Motherhood

Motherhood Mondays: On Boobs

This may be a little intimate, but let’s talk about breasts! After the jump, of course…

I’ve always been a pretty modest person (in high school gym class, I was one of the girls who would change in the bathroom) but now that I’ve had a baby, I’m much more open about certain body parts: namely, breasts. They just seem so functional and quotidian to me now. So, if you’re game, I’d love to chat about all things breasty.

Seven things that surprised me about breastfeeding:

1. Breastfeeding burns a whopping 500 calories per day! Yowza! I was really surprised to hear that. Even if you sit perfectly still all day, you burn as many calories as if you’d run five miles. Needless to say, you get hungry like the wolf. I remember drinking an average of four glasses of whole milk every day, and once, I ate an entire tuna pasta salad in the middle of the night. The next morning, my mom, who was visiting, was like, “Where’s the pasta salad?” I was like….In. My. Belly.

2. You get overwhelmingly thirsty. As soon as I’d start nursing Toby, I’d get hit with a wave of thirst like a Mack truck. All I would be able to think was, “Water, water, water….” until I was glugging down a huge glass. Alex actually bought me a giant water bottle, and honestly it was one of my favorite gifts I’ve ever gotten.

3. You can squirt milk across the room. (Is that TMI?) Before having a baby, I imagined that a nipple would function like a single straw, but actually they’re more like this kitchen faucet. Milk sprays out a bunch of teeny holes, and, if you squeeze your breast, you can spray milk right across the room! It would be an awesome party trick if it were the least bit socially acceptable.

4. Nursing bras can be sexy. I dragged my feet when shopping for a nursing bra because I figured I’d be stuck wearing a hideous functional number for the next twelve months. But! I was thrilled to discover Elle MacPherson nursing bras. They’re soft and pretty, and I love how the black lace peeks out from beneath tank tops and cardigans.

5. Babies are completely over-the-moon about milk. It’s so, so, so adorable how much babies love milk. Toby would get so excited before feeding; he’d root around trying to find the boob. He’d frantically move his tiny head around, like, where is it, where is it…he’d find his fist and suck like crazy…and then be like, oh, wait, that’s not it….where is it….YES, here it is!!!! And his eyes would basically roll back in his head, he was so happy. (And then he’d get his drunken sailor face:)

6. You can literally feel drained afterward. Sometimes I’d stumble out of the nursery after giving Toby his bedtime feed, and tell Alex, “I feel like the energy was just truly sucked out of me.” It can be exhausting. I mean, you’re fattening up a baby. Of course, it can be really wonderful, cozy and profound at the same time.

7. You get big boobs! Kind of embarrassing but one of my favorite parts of pregnancy/nursing was finally experiencing big boobs. I’ve always been a flat-chested girl (I even wore those chicken cutlets at my wedding), and I’ve long been curious about what it would be like to have big breasts even just for one day. Well, when I was pregnant, my breasts kept growing, and when Toby was born and I started nursing, they felt HUGE (at least to me). It was a thrill to have big boobs, including cleavage, for the first time ever! (Here are my small boobs; here are my big boobs:) Of course, now that Toby has stopped nursing, my boobs have shrunk down to their pre-baby size. But I’ll never forget my one glorious well-endowed year.

Toby eating lunch in our hospital room when he was one day old.

Finally, the breastfeeding book I swear by: A few of my best friends found breastfeeding very difficult at first (one even said it was harder than labor, ouch!). I felt hugely grateful to have a relatively easy time with nursing, and, along with biology and luck, I credit The Nursing Mother’s Companion for helping make breastfeeding easier. With a straightforward, reassuring tone, the book shows you how to help your baby latch on correctly and overcome obstacles. My friend Samantha gave me her dog-eared copy before Toby was born, and I’m so thankful she did. I’d highly recommend it to all mothers-to-be who plan to nurse. (And good luck to you! I know everyone’s experience is different.)

I’m so curious: What was your experience with breastfeeding? Did you breastfeed or decide not to? What were those early days like for you? (I am so amazed by moms who handled sore breasts on top of everything else in new motherhood! What heros!) What surprised you? I would LOVE to hear…

P.S. Breastfeeding in public.

  1. Laurenspencer says...

    A wonderful story and I had one more little experience and that is when I would take a nice long soak in the bath with candles I guess my milk ducts would open up and I would have these two little milk fountains spraying little milk fountains. LOL Several times I have given myself a milk bath before showering it off and getting back to the real world of being a mother.

  2. I breast feed my son back in the ’90s when it was still sort of frowned upon. I received a sample of formula in the mail and was reading the ingredients on the back and started to literally cry at the idea of my baby eating that nasty stuff. I threw it in the trash like it was a dirty diaper. No way was I giving my son anything other than my breast milk. I was militant.

    My mom who had my brothers and sisters in the sixties and seventies was never a fan of breast feeding and was not a fan. She was much too vain. She came to help me right after my son was born and when I was nursing him I would cry because it hurt so much those first few weeks (it hurts!) She would beg me to give him a bottle and I would refuse! I was so committed I wouldn’t give my son a pacifier until he was 5 months old out of fear of nipple confusion. I pushed through the painful, hard rock-like laden breasts, the bleeding nipples and it became a very special experience that I look back on now, 17 years later with a lot of love and pride. I had so many people tell me to put him on formula, daily! Even his pediatrician encouraged it! But I was steadfast and that first year he never got sick! Even now as a giant man-child (he’s 6’1), he almost never gets sick and I like thinking that my dedication to feeding him that first year had something to do with it.

    I LOVED breastfeeding my son and looked forward to his feedings. It just felt right and I felt like I was doing the very best for him and I was proud of that. After about 4-5 months though, I started to not like it so much because it felt like he only wanted me so he could eat. I felt like a cow. I made so much more milk than I needed too and often leaked throughout the day (sexy, right?) and I too could shoot milk across the room!

    I continued to breastfeed him until he was 18 months old. I had only planned to do it for 12 months and I remember thinking that he would just stop on his first birthday, as though he’d just be done… and I was SO ready for him to be done. So when he turned one and still wanted to feed (mostly at night and early in the morning), I really started to loathe it. I was living in a foreign country at the time and had no one to really ask what to do so I just keep feeding him. I eventually got him to one feeding a day (early in the morning) and after a very, very long trip home from Greece to the states, I was finally able to wean him because I slept for something like 18 hours straight and my mom couldn’t wake me up to feed him and that was that.

    When I look back on the experience, I smile and I can still see his perfect little face looking up me while I rocked in a chair. Moments like that are when he and I really fell in love and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

  3. I breast feed my son back in the ’90s when it was still sort of frowned upon. I received a sample of formula in the mail and was reading the ingredients on the back and started to literally cry at the idea of my baby eating that nasty stuff. I threw it in the trash like it was a dirty diaper. No way was I giving my son anything other than my breast milk. I was militant.

    My mom who had my brothers and sisters in the sixties and seventies was never a fan of breast feeding and was not a fan. She was much too vain. She came to help me right after my son was born and when I was nursing him I would cry because it hurt so much those first few weeks (it hurts!) She would beg me to give him a bottle and I would refuse! I was so committed I wouldn’t give my son a pacifier until he was 5 months old out of fear of nipple confusion. I pushed through the painful, hard rock-like laden breasts, the bleeding nipples and it became a very special experience that I look back on now, 17 years later with a lot of love and pride. I had so many people tell me to put him on formula, daily! Even his pediatrician encouraged it! But I was steadfast and that first year he never got sick! Even now as a giant man-child (he’s 6’1), he almost never gets sick and I like thinking that my dedication to feeding him that first year had something to do with it.

    I LOVED breastfeeding my son and looked forward to his feedings. It just felt right and I felt like I was doing the very best for him and I was proud of that. After about 4-5 months though, I started to not like it so much because it felt like he only wanted me so he could eat. I felt like a cow. I made so much more milk than I needed too and often leaked throughout the day (sexy, right?) and I too could shoot milk across the room!

    I continued to breastfeed him until he was 18 months old. I had only planned to do it for 12 months and I remember thinking that he would just stop on his first birthday, as though he’d just be done… and I was SO ready for him to be done. So when he turned one and still wanted to feed (mostly at night and early in the morning), I really started to loathe it. I was living in a foreign country at the time and had no one to really ask what to do so I just keep feeding him. I eventually got him to one feeding a day (early in the morning) and after a very, very long trip home from Greece to the states, I was finally able to wean him because I slept for something like 18 hours straight and my mom couldn’t wake me up to feed him and that was that.

    When I look back on the experience, I smile and I can still see his perfect little face looking up me while I rocked in a chair. Moments like that are when he and I really fell in love and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

  4. my son already has 8month and I realized I really love my “big boobs” as you wrote up there. sometimes is kind of embarrassing, but that feeling during the breastfeeding and view to that small cute face of your baby makes me satisfied and happy

  5. Great post and very topical for me. I am currently breastfeeding my second son who is five months old and I really treasure it. Like a lot of women, it did not come easily. I had not one but two bouts of mastitis and really had to struggle through to keep going. As it is now, I top up with 1-2 bottles of formula each day because I don’t have faith in my milk production. Overall, I’m proud that I fought through those few dark weeks though – I was close to packing it in many times. I remember getting really upset when it was feeding time again because it really hurt! However, my friends told me to hang in there until six weeks and that it would become easier and that was definitely true for me. This is why we girls need to speak up and share our experiences.

  6. i just stumbled upon this post and i love it! i love how open and candid you are about breasts. i’ve been a little apprehensive to share any part of breastfeeding on my blog because some people are so prudish about it :( this has definitely inspired me to be a little more open with my readers. thanks! (and ps i used to spray milk across the room at my dogs. they loved it! ha!)

  7. i LOVE that you wrote about this. entertaining but very informative!

  8. I love nursing my son, even after a rocky start (he was 3 weeks late, born with an appetite but my milk took 9 days post-delivery to come in). I’ve found nursing gear terribly expensive though for a modest budget. Instead, I’ve come up with some tricks! I figure they may be helpful for others, so here they are:

    http://inaritopia.blogspot.com/2013/01/tips-for-nursing-mothers.html

    I can now nurse conveniently and still afford to eat like the wolf! Haha.

  9. Anonymous says...

    Hey Jo! so I am a 22 year old lady with plans of being married in a year and a half and definitely desire children.

    i am a size A and have spent the past half year learning to love myself.

    can you do a post about your experience growing up small chested? if it was ever a problem for you? insecurities, etc.?
    i would so love that.

  10. Anonymous says...

    Yes, big boobs. I started out with big boobs (I was unhappy about them when I was a teenager and I never felt a close connection to them…I talked to other women with big breasts, most of them feel the same way)and they just kept growing. It was a nightmare! Everybody expected me to breast- feed, and I felt an obligation to do it (I had to have a c-section, so I felt I had to do something for my daughter), but it was just really awful for me. I did it because I knew it was best for my daughter and because she loved it, but for me, I was pretty awful.

  11. I recently came back to this post after having a baby and now can’t help but laugh at your breastfeeding observations. My own little milk maniac gets a wonderful “drunk sailor” look after she has eaten, and I can’t help but laugh when she is rooting around. I feel so accomplished to be feeding a person entirely from MY person!

    I love the blog – thanks for being a part of my day!

  12. I remember trying to use those cover-ups, but I had to see and make sure my baby was latching correctly and use both of my hands… Once he latched on, he didn’t like anything covering his face… so no cover-ups for me.

  13. Love this post! I breast for the first 10 months. I was lucky that I had an easy time of it but I think it was because I had a friend who was very frank so their were very few surprises! One surprise was the milk shooting after an accidentally kid falling asleep unlatching…man was my husband surprised to see that! lol

  14. I breastfeeding Jon for 4 months,and it was very hard.
    First month it hurts a lot,
    later an infection in my breast,
    and the fact that Jon eat each 1-2 hours day and night, so sleep was imposible!
    The best part was the big size of my breast! but they left me…

    For next baby i will use prepared milk so that mum and dad could do this part of nursery!

    http://www.mykitschworld.blogspot.com

  15. OH MY GOSH. That is me (and my small boobs) in the Yay Cleavage shirt. Ha. I modeled it for Raygun earlier this year. Too funny! Now I’m pregnant so I’m eager to feel what big boobs feel like!

  16. doubless says...

    I really enjoyed reading this. It’s all true. Up until 4.5 months I exclusively breastfed my daughter, then at the doctors she wasn’t gaining enough weight. I was so down on myself about pretty much starving her (though she was still eatting like 12 times a day!) and people saying she’s so tiny I decided to quit but at night time…giving boob when you’re half asleep is way easier than warming up a bottle!!! Now, at half a month later I am desperatly trying to build my supply back up, I love and miss breatfeeding so much. I plan to breastfeed then give formula after to top her up. But that means pumping every hour, I am praying I haven’t ruined it for the both of us!
    Today at the zoo I missed breastfeeding in public for some weird reason lol…I saw baby goats and monkeys eatting from their moms while all the people were snickering I was thinking how beautiful it was :)
    p.s I love your photos of feeding Toby when he was newborn, I wish I had thought of that… I’ll get my fiancee to take some photos tomorrow but it’s not quite the same with a big baby biting and flailing her arms hehe

  17. Anonymous says...

    omg, #3 made me chuckle out loud at my desk at work. When I was weaning my son and stopped pumping, I vividly recall going into the bathroom at work to relieve some of the pressure by squeezing my boobs a few times. Let’s just say I had to take a clorox wipe and clean off the stall walls. Sorry for TMI, but just want to warn anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation. :)

  18. I love #5! I’ve heard the term “milk drunk” but we call it “milk stoned” because my son get so glazed over and dopey after he eats. And I’m loving my nursing mom body! My son is 15 weeks old, I’m already skinny again because of all the calories I’m burning, and I have big boobs (also a new thing for me). Hot mama!

  19. Love LOVE LOVE this post!!!! Especially #5 :) I am 6 months pregnant right now and can’t wait to meet my baby boy. My mom had a really hard time with feeding my sister and I but I am determined and really wanting to make it work. Will get the book!!!

    I have a question to you for Motherhood Mondays – as a first time mom I have no idea what are the things that are necessary when a baby arrives and what are the extras that you think a mom can live without?

  20. Camilla’s comment has made me cry. At eight days old my baby’s doctor told to give my little girl some formula, as she was not getting enough milk from me. Now she’s two and a half months old and I breastfeed her a bit and them give her some formula.
    I am happy to have the opportunity of breastfeeding her, but I feel bad as I am not able to breastfeed her exclusively. However, when she’s in my chest and see her eyes I cry of happiness, because her look is the most beautiful thing in this world. At those moments I feel so in peace.

  21. I gained weight after I finally stopped breastfeeding my daughter. Then, I realized it’s because I didn’t have those calorie burning breastfeeding sessions anymore!

  22. wow i haven’t been by in a long time! i loved this post! i only had big boobs when i was pregnant and nursing too! i nursed all three of my kiddos and it was a beautiful experience and all the other things you mention like exhausting! my little one goes off to kindergarten in just a few weeks and this was fun to read, brought me back to the days when the kids were babies! thank you! susan

  23. Anonymous says...

    This article helped with the guilt and depression over not being able to breastfeed:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/7311/

    Hope it can help some others too. For those who can breastfeed please realize how lucky you are and please don’t look down or judge a mom with a bottle – you never know their story, they may already be carrying a lot of guilt/depression about it, they need acceptance and support not another negative voice.

  24. Anonymous says...

    Breastfeeding has been a dream for me. As soon as the nurse handed my son to me, he latched and we were good to go. I’ve had no trouble with milk production, engorgement, or latching; I cannot believe my luck. Mind you, I’d taken a number of classes and read several books on breastfeeding before I delivered my son, so that may have set me up for success. While I’m the odd one out in my group of friends (they all use formula), I’m very proud of my decision and I’m happy that things are going so well. My goal is to breastfeed through the first year–3 months down already!

    I was a DD before I was pregnant so I haven’t noticed much of a change in that regard. It’s actually easier to find nursing bras in my size than regular bras, so that’s a nice change.

    I appreciate you posting this. It’s always nice to hear about other mothers’ experiences. :)

  25. My friend sent me this post, and now I’m following your blog :) Currently nursing #2, which has been SO MUCH easier than my first. We had all those pitfalls you hear about in the beginning, yet still made it past his 2nd birthday. My favorite part by far is when they take a moment to pause during nursing and smile up at you, milk dribbling from the corners of their mouth, and you feel that connection. 3 months in with my newbie and it still blows me away every time. thanks so much for a terrific post!

  26. haha this post is awesome.

    I’m still breastfeeding my nearly 11 month old and every time, it’s just as precious as the first. I LOVE nursing and I love how much he loves it. Aside from all the beneficial health aspects it’s just so beneficial emotionally. Any time he’s sick, stressed, over stimulated or tired, nursing is the cure for all. It clears a stuffy nose, calms, comforts and relaxes.

    The big boobs are pretty intense. I had average size before but they got quite large (even up to a D!). Mine have gotten smaller over the months but nowhere near my pre-pregnancy size. Maybe when I’m done nursing they will!

  27. Anonymous says...

    This is all just way too much info, sorry I hope this isn’t considered a not-nice comment.

  28. For me breastfeeding was more painful than giving birth. With my first i breastfed for 2 months and it was awful & we were all mIserable & i feel like i didn’t get to enjoy those first few months of my son. With my daughter, i said i’d try again, but even the 5 (yes 5) lactation specialists were impressed that i was still attempting after A week. And so i gave up & put her on formula & it was the best thing i could have done. Her jaundice cleared up & she gained a ton of weight and is thriving & healthier than my first was. I’ve also enjoyed these first few months so much more this time around. I have since found out both my kids have attached frenulums (sp?) and while i could have clipped them, i chose not to. I realize in this day & age people frown upon this, but i applaud the gals who can do it! I also applaud the gals who can’t or don’t…they still love their children beyond ANYTHING in this world & that’s what makes a great mother.

  29. I love reading your blog, and I love this post. I have two boys and already they are 9 and 5 (!!) My little one just started kindergarten which has meade me a little nostalgic for his babyhood. I remember so clearly that frantic rooting around for the breast and then eyes rolling back, completely blissed out. Sweet memories.

  30. This is my first time to read your blogs, i think your posts are very interesting,i can learn lots of things.thanks so much!

  31. I am breastfeeding my 16 week old baby, and so grateful that I stuck it out in the beginning. It was super hard those first few weeks, and you feel like all you are doing is nursing, but even now it is so much easier, and I love the bonding part of it. I didn’t know how painful it would be in the beginning either, the pain got better after about 2.5 weeks, but in the beginning I was taking percacette (prescribed for my c-section incision), for my nipple pain!

  32. I thought should I comment or not, but I wanted to let you know everything you said was true. You explained it in a way that I remember it being. Both of my babies weaned a week shy of a year old. It was tough being a working mom and nursing and pumping but well worth it. My best friend gave me the book you recommended when I had my first baby. Such great information. I’m going to share this post with a friend who is expecting. I think she’ll find it so helpful! Oh yeah, and I miss the 500 calories being burned off without exercise. Now I can’t justify a cupcake or extra serving.

  33. Katie says...

    I find it so refreshing that you talk about breastfeeding on your blog. As a first time mom, I found it completely amazing that other moms weren’t talking about bfeeding ALL THE TIME. I wanted to, but felt like it was taboo! I’ve bfeeding my daughter for almost a year now and although it wasn’t initially by choice (she was allergic to formula), I’m so happy I did it. I’m weaning now and having such mixed emotions about it, so it’s nice to see so many encouraging words. Thanks

  34. Love this post, especially the part about how much babies love milk! I love the frantic rooting followed by the rolling back of their little eyes as they sink into bliss. It’s the best!

    It’s also amazing how instinctual it is for the little buggers. When I was in the hospital just hours after having my four-month old, she was lying on my shoulder relaxing. She must have caught a whiff of the boob though because she suddenly lifted her little head and pushed her face right into it! So amazing.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  35. Anonymous says...

    Thanks for the post. Breastfeeding is sure tricky. Funny, that another blogger form the UWS started writing like you saying “after the jump.” I appreciate your writing Cup of JO. I like your honesty.

  36. I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed all three of my daughters> we had them relatively close together, which meant I nursed continuously from September of 2004 to June of 2010. I loved every moment of it and, as a result, had a greater sense of accomplishment and ability than ever before.

    For me, those many moments of holding them at my breast slowed time. I can conjure the quality of the moonlight on our skin, the way we’d shiver together in the backyard as a breeze ran over us or the indescribable calm of having a tiny finger trace my torso.

    Lovely.

  37. jennifer, haha, i tasted it and it tasted like skim milk with sugar, or cantaloupe juice! :)

  38. Back again to say how profound the experience has been for me. To have been able to create and sustain new life is just … wow! Indescribable. And quite empowering. If I can do this, the rest should be small potatoes!

  39. I am 7 months into breastfeeding my little girl and absolutely love it. She would not even think about taking a bottle until 6 months, and while people thought it must have been such a burden, I totally loved it! I had no idea how completely natural it would feel. And yes, I feel quite fortunate to have had such an easy time of it. Love your candidness on the topic!

  40. Great post! When the lady in the bra store measured me and said, “OK, you’re a double D. So right after you give birth, you probably be an E,” I was like, “Oh no. No. I will NOT be an E!” (why DD was okay, I have no idea).

    But it was still an amazing experience and I find it incredible that my body worked in such mysterious and wonderful ways for my baby. I’d also recommend a breastfeeding support group (the Y has a great one) and a lot of patience with yourself.

    The question is did you (or Alex) ever taste it? My husband and I did…I was so curious! :)

  41. Thank you Joanna for your positive words! I am the only person in my circle of friends who didnt produce enough milk and it was and still is very hard to find support or just someone who could understand the pain and guilt. All I can do is hope and pray that nursing will come easily with the next one. Much love to all mamas out there!
    http://www.mybabyshungry.com

  42. Thank you Joanna for sharing your experience… I breastfed my older son until he had 10 months and I’m breastfeeding my younger son (he’s almost 7 months). The first week is always very difficult and painful and it takes a lot of courage and love to keep going… I love the sounds that babies make when they see that they’re going to be fed… so adorable!! I also became much less body conscious since breastfeeding… so, if I have to breastfeed in public, I’ll do it without any problem… the trick is to be natural, confident and swift. Kisses Claudia

  43. Such a wonderful post. Loved seeing that my experiences in nursing my daughter are echoed in the post and comments. Would love to hear your views and tips on weaning. My daughter is 15 months old and I’m trying to wean her….although I must admit I’m doing it a bit half-heartedly. We both just love it so much.

  44. I nursed my son until he was almost 14 months old. We had a very difficult start with lots of frustration and tears (on both our parts!), but I was determined to breastfeed and a wonderful lactation consultant helped me do just that. I enjoyed every minute from about 8 weeks on. My daughter is 3 months old, and I was so nervous about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. But she came out and latched right on and I was SO HAPPY! It felt like a miracle! It’s been so easy this time around and I plan on nursing her until she is at least one. She’s at the stage now where she will suddenly stop nursing and look up at me with a huge smile and then go back to feeding, and I just adore those moments so very much! It’s so amazing that our bodies can provide everything our growing babies need!

  45. erin, that is the cutest ever, ahhhh!!!!

  46. “Preparing a formula bottle with love for your child is as equally loving as breastfeeding.” = thank you, anonymous, i TOTALLY agree. all mamas who love their babies are amazing. toby had formula for a few months and i felt just as connected/loving. xo

  47. Great post, all true as I remember… What you didnt mention was the ability to shoot milk across the room without squeezing. Once, my son was crying when I got out of the shower. The letdown made a mess on the bathroom floor! LOL!

  48. Anonymous says...

    Preparing a formula bottle with love for your child is as equally loving as breastfeeding.

    There are so many different types of mamas out there; no way of cutting two alike. Each one does what she can.

  49. To my surprise, breastfeeding has been completely heart-wrenching. I had an emergency c-section and was totally drugged out of my head the first time the nurse tried to get my little one to latch. When he wouldn’t, he became extremely frustrated and started screaming which of course put me over the edge. It’s my first memory of him :( Sadly, nothing got any easier despite several visits from lactation experts and endless, ENDLESS tries over the course of the last month. Whether that was because he was almost ten pounds at birth, or my breasts just wouldn’t cooperate is hard to say. What I do know is that after so many tears shed by both the baby and me, my doctor told me it was time to move on – that the stress wasn’t doing either of us any good. I’ve been pumping as a result so I feel good about that, but can’t help but continue feeling guilty and grieving a little for missing out on the experience. I just never realized that I COULD have trouble, and none of my friends ever seemed to talk about it if they did, so I was unprepared to face such an obstacle. Sigh. I love hearing when other women have great success, but I’ll admit I’m always a little envious :)

  50. I never expected the total joy that would come from breastfeeding my daughter. I’m not a religious person but it was such a spiritual experience feeding this new life with my own body. Bonus: I took the baby weight off in less than 3 months. Sadly, my poor boobs are now smaller than they were before and lopsided. So sad. I miss my big boobs.

  51. My baby boy turns 11 months old tomorrow. My favorite recent thing about breastfeeding is that in the morning when he wakes up, I get him out of his crib and bring him to bed with me and while he nurses he rubs my side. It is the most precious thing, ever.

  52. I was so happy when I got pregnant. Not only because I was having a boy, but because I thought that I would go through the big breast experience. Well, I wasn’t so lucky. My breasts never knew I was pregnant. At least I was able to breastfeed my boy for a little bit.

  53. I never breast fed but i have to tell you my breast fed, but where my breast sore, and Big. Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed. Thanks to my Mom in Ireland, and her old family recipes , she put cabbage leaves on my breasts, for an 20 mins for a week and it worked it really did. Theres something in cabbage leaves that soothes the breasts. I know you’re probably laughing when you read this, but it worked, hey when you’re desperate you’ll try anything right. Enjoy been a Mother, its the most amazing experience , they grow up so fast. If you feel blue at times, don’t ever be afraid to reach out to your friends. All moms know what its like. Best of luck.

  54. I love this post, and it’s so refreshing to discuss with other moms! I am still breastfeeding my son at 4.5 months. I’d like to continue for a year, if I can stick it out pumping at work!

    At first, we had a really hard time. He latched so well and was so hungry, and as a result I was sore and cracked from his voracious appetite. That, plus a c-section recovery, did not make for a good few weeks. But I was determined to do it and I am so glad we stuck it out. I remember feeling the most surprised about how painful breastfeeding was at first, since every lactation nurse kept describing that “gentle tug” and not “intense pain.” They probably just don’t want to scare you away from it!

    My little hungry hippo started some supplemental formula at about 3 months, because I couldn’t pump enough for what he needed once I returned to work. My mom is a nurse and keeps repeating this mantra to me: “As long as you are enjoying your baby, that’s the most important thing for them.” (In other words, a happy bottle-feeding relationship would be better than a miserable breast-feeding relationship.) I am so glad I’ve had that in my head, and hope other moms or moms-to-be can take some comfort from it, too!

  55. Thank you for posting this! I believe that there is such a great need for society to be exposed to breastfeeding and see it as something absolutely normal. I mean, why is it so “normal” to see an infant sucking on a baby bottle with milk from an animal and not normal to see an infant drinking the milk from its human mother? Something’s wrong here, and mothers like you can change that! You’re doing a great job by posting this blog! I had a great experience breastfeeding my two children. My first, I breastfed for 20 months, and my second, for 14 months. It was very difficult breastfeeding the first, but I was determined to fulfill my goal of breastfeeding for at least a year! So glad I did… my children rarely ever get sick! :)

    J’adore La Dolce Vita- Beauty, Wellness, Empowerment:

    http://www.jadoreladolcevita.com

  56. I breast fed all three of my girls to varying degrees. I was only 16 when I had my first daughter and though I tried for several weeks, I would cry every time I had to feed her. I was totally uncomfortable with the whole idea of it and as my mother was not a breastfeeder, I had no support, or knowledge base to draw from. I ended up bottle feeding her from 3 weeks on.
    When I was 18 I had breast reduction surgery and when asked if I would want to breast feed again I said no…BIG mistake. The type of surgery they did meant that all milk ducts were severed and there was no guarantee I would be able to nurse in future. So when I got pregant with baby number two 18 years later I did everthing I could to ensure that I would be able to nurse her. We tried to nurse exclusively but after three weeks she was not growing and it became aparent that she was not getting enough so I started supplementing with a bottle. We tried pumping but this did not produce enough. We managed to keep up the nursing until she was 4 months old and by then she was just frustrated whenever she was on the breast. Going into pregnancy number three we knew so much more. We nursed exclusively for a few days hoping we had made some headway with baby number two but this was not to be. Supplementing was the name of the game. So I nursed first on each side and then bottle fed. This worked out really well, and we managed to get to six months which was my goal. I loved nursing and was devastated when I learned I couldn’t do it exclusiely, but at the end of the day my younger girls got the benefits of nursing and the overall nutrition they needed from the formula.
    Thanks for this post Joanna. Talking about breasts and breast feeding is a great thing!

  57. Not only did I find breastfeeding extremely painful at first (sore nipples, engorged breasts)but I had a very hard time nursing my baby in public. While I was still pregnant, I took encouragement from your posts about public nursing and thought I’d be okay with it…but then I tried it. Oh, the stares and glares I got! It’s possible that people in Oklahoma aren’t comfortable with it like New Yorkers are, or maybe my larger breasts (D-cups pre-baby) attracted the negative attention. Anyway, for the first six months of my baby’s life, I was relegated to skulking around town in 1-2 hour spurts, or if I was out longer than that, stopping at a place like Baby’s R Us so I could cower in a “Mommy’s Room” to feed him.
    That said, those private moments with my son were more precious than anything I’d ever experienced before. I’m very glad I chose to stick with nursing and made it as far as 6 months…actually, it feels like quite a victory for us.

  58. Joanna this post is my favorite to date. Love it.

    I come from a long line of breastfeeding women and didn’t think twice about it when I got pregnant. My lad was born with a tied tongue, and the first week of nursing resulted in the an open wound on the entire underside of my nipple that took two months to heal. But! I had such incredible support from a lactation consultant and her breastfeeding support group that I decided to pump for only one week, and nursed through it until it was healed. Whew. It was frustrating and so painful, especially for that week of pumping. (Kudos to moms who do that! What a feat.) But the support of other women who had similar (or worse!) experiences and still managed to exclusively nurse gave me the courage to keep going.

    Now almost eight months later, my boy is in the 93% for weight and nurses like a pro. So well, in fact, he’s not really taken a liking to solid food yet.

    It really does feel like an accomplishment when I look at how tiny he was when he was born. I’m totally amazed that the whole process works. That my body made food the could thrive on.

    I, like you, have always been flat-chested and having boobs has been a fun advantage. I missed my small boobs at first, but now, I think I might miss these C cups!

    Awesome post. Thanks again for sharing.

  59. #1- that shirt is hilarious…

    And #2, breastfeeding didn’t go so well for us :( My son is now almost 3, and when he was born he was born early and without the rooting reflux they said. So every time I tried to get him to latch he would just cry and literally try to push me away. I pumped and pumped until somehow I just stopped producing enough milk for him. They said it’s really an emotional bond, and pumping sometimes is hard for people, they even recommend smelling a blanket your baby was wrapped in or looking at a photo, etc. to help.

    We stopped at 3 weeks. It was tough! And you know when your baby cries it just POURS out… I remember trying to get him to latch and milk just pouring down my sides. It makes me sad.

    I also think we needed some literature to help steer me in the right direction, I think many times I was engorged and maybe pumping first then trying to latch would have helped us.

    I’m so glad it worked so well for you though, and I highly encourage it! It is an amazing bond, even though it didn’t work out for us. I think we had three successful feedings.

  60. I’m sitting here at 3am breastfeeding my little 5week old, so this is such a timely post!
    Don’t you think it’s quite amazing/weird/miraculous that we actually can PRODUCE our very own milk to feed our child?? Really, it totally blows me away that our child can grow and thrive exclusively from us!

  61. Lucy B says...

    Funny!…I just sat down to breastfeed my son and clicked onto read your blog while I was feeding him. How very apt your Motherhood subject was! Thank you for your (as always) wonderful words…

  62. ahh, the huge breasts — for a little A-cup gal, those days of what felt like D cups were so daunting! I actually had to walk around the house with my shirt unbuttoned during those first days at home. They were ENGORGED and too big for all of my clothes!

    And yes — totally hear you on the spraying across the room. A bit surprised at that feature. And how about the “letting down” of the milk, when I heard somebody ELSE’S baby cry? That freaked me out. So out of control of my body that another woman’s baby could make my milk flow…Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.

    Having watched my weight since puberty, I was delighted to move from the days of “dry toast” to slathering my english muffin with butter and marmalade in the morning and still seeing the pounds drop away.

    I ate like a truck driver — oh, happy days.

  63. guess what i’m doing right now? pumping (holla medela PIS)! my part-time job… powering a baby through your own body alone is addictive! i’ve been back at work since the babe was six weeks (he’s five months now)and am determined to make it to six months EBF or else. in the meantime, my life revolves around my pump, three hour pump/feed schedules (goodbye movies, meetings, general life activities), piles of herbal supplements and one handed typing. but i wouldn’ trade the convenience for the cost of formula, i mean experience and benefits for henry and me.

  64. Honestly, Breast feeding was a horrible experience for me. I love my son and wanted everything for him but i could only breast feed for a month. It hurt internally and externally and it hurt ALL the time. Not just while i was breast feeding him. I pumped some times and the first time i put a bottle in his mouth I balled my eyes out. For many reasons. I got mastitis, depression, and the worst case of cracked nipple I have ever heard of. The bonding with my son didn’t exist because he was hurting me so bad I had thoughts of hurting him back. That’s when i knew i needed to consider other options. I continued to pump but the milk wasn’t coming in as much and my life consisted of feeding and pumping….. Finally i gave in to formula. If i could do it all over again i would try to breast feed, but unfortunately its not a reality for all mothers.

  65. Can I just say that I’m the opposite of you…..in that…I would LOVE to experience small boobs for a day (or longer)! I’m a 32 D and have been basically since I hit puberty (okay, maybe not D, but I was a C in high school)….I come from big breasted women….not that I’m complaining, but sometimes I think small chested women are so much luckier! You can wear certain things that if I was to put on, I’d just look like a street walker. Anyway, it’s one of those grass is greener on the other side things, isn’t it? =)

    Shan <><

  66. i exclusively breastfed my daughter still 6 months. then when i introduced her to solids she was not ready. so i just continued to nurse her till she was 1 and just tried to offer her new foods. at 1yrs. old she began eating and still wanted to nurse. so i conitnued. at 19 months of still nursing she one day decided to be done and no longer wanted it. it was the best time in my life and i cherished every moment nursing her for so long! yay for breastfeeding! its truly the best for baby and mama!

  67. Anonymous says...

    Love this post! I am a exclusively breastfeeding mama and so appreciate the positive boob love! It is such an amazing experience every mother should have. Not to mention the crazy good benefits for our little ones. I have such a new appreciation for my body now, all thanks to my wonderful boobs!

    – Sheena

  68. Nina says...

    I felt a bit silly checking you boobs out but thought of all the others that do exactly the same :) Great post! I am not a mother yet but your series here has me wanting to become one within a few years.

  69. Love this post–I too, loved the boob side of having a baby! However, I really hated breastfeeding, in spite of the fact that my son latched on just fine. I had a lactation consultant and everything, but it just didn’t take. Just want to mention that to encourage all you out there who may not be wild about breastfeeding. I pumped and bottle fed for 6 months. It was a lot of work, but SO worth it as a workable alternative. Joanna, thanks for the book recommendation. I’m going to give bf another try with baby #2 and am excited to read this. Love your blog and so enjoy MM posts (my husband and I had fun discussing the kissing baby on the mouth post! :-) ).

  70. loved the post! i am currently breastfeeding, and while at times challenging, it is truly my favorite thing! i love it! i love the bond i feel with my daughter, love that it has nurtured and grown her into a chubby little baby, love the effects it’s had on my body. love love love. i, too, am fortunate to be able to breastfeed.

  71. thanks so much for sharing your intimate story! it was so special to read. I nursed my daughter until she was 18 months old. I was so determined to breastfeed my daughter and so nervous about it throughout my whole pregnancy that i hired a doula/lactation consultant to be with me for 2 weeks after i gave birth (to get it right). (well.. nervousness comes from the fact that no one in my family has breastfed before).

    it was the most bonding and special time of my life. the only reason i weaned her at 18 months was because i was trying to get pregnant and i think breastfeeding was hindering my fertile hormones to work : )

    i also read your birth story! ok, i cried. and i shared it with my husband (esp. the quote your husband used “our son is coming into this work because of you”.. and he even admitted it “wow, that’s good.. i got to use that next time” lol)

    thanks joanna!

  72. This post is fantastic. I just finished nursing my 2nd child. She just turned 1. We were lucky as nursing came very easy for me and both of my girls. I work full time outside of the home and so the darn pump was glued to my side (making me look like a bag lady carrying my laptop bag, purse, pump, and lunch each day to work). I absolutely loved nursing. It was such an amazing experience for me to bond with both of my girls. The side effect of a large chest and burning calories were just added bonuses!
    I’m semi-back to my normal chest size (kind of waiting for the empty bags to fill back up with texture).
    One thing you didn’t mention was the emotional stress some mothers endure after they quit nursing? Just curious if any other mothers felt super emotional, had ups-and-down, crying for no reason, etc.? I’ve definitely been going through this (just hit my one month completed nursing mark) and I also realized I went through this with my first child. There’s a feeling of guilt for quitting (even though I went a year) because I feel like my baby misses it (although she’s just fine). There’s also sadness just knowing I may never experience this again….
    Ugh..

  73. Yay for boobs! I didn’t have the best nursing experience with my twin who were preemies and spent some time in the NICU, so when I got pg again 7 years later (surprise!) I didn’t know what to expect. It turns out that my ttiny, local hospital wholeheartedly supports BF – no formula sponsored diaper bags and other parting gifts. Complimentary follow up visits with a Board Certified Lactation Consultant. And my saving grace, a weekly support group of BF Mom’s lead by the LC. We even have a Facebook group! I joke that I am going to nurse Scout until she is a teenager so I can keep going to group. I am proud to be a BF, baby wearing, bed sharing momma :) These days go by so fast and I am going to enjoy every minute of it…even though I have mastitis right now and that kind of sucks…

  74. Alexis says...

    Thanks for such an open, honest post.
    In the days leading up to my son’s birth, I put a TON of pressure on myself to breastfeed. I just SO wanted it to work out. Luckily, it did and 13 months later, I’m still nursing and slowly weaning. My son’s 1st night home was a huge test- he screamed all night like he was in pain. My husband and I called the dr. and we were instructed to give him a tiny bit of formula. We did. He slept for 3 straight hours. He had been starving, my milk hadn’t come in yet, and I felt like such a failure. Luckily, it worked out but wow- that was stressful.
    I love #5- it’s so true and so nice to provide that kind of happiness to your baby. Something that suprised me?…the feeling of let-down. So weird at first.

  75. My experience of breastfeeding (and the birthing process as well) can be summed up as an inverse relationship between humility and modesty. Humility, up; modesty down!

  76. Thank you so much for this post. As a woman inching closer to feeling brave enough to try for a baby, your words are very reassuring and honest in the best way.

  77. With my first it took at least 6 weeks of hour long feedings to get it down. I was determined to stick with it! It all worked out and I nursed her for 10 months! My second latched on from day one and we too made it 10 months! Overall it’s such a wonderful thing to nurse your baby and I am so glad you wrote about it here. So many people get heebie jeebies about it. I think it’s natural and can be done tastefully as well! Love your blog.

  78. so amazing to read all of these stories and hear the variety of experiences. i think we all put a bit too much pressure on ourselves.
    with my son, eliot, nursing started out so easy and lovely. i assumed i’d nurse for at least a year… then at 2 months he started exhibiting symptoms of milk protein allergy and GERD. so much spitting up and crying! we struggled through 2.5 more months, while i pursued a no-diary and no-soy diet (and lost a significant amount of weight). going back to my full-time job was the real clincher. i just could not work, pump, stick to this insane diet and be a normal, happy human being!
    we weaned around 4 months, and eliot was happy to drink formula and have cuddles with us afterwards. he is a big, beautiful boy and i have no regrets.
    except that by boobs are now even smaller than they were pre-pregnancy… and I didn’t start out with a whole lot :-) i do still like looking at them post-shower and reminding myself that they served such an amazing, essential purpose. i love them!

  79. Oh yes! You are right on there! I loved how they were so content when they were nursing. Such sweetness. :)

    I had a great experience with my kids, but I did’t last as long. I work in an office, so I had to pump when I went back to work at 3 months. That gets old pretty quick. I did 6 months for my son and 8 months for my daughter, but I had milk stored in the freezer for a few weeks/month past that. I could produce milk like nobody’s business LOL! I have always been an avid water drinker, so I think that helped. I also lost all the baby weight by about 4 months with the nursing, healthy diet (lots of whole grains, veggies, etc.) and exercise. My husband said the best I ever looked was between nursing and pregnant with #2 (that lasted all of 2 months!). I still had the nursing boobs and I went under my pre-pregnancy weight since I was burning so many calories. I recommended it to all my friends, to at least give it a shot.

  80. What a sweet post! I adore your complete openness about breasts! (Nobody EVER talks about #3, but come on, we must have all been totally surprised and even a little cracked up by that one)

    You are lucky that you had such a great, easy experience with nursing. My experience was a total disaster. My little guy had a lot of trouble latching and I was in pain for the whole two months I nursed. Then on top of that, he would projectile vomit pretty much all the milk he consumed all over me when we were done. He would also have frequent fits of screaming. It was terrible. Add on how delicate I was feeling as a new mom recovering from a c-section, and I took it all pretty personally. After 2 months I found out a friend of mine had the exact same experience and lactose-free formula was the answer. We tried it out and my son stopped the projectile vomiting and endless screaming fits at night. While it was an expensive 10 months, and I struggled with some guilt over the whole ordeal, it made us a much happier family. I’m hoping that our future children won’t have the same problem!

  81. This post was so sweet and hilarious! I totally understand all of your points, as I have just finished the breastfeeding stage after almost nine months. I thought that I would be very uncomfortable with breastfeeding, but I have loved every moment of it, EXCEPT for the sever scratches across my chest. I promise, my son is Wolverine. Thanks for sharing!

  82. My daughter is 8 months old and I’m breastfeeding. During the day I pump, nurse in the evening/night, and send her to daycare with little milksicles in the morning that her caregivers thaw and feed her with.

    When my milk came in it was excruciating – but only for a few days – and mostly because somehow that situation was not something I was educated on, so when it happened, I was completely unprepared and was playing catch-up learning what I was supposed to do to ease the pain and engorgement! So that wasn’t great.

    Otherwise, I’m relieved to say that breastfeeding has been so easy for me! After hearing so many horror stories, I feel incredibly lucky that my daughter needed very little adjustment with latching and everything’s been great – no chapped, cracked, bleeding nipples – I’ve had a little soreness on occasion, but really nothing to complain about. It’s been fantastic. And the way she gets so excited to nurse is incredibly adorable!

    I was hoping to nurse for two years, but I’ve heard that nursing can make getting pregnant a little more difficult, which isn’t great for me since I’m older – 38 now – so it’s already a little harder for me to get pregnant than it would have been a few years ago. So I’m thinking about weaning her at one year so that we can start trying for a second child. That said, she’s eating more solids now and I feel like my milk production is slowing. I’m probably just adjusting to what she needs, but just in case, I just started drinking a cup of “Milkmaid” tea a night that’s supposed to increase milk production. I don’t know if it’s helping of not. Wish me luck :)

  83. Ahh, nursing. I too become enormously thirsty when I nurse and pump. I had twins my first pregnancy and since they were born five weeks early I couldn’t nurse them right away so I just pumped and well, ended up pumping for 18 months. I had LOADS of milk and I lost LOADS of weight. I miss the miracle of my pumping metabolism. I had a baby girl nine months ago and was not prepared for the pain, anguish, and challenge of actually nursing a baby! Even with a c-section my milk came in the DAY I delivered and my body wanted to feed TWO babies. I was engorged nearly immediately and my baby was tongue tied so I suffered nipple tears that took 13 LONG weeks to heal. I thought I would die on occasion. The weight also did not come off like it did pumping for two but now that I can nurse without pain–I adore that time with my baby and already I mourn the time when I will no longer nurse her.

  84. H says...

    It is truly a joy. I am nursing my second baby and love it. Our bond is unshakable. I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans in no time. What’s not to love about that?
    I tear up a little seeing your little Toby nursing in the hospital photos because I remember both my girls at that time. The first time you hold your baby and the first time they latch on to eat is just euphoric and magic! Motherhood gives my life such meaning.

  85. Sarah says...

    Love this post! You are too funny. I’m also so much less shy about boobs now that I’ve breastfed. Funny how you suddenly lose your inhibitions and realize that they are just boobs- nothing to get too worked up about for heaven’s sake!
    I breastfed each of my two children. Nursed my son for 2 1/2 years, stopping when I reached my 2nd trimester with my daughter. I just weaned my daughter last month– she’ll be turning 3 in two weeks. Before kids I would never have imagined that I would have breastfed for so long. My “plan” was to nurse for 12-18 months. But, it was such a natural, loving experience and it felt so right that we kept going. I’ve actually considered looking into training as a lactation counselor. If I had to do it over again, I think I might have gone to nursing school to become a lactation consultant. Something I would never have considered before I had kids of my own. I never had any major issues, although it was uncomfortable, exhausting, and at times frustrating at first. I learned much more from Dr. Sears’ Breastfeeding Book than the lactation consultant in the hospital, who was NO help at all. I give his book as baby shower gift now to those moms who I know will be breastfeeding.

  86. Ok, I have no children, but eventually I do want them. I definitely plan on trying to breast feed. Question for all of you moms…this may sound a little superficial…but I really like my B cups right now and I’m wondering if they’ll be saggy if I breast feed. What’s your experience?

  87. oh, I always read your blog but I rarely comment. I had to comment on this one!

    My baby is almost 10 months old and I just stopped breastfeeding. It was so hard in the beginning that I almost gave up, I ended up visiting lactation speacialist (!!!) and paying loads of money but if not for her, I would have not made 4 weeks of breastfeeding. The PAIN was worst than the labor and my nipples were distroyed and cracked and for first 3 weeks I was pumping day and night to keep the milk supply, I also didnt know what to do with the huge boobs, it felt uncomfortable and unsexy, my baby girl also refused to eat from the left breast until I figured out one and only position where she would eat from that breast as well (which left me with 2 different size boobs!!!). Three month into breastfeeding and we finally tuned in and (both) started enjoying it.

    http://flic.kr/p/9dFEvb

    http://flic.kr/p/9vEmzA

    As soon as I got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I never expected it to be so hard and painful!

    oh, and now I have stopped my boobs look quite sad…:( like empty sacks (sory for/if TMI). I hope they will recover. I am wondering how they will end up looking if I ever have another baby.

  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. Joanna,
    I love this post and I really look forward to Motherhood Mondays! I am breastfeeding my 5 month old right now and truly love everything about it, although it’s hard at times because my baby refuses the bottle, so I can’t really get away for long at all! One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet which is another great benefit to breastfeeding is how helpful it can be during immunizations. After my daughter gets her shots (and we’re spreading them out so there are TONS!) she screams her head off in pain (poor babe!), and all I have to do is whip out my boob and comfort nurse her and the crying stops. I was wondering what it would be like for her after shots if I was not breastfeeding. Obviously she would eventually stop crying, but I do believe it’s a bit less traumatic because she gets calmed so quickly with the boob. Add it to the list of benefits to breastfeeding!

  90. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  91. I really loved reading this, thank you. I remember when my daughter would be so excited to eat she would do little karate chops and make sucking noises. She’s 5 months now, and doesn’t do the chops, but I love the little smile on her face she gets when she knows what’s coming.

    P.S. I also have a huge water bottle on my nightstand and with me at all times.

  92. When I found out that my first baby was actually going to be my first THREE babies breast feeding was one of the biggest concerns I had. Here’s a long and detailed blog post I wrote about it after my triplets were born: http://www.threeleggedrace.us/category/breastfeeding/

    (I’ve loved getting to experience what its like to actually have boobs too! This month is my last month of pumping though and I’m a little worried about getting the dreaded “pancake boobs”. Did yours go back to “normal” or are they very different than pre-baby?)