Tales from a B-cup Sixth Grader

I have 6 different sizes of bra in my wardrobe.  I have worn all of them in the past year.

Half of me was an early bloomer.  Relatives used to tease me about having “mosquito bites” in the fifth grade, and I innocently thought they were actually referring to real mosquito bites when they were, in fact, referencing my lopsided chest.  My left side decided to start developing breasts at the tender age of 10 while my right side clung to its girlish body.  I was immensely embarrassed of this.  A friend of my mother’s, who happened to be a physician, came for a visit and my father thought it would be useful to consult this friend about my breasts, questioning whether they would always be that way or would things correct themselves in time, as though having lopsided breasts would become a pandemic to be feared and its victims shunned into asylums.

I remember my mother taking me bra shopping for the first time and buying me not the cute little training bras that all my friends wore, but very womanly underwire B-cup bras while my mom wore an A cup.  I was 11.  And the chest kept growing.

By the time I was 17, I was very comfortably into a D cup, although I often crammed those puppies into a C.  High school girls aren’t supposed to have D cups.  They are supposed have cute perky boobs without their own gravitational pull.  And even though most high school guys have boobs on the brain 24/7, it seemed that a smaller chest was indirectly proportional to how popular a girl was with said boys.  Make sense to you?  I didn’t think so.

Over the course of the next two years, I lost over 40 lbs.  I was not a big girl to begin with, but I felt that I needed to be thinner (that’s a whole other post) and I got down to an A cup.  The cute bras and tiny tops were all mine!  But this was not meant to last, since I was clearly well below my body’s natural weight, and they shot back up to a 34C over the course of 2 summer months and a trip to France where several pounds of cheese and baguettes were consumed.  My then boyfriend (now husband) was ecstatic.  So was his roommate (or so I’ve been told).

Then I started this whole “mom” thing.  I had to buy bigger bras twice while pregnant with Sacha.  Then I nursed him for 14 months, which left me with saggy “high Cs low Ds”, according to the bra lady who sized me up last summer.  Then, my boobs started getting bigger again: enter pregnancy number two.  Seven weeks after delivering and breastfeeding Kees, I went to get properly fitted for a nursing bra, since all of mine made my boobs look like they were trying to eat my navel.  Where do I stand now?

32E.

That’s right.  Next to that tiny 32 there is a giant E.  Again, the husband is ecstatic.

And I have come to terms with this.  I am cursed with ginormous boobs that seem to get bigger with every baby.  I tried to wear my bathing suit last week and the girls popped right out the top.  I don’t think they even make bikini tops large enough for me.  Or supportive enough.  I cannot wear most of my shirts, meaning that I was reduced to go shopping and buy large and extra large tops just to fit over my rack.  The “XL” on the tag of my T-shirt is a corrosive acid that eats away at my inner-skinny-girl.  I keep trying to tell myself that it is only a temporary glitch and that they will go back to normal once I am done having kids. That, or I will have to go back to work to save up for the plastic surgery required to put them back where they belong.

The silver lining to all this: at least I won’t be headed to the asylum anytime soon.

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Don’t knock it ’til you tried it

Overheard at a maternity clothing store while waiting in line to pay for my 2 items and maternity thongs (YES!):

Preggo Gal: I went bra-shopping with my mom last week and we got fitted.
Non-preggo friend: Oh yeah?
Preggo Gal: I was sized at a 40DD. I’ll have to go to Walmart to pick up some bras.
Non-preggo friend: looking up at the vast nursing bra section right in front of them You don’t want to try any of these on? They would have your size here.
Preggo Gal: No, these are nursing bras.
Non-preggo friend: You’re not going to nurse?
Preggo Gal: Oh no. I’m having none of that.
Non-preggo friend: Why not?
Preggo Gal: I just can’t see myself doing something like that. I don’t think it’s my thing.
Non-preggo friend: Why do you say that?
Preggo Gal: gets a look of disgust on her face It’s just not something I would do.

Here’s my commentary:

HOW DO YOU KNOW UNTIL YOU’VE TRIED IT, DUMBASS????  With all of the literature out there about how breast is best, bonding between mother and baby, how could you stand there in a maternity store and look disgusted when someone mentions breastfeeding?  Or think that it probably isn’t your thing?  How the fuck do you know that?  You’ve never had a baby before!!!  You’ve never NURSED before!  You’ve never had a screaming baby in the middle of the night wanting to be fed while you thank God for giving you breasts that you can just whip out instead of fussing over a bottle of formula and getting it to the right temperature.

Ugh.

I will admit, the first time the nurse brought Sacha to me and plopped him next to me and tried to help him latch on, I had my doubts about this boobie business.  I mean, my breast was bigger than his head!  I couldn’t see his face when he nursed, and he demanded immediate hunger satisfaction, which is not really how it goes in those first few days before your milk comes in. The little bugger wouldn’t stay latched for more than a few seconds, which is not enough in those first days to get much of anything. He screamed, I cried.  One nurse even told me that “you can’t force a baby to breastfeed.  You can force a bottle, but not a breast.” Bah!

I promptly requested another nurse, who set up a little syringe and feeding tube with formula in it to tape onto my breast. That way, when he latched on, I would push the plunger just enough to get him motivated to stay latched.  Then, I took away the syringe and he stayed on for as long as I let him.   That nurse was a saint to show me that trick.  It saved my sanity in those first 2 days before the goods came in, which I discovered totally by surprise when I accidentally squirted a different nurse in the face.

And then, nursing seemed to just get easier by the day.

I even set up little obstacles for myself, just to see how far it would go.  I could sit on one corner of the couch and spray the opposite end of the coffee table.  Score one for me!

Ok, don’t pretend you haven’t done it.  What else are you supposed to do to stay sane when you’re stuck in the house with an infant and a cat?  Make your own fun.

Ah, if preggo gal only knew what she’ll be missing.

Gracing the world with a view of my breasts

After reading Sara’s post on Suburban Oblivion and watching Bill Maher make his incredulous statements on breastfeeding, I felt compelled to get in on the debate.  If you haven’t seen the video, go watch.  If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the about 2:51 left in the video, and that’s where it gets juicy. Have you watched it?  Good.  Read on.

I am very lucky. I grew up in a family that was very breast-oriented, that is, breastfeeding oriented. I remember, at 11 years watching my 19 year old cousin nurse her baby boy and thinking to myself: I hope my nipples NEVER get that brown! I remember my mom, who never hid her body from her daughters, telling us that her breasts were so small and limp because we sucked the life out of them. I remember my cousin’s wife nursing her son at my bridal shower, and hearing other mothers telling her how nice it was to see a young mother nursing her baby.

It was never a question of whether or not I was going to breastfeed my children. That’s how I was raised: breast is best, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

When I had Sacha, I was determined. I had heard that nurses will often slip babies the bottle in the nursery without consulting the parents, so I made a sign for his bassinet at the hospital that read: My mommy and I are learning how to breastfeed, so if I am crying or hungry, please bring me to my mommy. I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic nurse who helped me every step of the way with those initial difficulties, and by the time I went home, I was a fully engorged nursing mama.

We had friends visit us that first day at home, and I did not cover up to nurse. I was still learning, and I needed to see what the heck I was doing! Our friend Brad was a little uncomfortable, but he just made a point of playing with our cat rather than stare directly at the breasts, and we were all fine. When my mom and stepfather visited, I didn’t cover up in front of him, either. It was my house, my breasts. As I had more visitors, I became comfortable nursing in front of others without feeling the need to hide. In fact, the only place I ever covered up was in restaurants or mall benches. Not really because I felt I needed to, but it seemed to be the acceptable thing to do. And at that point, Sacha was still letting me cover him up. That changed after a few months, when he figured out how to use his hands to grace the world with a view of my breasts as he smacked and smiled at them while he enjoyed his meal.

I never let the fact that I breastfed stop me from living my life. I nursed in church, at the doctor’s office, in the staff room of my husband’s work, in the mall, in the grocery store, in the library, in restaurants, in my car, at Starbucks, in several airplanes, and in airports. Sometimes I covered up, sometimes I didn’t. I never intended to make people uncomfortable, I just wanted to feed my son. I wasn’t trying to pleasure myself, and although I have grown to love the bonding I share with Sacha when he nurses before bed, somehow, I don’t think that it’s the same as Bill Maher gets from fondling his sausage.

And so I persevere. I will nurse my second one, probably while chasing a toddler around the mall while the baby is clinging to my breast and my cover blanket has gone to the wayside, and I will not be ashamed or embarrassed by my breasts, performing their God-intended function. And I hope you won’t be embarrassed either. I’m not asking you to look, but I am asking you to support those mothers, like me, who don’t want to spend their lives in hiding trying to conceal the mystery of nursing, and who would like to be a part of the greater world WITH her children.

Daddy bottle success

We did it!  Today, after much consultation and preparation, we decided to try and introduce the bottle.  Nervous as heck, I sat on the computer so that the little guy wouldn’t smell me and want the real thing.  I just received the play by play from the living room as Tony fed Sacha for the first time.  Then I heard the word:

He’s going to town on this bottle!

Horray!  Does this mean that I may actually sleep at night?  That maybe Daddy could take a night and feed him so that I can get  full night’s sleep?  Unlikely, as the process of pumping is touch and go with me.  Sometimes it’s as easy as nursing; other times I want to jam the ends of genuine Q-tips into my ears to block out the atrocious sound of the pump being on for SO LONG just to get 1 ounce.  And Sacha doesn’t only eat one ounce.  He’s a 3 or 4 ounce little man.  Which may mean that I spend all my waking hours pumping just to get enough for one measly feeding.  Bah.  Humbug. Not to mention the fact that Mr Sleeping Beauty can only be awoken by…nothing.  Well, I guess that’s not all true.  Sometimes he wakes up when I start shoving him and yelling his name telling him to get up because he slept in and now he’s going to be late for work AGAIN.  But waking up when Sacha wakes up BEFORE I wake up?  Not bloody likely.

But all in all, I’m glad he took the bottle – at least that means I can get out for more than 2 hours at a time!  Or possibly have a nice chocolate martini from time to time without worrying about having a drunk baby on my hands.

Cabbage is the evilest veggie

I’m aware that evilest is not a real word, but you must also be aware that cabbage is PURE EVIL! We have been trying to get Sacha to sleep in his cradle and have employed many tricks. We finally found a winning combination: giving him a bath before bed, then nursing him, then warming up his cradle with a heating pad, then placing him in his cradle, which is next to my side of the bed. Yippee for us!

But wait: along comes Memère with her excellent coleslaw (with yummy apples and everything) and I am inclined to have some at supper time. SOME here refers to two helpings. That night, all terror breaks loose. Not so much for Sacha, as he was still able to sleep, but for Tony and I. Sweet merciful crap he made a lot of noise that night! Grunt grunt grunt, fart, poop, squirm, spit up, grunt, grr, grr, argh, grunt, poop, fart, AAHH, change me! Such were the sounds coming out of his little cradle while Tony and I lay wide awake, unable to fall asleep due to the incredible decibals coming from our sweet little munchkin.

I believe we got about 2, maybe 3 hours of discontinuous sleep. We tried everything: nursing, rocking him, having him sleep with us in bed, with Tony and I on the couch, but to no avail. Grunt Grunt Grunt.

It seems the cabbage releases a venomous toxin into babies that forces them to keep their mommies and daddies awake all night while they sleep soundly, thereby not giving the parents any reprieve during the day as they are rested and ready to entertain guests, while their parents wander around like zombies trying to nap while little Sacha is awake and being all cute and stuff.

Be warned, all you future parents: beware the perils of the leafy green monster we all charmingly refer to as cabbage. It’s NOT worth it!

The human pacifier

When I signed myself up for breastfeeding the little sir, I failed to read the small print at the bottom of his little bum that says “I may also require the use of your breasts for pacifier purposes.  Any attempt to withdraw your boobies simply because I am not actively eating may result in mayhem and chaos.  You have been warned.”

Take for instance, yesterday: the little man decided that he wanted to use me as a soother for 4 hours in the afternoon.  When it seemed like he was asleep (after conducting the limp arm test), I would take him off the mommy soother.  He woke up seconds later with full-on crying and anger at what I had done, and promptly latched himself right back on.  Not to eat, simply to suck and pacify himself.

I wouldn’t mind so much if I could let him do this pacifying on the run, while I type or cook.  However, I don’t have one of those marvels we call a mother-sling, meaning that I am pretty much confined to a chair while he soothes himself.  And on top of that, he exercises his revenge on my attempts to unlatch him by ardently munching on me.  Not so much that he gives me a hicky (as he did the first time he ate in the hospital) but enough that I wince and immediately regret my attempts to try and get some housework done.

Lesson to be learned: you can’t fight the desires of a 3 week old.  Take Advil if the munching continues long past the appropriate vengeful period.