Just like I never really gave much thought to what it feels like to breastfeed, I never gave a lot of thought to what breastfeeding does to your boobs. But then again, that might be because I'd never really had much in the way of boobs to consider. Many and many years ago, when I was fully involved in sports, I had a guy say to me, “The good news is I'll never be staring at your chest. Looking for your chest, maybe. But never looking at it.” While this might have been just a humorous comment, it was also a very real fact. Perhaps it was just a quirk of my genetic lottery, but I don’t have big boobs. Or medium boobs. I am squarely in the smallish boob category. I never did when I was younger, and after a long enough time, I finally gave up on my notions of having larger breasts as I got older — this is what my body was, for the long haul.
Life is different when you have smaller boobs. Well, for me, it’s the same as it's always been because I always have had small boobs, but many larger-breasted women have told me that my life is probably very different from theirs. For example, I’ve never had the need to wear a sports bra while running, bikini tops could easily be purchased in the kids section, and I’m yet to find a dress with a fitted chest area that I can wear without stuffing it to the brim with something other than my boobs, which never do an adequate job of taking up the allotted space on their own. But it’s not just daily life with small boobs that can be quirky; breastfeeding with small boobs has its own set of special experiences too. Here are some of the things that happen when you breastfeed with small boobs:
OK. This might seem a bit obvious, but when you breastfeed with small boobs, they sometimes grow. Depending on the woman, they might grow just a little, or they might become terrifyingly massive by comparison to their meager original size. This, obviously, is because they fill up with oodles and oodles of milk in order to nourish a little one, causing the increase in size. While this happens to every breastfeeding mom in some capacity, there’s quite a difference for us small boobed moms. Because our breasts are on the smaller side of life, the addition of milk can cause them to as much as DOUBLE in size. Be prepared for people in your life to notice.
I shouldn’t derive nearly as much pleasure from this as I do but one of the things that happens when you breastfeed with small boobs is that people lose their sh*t. Because my boobs were still so small while breastfeeding, no one in a restaurant or otherwise ever expected me to whip one out. (And to be honest, since I was also quite young back when I was breastfeeding, no one expected me to be my child’s mother.) It was infinitely amusing to watch their faces when I’d nestle her in for a meal out in public.
Yep. Just like every other mom who breastfeeds, your child will be fed. That’s kind of the whole point. This will shock doctors and family members alike but it’s the truth. Even though they’re small, there’s still some awesome milk in there. And despite the fact I looked like a 9-year-old girl at a bra fitting, there was more than enough milk to go around.
Because the assumption with breastfeeding is that you possess breasts of a pretty large size, being small-breasted and finding nursing bras will be a really annoying thing. It will be a thing that not only irritates you but may actually prove impossible. Through my time as a nursing mom, I never did end up finding a nursing bra that fit properly. However, some nursing sports bras could be shrunk enough in the dryer to accomplish the task.
I have heard so many horror stories about the changes in breasts after nursing. And to be fair, when I say "horror" stories, I say that with full, enthusiastic belief that women should not be shamed for the ways in which their bodies change after having/nursing a baby, and it's a bummer that so many of them are. It sucks that we're made to feel like changes to our breasts (among other body parts) somehow devalue them, but it is what it is.
That said, I’ve never really heard any of these stories from small-boobed moms. One of the perks of having small boobs is that while others grow and begin to sag, boobs that started out small before breastfeeding tend to say more or less the same. I think, ultimately, the awesome thing about this isn't that the lack of before-and-after change makes our boobs "better" or even feels better based on some perceived ability to better adhere to unfair standards about what makes a "good" boob — for me, at least, the fact that my breasts felt and looked largely unchanged after breastfeeding was comforting because pretty much every other part of my life was entirely altered from its pre-baby form. At least if we have to endure the name-calling and lack of feeling like we (literally) measure up, those of us with small boobs get that little comfortable degree of consistency after breastfeeding.
Images: Fade Qu/Unsplash; Giphy(5)