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14.7.14

Breastfeeding and How I View My Body Now

I've never really been a fan of my breasts. I always wanted them to be bigger, rounder, firmer. Perfect really.
"Page 3 boobs" as I've always thought. Those perfect shaped breasts to be proud of, not to show off on Page 3, I wouldn't want to do that (although I have no problem with Page 3) but ones which made me feel beautiful, even if they were just hidden under a tshirt and bra all the time.

In 2009 I realised why none of that really matters, to me at least.
When I was pregnant and I had those first few signs that my breasts were getting ready to one day feed my baby was shocking but really quite wonderful. Although I had difficulties breastfeeding at first down to Charles having tongue-tie resulting in my nipples being so sore and cracked that they bled, and then with us dealing with thrush, I embraced breastfeeding and my breasts never felt more beautiful, even when one was engorged and squirting milk across the room whilst the other was left drained by a milk-drunk baby.
I finally realised why I had breasts, and the purpose of these things that I had had issues with for 10 years.

I breastfed Charles for 18 months, then took a 6 and a half month break to continue growing a new baby who I then went on to feed for 2 and a half years.
Again, I continued to love my breasts, and more importantly, my children did too. Not because of what they looked like, but because the benefits to them.

Both boys fed A LOT and I produced A LOT of milk...which was just as well really!
Feeding my children from my own body made me feel like superwoman. Being able to comfort them just by pulling my top down and within seconds of feeling sad or of hurting themselves they would be fixed. It was like magic.

Medela recently conducted some research into breastfeeding patterns and behaviours to try and give mums some reassurance that each and every breastfeeding experience is unique. They know new mums can worry about how much milk baby is getting, or how often baby is feeding and even start comparing themselves to their friends and other mums.  What their research showed was that there is no such thing as normal! For example:

•             4-13 – the number of breastfeeding sessions per day
•             12-67 minutes – the duration of a breastfeeding session 
•             54-234 ml – volume of milk consumed in a breastfeeding session
•             478-1356 ml – the volume of milk consumed in a 24 hour period

Breastfeeding isn't easy. And as much as I am pro breastfeeding I do understand why women either choose not to do it or choose to stop, but for me it was, and in the future if we were to have more children, the only way I wanted to feed my children and I had to fight through immense pain, a few rounds of thrush, mastitis, altogether 4 years of being my childrens main source of comfort which can be restricting if you need some time to yourself to achieve that.
And I do feel like it's an achievement. I feel like I should be really proud of myself.
And I am. Very, very proud.

And now, 6 months after breastfeeding and since losing over 2 and a half stone my body has changed in a lot of ways.
My bottom is smaller, my thighs are smaller, my tummy is smaller and of course my breasts are smaller.
I looked down at them this week (whilst I was wearing a bra and fitted vest top), and I noticed how much they had changed. They are no longer full, or have a nice "lifted" shape.
I have to rely on bras to give me that shape and that lift but, I am happy with that.
Of course I would like fuller, rounder, perkier breasts but I can't change that, I don't want to change that.
My breasts are the way they are because not only is that simply how I was made, but also because of the job they have done for my two children.