Summer is here. The shops are full of gorgeous floaty dresses, pretty little tops, strappy sandals and the rails are jam packed with the summer wardrobe staple we all love to hate – the bikini. I have always felt a bit selfconscious in a bikini but never enough to consider not wearing one. I am naturally small and although I have some body hang ups, I have never despised my body. Since having kids, my body confidence has understandably taken a knock but every time we visited the beach last summer, my belly didn’t flip with nerves when I took my beach dress off and stood on the sand in just a bikini. Thanks to exercising regularly after the birth of my second baby and having a pretty awesome cleavage thanks to breastfeeding, last summer I felt the best I have ever felt about my body. I wish I could say the same about it as the summer holidays approach this year. You see, my body confidence has plummeted and it is not because my thighs are a bit squishier than they once were, or because I have a permanent ‘look who had a big lunch’ pot belly, I am not feeling as confident in my skin this summer because my babies stole my boobs. Yup, you read that correctly, my babies STOLE MY BOOBS!
Help! My babies stole my boobs – what no one tells you about post breastfeeding boobs.
Breastfeeding is amazing, if you read my blog regularly then you know just how passionate I am about it. Despite breastmilk being best for baby and that breastfeeding can, for some mothers, be a wonderful bonding experience, it does have it’s downsides. When new mums are in the thick of trying to establish feeding with a newborn, they can suffer horrible side effects like crapped nipples, bleeding nipples, breasts that feel like rocks trying to rip through their skin and an insatiable hunger and thirst that can never be quenched (not to mention never getting a moment to breathe as they have a baby stuck to their chest almost every single hour of the day). Despite all the hardship, and it is so hard for so many, once breastfeeding is established it can be a really special and wonderful thing. I was sort of warned from midwives, my mum and the baby websites I spent hours reading when I was pregnant that breastfeeding isn’t always as simple as it may seem but no one, not one random old lady admiring my newborn or any of the articles I read on BabyCenter, warned me that once the breastfeeding stage was over I would be left with the chest of a barely adolescent girl.
Mother Nature gives you a bloody fantastic rack when you are breastfeeding (there has got to be some superficial perks to the job, right?) and in some kind of cruel joke, she snatches them away once you have weaned your baby. After all that time spent nurturing our babies, sacrificing our sleep and our bodies to keep our tiny humans alive. We don’t get rewarded for our efforts, instead our boobs disappear and we end up with a chest that resembles a pair of fried eggs, they deflate like burst balloons. Of course, this is not the case for all breastfeeding mums but when I had a moan on Instagram after a depressing trip to the shops (I couldn’t find a bra small enough to fit me), I had several mums say they too have experienced the awful post breastfeeding cleavage shrinkage.
You don’t need to know my bra size, all I will say is it is smaller than when I first started wearing bras as a teen. Before kids, in my late teens and early twenties, I had no issues with my lady lumps; I was on the pill and I think the extra hormones worked wonders for me in the boob department. My first pregnancy saw me running to the shops to buy bigger bras and I genuinely woke up three days after Leo was born looking like a plastic surgeon had appeared in the night and performed breast enhancement surgery on me as I slept. I fed Leo for 10 months and experienced my first case of the mysterious shrinking boobs. They grew back again when I got pregnant for the second time and stuck around for the 15months I fed him, but now? Well, now there is just nothing left. My breasts have given up, they gave all they could possibly give through my pregnancies and periods of breastfeeding and I think they must now be feeling as defeated as they look.
I hate going clothes shopping, women’s clothes are designed with boobs in mind and when you have barely a handful to hide under the fabric, tops just end up looking saggy and weird. Low cut dresses are a no go zone and even the most padded push up bra won’t work if there isn’t anything there to enhance in the first place. I could go bra free, let the fried eggs be free from the pointless lingerie that confines them but, the truth is, I don’t want to. I like pretty bras, I like feeling sexy but, thanks to breastfeeding, I want to cry every time I see myself with no top on. I am fed up with putting off bikini shopping because I just know none of them are going to look right. I hate feeling jealous every time I see a girl with an amazing cleavage wearing a gorgeous dress with a plunging neckline, whilst I am too hot in my baggy tops that I wear to try and disguise what I am so obviously missing.
Can we talk about post breastfeeding boobs for a minute? Like, honestly? I had an emotional breakdown in the shop changing rooms today when I was trying on bras. Since I stopped feeding Alex in February it would seem my boobs have completely vanished. Is this normal? I have breastfed both my babies and Mother Nature has thanked me by stealing my cleavage and leaving me with nothing. With summer just around the corner, bikini season and the time for wearing cute strappy tops, I’m feeling pretty miserable and self conscious. Anyone else’s body dramatically changed after weaning? Despite the fact I now have the chest of a 10 year old, I wouldn’t go back in time and do things differently..breastfeeding my boys was worth every single tear shed in a shop fitting room and if I ever have number 3 I will sacrifice what boobs are left to feed them too 💕
Women come in all shapes and sizes, I just wish less emphasis was put on the small section below our necks and above our bellies when society conjures the image of a ‘real woman’. I might have very small hips and teeny tiny boobs but I am still a real woman, my heart beats and I breathe in and out – I am as real as they come. Maybe I would feel more comfortable in my bikini this summer if I didn’t feel like I am not ‘real’ enough because my chest size has more than halved since last swimwear season? Looking at the bigger picture for a moment, my chest has gone because of breastfeeding, a positive thing, there are so many women out there who are crying when they see themselves in the mirror because they no longer have a cleavage for much more heart breaking reasons. There are women who have had breast cancer or a preventative mastectomy, I am lucky that I am just flat chested because I used my boobs to do their job and they did it so well they burnt themselves out. I feel vain and a bit pathetic moaning about my lack of boobs when so many women have gone through real traumatic times and don’t even have an A cup like me, they literally have nothing left at all.
Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining at all? So what if I don’t have the perky, full, bouncy boobs that used to sit proudly on my chest, does it really matter? My cleavage is gone because I breastfed both my boys, the fatty tissue was replaced with milk but now that has all dried up. They will fill out again a bit but they will never be what they were, I will probably always have a little cry when I go lingerie shopping, it’s ok though. If I could go back in time and save my boobs and bottle feed my boys instead, would I? There is no way, feeding my boys was such a special time and, yes, it lead to the premature death of my cleavage but if another baby ever came along, I would breastfeed them too.
My babies stole my boobs and they can never give them back, I love those boys beyond words though so I guess they are forgiven. Next stop,
boob job learning to love my post breastfeeding boobs.
Did you breastfeed? What happened to your boobs when you weaned? If you don’t mind sharing your story, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. Let’s help first time mums, wondering what the hell has happened to their boobs after breastfeeding, see that a bit of shrinkage is totally normal.
If you liked this post, you may also enjoy reading..
My breastfeeding diary
Learning to love my postpartum body
How to get fit after pregnancy – tips from a personal trainer