The Truth About Breastfeeding With Big Breasts

I spent an inordinate amount of time during my pregnancy worried about the size of my breasts.

My breasts were huge before I was even pregnant. I could have lost half of my body weight and my breasts would still have been gigantic. Mammoth. Fecund. Cavernously Cleaved.

This is not one of those bragging moments disguised as self-deprecation. I harbor no pride in the size of these breasts (I didn’t make them). Colossal breasts are a challenge. You know how those of you with small or average sized breasts can just pick up a bra for $5.49 off the sale rack at Target?

Yeah. I can’t. I jump for joy (provided I am wearing a sports bra at the moment) if I find a bra under $50.00. I won’t tell you how much that sports bra usually costs (let’s just say there’s enough fabric there to tent a small house and bra fabric isn’t cheap apparently).

Bending over with these breasts? Revealing.
Eating? Messy?
Clothing? Impossible.
Swimming? Kind of useful as flotation devices, actually
Jogging? Deadly.

So, why worry about my gigantic breasts (oh, dear gawd, the google is going to send a heap of undesireables my way with that search engine term) more while pregnant than before or after?

I was planning to breastfeed — and literally every single medical professional I saw while pregnant made it sound like, in doing so, I was planning to suffocate my poor innocent babe with my tremendous ta-tas.

I believe that renders these breasts of mine equipped with their very own super powers: The Super Villain potent enough to annihilate an entire generation of potential super heroes by the sheer force of her immense infanticidal gazongas and their sociopathic feeding tendencies.

I was terrified.

I consulted breastfeeding boards. Women whose avatars revealed like 1/32 of my boobage, but whose signatures boasted 27 years of nursing experience, agreed with the medical professionals. “This is the one instance in which I would recommend bottle-feeding,” one told me. “The risks are just too great.”

Really? You wouldn’t recommend bottle-feeding to, say, someone who is undergoing cancer treatment? Someone using psychotropic drugs? A woman who, you know, just really doesn’t feel like she can nurse her baby and still remain sane?

Just for those of us with the most fecund of fun bags?

You can see why the very thought of using these gargantuan jugs to feed my baby had me stressing.

[Stress during pregnancy, not so incidentally, turns out to be a really bad thing for both baby and mother. But nobody worried about that, so blinded by my murderous melons were they.]

Despite all the negative hoopla over my substantial stack, I decided to go ahead and try to breastfeed anyway.

Here are the exact challenges I faced:

  1.  Finding bras and clothing that fit over my newly engorged mammaries (For novices out there, even big breasts become bigger while nursing; mine required their own zip code).
  2. Staving off unwanted attention
  3. People freaking out that my walloping whoppers were going to destroy my baby

Oh look — all of my issues surrounding breastfeeding with large breasts were because of how other people treated women who breastfeed with large breasts.

 

The reality is that the size of my breasts were the greatest breastfeeding gift either I or my baby could ever have received.

  1. I could nurse laying down, without having to turn my body at all. The nipple just flopped on over to wherever my baby needed it. Given that I had three children under four at that time (two by adoption), this allowed me to get some precious rest.
  2. While she was in the rear-facing car seat, I could nurse without having to lean forward uncomfortably.
  3. I never had to hoist the child up awkwardly and hold her in place to nurse. She could literally lay on my lap and nurse from there, nice and comfy, ready to fall asleep.
  4. I never had to use one of those clumsy nursing pillows. I carried my own pillows with me everywhere I went, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).
  5. The kid always had a warm place to keep her hands while nursing through a Chicago winter (making the only superpower at play here the highly utilitarian UnderBoob).
  6. I never suffocated her, like Ms. 27YearsOfExperience said I would.
  7. Her jaw formation is fantastic, despite what Dr. EverySingleOne said.
  8. It didn’t delay her speech like that one labor and delivery nurse told me it might (the child started talking around the same time she started crawling).
  9. My cracking nipples smoothed out like everyone else’s after a few days, despite the lactation consultant (yes, lactation consultant) who told me the cracking was likely a result of the size of my breasts and that I should probably stop trying to nurse (that same lactation consultant literally never looked at my face and audibly groaned while lifting my boob into my baby’s mouth).

Bonus: my daughter developed freakishly strong infant arms.

[That’s a joke. My husky hooters did not give my baby Popeye arms, I promise.]

 

Looking back now, at a time when I am finally able to speak about the size of my shelf, I believe the origin of all that breastial fear-mongering was some good old-fashioned misogyny, combined with a lack of experience on the part of medical professionals, a pinch of fat-phobia, and a hearty, heaping helping of your basic dip-shittery.

Now, to all you out there who can purchase your bras right off the Target sale rack, this isn’t a dis on your small to average sized lovelies. They’re great. All the boobs are great. I envy your ability to zip up your winter coat with ease and to do a cartwheel safely. And I am certainly not saying that any one size boob is better than any other for nursing.

I just want to make it known that, while all sizes have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to nursing, there is little credence to the fear instilled in us larger sized ladies. That we cannot or should not nurse our babies is a bigger lie than my honkers will ever be.

We can nurse with ease and with definite benefits — even if we do have to use bath towels for nursing pads, wear a nursing bra that includes some sort of crane system keeping the girls hoisted above our belly buttons, and constantly hiss at passerby gawking at the wonders that are our voluptuous, voluminous vials of baby milk.

So, to all my similarly sized sisters out there, I say to you this: Don’t believe the lies! Go forth and breastfeed your baby — if that’s what you want!!

Photo: author's own; not for re-use
Photo: author’s own; not for re-use

 

 

 

 

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