She would cry inconsolably till she had her bottle.
After much research, I determined that I have a physical problem with my breasts. The lactation nurse suggested that I might simply have a tissue deficiency if my breast size never changed during pregnancy, but she never gave more info such what this disorder was called or what I could do to know for sure. I also decided that I might lack certain hormones for proper let-down, which prevented my breasts from properly emptying so as to produce more milk. But all in all, La Leche League members, lactation consultants at the hospitals, pediatricians, my OBGYN and my friends who were successful at breast feeding were of little or no help to me, save for encouragement to keep trying. They all told me the same old thing, each as if I had never heard it before. I wasn't nursing enough and I wasn't pumping enough. After my experience, I understand why so many give up easily. Because those who are successful do NOT have boobs that can't make milk! Hence, they are no help to people like me who were not guilty of laziness or selfishness or a lack of education. I would like to send every professional that deals with pregnancy and ALL my friends a link to this web site. Thank you for finally providing an explanation to my problems and some ideas of how to cope if I decide to have another child.
I am 35 and just wanted to add that there are plenty of men, myself included, who find "tubular hypoplastic" breasts every bit as attractive as non-tubular(?) ones. I never new there was a medical term, I just thought that breasts, like every other human part, come in different shapes. Anyway, if that's you, it may be an issue come nursing time but don't worry about it 'til then...be happy being different!
My son is 5 months old and he has been feeding great. however now my breast are two different sizes and the one that he eats from is the biggest, What can I do?
Thank you for your site. I am a 28 year old woman who is a 34 A. As a young girl I had one breast grow while the other stayed flat. It was devastating.... I was a tomboy and enjoyed being bra less. I was relieved and reassured by a male doctor. A few months ago the sweat glands on my nipples enlarged and I felt self conscious. Again another trip to the doctor and this time normal as usual. I had a friend get implants and saw the pain she went through and began a new found appreciation for my breasts. I realized that I had to grow into them. Our bodies are such tender topics and it is a relief to see that your site encourages diversity. Thank you.
I have read your articles on hypoplastic breasts because I was diagnosed with this problem after my first pregnancy. I did everything natural, and was looking forward to naturally nursing my son, however the lactation consultant I saw mentioned that I have hypoplastic breasts. After seeing many of these particular breasts on different websites, I came to the conclusion that this was not what was wrong. I am a c-cup and have round, not long shaped breasts. I decided to have a hormone test. They found I was very low in progesterone. I immediately got on this natural form of progesterone and felt my breast tissue begin to grow. I became pregnant in august of 2004 and plan to deliver naturally again. Only this time I will be looking forward to successfully nursing my child. My breasts have changed during this pregnancy, (they didn't during my last one. I have a little "colostrum crusties" on my nipples and I am loving it! It sounds weird but I can't wait to be engorged. Please be praying for me as I deliver in 5 months and would definately look forward to doing everything (including nursing) naturally. The way our breasts are supposed to be... :) If this helps anyone, I sure hope so.
I have just been looking on your website as my brests are really starting to bother me. I am 17 and have discovered that I have tubular hypoplastic breasts. However, they have been explained as underdeveloped breasts and seeing as I am only 17, I was wondering if they will continue to grow anymore, seeing as my periods are still not properly established. It's a really embarassing problem as I am worried my new boyfriend will think I'm deformed if I even let him see them! Is there any way in which I could boost their growth because I am only a 36AA. also no bras ever fit properly. It's bringing my confidence down too. I'd really like some answers. thanks.
If your periods are not yet established properly, perhaps you mean your period started within the less 18 months. That means your breasts could still grow and develop, and that you couldn't yet really tell if you have 'tubular hypoplastic breasts'.
Now, IF there is a problem with your period, for example if it is very irregular, then you might benefit from seeing a doctor, since there might be a problem with your hormones. Breast growth is dependent on many hormones, and so a problem with hormones can affect breast development. One common condition associated with irregular menses is polycystic ovary syndrome.
Keep in mind the only way to truly diagnose hypoplastic (underdeveloped) breasts is after a woman gives birth, her breasts appear "empty" and do not make enough milk. The only thing that I know of that might help is taking natural progesterone during pregnancy. There is a case report of that working (see the link above) and anecdotal evidence as well.
I nurse my twins and still have milk to store. In the hospital I did simultanous pumping after each feeding but soon stopped when it increased my milk production too much. So I learned even one breast can deliver more than a baby needs. My breasts are normal size but I want to encourage mothers who think they cannot nurse. Most of lactation problems start in the head and let us resign before trying.
Monika from Germany
I think this website is wonderful. I'm young, and although I haven't known about it for very long, I think I have tubular breasts. Until now everything I've found on this 'condition' has been constant 'breast augmentation' and 'deformity' and whatnot, with little to no explanation about the breast feeding complications or that there were any at all, which confused me greatly, quite frankly. This site has been very informative and extraordinarily reassuring, and I have to say, I was very suprised to find it. It is communication like this, one way or another, that discourages absurdities like pointless breast implants to 'fix' a shape which is in its natural beauty as is; which I have to say I am thankful for, because for a while I was driving myself mad wondering what was wrong with me and if it could be fixed. Thank you for making the information available, and through this, support.
I have very long 10 inch hypoplastic tubular breasts and I always thought I was the only one with unperfect breasts. This site helped my self-esteem. Thanks to the creator of this site.
I found your article about breastfeeding differences for large - or small- breasted women interesting. I prefer to think of "sagging" breasts as "flexible". One of my friends with large breasts found that she could easily nurse a baby on her lap and tuck her other breast round her side for her toddler, while with my smaller ones I had to go to a lot more trouble to tandem feed. I used to feed my first two to sleep lying on my side, with my 2 1/2 year-old attached to bottom breast, and baby lying propped on top of him, feeding off the top one. On the other hand, feeding walking about with your baby in a sling seems to be easier for women with smaller breasts, as you can tightly strap baby up to the right level and then feed hands-free. With baby 3 I found that was more difficult and I needed to use an arm for support as my breast hung lower. On the other hand, it is definitely easier to get him into a good position when he is on my lap or when I am lying on my side.
At age 47 after years of feeling awful about my body image and struggling to breast feed my 3 boys (I had to bring them to the pediatrician weekly for weighing, they nursed for 45 minutes on each side and 30 minutes later wanted to nurse again etc.) I found out that I have tubular breast. I found this out from a plastic surgeon. None of my obstetricians or gynecologists or family practice drs. ever mentioned this even through my struggles. I decided to have breast augmentation and a mastoplexy. I have very broad shoulders so finding clothing other than t-shirts and turtlenecks was impossible. Now I fit into my clothes. I also have a much better body image. For the last 16 years I have been an aerobics instructor and have always been fit but never felt like I looked fit. Now I am proportioned. While I don't think breast implants are for everyone they have made a big difference in my life. I wish I had known about my "deformity" at a younger age. I always felt like a failure because I couldn't breast feed easily. I hope more drs. will become educated on this condition and educate their patients particularly those that are trying to breast feed. My research shows that about 2 to 5 % of women have tubular breasts. By the way, my first child I breast fed for 3 months and then supplemented. My 2nd child I breast fed until he was 10 months. My 3rd child I breast fed for 3 months. That was over 18 years ago with much less info and support than what is available today.
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Normal Nipples pictures
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Being flat-chested 1 2
Sagging - causes and definition
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