Getting the baps out: a boob journey into breastfeeding

When I took my bra down from the airer yesterday, it looked more parachute than lacy object of sexual interest.

It’s scarcely believable that I use to envy the other girls in my class their new lady lumps. Or that I would play with my mum’s bras, stuff them and preen in front of the mirror.

I was a late developer. When I started wearing a bra, I didn’t really need one. I just wanted to stop being called “chicken chest”. I even prayed that God would give me breasts. And He did. And He took the blessings overflowing thing a little far.

By the time I was 16, I was getting backaches from the orbs of doom. By 18 I had to hold them if I was going upstairs bra-less. When I finally got a decent fitting at Bravissimo I found out that I was 30FF. Well, blow me down.

Over the past five years, getting to grips with how to dress my figure, wearing bras that fit and generally outgrowing my adolescent lack of self-esteem, the big boobs have been ok.

I don’t know that I’d say I’ve embraced them. They’re still uncomfortable, the bras that fit them are expensive and they sometimes get more attention than I do.

I thought about them a lot when I found out I was pregnant. Firstly, because they often felt like they were on fire but also because I thought: “Can I possibly get bigger?” Friends reckoned I wouldn’t. I did. And, though nighttime requires a little more organisation, that’s been ok too.

Knowing that new things are happening inside them for a purpose has actually been pretty gratifying. The prospect of breastfeeding is both exciting and a little scary. Suddenly these baps aren’t just about me.

We went to the last bit of our NCT antenatal course last night, the breastfeeding session. I’m taking a double-hit of breastness this week because that’s what my NHS antenatal course is covering tomorrow (oh yes, I’m doing it all).

It’s something we both want for our baby but we’re also aware that it can go wrong. I don’t have any friends who’s been able to stick with it though they’ve wanted to. And I did find it a little difficult that the session didn’t have a look at what can go wrong.

But then again, maybe it’s better not to focus on those things because for some people it’s absolutely fine. It’s just that I keep hearing that big-boobed women sometimes have difficulty getting it all sorted in a non-awkward way.

When the question of whether size matters came up, it was quickly dismissed with something along the lines of “It doesn’t matter how small you are.” I know I should have asked: “But what about the opposite?” but I didn’t.

I’m hoping instead that I can put aside my worries about it and let things happen naturally, then address any issues that might come up when or if they do. This’ll be something the creature and I will learn together.

Image: Beatrice Murch