This post is in response to a recent post Harper Bazar called “How Breastfeeding Ruined my Body” . It includes a short short analysis but cool stuff in the end, make sure to read through.
So the post took over the Internet, especially the breastfeeding communities. All sorts of responses were made. Some with it some against it.
The author is angry her old boobs are gone. She blames it on breastfeeding even though breasts sagging have nothing to do with breastfeeding. It has to do with the expansion they go through during pregnancy. As she very clearly expresses, her breasts expanded a lot.
“those nine months when my breasts grew gargantuan—mesmerizing, even. I couldn’t stop looking at them. I needed a whole new breast wardrobe. Giant bras. Bras you could wear as hats. I was even bestowed the term “fun bags.” My giant boobs were so giant they wanted to lie down at the end of the day and rest; they needed their own pillow. I could pick one up and hit my husband in the face with it. It was fun.”
After she delivers, where does she expect the expansion to go? Even if she didn’t breastfeed a single day, where was all the gargantuan amount of skin going to go? It will eventually droop unless she does the following tips below.
Is she wrong to miss her old body? Absolutely not. We all at times miss old parts of ourselves, be it a care free life, or sexy set of breasts, or a husband-less month, or our old sense of humor or whatever it is. Our identities change with motherhood and we miss certain things. As lactation professionals and as breastfeeding supporters we need to understand that this issue is important to millions of women especially the younger generation. Do you not care that your boobs have sagged and your body form has changed? Good for you. That’s not the case for millions of women out there. We don’t all like lemonade either! We are all different beings and if we want to make a difference we will NEED to hear mother’s REAL concerns and not attack them.
I don’t blame the Harper Bazaar lady for wanting to look sexy. On the contrary, I am a strong believer that every woman can look sexy and can look even sexier than she did before having a baby. However if she wants to look good, she has to work for it, and not sit behind a screen and blame it on breastfeeding. I also blame harper bazaar for publishing this post without getting facts first especially on such an important public health topic.
So, does breastfeeding cause breasts to sag?
Absolutely not. Pregnancy does.
What can I do to prevent my breasts from sagging?
For the moms concerned about their body shape as a nutritionist and mother who has breastfed for 2 years and feels great about her body and self I have a few tips for you:
- Do not gain weight above the recommendation during pregnancy. It will leave you with too much saggy skin afterwards. I have a very detailed post on this called “How much Weight Should I gain During Pregnancy?”
Eat healthy fats such as olive oil, olives, avocado, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, fish. Healthy fats help with skin elasticity and are associated with healthy skin. Don’t over do it so you don’t gain weight. Discuss with a nutritionist if in doubt.
Make sure to have a complete diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Make sure not to miss out on a single mineral and vitamin in your body especially Vit C and Vit E and Vitamin B. Discuss with a nutritionist how to have a complete diet for your body.
Do chest exercises. If you are reading this before you are pregnant, start now. Once you deliver, do some more. They really really help raise your breasts. There’s some you can do at home like push ups, chest flys and wall press. Discuss with a personal trainer chest exercises that can be done at home. I have a fantastic PT that gives me my home exercises. If you want one shoot me an e-mail.
Limit smoking and alcohol (Notice I said limit ;))
Breastfeed. Breastfeed. Breastfeed. Breastfeeding helps ALOT with breast form. Can you guess why? Have you ever seen the way fat people have so much floppy skin after bariatric surgery (the ones for weight loss)? That’s because there’s a FAST drop in weight and the skin doesn’t have time to stretch back properly. However, if the change is GRADUAL then the skin will have time to tighten up. When a woman breastfeeding, the fullness of her breasts for a few months to come helps the breasts gradually return to smaller than pregnancy shape. Instead of dropping suddenly and leaving so much extra fat.
When you wean, wean gradually and not abruptly for the above reasons. Also lose weight gradually.
So, if you love your boobs, breastfeed. If you love your baby breastfeed. Do you want to keep your breasts till death do you apart and not have to remove them due to breast cancer? Then definitely breastfeed.
For the love of babies, health, nutrition, and sexiness spread the word ladies and gentlemen. Breastfeeding does not make breasts sag, it prevents them from sagging. Share with the hashtag #nudeweek #healthyandsexy.
Side note, Even if breastfeeding was to make my breasts sag (which it didn’t), I’d breastfeed over and over again and work on getting a killer butt that makes every girl jealous.
Remember, even if your boobs sagged and your body looks all sorts of out of shape, remember sexiness is not just skin.