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Preview: Comments on The Well-Rounded Mama: Breastfeeding in Women of Size: Sensationalism vs....

Comments on The Well-Rounded Mama: Breastfeeding in Women of Size: Sensationalism vs. Meaningful Research

Updated: 2018-04-22T15:34:38.868-07:00


OMG to read an article like this is amazing. I'...


OMG to read an article like this is amazing. I'm 250 pounds and I'm crying as I type this comment. With my first I made hardly any milk. I was induced I had an emergency C-section they gave her formula without asking me and no one knew how to help me position her. And my boobs are just weird very long and flat and my nipples are in a weird place. Because of all that no one knew how to help me. No one in my family had breastfed and no matter how much I pumped I only got drops.

Now with my second I had a planned C-section so my interventions were considerably less but with gestational diabetes I was pre-diabetic before and the insane amount of IV fluids it took forever for my milk to come in. Plus I have hypothyroidism and now I'm going to go get checked for anemia yay after reading this article. My lactation consultant was quick to encourage me to supplement she said more than likely I have PCOS even though I have had no trouble conceiving and that's ah symptom of PCOS. I think she said it because she doesn't know how to support me. The only hold that works in the football hold my belly and short arms getting away of anything else and it's been a struggle. If it weren't for my partner I don't think I'd still be breastfeeding my almost three month old daughter. Whenever it gets too hard or I feel like I can't do it anymore he just says we'll latch her one more . Just one more time he says and I do she just sucks sucks away. And it's the most beautiful thing in the world and no one in my family thinks I should do it.

All the other mothers I know their babies can go 2 and 3 hours without nursing. Not mine. With her reflux issues and the football hold being the only hold we use it means smaller more frequent nursing sessions. So it makes the next 9 months seem daunting. I wish there was a place to get help. Wear my size wouldn't be an issue or a reason to quit just a reason to help.

I just noticed some lovely photos of fat moms brea...


I just noticed some lovely photos of fat moms breastfeeding at Since it's in the UK, I should probably say "fat mums!" Hope this is useful to you.

Thank you for this! No one in my family has ever b...


Thank you for this! No one in my family has ever breastfed, so I have no support system behind me, and as a PCOS patient, the medical industry doesn't have my back either. All I want in the world is for this to work out for me and my baby.

Your story is my story minus the c-section, with m...


Your story is my story minus the c-section, with my first and only child so far (Aug 2010). I wish I had found your blog prior to my son's birth, so much helpful information. My son ended up being severly tongue tied which is why he was never successful at feeding from the breast. I ended up exclusively pumping for 9 months and had to work extremly hard to get enough milk and took lots of really expensive drugs to keep up with his demands. The pumping took so much time and energy, a put a lot stress on my marriage and work, but I was determined to succeed, especially since during my entire pregnancy this was my greatest fear (not producing enough milk and latching). My son lost a lot of weight in the first two months, I consulted lactation consultants, the Le Leche League, family and my OB before I gave up and reluctantly mourned the loss of nursing. I truly mourned the loss with lots of tears and hate towards myself for failing my child. But I wouldn't give up on getting my baby the best nutrients I could, so I pumped. Needless to say I will be doing child #2's delivery different, which I hope will change the nursing outcome. I am just glad that I will have the chance to hopefully fix the things that went wrong.

I am amazed I was able to breastfeed my daughter f...


I am amazed I was able to breastfeed my daughter for 4.5 years. I weighed 165 at 4'10 post partum and had a long and difficult labor that ended in a c/s and was in a medically induced coma. I had no idea that just being obese made it more difficult to breastfeed. It was such a hard journey that once we got running smoothly I never wanted to stop!

I've been a size 20/22 since i had my 2nd chil...


I've been a size 20/22 since i had my 2nd child. I've always had a large bra size, DDD when my daughter was born and F since my son was born. I tried breastfeeding my daughter and never could get a good latch, there was a lot of intervention and i wasn't able to move around much after she was born. The lactation consultant visited me at home and suggested that I use a pump, She called WIC for me and i went in the next day and pumped exclusively for a year with my daughter. If it hadn't been for the hospitals lactation consultant\t and WIC's support I would never had made it.
When I had my son I had an easy labor, they started to induce me but I had dilated myself. I was put on medications but taken off them and was only in labor about 2 hours. I was allowed to attempt to breastfeed right away and got him to latch on. My blood pressure was really high and it was many hours before I saw him again. They had obviously fed him. I NEVER got him to latch on again. The lactation consultants did try to help but i was too nervous and the baby kept crying. I starting pumping again and I was able to pump and store enough milk to last well over a year. I'm pregnant again and I really want to be able to breastfeed naturally, mostly because I have a 5 yr old and an 8 year old, pumping takes up all the extra time you have, when you should be resting you are pumping, its worth it, but i'm not sure how I could handle it this time around, if i have to i will .. but... I'm still overweight and wearing my largest bra size. I feel like the more information I get the more patience I will have. This time around I am more aware of what is going on behind the scenes and will make sure my husband sticks around to help me out!! even if that means my other two kiddies will be at grandma's overnight a few nights. :)

I wonder if breastfeding by obese women is being s...


I wonder if breastfeding by obese women is being subtly discouraged by health 'professionals' worried about the amount of extra food a lactating mother needs, and how they feel that will impact on the weight of the obese woman in question? I was watching a parenting programme the other night (while breastfeeding at 4am!) and they stated that a breastfeeding Mum needs about the same amount of calories as a teenage boy. Considering how afraid the medical fraternity is of plus size women eating *normally* I can imagine the panic they must feel at having to tell us to ear *more*.

I suspect the pressure to lose the 'baby weight' is partly to blame for the decline of breastfeeding in the Western world (along with the pressure to go to work asap); after all, you can't feed another human being for long while starving yourself.

I completely agree with the post, size of the wome...


I completely agree with the post, size of the women will not affect the breastfeeding, the major factors affecting the breastfeeding in women of size are explained in detail with facts & examples.

This post is a couple days old, but I felt a need ...


This post is a couple days old, but I felt a need to point out one other thing. I really do believe, outside of whatever obesity epidemic BS is shoveled by media, that not breastfeeding does cause obesity in children. My mom breastfed for 3 months and then gave me powdered milk, not even formula, for the remainder of infancy. She would also use the bottle instead of a pacifier to keep me quiet. Now that I'm expecting, despite showing my mother all the wonderful research about breastfeeding and explaining all of my intentions for extended breastfeeding, she is not very supportive and keeps saying things like "Oh, you'll want to give it up, you'll just get tired of it." and other things like that. So maybe something can be said for the role the mothers of fat women have and that their not being breastfed, or not being breastfed long enough, affects why they're not breastfeeding their own children.

In actuality, this has nothing to do with fat at all because that factors into the failure rates of "normal" sized women as well. However, it's a point to be made since not breastfeeding = higher rates of obesity, obesity = lower rates of breastfeeding.

What a great post! Sorry I am behind on reading / ...


What a great post! Sorry I am behind on reading / commenting. I am always way behind on my blog reader. Thanks for the links!

I wanted to comment a little on one of the things you mentioned about your own experience with your first delivery and the postpartum management. You mentioned the hospital staff giving frequent glucose and formula supplements to your baby. It reminded me of giving breastfeeding support to a woman who had gestational diabetes once, and the postpartum management of her feeding of her newborn. The staff micromanaged the blood sugar of that poor baby, and even though the baby was never hypoglycemic, their was a definite medicalization (and message of failure) surrounding every feeding.

The staff was very annoyed at her decision to breastfeed on demand. They would have much preferred scheduled, measured formula feeding. And, because they did blood sugar testing on the poor newborn's foot after every feeding, there was a certain degree of painful negative feedback.

I'm in the UK and I'm a size 24 with large...


I'm in the UK and I'm a size 24 with large breasts. I only breastfed my first child for 3 days - I'd had a c-section after induction, long labour and every intervention under the sun. I struggled until I was told I would have to stay in the hospital longer - at that point I switched to formula. My second child I mixed fed until she was 6 months old. She was 4 weeks early and I wouldn't have managed to feed her at all if it hadn't have been for the special care midwife sitting with me for an hour and helping. My third child breastfed until she was 4 and a half! The difference ... a large support system around me. I went to LLL meetings and had good friends who were extended breastfeeders that I could call at any time. I also ignored the books and "professionals" telling me to use the cradle hold and did what worked for me. We fed in some interesting positions but she fed!
One of the main problems over here is lack of support. Very often the healthcare professionals are giving outdated or contradicting advice.

I've got 3 and, with all 3, I had to use a Med...


I've got 3 and, with all 3, I had to use a Medela Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). I had easy pregnancies and natural labor, but I was never produced enough milk for them, and nobody could ever tell me why. But the SNS let me nurse all three, and I pumped when I had to work just to keep up the supply I had, even though I was never able to pump more than 3 oz (from both breasts) at a time, even with a good, medical grade pump.

I did find MOBI helpful in that there were other women using the SNS. La Leche was a total bust (no pun intended) because it was just demoralizing to talk about bfeeding problems when the other women suffered from too much milk.

Oh--and totally incidentally, the "Word Verification" of the day here is "lards." I would have preferred "fats."

I've managed to breastfeed twins - twice - des...


I've managed to breastfeed twins - twice - despite being plus sized (approx 130 kilos pre-pregnancy each time) and having very large breasts (F cup). I think part of that was due to birthing in New Zealand and needing an extended hospital stay each time; our hospitals are pretty much dedicated to breast feeding to the point that those who chose not to do so often have a hard time... certainly no-one ever even hinted that I'd have trouble breastfeeding because of my weight.

I'm much more relaxed about feeding this time around - sure, I do flash some boob on occasion, but I just do what I need to do and don't make a production out of it. But that's in my home and the homes of people I know... I am reluctant to feed in public and at a deep level I feel it's somehow worse for a fat woman to flash the same amount of flesh as a skinny one. I don't know where I got that, but it seems to be deeply ingrained.

There is little info out there on different breastfeeding holds. At the hospital I was in all the pictures, videos, etc only showed the cradle hold. Like you, even when feeding my twins separately I can only manage the football hold. Even googling it brings up little on the alternative holds.

And yes, bras are a problem. I only have 1 and while I do know of a specialist shop where I can buy one the price puts me off.

I wonder if part of the reluctance to encourage fat women to breastfeed comes from the extra calories needed to do so? It's fairly common to encourage large women not to gain weight during pregnancy, so it wouldn't surprise me if the same kind of advice was being given to fat mums after birth (as an aside, I wondered why I was getting extra food when I was in hospital; turns out the midwives were writing 'breastfeeding twin mum; extra please' on all my menu slips!) A recent article in a local newspaper quotes a lactation consultant as saying a breastfeeding mum's extra calorie requirement can be the equivalent of 7 poached eggs.

I do have photos of myself feeding my babies for the first time (both sets). But I'm not feeling confident enough to make them public, I'm afraid :(

<- Had a size F & G nursing bra (different ...


<- Had a size F & G nursing bra (different manufacturers). I was probably a size 22/24 post pregnancy, I have always been a fat chick. My boobs were bigger than the baby! To get started I needed someone to hold the baby, while I positioned my boob. As the baby got bigger, especially when she could hold her head a little on her was much easier to nurse. For my second pregnancy, I wasn't any skinnier...and we went to 17 months for that one. The first time around I was working...I nursed exclusively for 4 or 5 months, then introduced solids while I was at work (I tried pumping, but I got nothing). I continued to nurse until 10 mos. My daughter weaned herself.

I'm a fat woman, who has been very successful ...


I'm a fat woman, who has been very successful breastfeeding. In fact my son turns two in about 2 weeks and still nurses quite a bit. We encountered some pretty common bumps along our journey, but I never felt like I couldn't nurse because of my size. My mother is a large woman, and she extended breastfed all of her 3 children. Both my LLL leaders are plus sized women. I did feel a lot of pressure during pregnancy, and was subjected to a lot of unpleasantness, simply because of my size. It makes me really sad to see any woman discouraged from breastfeeding, especially other women of size. I have almost no pictures of my son and I nursing though. Maybe I should have my husband take some of us.

I'm pretty sure my sister-in-law got a (rather...


I'm pretty sure my sister-in-law got a (rather nice Medela) pump from WIC, so that might not be the case everywhere.

Fat woman, with large breasts, here. I was lucky enough not to have any problems.

Photos are something that makes me sad, though. I extended nursed with all three of my children, for years and years, and yet, despite this being such a large part of our lives, I'm pretty sure there isn't a single photo of me nursing my children. Heck, if you go by photographic evidence, it's hard to see that my kids HAVE a mother at all. Something else body hatred has robbed me of.

I think part of the issue, which you do touch on, is the same reason fat women don't always seek out preventative care, especially of the kind where we have to be touched. I think many of us know/feel that professionals are disgusted by us, don't want to touch us, and I can't imagine, going to a lactation professional and being touched and helped to, say, get a baby to latch on.

As for the "fat women intend to breastfeed less often", I'd venture that most fat women have heard the "fat cow" insult at one point or an other, and producing milk... Again, I think a lot of what is going on is tied to fat hatred, both internal and external.

Love you Well-Rounded Mama! My first baby was bre...


Love you Well-Rounded Mama!

My first baby was breastfed exclusively for 5 months and then 80% for another 3 (I just couldn't keep my supply up enough to provide everything she needed after I went back to work). But I almost quit a million times and not for any of the reasons you mention. The problem was the difficulty in brestfeeding discreetly enough to avoid the judgy stares and dirty looks of both strangers an friends. I hated the pointed looks, but hated feeling confined to my home even more. I worked so hard to keep covered, but with giant boobs (I was a DD 80 pounds ago and am into embarrassing letters now) the "dismount" and maneuver to get the flaps on the nursing bra back up were dicey at best. Plus-size nursing takes two hands, and with both hands occupied, it's tough to put back a blanket, drape or cover if it shifts in the process. Maybe I'm being oversensitive, but I felt like people who might have just averted their eyes for an average size woman needed to let me know that my fat boob was seriously uncool. I didn't quit but I almost did...and more than once I used precious frozen milk from my freezer stock to take on outings to avoid public disapproval. I understand that even people at more average weights face this issue, but I think that with the body image issues many plus-size moms already deal with, this can be a factor.

I got lots of "but you have PCOS, you'll ...


I got lots of "but you have PCOS, you'll have a hard time breastfeeding!" when pregnant. Turns out they were wrong.

I passed this post along to a photographer friend of mine, who is in the middle of a breastfeeding photo project. There are a few larger women in there, myself included, though I'm not very visible in my picture.

My first response to skimming this article was, &q...


My first response to skimming this article was, "What the hell?" I have caught all kinds of crap for daring to reproduce while fat, but nobody EVER told me that my fat would make breastfeeding difficult.

Also, I am more than ever grateful that I was able to stay home for every birth, with birth attendants who thought that the obesity panicdemic was a load of hooey and let me have the baby without trying to "help."
Jenny Islander

Fatness is well correlated with poverty; and I wou...


Fatness is well correlated with poverty; and I would think that many of the jobs that were available would not be as friendly to pumping as work that women of a higher socio-economic class would have.

Another factor is that WIC provides support for formula; but I don't believe they do for buying a breast pump. Pumps may be beyond the means of many poor women, particularly good and comfortable pumps. Staying home would also be beyond their means unless they had a large supportive family.

I think I've read that poorer women are also more subjected to interventions than women of greater education or wealth. In my experience, doctors relate much better to someone "like them" (educated) than to those who may not have completed high school, they may then bulldoze over less educated women more frequently out of a misplaced paternalism.

This is a subject very close to my heart. I tried ...


This is a subject very close to my heart. I tried unsuccessfully for 7 weeks to feed my daughter, before being diagnosed with hypoplastic breasts. And in the four years since that time, I've found no good research or study documenting WHY there is a sharp increase in the diagnosis of hypoplastic breast, if it is occuring mostly in the overweight population, if it's caused by PCOS or other hormone/insulin issues during puberty, how to treat it, how to prevent it. Nothing. Nada! I'm sickened that most researchers care nothing about studying this area. So much in fact, that I'm leaning heavily towards becoming an endocrinologist just to study this wide open field. Someone needs to do something, and soon!