Everyone takes photos, some will have a hold, but only the brave changes the nappy.
Seems a pretty normal thing to do, except when in most of the photos of me holding the new baby the other subjects of the photo – the jug twins boobs – take centre stage. New baby breastfeeding boobs are big enough and in your face enough, let alone on someone who has ample cleavage to start with. And in maternity singlets in those impromptu photos at home”¦ well, lucky there’s a crop and edit option. No one would ever see the baby otherwise! Apart from just intruding on photo ops, there can be a fair few dramas with a new baby breastfeeding big boobs – like breastfeeding your baby, for one.
Bigger boobs can pose problems with attachment, position and comfort for both Mum and Bub.
Luckily, as fate would have it, breasts come in all shapes and sizes and neither has anything to do with how much milk you make. There are a number of breastfeeding hacks to help us gals’ big ol’ fun bags get the swing of feeding down pat to a fine art.
Newborns need quite a bit of support when breastfeeding. The way that is taught in ante-natal classes (cross-cradle) can be nine-tenths of useless when you’ve got more boob than a baby. You find yourself with a hand up behind your baby’s head and neck kind of holding them mid-air, while you fuss about trying to get the baby’s mouth open enough to even entertain the thought of a feed. It’s a very technical feeling, takes ages to sort yourselves out and just adds more stress to the situation (the stress that you think you’re going to suffocate your child with your massive milk-filled boobs) that you don’t need.
Turns out babies are naturally pretty good at breastfeeding even if we have no idea to start with. Natural seems to be the keyword here. Holding your baby naturally, in the crook of your arm and resting in your lap, face him towards you. The chin to your boobs, plenty of space around the nose, mouth open (tickle that cute nose with a nipple, his attention will be caught) and boom, you’ve got a perfect big boobs attachment.
One of the perks of not having perky boobs is that you don’t really need to fuss with pillows and props because you’ve got size and most likely some length as an advantage. If like me you’re basically an oompa-loompa, minus the tan with short arms, legs and torso, you can usually use your lap or leg depending on where you are for your baby’s body to rest in. If you’re of regular height, your arms will probably do the job for you with your lap as backup.
Some heavy boobs, once set free from their maternity bra cage, will spill far further south than is comfortable for feeding your tiny bub. In this case, roll up something soft like a hand towel or baby wrap to give your boobs a bit of a wonderbra moment. It’ll give you just enough height for a comfortable feed without pressing so hard on the ducts that the little one gets fire-hosed in boob juice!
That is the question. If you feel like you need to hold your breast while your baby is feeding, be aware that you may be stuck doing that for the rest of your breastfeeding days. It becomes a habit, not such a bad one, but it removes any nose scratching/picking possibilities you may have otherwise had for the entirety of the feed. Holding for the attachment part is OK, just don’t pick your boob up to where your baby is, otherwise when he’s attached and you let go, he’s likely to lose some grip and maybe chomp down to hold on. Ouch for your nipple and it’s like a weightlifting class for your tiny baby’s mouth. Imagine trying to keep a grip on all that weight and suck for your life-supporting nutrients as well! Not easy I say! Hold both baby and nipple at the same level so that when you let go (of the nipple, not the baby please) there’s no change in position of anything on anyone.
Laying down for a feed is just magic, most of the time resulting in a good snooze for both you and your baby. Babies love being fed to sleep and already being in bed takes that whole transferring and wondering if you’ll wake them out of the equation. It’s much easier for your bub to handle the flow of milk too because it’s much slower than with all that gravity bearing down on it from directly above, rather a nice sideways spill instead.
When it’s hot, this is nice too as you can move your body away from your baby’s body also. Conversely, when it’s chilly, you can pop him in the crook of your arm and have a snuggle. Always make sure your baby’s nose is clear for an unblocked air passage and that you don’t need to hold your nipple off his nose (in case you fall asleep and stop holding it off) and you will have the most relaxing feed.
It’s illegal for anyone to tell you not to breastfeed in Australia, no matter where you are except in a licensed or gaming venue after 10 pm. A situation you don’t want a baby to be in (express and get a babysitter for goodness sake) anyway.
Some people, however, are jerks and will take any opportunity to make others feel uncomfortable for their own empowerment. They like to target breastfeeding mothers because, I think, to them we seem vulnerable somehow. On the contrary, I’ve always felt quite empowered when breastfeeding my babies, newborn and older, because I know what I’m doing is awesome.
The fact hasn’t escaped me that I have sometimes lots of boobs flesh on display and I can deal with that. I have feeding shirts now that are quite discreet and layering of bra, singlet, loose shirt in cooler months works a treat. You can even just lay a wrap across your tummy if you’re wearing a normal shirt that needs lifting for feeding. Heaven forbid some tummy spills out. That’d send them squawking!
When you have big boobs and some attachment and positioning difficulties, to ensure you don’t chicken out and disappear to the car or toilet (yuck, no way) to feed your adorable little guzzler, wear what makes getting your gear out easiest and most comfortable for you. Practice doesn’t always make it perfect, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier!