Breastfeeding makes you need a boob job
When I had my first daughter, L, in France in 2006 this is the type of comment I would hear. There are some French women and medical professionals who are totally pro breastfeeding but they are few and far between, which means if you do want to breastfeed you have to really fight your corner.
Whilst I was pregnant I was asked by a medical professional if I intended to breastfeed, when I replied that I would certainly try to, she looked at me, aghast, and told me in no uncertain terms that it would ruin my chest.
And, age 37, with two children, I can tell you now, these boobs ain’t what they were when I was 16! I remember a (male) friend at school asking me if I had some kind of scaffolding on my boobs back then as they were so pert. I can’t find any decent photos, but to give you an idea here I am as a 16 year old on holiday:
So, was I upset at the idea of ruining my boobs? Of course I was. But I was also realistic, I was 30 and they were no longer what they once were anyway. I also thought to myself, if they really go to the dogs, I can always get a boob job afterwards.
Then I had L, my milk came in, I ballooned to a G cup and I had these rock solid, porn star boobs for a while! I breastfed her for 11 months and gradually they got softer, and floppier, and smaller, returning to my usual – but albeit far saggier – D cup. It was pretty depressing and I said to Hubs, and various close friends and family members, that when I had finished having children I’d have a boob job. And that’s what I really thought would happen.
Then L stopped being a baby, and turned into a little girl. A girl who turns to me to be her female role model as she develops in this crazy old world. And I started to wonder what kind of message I wanted to pass to this impressionable young girl, who is already surrounded by the media telling her you have to be pretty and skinny, and who is already obsessed with aesthetics. Did I really want to tell my daughter that if you’re not happy with a body part then you have major surgery, putting yourself at risk by going under anaesthetic, to “fix” it?
Gradually I realised that I couldn’t do it. I might not be happy with my boobs as they are now, and it’s taken a long time to come to terms with this as my boobs were always my thing – I’m not tall and I have short, stumpy legs, but my boobs, oh my boobs, they always looked good. Sigh.
Thinking back to that medical professional in France, 7 years ago, I have since discovered that it’s not breastfeeding that ruins your boobs, it’s a combination of genes, pregnancy and age. I’ve got friends my age who’ve never had kids who have saggy boobs and friends who’ve had kids but never breastfed whose breasts are wrecked. So the risk of ruining your chest is not a reason not to breastfeed.
So where am I at today? I have two daughters, I am on the fast track to 40, gravity is having its wicked way with my body all over and I’m sure when I finish breastfeeding C that I’m going to need some pretty impressive engineering in a bra to push those puppies back up. But I will not go under the knife and I will not have a boob job to try and recover the pert breasts I had at 16. I will be fine, and my girls will hopefully grow up loving themselves as they are.
Just pass me the wine please as I come to terms with it all.