Friday, February 17, 2012

Let's talk about boobs.

Knockers, hooters, boobies or breasts. We all know our boobs serve a higher purpose in life than getting wolf whistles from hormone driven boys or holding up that strapless summer dress. What we often don't get told is how much our breasts can and will change through life and what trouble they can give us.

Yesterday I went to be measured and fitted for a maternity bra, my first fitting since I was 12 years old. Long gone are they days of being a 12B and extensive padding, also long gone are they days of putting socks down my top as 9 year old and dreaming of how complete my life would be once I got boobs.

I walked away from the store in a slight trance, muttering the size I had just been given under my breath. One cup of the modestly large grandma-esque bra fit on my head like a beanie. Not only was I wondering how I had gotten to this point in life, but I was also left wondering why buying such an incredibly ugly, incredibly comfortable bra excited me so much. Getting home, whipping off the old and putting on the new was like Christmas.

My first pregnancy my boobs got to what I thought was 'pretty big'. They were a little tender and a little swollen, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then, post birth. Well, let's not even go there. My breasts weren't called boobs anymore, they were rocks. Big, hard, painful, throbbing, tear-inducing rocks. I hated them. I remember expressing whilst showering because of engorgement and just wishing they didn't even exist. When I weaned, the super rough massage with a facewasher in the shower three times a day became my routine. I was not kind to them and payed the price once my milk had gone. 

Transition from here to 6 months ago. I had a one year old daughter, I was 21 and I had the boobs of an 80 year old. The thought of ever wearing a bikini without padding or god forbid ever getting into a relationship and having to expose the dreaded things... it was nerve wracking. This is when I realised the extent of the damage I had caused with such harsh scrubbing in a bid to get rid of my milk quickly. I had damaged the elasticity in my breast tissue.

Fast forward to now. I am 5 months pregnant and my boobs enter the room before my bump. Maybe it isn't that extreme, but gosh it certainly feels that way. Not only are they heavy and humongous, but they hurt. Hurt. Like. Hell. I splurged on ugly and comfortable bras and wear nothing but maternity underwear. I sleep with a support singlet on and take note of my slacking posture.

This pregnancy I am also booked in to see a lactation consultant. I am planning to meet with and talk through the problems I had with breastfeeding the first time around before the baby is even here. I want to arm myself with as much knowledge and support now, so I can utilise it best once the 'rock stage' arrives.

If you are still reading after all this graphic speak of my lady bits, (which if you are a mother, I think you might be) there are a few things I would like to remind you of. Things I wish had been drilled into me before becoming pregnant the first time. 

The simplest and most important...

Look after your assets ladies. Treat your boobs with care and respect. Be gentle.

*  See a lactation consultant before problems arise, prepare for the worst and anticipate improvement

* Splurge on numerous maternity bras and actually wear them. Don't be tempted to squish into a deadly underwired thing for a special event- it wont be worth the pain.

* Still regularly check for lumps and consult with your doctor any worries.

* Look after your boobs. Did I already mention that one? No? well then, Look after your boobs!

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