As many women do, I also intended to breastfeed my baby. I mean, why would I not? The benefits of breastfeeding a child are very well documented, but the benefits that it offers to mothers are also pretty not terrible: the unreal caloric burning that means you literally need to eat all the delicious food you can handle, the endless benefits for your baby, the super-awesome bonding... I was sold from the first brochure. But as it turns out, breastfeeding isn't always a piece that fits everyone's puzzle.
I proudly proclaimed my boobs as my son's territory well before he was born. During a false alarm visit to the labor and delivery ward I was required to fill out my paperwork ahead of the actual delivery of my son, where the nurse asked, "Do you intend to breastfeed?" Um, duh, "Of course." I said confidently, though I really had no idea what the future nutrition of my child entailed.
When my son was born I did my best to bond with him. I immediately placed him awkwardly on my chest before our formal introduction, and minutes after his birth, I attempted to feed him. However, he wanted no part of it. The lactation consultant visited my room in a rescuing effort to train me on the proper positions and times to feed my baby, but my son had little to no interest in my schedule nor my positioning. We battled each other for six weeks while he stubbornly fed, and I all but begged for answers from the lactation nurses.
"Your boobs are too big," they said as I desperately sought answers as to why my breastfeeding journey was so difficult, "Yeah, that makes breastfeeding a lot more challenging."
"Oh, you don't say?" I sarcastically questioned. My big boobs were not necessarily a pregnancy-related issue. I've had a burgeoning rack since I was about 10 years old. I assumed that, by the time I hit adulthood, my upper half would have slowed its development, but I was wrong. So, so wrong.
My cup size kept increasing as I got older, especially while I was pregnant with my first son. I'll never forget my cousin taking me to a maternity store to get fitted for a bra: The attendant confidently told me that I was obviously a D cup, though the bras begged to differ. Eventually, after three or four bra sizes bigger than the original D prediction, I was told I would need an F cup. "Oh, I'm sorry. You're going to have to go to a special store for that." the clerk said. And so began my long-standing war with my upper half.
Despite the apparent mountains on my chest, I was determined to breastfeed. However, I was completely unaware that my cup size presented a special set of challenges when it came to doing that particular deed. As I obviously shouldn't have, I expected this whole feeding routine to come naturally, and comfortably. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it didn't, and it rarely does. For most women, breastfeeding is a whole new skill that both you and your baby have to learn; it's not automatic, and it's not without its challenges. For me, I had one very big challenge. Well, two actually.
Breastfeeding with big boobs was not easy. It can be done, but it does come with its struggles. Here's how: