Big B, Little B, What Begins with B?

April 9th, 2010 by Dionna | 19 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, natural parenting, Pregnancy and Birth

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I have never been blessed (or cursed, depending on your viewpoint) with large breasts. When I was growing up, I heard all of the euphemisms for being small-breasted:

Flat as a pancake
Mosquito bites
Flat as the Kansas plains
Smaller than anthills
Flat as a board
Titless wonder

It stung a little. I made up for being small-breasted by helping keep the Victoria’s Secret push-up bra line afloat.

Medium-sized breasts, even, eluded me until my third trimester of pregnancy. By the time my milk came in, Tom and I marveled over my melon-sized breasts, which were literally bigger than Kieran’s newborn head. For the first time in my life, I had breasts.

Funny thing was, I didn’t care as much as I thought I would. See, before breastfeeding, breasts had been sexualized in my eyes too. It always irked me that men were so focused on this particular part of the female anatomy, but I was guilty of the same thing.

And then I nourished my son. For over ten months, Kieran’s sole source of nutrition came from my body. To this day, my breasts provide him with comfort and nourishment. I have successfully made the mental switch from “breasts as sexual toys” to “breasts with a biological purpose.”

Thankfully, that mental transition came before my breasts started to deflate. Now that Kieran nurses more for comfort than calories, my milk supply has dropped. I am, once again, sporting small breasts.

But this time, it doesn’t matter to me. My breasts will always be beautiful – big as melons and bursting with breastmilk, or a little bit saggy but full of milky memories. Now whenever I think of my breasts, I hear the phrases:

Life-giving
Mama milk
The perfect food
Love
Nurturing
Trust
Miraculous
Nursies
Comforting
Awe inspiring
Bonding
Provision
Mother

How has your view of breasts evolved after pregnancy and breastfeeding (if applicable)?

What words or phrases would you add to my last list?

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This post is participating in the Body Image Carnival being hosted by Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and MamanADroit who will be posting articles on themes pertaining to body image all week! Make sure you check out their blogs everyday between April 12-18 for links to other participants’ posts as well as product reviews, a giveaway, and some links to research, information and resources pertaining to body image.

19 Responses to:
"Big B, Little B, What Begins with B?"

  1. My breasts have become a little crinkly where the skin stretched during pregnancy. But who would have known how much my daughter would love them? I don’t even think about getting them out in public now. For now, they are feeding devices and they have miraculous powers to calm and comfort my baby.

  2. Andrea

    It’s funny that you posted about this today. A friend just had a baby Monday and just yesterday we were discussing the changes that happen to your breasts after giving birth. We too are small breasted and it turns out that after experiencing the difference(in my case a four cup size jump) we both prefer our normal sized breasts. Besides being able to nourish your child, big breasts just weren’t all they were cracked up to be for me. After they went back to their normal cup size after about a year I think I feel better about my breasts now than I did before, even with the sagginess. I think that will continue even if they get even smaller after I stop nursing. Who knew nursing would give me that kind of appreciation for my breasts? And that’s not even considering the things that really make them amzaing. They enable us to provide all the nutrients our kids needs for so long and to provide a tool to connect with them in a way I don’t think is really possible otherwise.

  3. jenny ellis-rhea

    my the power of boobs! i knew back in my younger perkier days, they did have power. maybe a free drink or a boost of my self esteem. those days are long gone, as is the buoyancy.
    now however, i look at my lopsided, crinkly, worn boobs and celebrate! look what they have done, and still do, now that is amazing.
    boobs fall…but my sweet baby girl reaps the rewards.

  4. rachie t   justbirth

    LOVE this post and the above comments.

    I am currently a member of the itty-bitty-titty-committee, and proud of it. It took me a long time to heal from the ridicule, a stranger once actually told me to my face that i was, “flat as hell”. I have not yet had the pleasure of nourishing a little one with my mammaries, but as a midwifery student and doula, learning lactation counseling techniques and being with mothers as they nurse for the first time was all it took to turn my self-consciousness concerning my over-sexualized body parts into more secure breast-(of all sizes)-enthusiasm.

    Thanks again for your insight!

  5. Dionna   CodeNameMama

    Cave Mother: I think I will add “miraculous” to my list!

    Andrea: Agreed. Honestly, I didn’t realize motherhood in general would make me appreciate my body so much – I thought I’d feel more broken, but I feel powerful!

    Jenny: I love the sentiment of celebrating our breasts – for the *right* reasons!

    Rachie: Thank you so much for the comment, and I cannot believe I forgot about the itty-bitty-titty-committee. I’ve heard that one more than once! Bless you for your work with new mothers. If it is your hope, then I wish you endless amounts of joy the day you hold your own baby to your breast.

  6. Melissa   makingthingsup

    I’d add awesome to your list. As in awe-inspiring. I’ve been breastfeeding for almost ten years (my first nursed until my second was born, my second nursed until right before my third was born, my third and fourth tandem nursed, and I’m nursing the fourth while pregnant with the fifth now), and I’m still amazed at the whole system. :)

  7. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    Beautiful post! I’ve been thinking of how comforting breasts are. Ever since having a baby, I’ve tried to imagine what I must have felt as a nursling, and I think it must just be so, so right. Warm, soft, snuggled close. Ah!

  8. Jake Aryeh Marcus   JakeAryehMarcus

    I’d add “nursies.” That is what my 3 boys called my breasts, the milk that came out of them, and the time they spent nursing. It is a noun, a verb, and 9 years of snuggling.

  9. When I was younger, it didn’t really bother me to have small breasts, and when I began my running career 6 years ago I was thankful for them. Even MORE thankful after Everett was born and I had to run with the biggest boobs of my life. I thought, Oh my god! Big boobs suck! Thank goodness it didn’t take long to get my lovely little ones back, even while nursing for 2 1/2 years.
    Best yet, now that I’ve breastfed and Everett still loves to snuggle, touch, and love on my “na-nas” I feel more proud of them than I ever have.

  10. Amber   AmberStrocel

    I’m not sure that my view of my breasts has changed, exactly. Or, at least, not for the better. I was always rather proud of mine. Now, I could do without the sagging, which has nothing to do with breastfeeding but rather a lot to do with pregnancy, I think. I’m sure that age is involved, too, but that’s not as obvious or abrupt.

  11. Ruth Ann

    I would add a couple of words to your list:
    Comforting
    Bonding
    Provision
    It has been a long long time since I snuggled a baby to my breast to feed her but I still remember with joy, the closeness and union that I felt.

  12. Dionna   CodeNameMama

    Love the suggested words – I’ve added them all!

    Acacia – in my brief stint with running (ha) last year, I agree. Big breasts would NOT be conducive.

  13. Amber   unlikelymama

    I’ve always had medium – big boobs. In my first trimester I was up to a 34D. Since we’re still bf’ing almost full time I’m huge and sick of them.

    When people joked to me that bf’ing would “ruin” them…I thought “bring it!” I might as well have a real reason for not liking the looks of my set.

    I’m thrilled that my body could work properly and feed my child, but truth be told…I’m excited for the day they shrivel up and disappear :-)

    I’m waiting till we’re fully weaned, and then I’m going to go on a bra shopping spree!! For now, I deal with the ill fitting ones I have.

  14. Melodie   bfmom

    I love this. I’m a big busted broad myself whose boobs didn’t change at all during pregnancy or postpartum except for a few days when I was engorged. But like you my views of them have changed since having children. I can go between seeing them as sexual and as life sustaining but mostly when I think of them now (and breasts in general) they are milkies, comforting, awe inspiring. Thanks for writing this for the body image carnival!

  15. This post makes me sad. No matter how hard I try, I cannot disassociate the sexual relationship I have with boobs. I don’t know if I should attribute that to society or the fact that I haven’t had any other use for my own thus far (no babies = no usage other than sexual playthings), but it’s nearly impossible for me. TMI?

  16. Maman A Droit   MamanADroit

    I’ve gone from being sort of embarassed to proud. I was a 34DD pre-pregnancy and after Baby’s birth discovered that bra cups come in sizes like “J” and “K”, which I definitely didn’t know before. It’s amazing that our society makes so many women feel like only B or C cups are acceptable, when there is really such a broad spectrum of normal sizes.

  17. beautifully written! :)

  18. Danielle   DanielleWrites

    Breasts and sex is not an all or nothing proposition.

    I’ve gone through a 4 cup size change from pre-pregnancy to breastfeeding. I’m very happy with both the biological function and the “fashion” aspect. I find my mothering body to be so much sexier and more sophisticated than my college co-ed body. My husband completely agrees. My body has gone through major changes and produces exactly what my child needs effortlessly. There is nothing sexier to me than a healthy mothering body. My breasts help me be the mother I know is best for my child and my family. And being an awesome mom is drop dead sexy.

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