One would think that larger breasts would equal more milk and an easier time breastfeeding, right? You would be wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
Imagine attempting that first feeding in the hospital: Baby's all tucked in nice, seems hungry, and you attempt that first latch. Problem: the baby's mouth is tiny. Your breast, even when held in perfect nursing position, is not ... especially after the few days when the milk starts coming in and suddenly Pamela Anderson is envying your enormous rack.
Once my milk came in, my breasts were bigger than both my babies' heads (and one of them had quite a noggin on her). When you're a new breastfeeder, the simple logistics of wrangling a tiny, fragile baby and your gigantic milk-filled breasts into the proper nursing position, getting the baby latched properly, and getting yourself settled in for a nice long nursing session can be just absolutely overwhelming.
I maintain moms should sprout a third arm once their babies are born; it would make life much easier. For example, the advice to shove as much breast in baby's mouth as you can to get a proper latch? Great advice ... if you're a C cup. If you go further up the alphabet than that, it's just not working unless you have given birth to a lamprey eel.
And once you get out of the hospital and its easy access to lactation consultants or, for that matter, a nurse to help you get your boob under control without sending your baby rolling away, things get tougher. For me, nursing was a horrible ordeal of bloody nipples, sore muscles, and general frustration for the first couple weeks, until the engorgement went down and the baby got bigger. It took us both some time to figure it out, and I pretty much never used any of the classic recommended nursing positions or had an experience anything like what the nursing books talk about.
But once we did get the hang of it ... it got kind of nice. Emily Grosvenor of Salon had a similar experience. Her fix was learning to nurse on her side (something I could never get the hang of). She made it through with determination and support; I did with sheer stubbornness. But as much as I support people's decisions to feed their baby in whatever way they see fit (except those idiots who put Coke in their baby's bottle; they need to get a clue), it is worth it to try to get through the first few weeks. I'm really proud I worked through it and nursed my babies; those little thigh rolls were enormous points of pride for me.
If you're bigger-breasted, did you have trouble nursing? How did you handle it?
Image via daquellamanera/Flickr