My Breastfeeding Experience as a Plus-Size Woman
As a plus sized woman, the subject of breastfeeding may sound intimidating and scary. I remember how anxious I felt trying to learn all this information on how to successfully breastfeed with limited information from a plus sized mom’s perspective. Let me share my background and experience and hopefully provide you with some valuable information.
By the time you reach the end of this article, you may still be debating whether to breastfeed your baby. Seriously, no matter what path you ultimately decide for your bundle of joy I just want to say congratulations on making it to this exciting point in your life!
Read, Talk to An Expert, and/or Take a Class
You can never be too prepared for breastfeeding. Go to your local library and find books on breastfeeding, ask your OB-GYN for resources, or take a breastfeeding class. I took a newborn class with my husband and they had a wonderful section regarding breastfeeding that was an absolute game changer! If your budget or schedule does not permit for a class, contact your local hospital for breastfeeding support groups, search for a local La Leche League, or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
Set Up a Feeding Station
Set up a breastfeeding station or multiple stations around your home. Breastfeeding is exhausting and you will need to stay hydrated! Have a huge water bottle within arm’s reach while you’re nursing. You’ll also want a good amount of snacks, burp cloths for your baby, your phone charger, and a book or your television remote at your station. Try to plan ahead and have everything you need (or want) within arm’s reach.
Breast-feeding Pillows are Magical
If I had any musical talent, I would totally write an ode to my breast-feeding pillow. That pillow saved my sanity and my back! Most of the stock photos I have seen of breastfeeding moms have no breast-feeding pillows but do not let that stop you! All bodies are different, and you deserve to come as comfortable as possible no matter how long your journey will be. If you know someone who is currently breastfeeding, ask if you can possibly try their pillow on! If you end up buying one, I highly recommend having an extra pillow cover ready because newborn babies tend to spit up a lot!
It Really Does Take a Village to Raise a Child
I know… it sounds ridiculously corny, but I would not have been as successful in my breastfeeding journey if it was not for my village aka my family. I had a meeting with them about my breastfeeding goals and they were there to support me. My husband was supportive and tried to help by bottle feeding, but our kids only wanted milk straight from the source, of course! However, he helped me with other tasks like cleaning the breast pump and restocking the breastfeeding station. My mother, sister, and in-laws were ready to help burp the babies and were a huge help in preparing homemade meals the first few weeks. If you have close family or friends that you have a healthy relationship with, do not hesitate to ask for help and keep them in the loop on your breastfeeding goals!
You Will Experience Some Hiccups
Breastfeeding as a plus sized woman can be tough, especially in public. I was experiencing severe post-partum anxiety when I had my first child in 2018. My family wanted to go eat out for breakfast on a ridiculously hot summer day and I decided to go. Unfortunately, my mom brain got the best of me and I forgot to pack a bottle of breast milk. I was already hot and sweaty, but my poor kid needed to eat. As a big woman, the booth my family and I were in was too uncomfortable to breastfeed in. I found a bench near the front entrance of the restaurant that was not being used so I sat there. I even had a breastfeeding cover ready for use. Unfortunately, some smug jerk walked by and said “GROSS!” in the most immature booming voice. It should not have bothered me, but it did. Horribly. I felt so humiliated and wanted to cry right then and there. However, I did not let that experience stop me from breastfeeding in public. I went on a family trip to Disneyland a few months later and I was able to breastfeed my daughter with no issues.
Remember, some moms may be able to breastfeed for a couple of years or some may decide after a few weeks or months, they may have to end their journey. It doesn’t matter how long your breastfeeding journey lasts. The important thing is that your baby is fed and loved. Breastfeeding is one of the most fantastic things our bodies can do but your mental and physical health should always come first. Good luck!