Motherhood

Motherhood Mondays: On Boobs

Cup of Jo has been running for 13 years (!) so we’ve decided that now and again, we’ll be highlighting one of the most popular posts from the past. Here’s one of our favorites, originally published on August 8, 2011.

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! 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 bigger 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, and the depression I experienced after weaning.

  1. Tracey says...

    I’ve been thinking about this post and the comments for a few days. So many of the comments feel so similar to how I feel about the failings of my own body and how that can affect or deprive others because of my limitations. I’ve been working through my ableism for a while now but this really has me thinking, can any one body do it all? Not even all at once, we know that is a myth, but can any singular body do all the things we ever want it to? Some bodies walk, others need wheels. Some bodies see, others need glasses, some bodies carry babies, others need a surrogate, some bodies feed babies, others need formula.

    I accept (and experience) that the shortcomings of a body can be devastating but I do wonder about this shame – I think that the women of generations past who watched their babies perish for something out of their control would have hoped we’d be celebrating the science of formula but instead we nourish the babies and still carry the shame, even though the babies lived. It’s all out of whack, bodies don’t always do all the things – we need to normalize this so we can grieve and process our losses without the shame and all consuming sense of personal failure.

  2. Fiona says...

    Like so many other mamas on this thread, my son’s newborn feeding issues and thus my experience with trying to feed him breastmilk was a journey filled with tears, frustration and exhaustion for both of us. I will forever be so grateful to my son’s wonderful pediatrician who took the time to call me after reading a lactation consult note to ask what was going on and then expressed “This sounds stressful. I want you to know as his pediatrician that formula is good.” Those words gifted me time to actually bond with my son instead of the breast pump, essential sleep, and self-care. It also helped me have healthy expectations of myself as a mother—the start of realizing that what is good for me is good for him, knowing that I will always be doing MY best for him.

  3. Lina says...

    I never realized how difficult and frustrating BF is before giving birth. First of all, the culture currently really pushes BF, including nurses at the hospital. Second, my baby (and many others, I presume) had a lot of difficulty latching and was starving. So, we tried to do a combo of bottle and pumping (till we could get him back on the breast), which failed. He’s currently bottle fed and I am still working thru feeling guilty and debating trying to relactate. Also, pumping is SO hard – you truly then have no time to yourself in the new born phase.

    • Darcee says...

      Please don’t feel guilty! I morned this with my first for SO long, and now she is a happy, healthy, 5 year old who I feel plenty attached to. The pressure surrounding breast feeding is not healthy for moms who breastfeeding just doesn’t work for. Your baby just needs someone to love him and hold him and feed him in whatever way is best for him. Sending my love and understanding as you’re going through this!

    • Ellen says...

      Fed is best. I know it’s difficult not to feel guilty about issues with breastfeeding, but know that you’re trying your best and your baby is doing well no matter how they’re fed. I’m really proud of you, stranger friend. You’re doing great.

  4. I stopped breastfeeding when my baby was 9.5 months, and man do I miss those milk jugs :).

    • Carolyn says...

      I was just going to comment on this, Grace!
      Joanna-You’re SO with the times (in the best possible way)! LOL
      I felt so heard and empowered when I watched that Ad. Good on Frida for representing such an important and overlooked perspective.
      BOOBS ROCK!!

  5. Lauren says...

    While preparing to have my son almost two years ago, I remember hearing that breastfeeding could be “hard,” but had no real context for that meant. I am here to say that “hard” can be an understatement and no word can truly capture what the experience can be like for some new moms. After weeks of working with a lactation consultant, using a supplemental feeding system, trying numerous nipple shields, taking my newborn to numerous physical therapy and chiropractor appointments, pumping way too many times a day, and supplementing with formula all while dealing with the madness that is postpartum hormone fluctuations, I was finally able to breastfeed my son by the time he was 6 weeks old. It cost a lot of money, took up most of my time and mental energy, and really brought me to the brink. Once we finally got into a rhythm, I did enjoy the experience of breastfeeding, but I can’t say that it was truly worth all of that sacrifice. I tried in vain to find a blog post or article that would essentially give me permission to quit trying, but I never found anything that spoke to me. So if you need to hear it, I am here to say that if you are struggling to breastfeed, especially now while living during a pandemic where many of the services I turned to might not be available, you do not have to continue to sacrifice your mental health and wellbeing. Find a way to feed your baby that works best for you and don’t let anyone judge you for your choices. Breastfeeding, pumping, formula – at the end of the day, a fed and happy baby is the goal. Be kind to yourself and others – we are all trying to do our best! xx 

    • Heidi says...

      Hear hear! I couldn’t get the hang of it either and rented a super dooper double breast pump. Honestly, it was like a big generator. Best thing I did! I figured it was more important to get the breast milk into them than having them latch on and this way it worked and I was able to feed them for 6 months, which one bottle feed top up before bed. Now they’re 10 years old and eating me out of house and home! Haha!

    • Erin says...

      I want to second the comment that you have permission to quit if it’s not working out. With my first child, Indid everything I could; worked with 4 different lactation consultants, read every book, went to weekly classes, tried every shield and cookie. The lactation consultants kept telling me it doesn’t hurt… well it did! So much so that I started crying and having panic attacks during feeding times. I didn’t want to hold or interact with my baby because breastfeeding sucked so much. Finally, when my daughter was 3 months old, my wonderful doctor told me to quit. She said formula is great and it’s more important for me to bond with my baby than breastfeed. That was the best day of my life. Quitting was great and completely changed my relationship with my daughter. A few years later, when my son was born, I tried for 2 weeks before giving up. If I have a third child, I’m not even trying.

      Breastfeeding is sold as this magical, wonderful thing. We are told if we don’t breastfeed we are bad moms or our children will be unhealthy. The pressure is immense and I fear this article could add to that pressure.

      I just want to tell anyone who is struggling that quitting is ok and your baby will be fine. My kids are smart and healthy!

    • Hil says...

      AMEN to this. My biggest regret of my breastfeeding journey is that I continued to pump around the clock for MONTHS despite having barely any milk supply. The formula guilt was so real that I thought I had to eek out any drop of breast milk that I could. In hindsight, it wasn’t worth it, and my son and I would both have been happier had I stopped clinging to the idea that breast is best. It wasn’t in our case!

      (Also … the often overlooked advantage of formula is that it allows your partner to play an equal role in those early days, which can set the tone for the parenting dynamic going forward. A truly feminist choice, if you ask me!)

  6. Lauren E. says...

    I’m 15 weeks pregnant and this article made me weep at my desk. I am just so excited for every moment of this journey.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations, Lauren!!!

  7. Kate says...

    I didn’t breastfeed. Not because I had issues or anything…I did not want to. I’m beyond grateful that I made that choice and stood strong against some of the comments. 8 years later, my lovely son has needed antibiotics for illness one time only when he was 8 months old, is rarely sick and is extremely intelligent. Oh, and we are very well bonded. For any moms out there who aren’t sure, there are many many other ways to ensure the best path for your child. Breastfeeding is not necessary.

    • CEW says...

      I mean… it depends what you mean by “necessary.” We just happen to have invented a way around it.

    • Claire says...

      Thank you for saying this Kate!! We can just not want to!

    • Hil says...

      Thanks for this, Kate! I totally agree that breastfeeding is a choice and not the best one for all families. This needs to be discussed more.

  8. Kayla says...

    I’m presently childfree but curious – at what point do your boobs become your own again? Like when do they feel more like sexual objects again? I just can’t imaging having a baby latched on there, feels like it would ruin boob-related sex lol.

    • Olive says...

      I’ve always been curious about this too! We’d like to have a kid in the next 2-3 years, but the idea of breastfeeding has always been distressingly unappealing to me. I’m a very reserved person who hates being touched for prolonged periods, and I’m already resentful about how difficult pregnancy is going to be because of that (and how I’ll be the sole bearer of the burden!). As soon as it’s over, I want to reclaim as much of myself as I can, especially since I’ll understandably be giving up so many other things (sleep, hobbies, travel, friendships, etc).

    • Lisa P says...

      Up until my first was born, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. And then, I nursed both kids until they were two. I reached a point with both kids where I could not nurse another day and we stopped. Now, five years since I’ve last nursed, it seems like a weird memory and I can’t imagine ever having to nurse again. Ha. I feel like it took at least a year to reclaim not just my books, but my body, as mine.

    • Katey says...

      Hi Kayla, it depends. Some nursing parents feel powerful because of their ability to make food and feed their child. That feeling of power makes them feel sexier. Others might feel ambivalent about their breasts during and after breastfeeding. Others might feel grossed out because society doesn’t show us moments of erotic longing for anything but youthful breasts and their’s no longer appear youthful. Others might feel sad because breastfeeding was hard, painful, demoralizing, etc. Pick a feeling, it applies to someone’s relationship to their breasts.

      Consider this, though. Men have one major sex organ. It is mostly used to pass urine. I’m guessing almost nobody is having second thoughts about the penis’s standing as a sexual object. Boobs pass milk. They are still hot.

    • Agnès says...

      I breastfed for more than a year and it shows! (Also, i was 42). But, sexy doesn t belong to breasts, it s in your confidence and desire.

    • debbie says...

      For me at least, as long as I am breastfeeding my boobs are the least sexy part of my body–if they are not actively in pain, they’re uncomfortably engorged or just tired of being hauled out of my shirt several times a day. A few months after I was no longer pregnant or nursing the feeling of them as a sexual part of the body slowly returned. (also as a busty person, having them bigger than normal didn’t make me feel sexier, it just felt…maternal. Not in a bad way, but not in a sexy way.)

    • Michele says...

      I also wonder about this constantly and I am a mom who has recently weaned her baby! I didn’t read Kayla’s comment as suggesting that breastfeeding boobs are not sexy (I’m sure many partners would vehemently suggest otherwise) – my own look different postpartum and postbreastfeeding/weaning butI still think they look… like boobs? Sometimes I think my body is super hot sometimes I don’t. For me it’s more that I don’t respond sexually anymore to breast-stimulation specifically, and I think a big part of that is mental. Now that my daughter is here and has spent so much time with my boobs and breastfeeding I struggle to see them from a sexual perspective and in fact the idea makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong (even though I know I’m not). So curious if anyone else has gone through this and if you did gain back that aspect of sex? Because I would love to!

  9. R says...

    I very recently got a breast augmentation, a direct response to breastfeeding two babies and having very small boobs to begin with. It was a very tricky and tumultuous decision and I’m honestly still grappling with all of the complexities and implications of the entire thing. What it means about my self image, acceptance, confidence. Do I feel ashamed because it goes against what mothers do to gift themselves something so vain as this? I didn’t find any research or writing on this unique perspective but I have found that this is a very common driver for the surgery.

    • Sal says...

      Hey there, I wanted to say that I’ve been considering a breast augmentation too. I was very much at peace with my very small boobs but now, 3 years after I finished breastfeeding (I loved breastfeeding!) they feel sad and deflated and my nipples point straight down. It’s frustrating to feel trapped in the perky young boobs= sexy boobs paradigm but I’ve internalized it to the point that I am embarrassed by my boobs. They are not sexy to me. I haven’t found much written about other people’s experiences. Is there anything else you’re willing to share?
      Thanks!!

  10. Daria says...

    I decided not to breastfeed and I never regretted it except the first couple of days… (also, nice side effect: my breasts are just the way they used to be before pregnancy, AND my husband was doing half the job). I really wanted to feel like me again, as soon as possible!

    I mean, yes, if in a better world we had the possiblity to do “recreational breastfeeding”, like just once a day, at night, and it would not hurt or alter your body in any way, then heck yes! But otherwise, good for her, not for me :-)

  11. Emma says...

    When I was reading your bit about wearing chicken fillets on your wedding day, there was a supermarket advert in the side bar for actual chicken fillets!!! Hahahahaha!

  12. Sarah K says...

    I loved breastfeeding and this post actually brought back many happy and fun memories. I hope it helps new moms too- I was also surprised by the strength of the spray. My most embarassing breastfeeding experience was when I was feeding my baby in a cramped economy class seat on an airplane and then she pulled off suddenly. I sprayed the long sleeved shirt of the guy sitting next to me (his arm was on the divider in between seats). I still don’t know if he noticed or not but neither of us said anything.

  13. I’m reading this while breastfeeding my almost 4 month old, and can say that while it is a lot of work, it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. Does anyone else feel weirdly powerful that they have the power to feed and grow an entire human? I had a traumatic birth that landed me a c-section and a lot of bad feelings about my body, but seeing my little one grow as I feed her every day has really restored my confidence in myself and my body. I’ll never forget these exhausting wonderful months I’ve spent cuddled up feeding my little girl.

  14. Courtenay says...

    I loved that breast feeding was the one thing that I alone could provide for my babies. No one else could do that for them, just me. My second, and last baby, nursed until she was just over 2 years old. Now that she is almost 3 years old she’ll sometimes look at me and say “me have little bit mama’s milk, please?”. Every time it puts the biggest smile on my face knowing that she took such comfort in nursing.

    Thanks for this post! Love sharing and reading the comments :)

    • Isabella says...

      I nursed my son until he was 2 1/2-ish — although in the latter months it was really just a little snuggle-snack first thing in the morning. Now he’s five, and he still remembers nursing, which I think is rad! We struggled a lot in the first six months or so, and I knew he was going to be my only child, so once we got the hang of it and it got easy I was like, let’s just keep doing this!

  15. Jessica says...

    I am currently pregnant with my second and am still breastfeeding my first. She is a serious booby-baby, loves it so much, and I enjoy it too so I want to keep going as long as she does. But I’m very nervous about the demands of breastfeeding a newborn while still being able to provide something for my toddler. Has anyone else here been in this situation? Any advice? For context, I really didn’t struggle with breastfeeding my first, we got the hang of it quick and never had any issues.

    • Kathy says...

      Hi Jessica – I did this. For context, my kids are 2.5 years apart and I had 4 months of maternity leave, which made it seem doable.

      It became very difficult and uncomfortable late in pregnancy – I was hot and swollen and my back always hurt, so getting my older child in a comfortable position seemed impossible, and then sitting still in that uncomfortable position would really wear on me. But I didn’t want to wean her right before the baby came because that seemed like too many huge changes at once. And then I ultimately kept nursing her after the new baby came for about 6 months. She was really only nursing at bedtime by that point (I phased out the morning feeding during pregnancy, but she was very attached to the bedtime feeding).

      It was great in some ways – bonding with both of them, not feeling like I was taking something away from my eldest, not having to wash bottles daily (!!), quicker for soothing the new baby in the middle of the night because preparing a bottle while a baby wails can feel like it takes hours….but it was also so so draining and time consuming. Its hard to explain how much energy and patience it requires. And I really missed the feeling of bodily autonomy. And my new baby was not a big fan of nursing (he had some stomach issues, and just wasn’t a “booby-baby” as you called it =) ) so nursing him was never very relaxing.

      Like so many things about being a parent, its a trade off and everyone weighs the pros and cons differently. I hesitate to ever give parenting advice, because truly I am just winging it and barely holding it all together most days. But I liked involving my older kid in nursing my baby. I would ask her to come “help” me because she was such a good nurser. So she would come look at the latch and snuggle with us. And I would ask her to tell “her” baby all about nursing (and other kid things), so she would feel special and involved. I would also often tell my youngest (loudly for my older child’s benefit) that I couldn’t nurse him right now because I had to help his big sister with xyz. Even though the baby couldn’t understand me and was probably very pissed about having to wait two more minutes, it signaled to my eldest that I still belonged to her too.

      Congratulations on the new baby! I hope the transition goes smoothly.
      = D

    • Jessica says...

      Thank you for your generous and insightful response Kathy. It’s reassuring to hear others experiences, especially when it’s hard. I like the way you approached this, especially with getting your toddler involved. Your advice is very much appreciated.

  16. rachel simmons says...

    I feel fortunate to say I’ve nursed both my babies! Currently still nursing my 5 month old son, and I love it so much it hurts. I was nursing him the other morning, it was sunny and quiet and I turned the radio off and just listened to him breath and suckle, I ran my fingers thru his white blonde hair and tears streamed down my face. I have a 5 yr old little girl and I just appreciate his baby-ness so much more because I know how fast it goes. I also just felt so strongly that I don’t want to quit nursing him *anytime* soon. what a gift. <3

  17. Christin says...

    Needed this today….especially the comment about feeling drained afterward. I’m 8 mo into breastfeeding my 2nd. Feels harder the second time around. Maybe because I have a 3 year old. But already sad thinking about when this experience will be over.

  18. L says...

    I was working with an aversion in myself and a tongue tie in my baby and I quit after week 3 because… I didn’t want to nurse anymore! And that is a perfectly valid reason for making a baby feeding choice. Every family choice is a cost/benefit analysis for each member, and moms are members of the family too.

  19. Emily says...

    breastfeeding is pretty amazing, but i’m looking forward to my boobs becoming erogenous parts again. maybe other couples feel differently, but lactating is not that sexy for my husband and i, and so the boobs have been no-go zone for so long! :( :(

  20. Nicole says...

    How timely- reading this as I breastfeed my 6 week old son. I have now breastfed 3 babies- the first was horrific (SO painful), the second easy, and this one semi-painful but ok now. My boobs have been small, enormous, and I imagine, even smaller and deflated after I finish with this kiddo. But how amazing to keep a kid alive with breasts alone! Also, cheers to science for creating formula, which is also great for keeping babies fed:)

    I would say to new moms- don’t put too much pressure on yourself (easier said than done). Sometimes, despite trying everything, breastfeeding won’t work out and you may be devastated but your baby will be OK! Lactation consultants can be an enormous help, but I also encountered a few that felt bullying. You will put enough pressure on yourself- don’t let others compound that.

  21. Julee says...

    I was able to breastfeed all four of my babies and like you, was simply amazed at the whole process.
    The day each of my babies decided to wean was like a death almost- a huge loss. I felt so important and close to my children when I was able to feed them. It was a very raw, bonding, animal instinct for me.

  22. J says...

    Breastfeeding is amazing! And so is not breastfeeding! For any parent who is struggling with being unable to breast/chestfeed or chooses not to, take comfort in knowing that your baby will still look at you doe-eyed when you come to them with a bottle of their beloved formula or pumped breast milk. They will still stare deep into your eyes as they take their bottle, as you memorize one another’s faces. Your breasts/chest will still provide the safest and most comfortable place in the world where they will curl up and fall asleep to the sound of your heart beat. They’ll never remember how they were fed, but they’ll know deep inside them that they were loved beyond measure and that their tummies were always full.

    • Emily says...

      So beautiful, thank you :)

    • Toni says...

      J – this is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  23. Charlotte says...

    You should do a post on Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT). It’s where a new mom doesn’t produce any milk, or if they do, it’s a a microsupply (less than an ounce a day). It’s biological, and there’s really not much that can be done to correct it.

    Most women (and even some doctors) have never heard of it, but it affects about 5% of the population. I wish the teacher in my pre-baby lactation class had discussed it – it would have saved me a lot of heartache, especially when receiving unhelpful advice from well-meaning family, friends, and practitioners.

    • Jay says...

      Yes. Very true. This does happen to many women and knowing this would mean not thinking it is all a question of knowing how to breastfeed ( position in which the baby must be held etc) and mot understanding that your baby is crying simply because he is hungry…

  24. Elisabetta says...

    Hi,
    I’ve had so many different kinds of breastfeeding experiences with my two kids, and like many, I will advocate for patience, even if it doesn’t come easily at first. My milk didn’t come in for two weeks with my first baby, and with my second, I had totally bruised nipples for the first two months, which finally cleared up after I gave in and saw a lactation consultant (worth every cent of the $350, as I needed a prescription cream and the comfort of her support).
    I just wanted to offer a really random thing I learned about breastmilk. I got a lot of hand eczema after both babies were born (?!) and the only thing I found that could soothe my hands was. . . soaking them in breastmilk! I would pour the pumped milk into a bowl and then soak my hands, and it truly was the most calming and healing thing. It just occurred to me one day to try it, as I knew breastmilk had such fortifying properties, and it worked.
    Good luck to everyone, and always remember: no matter the path you take, you are a rockstar!

    • Amanda says...

      So weird – I’ve never had hand eczema before but I’ve got some now, 12 days after birthing my first kiddo. I’d try the breast milk but my supply is so small that I’m loathe to use it for anything other than baby, lol.

  25. Alice says...

    I had sore boobs for almost the first month, but am so glad I persisted! We are at 13 months now and I hope to go to about 2 years. I made plentiful use of the breastfeeding specialist at the hospital, and signed up for the free at-home nurse visit; both helped me figure out ways to manage and minimize the discomfort, and I seriously credit them with helping me keep going. Make use of your resources, don’t be shy!

    Of course not every breastfeeding session is a beautiful, spiritual experience, but I really enjoy the quiet moment of closeness it provides, especially as my baby gets older, more active, and less reliant on breast milk (though I remember at first breastfeeding felt like all I did all day, and was pretty sick of it at times!).

  26. I’ve also been small chested for most of my life, so my pregnancy/breastfeeding boobs took me by complete surprise. I remember looking in the mirror the day my milk came in, wailing, “I look monstrous!” and bursting into tears. I’d suddenly gone from an A-cup to boobs bigger than my baby’s head. It was shocking! (And I was very hormonal.)

    Luckily both my hormones and my milk supply evened out, and I got to the point where I could enjoy my temporary bustiness. The day I realized my son had stopped breastfeeding, I immediately put on a low cut top and texted a selfie of my breastfeeding boobs to a friend. Just to memorialize my impressive rack before it vanished.

  27. I loved this post! It’s been a long time since I breastfed my son and you brought back so many of my emotions and the sensations.
    My son was in the NICU for the first few days of his life and was fed via a tube in his nose. By the time we were ready to try breastfeeding, my breasts were enormous! And painful. He couldn’t latch on and it was exhausting. He and I were frustrated. We did have some laughs with the nurses who tried to cram a breast into his mouth. Finally, a nurse brought it a breast pump, sucked out enough milk that there was some flexibility in my breast and it could be shaped a little. Once I was no longer trying to insert a blimp into a tiny baby’s mouth, my son got a mouthful and decided that it was the greatest thing ever. We were good to go from that moment on and I nursed him for almost two years. The best!

    • Julee says...

      Awwww I love stories like this.
      So glad you got to share that with your baby 🤗

  28. Allie says...

    What a timely article. I’m due with my second in less than 2 weeks. I had a wonderful (and lucky, I know) experience nursing my first. However, I’m somehow so freaked out about doing it again! I’m hoping it’ll all come back to me and this baby will be as good of a nurser as my older child.

  29. D says...

    I was lucky to have an easy time- so much so that I was an oversupplier and fed a whole other baby via bottle donation! The other baby was a preemie who lived nearby and his mom was only about to make about 50 percent of his intake. It was so fulfilling to know I was able to help them out. My son didn’t mind sharing!

    • Allie says...

      That’s amazing!

  30. Yelena says...

    I’ve loved nursing both my kids. My daughter self-weaned at 13 months or so and it was perfect timing for both of us. My son is almost 25 months now and still nurses at night. He’s definitely my last baby so I’m trying to cherish it, but at the same time (if I’m being honest with myself), I’m kind of over it. Any advice to wean a very persistent 2 year old who won’t fall back asleep otherwise? I’d like to close up shop!

    • Robin says...

      Check out precious little sleep – it’s a blog and there’s a book too (available as an ebook). It was my bible getting away from middle of the night nursing. Good luck! Sleep is in sight! Mine are 4 and 7 now and I’ve almost forgotten those years. On to new challenges ;)

    • Caroline says...

      Check out kids eat in color. She has a toddler weaning guide.

    • Pemberton says...

      My son was also a nighttime nurser well into toddlerhood. What worked for us was a gradual approach combined with giving him a sense of control. We started by giving him a choice of “Mommy’s milk” or “milk in a cup” (cow’s milk in a sippy cup) each evening. Sometimes he chose the cup, sometimes he wanted to nurse. I kept everything else the same – we snuggled in the same place regardless of how he was having his bedtime milk, read a book or two, etc. I started talking about how one day soon we would stop, and just kind of eased into it, stopping when it felt right. He’s now a very independent fifth grader who puts himself to bed, so I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember that getting him to fall asleep without nursing was harder than the actual stopping. He didn’t beg for the boob, but needed my presence (or Dad’s) to fall asleep for quite a while. For us, a bedtime song and stroking his little head helped replace that sleep- inducing effect of nursing.😊 Good luck!

    • kai says...

      i had the saaame problem. my daughter JUST stopped nursing (pretty much) this month; she’s 32 months. it was so hard to think about weaning in a pandemic–the whole world is wrought and it felt unfair to take away something that brought her solace. that said, at some point she just started realizing that cool big kids don’t nurse, just babies and teeny kids. so she naturally started pulling back. i also had her dad do bedtime a few times to show her she could sleep without nursing which helped too. i was very passive about this though–i’m sure others have real strategies.

  31. Michelle says...

    I went through so many phases of breastfeeding. My daughter was born unable to swallow so she was tube fed pumped milk + formula for 5 months. Then she transitioned to a bottle, then at 6 months finally started breastfeeding and promptly never took a bottle again, ha! I’ve pumped and nursed just about everywhere you can imagine. But my sister formula-fed both her babies from the get-go! My hope is that the world continues to become more nonchalant about the whole thing, and more supportive of whatever decisions people make (or are forced to make).

  32. Amanda says...

    This is a great topic! I feel the need to talk about the nursing experience I had with my son because it was not typical or easy.
    The basics: I breastfed my son for a year. I pumped for 9 months and switched to formula to have while he was at daycare. I teach and didn’t have enough time in the day to pump, plan and prep.
    The complications: My son latched right away but would forget how to nurse just about every other feeding. My son also had a 2 week NICU stay for thrombocytopenia, sepsis, and monitoring a brain hemorrhage. The lactation consultants came EVERY DAY, to help me out. If it weren’t for them and my husband’s willingness to help my son latch, I dont know what would have happened when we got home.
    Part of his condition at birth made my hematolgist worried that I was passing something called an “anti-platelet antibody” through my breastmilk along with all the GOOD antibodies. He strongly urged me to stop. Several doctors involved became very heated on the topic about how I should feed my son. When 3/4 doctors assured me that I wasn’t making his thrombocytopenia worse, I continued but for about 48 hours there I didn’t know what to do and my baby HAD TO EAT!
    I also experienced breastfeeding dysphoria where instead of feeling calm and relaxed and peaceful, nursing made me very anxious, nauseated and feel depressed. Every single feeding. I dreaded clusterfeedings.
    Lastly, around 6 weeks old my son started to develop some serious eczema and his pediatrician suggested I got dairy free while nursing. Well selfishly, I put it off until my son turned 6 months old and realized I had to after it was getting worse and worse and effecting his bowel movements too.
    So my son officially had a dairy protein allergy that was corrected once I quit all dairy. And his eczema cleared up about 90%.
    He nursed his last session on the morning of his 1st birthday. We snuggled and cuddled and that was that.
    I dont know if I will breastfeed a 2nd child if we have one and sometimes I wonder how I kept on going with my first.
    I guess what I am trying to explain, after my story, is it’s ok to not know what you will do or to not feel 100% one way or the other about how you will feed your child if you have children. I know mothers who had switched to formula with their first because it was difficult and successfully breastfed their 2nd whereas I feel I am heading down the opposite path as far as what I will do.