All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Breastfeeding, Breasts and Nipples!

"I have a weird right breast, the nipple points to one side whereas the other is more straight"

"The problem is my breasts are so big/small/droopy"

"My nipples/areolas are too small/big"

And so on....

I can't tell you how many mums have a downer on their breasts, it's one of the most common things said about why they're potentially experiencing problems.

What's even worse is that I've met parents who have been told by their health professional they're experiencing problems because their breasts are so large or their nipple too big/small.   So it seems if we can't find the answer as to why a woman is experiencing a problem, blaming her body will do.

Sure there are times you get a tiny preemie 4lb baby, a mother with larger nipples and there may be a temporary mismatch, but these cases are rare.  Even then it isn't that the mother's nipple is "too big", it's that her baby is smaller than typical and so with a little growth things will change.

More often mums who think their nipples are different, actually have perfectly normal nipples -  and how do people decide the basis for comparison?  Too big/small/different compared to what?  Having seen hundreds of pairs, I can tell you there is no "standard".

We don't generally see breasts in an every day context (heaven forbid we breastfeed without modesty), yet we are bombarded with stereotypical media images of "perfect breasts" - as defined (generally by men) based upon what they deem aesthetically pleasing. Social psychologists have found that "perfect breasts" change depending on the era - like a haircut or skirt style, the "standard" changes based on the date.

The reality is nipples are often not symmetrical in either positioning, direction they point or size.  Heck breasts often aren't symmetrical let alone the finer detail of a nipple!

Don't believe me?  Check out a gallery of normal nipples here and normal breasts here

Like airbrushed celebs in glossy magazines, women are often comparing themselves with an unrealistic norm - and when it comes to breastfeeding, I can guarantee your baby wont care what they look like.  Big, small, floppy, pert, nipples pointing up, down, in different directions, all can nourish a baby perfectly well.   

If you're experiencing problems, please don't accept that your body is at fault - seek out further support.  If breasts and nipples needed to be a specific size/shape for breastfeeding to work, throughout history an awful lot of babies would have starved.

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