or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Breastfeeding › Lactivism › "Ruining" our breasts
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"Ruining" our breasts - Page 3

post #41 of 86
I agree, the change does need to be acknowledged. It's simply not true for a LOT of women that breastfeeding doesn't change your breasts. Yes, gravity, and time changes them too, but my breasts have changed dramatically in the past year. They changed much more than they would have if I hadn't gotten pregnant and been breastfeeding. Without pregnancy/bf'ing, I don't think my breasts would be much different today than they were 18 months ago.

Personally, the change is amazing to me, but I can understand how it wouldn't be so great to another woman, especially one who wasn't as crunchy as me. We all know that (majority) women have body image issues, and that these issues effect her self esteem, etc. I think it's fair to say, yes, your breasts are going to change. No, they won't be ruined, they will still be fun to play with, they will still make milk, etc, but yeah, they probably aren't going to be the same. Just like the stretch marks you (probably) get during pregnancy, it's all part of the badges of motherhood. And, if it's important to you, you might get to know wonderbra a little better, but these aren't negative things, just part of transforming into a mother.

This is a bit OT, but I think it's relavant enough to mention, this thread makes me so glad that I often saw my mother naked. As a little girl I used to look at my mother plump body and think, "This is what women look like, this is what I'm going to look like." I looked forward to looking like her. Well, I don't look like her, but I'm okay if I ever do. I'm okay if my breasts sag, and my bottom gets rounder. I think this comes from seeing my mother. Just thought I'd add this. I'd encourage mommies to be careful what they say about their (especially naked) bodies in front of their children.
post #42 of 86
In France (and a lot of the rest of Europe), in the 1600's and 1700's, breastfeeding was discouraged in the upper class for the very reason that it 'destroyed the bosom'. (a great many french kings were big fans of 'the bosom'.

It was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who shook things up with his whole emphasis on doing things the natural way and actually suggesting to the shock and dismay of many that women should actually breastfeed THEIR OWN children. In fact, Marie Antionette was a big fan of Rousseau and she insisted on breastfeeding her own daughter, Marie Therese, despite a great deal of criticism. Several historical documents verify that she was still nursing when the child was three months old, which although for us sounds pretty short a time to nurse, was a crazy accomplishment for the queen of France. (Too bad that the child would eventually be taken from her mother in order that the mother could be guillotined....)

Anyways I know this is getting off track. However, Marie Antoinette survived the experience of nursing little Marie Therese and continued to be known throughout the courts of Europe not only for her charming demeanor and lovely face, but her spectacular bosom. So hey, history is on our side.

OK, I understand this is rambling and odd. But I'm a history buff, so I can't help myself.
post #43 of 86
I never heard anyone but FF advocates say anything about "ruined" breasts.

My understanding of the counter-argument was that breasts will sag due to gravity, heredity, and the changes that occur during pregnancy, so FF was NOT going to prevent saggy breasts. I never heard anyone say "Breastfeeding will not change the breasts." It's kind of a no-brainer, getting sucked on multiple times a day for months/years will change them. At least, that's how it seemed to me.

My mom had tiny breasts, still does. She had big nipples though. I had big breasts and small nipples. I still do have small nipples, but they are a bit longer than they used to be. They're about the size of a large pencil eraser I guess.

I definitely think there should be more emphasis on how breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk. There's all this fenzy abour breast cancer, pink ribbons everywhere, but hardly a peep about pretecting yourself and your daughters by breastfeeding if AT ALL possible!
post #44 of 86
They were designed to feed so what happens to them happens to them its nature IMO. I dont like the word ruined either!
post #45 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamma Mia View Post
My mother has had both. While the risk factor for breast cancer goes up when not nursing, it's not the only factor and so while I do think this info is important to get out to people, this sentence struck me as a little insensitive.
While I understand your sensitivity to this issue (I had a grandmother die of breast cancer), I am far more appalled at the total LACK of willingness in the media & advocacy organizations to mention the connection. Better a few people feeling touchy than thousands suffering unnecessarily from breast cancer that bore children & COULD have nursed.

And yes, people who have not gone through pregnancy can induce lactation, but the changes in breast tissue are nothing like those from pregnancy & the early stages of bfing- it is next to impossible to induce a full supply. Since we are talking about changes in breast tissue, it becomes pertinent.

I saw people in gym class that were 13 years old that had breasts with less natural perk than my nearly 44 yr old heavily nursed-on breasts. When you wear a bra this is not obvious. There may be some changes, but it is impossible to look at your breasts (unless you have a twin that doesn't nurse) & say with authority: "This is how they would've looked without nursing."

After a pregnancy & a long bout of nursing in my twenties, my breasts were still very high & firm. After pregancies & nursing in my (late) thirties/early forties, gravity & age have taken a toll. I can't say my breasts would'nt have aged without subsequent nurslings. I think pregnancy alone would've done it (but couldn't really say, since it is impossible for me to seperate pregnancy & lactation. There is zero chance I wouldn't have nursed after a live birth.)
post #46 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamma Mia View Post
My mother has had both. While the risk factor for breast cancer goes up when not nursing, it's not the only factor and so while I do think this info is important to get out to people, this sentence struck me as a little insensitive.
I can't imagine how my comment can be misconstrued as insensitive. that's really going out on a limb. my mother has cancer, right now, not breast cancer- cutaneous lymphoma. if someone said they'd take pale skin over scars from biopsies I'd completely agree with them, even though my mom's skin cancer wasn't caused by sun exposure. I didn't say breast cancer is 100% prevented by bf'ing. I said the "opportunity for breast cancer prevention is a blessing" and it is. If you're offended by that you need to reevaluate your own issues surrounding this subject because I personally am not going to be the scapegoat for your anger that bf'ing didn't prevent cancer in your mom.
post #47 of 86
On the nipple issue...I recall seeing my mother's nipples as a kid and that was my reference for what a woman's nipples looked like. She had nursed two children. My nipples weren't like that - they were usually flat, unless it was cold or something. So in my frame of reference, nursing has made my nipples finally 'normal' or 'fully mature'...not ruined.

BTW my mom had breast cancer as well, at age 35. But far from feeling it's insensitive to talk about the preventive effects of breastfeeding, I find it comforting. It's something that I can do, you know, in the face of that family history. It's not 100% protection, but it's good.

And I do understand what you are saying Mamma Mia, that there is a tension between not presenting breastfeeding in a negative light, and not leading people to unrealistic expectations that might cause them to give up. But I think it is realistic to say that, having borne children, your body is not going to be as it was before, probably ever, regardless of how you feed the baby.
post #48 of 86
I think what I've read in terms of breasts changing with pregnancy/breastfeeding is mostly in terms of breasts "falling," which supposedly happens whether a mother breastfeeds or not, as a side effect of pregnancy (and yes, probably of the mother's breasts getting ready to lactate and then producing milk, even if she never nurses) .... *biologically normal stuff* regardless.

My perspective is colored a bit by the fact that I have a great-aunt who never had children, never got pregnant, and she has the same saggy breasts as her sisters (in fact, larger/more "fallen" than them and they both had 5 kids). She was rather smug about *not* going to be having saggy breasts ("I wear supportive bras etc.) but in pics from about menopause on, she's had gradually falling breasts.

My perspective is that it's going to happen whether we reproduce or not, whether we lactate or not ... it's too bad that "perky" immature breasts are what is considered culturally attractive here - but dh still thinks mine are quite, quite attractive despite their sagging tendencies, etc.

I guess I think it's sad that we can be so impacted by the cultural norm that we (and with "we" I must admit that I am including myself at times) can feel unhappy with the results of our breasts being put to their best use.

I *DO* think it's important for women to know that most of the changes to their breasts would have happened whether they chose to nurse or not, in many cases. Because the "wrecked breasts" argument is definitely trotted out as an argument vs. bf (My g-grandma in-law just used it on SIL as a reason that she shouldn't breastfeed ... Has anyone noticed how ironic it is that the women warning other women about bf ruining their breasts, tend to themselves have developed the pendulous, sagging breasts anyway even though they formula-fed??).:
post #49 of 86
How to keep your breasts perfect:

1. Don't get pregnant.

2. Don't get old.


... that about sums it up.....
post #50 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276 View Post
I can't imagine how my comment can be misconstrued as insensitive. that's really going out on a limb. my mother has cancer, right now, not breast cancer- cutaneous lymphoma. if someone said they'd take pale skin over scars from biopsies I'd completely agree with them, even though my mom's skin cancer wasn't caused by sun exposure. I didn't say breast cancer is 100% prevented by bf'ing. I said the "opportunity for breast cancer prevention is a blessing" and it is. If you're offended by that you need to reevaluate your own issues surrounding this subject because I personally am not going to be the scapegoat for your anger that bf'ing didn't prevent cancer in your mom.
I think it is very flip to say, "I'd rather have long nipples than cancer!" Especially since that isn't really a choice you are given. I think that the more sensitive thing to say is, "I'd rather have long nipples and lower my risk of cancer." You are no scapegoat, and that is laughable. Your comment was insensitive and just because you can't see why does not mean I am out to scapegoat you. I can think of plenty of people to scapegoat for my mother's cancer, none of whom I have met on the internet. I didn't even know about a lowered risk of cancer associated with breastfeeding until long after I was done being angry about my mother's trials.

Saying "If you're offended by that then you need to..." is terribly dismissive and rude. I highly recommend to you looking into nonviolent communication, or even the types of communication taught in therapy. "I hear that what I said felt insensitive to you. To me it didn't feel that way because if it was applied to my own sensitive issue I wouldn't have been offended. I am sorry that my words hurt you, it was not my intention."
post #51 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerTail View Post
While I understand your sensitivity to this issue (I had a grandmother die of breast cancer), I am far more appalled at the total LACK of willingness in the media & advocacy organizations to mention the connection. Better a few people feeling touchy than thousands suffering unnecessarily from breast cancer that bore children & COULD have nursed.
Just because I am offended by the flip comments does not mean I am not interested in seeing the connection between breastfeeding and a lowered risk of cancer being publicized. I'm not sure why you see a need to quantify. I am not saying this in a snarky way, just the wording seemed strange. It was like you were trying to validate my feelings, but then minimized them by talking about something slightly off topic.

But yes, I agree that this info is important for women to know.
post #52 of 86
My breasts have always been tear-shaped, hanging lower than what's considered ideal. They were just my breasts to me, I liked them fine, and never thought there was anything wrong with them despite the fact they were not in line with the 'image'. In fact, I was grateful for their small size (I'm an athlete and small breasts make for less back pain!).

Now, though, they are huge compared to before, and striped with purple stretchmarks. The huge I can handle, though annoying. The stretchmarks can bite me. I HATE them, and have just recently come to terms with this.

The stretchmarks on my belly I have accepted. Baby battle scars, fine. But I swear everytime I see my naked breasts in the mirror, I feel like a stinkin' zebra.

All that said, it is what it is. We all gotta change, and we all gotta age, which brings with it many changes. That's life on the blue planet. Next issue.

Which is what I'd say to anyone concerned about body appearance after pregnancy, basically. That's life. Don't like it? Don't do it (although I'd likely include the rather obvious caveat that remaining childless likely won't help you anyway!).

Mamma mia, I know what you're saying about allowing ourselves as women to feel what we're made to feel about our bodies without guilt-tripping each other. That makes perfect sense. I'm just blunt and tend to bottom-line stuff.
post #53 of 86
knowing that my own mother has cancer, and that btw I am at high risk of developing cervical cancer and have had two surgical procedures to prevent it, should tell you that I'm not flippant about any cancers, but even without knowing that- what people need to understand is that it is offensive to take offense when there is none intended. I have reached my personal limit with mdc-ers who dissect people's posts to find harm in them when it's reasonably easy to understand that the post was not meant to be insulting. Do you honestly believe that I think it's every person's fault that has breast cancer because they didn't bother to bf? or that I think I have absolutely no chance of it happening to me because I am? To say so implies that you believe me to be not only flippant but uneducated and arrogant. So sorry if you didn't get the pat "I am so sorry if I offended you" "non-violent" answer you were reaching for. I'm not sorry about my post, or the fact that you twisted my words to make them offensive. I am of course sorry that your mother has or had cancer, because I know exactly what that is like. But that's the best I can do.
post #54 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanine123 View Post
But the breasts would have become engorged if you had nursed or not so chances are the stretch marks would be there anyway as well as the excess skin.
this is what i say too. the major things that change your breasts cannot be avoided by formula feeding.

and if you are *that* worried about your nipples being longer...well...i'll leave it right there.

fwiw my boobs were *ruined* long before my uterus ever became occupied. growing 3 cup sizes in 2 months will do that to you. and somehow one aereola was always larger and darker than the other..they always sagged since I was 13.

the only difference is that my nipples are not flat anymore (btw no one ever mentioned to me that that *would cause problems* until I was in the hospital and timidly mentioned that ds#1 didn't seem hungry. and they aren't as *full* well they are now but they weren't after ds#1 weaned. but again that would have happened even if I hadn't nursed him.
post #55 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccohenou View Post
On the nipple issue...I recall seeing my mother's nipples as a kid and that was my reference for what a woman's nipples looked like. She had nursed two children. My nipples weren't like that - they were usually flat, unless it was cold or something. So in my frame of reference, nursing has made my nipples finally 'normal' or 'fully mature'...not ruined.
glad I'm not the only one...I finally feel normal.

my mother nursed 2 children as well (for only a month or two each) she freely admits that it wasn't the best decision to wean and she claims she had plenty of milk both times just didn't want to continue. she looks at me with ds#2 (nearly 4mos now!) and says "I don't know how you do it" and in her eyes I see pride.

now that that went completely off topic
post #56 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamma Mia View Post
Just because I am offended by the flip comments does not mean I am not interested in seeing the connection between breastfeeding and a lowered risk of cancer being publicized. I'm not sure why you see a need to quantify. I am not saying this in a snarky way, just the wording seemed strange. It was like you were trying to validate my feelings, but then minimized them by talking about something slightly off topic.
Haven't figured out multi-quote, I was addressing other posts as well. Thought it seemed self-explanatory.
post #57 of 86
I'll start off by saying that I was a 38D before kids. I already had stretch marks from a quick puberty and they were never what I'd call "perky". I'm now a year past weaning my youngest and I'm a...38D. They lack a little of the upper breast fullness they had, but I'm also 6 years older now. I also gained and lost weight. I look at them in the mirror and they look fine to me. In fact, they look more normal with protruding nipples instead of the flat nipples I started with.

Ruined? Hardly. Now let's talk about my belly....
post #58 of 86
Thread Starter 
I think some people are missing the point. Women have a right to know the truth about other women's experiences and not have it glossed over. I don't think it helps anyone to have a callous attitude like, "They change due to breastfeeding, deal with it." Or to imply that if someone cares then they are shallow.

I'm saying specifically that breastfeeding does change the breasts, and to say that pregnancy does it, or even the bulk of it, is not true for many women. So I'm asking if we can adopt some positive language around it so that we are being honest while being affirming and supportive of both women and breastfeeding.

I know this is a message board, but I'm surprised to see how quickly this thread acquired kinda snarky one-liners that don't answer the question or work on the issue at all.

I do thank everyone who has contributed in a positive way. I think this is a good discussion and I feel better about having these conversations IRL.
post #59 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamma Mia View Post
I think some people are missing the point. Women have a right to know the truth about other women's experiences and not have it glossed over. I don't think it helps anyone to have a callous attitude like, "They change due to breastfeeding, deal with it." Or to imply that if someone cares then they are shallow.

I'm saying specifically that breastfeeding does change the breasts, and to say that pregnancy does it, or even the bulk of it, is not true for many women. So I'm asking if we can adopt some positive language around it so that we are being honest while being affirming and supportive of both women and breastfeeding.
I guess even with your clarification, I'm not understanding what you're asking for. I'm trying, but I'm not getting it.

Breasts do change. It wlll be different for every woman, and they'll change in different ways and at different times. Is this what you want acknowledged?
post #60 of 86
i'd like to see someone say to my face my breasts are "ruined." i'm not a violent person, but...
my breasts haven't changed an enormous amount. i went from flat-chested to a b cup almost literally overnight. by the time was 17, i was a d-cup. i've been pregnant 4 times (first 2 ended in miscarriage)-- my milk came in after a d&c at 13 weeks with my first pregnancy and i've been lactating since then. i've been breastfeeding for almost 3 years straight now. i have one or two more stretchmarks than i did before and they sag a tiny bit more. but my skin isn't hugely elastic, so the mere size i achieved BEFORE children caused the sag-- perhaps the couple days of engorgement added a little more.
my mother didn't breastfeed either of her children. her breasts have always been smaller than mine and they ARE perkier but they still sag. i'd say it's merely her cup size that has kept them a little perkier than mine.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Lactivism
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Breastfeeding › Lactivism › "Ruining" our breasts