Sunday, October 21, 2012

Plus-Sized Breastfeeding Photo Gallery

If you read research and media articles about breastfeeding and obesity, you'd believe that very few "obese" women ever breastfeed (or breastfeed for long).

Although it's true that high-BMI women have lower breastfeeding rates overall (and you can read more about the problems with that here), it's not true that most women of size can't or won't breastfeed.

Many women of size can and do breastfeed, although sometimes it's in spite of care providers, not because of them.

To counteract this perception that fat women can't/don't breastfeed, here are some lovely photos of plus-sized women nursing their children.

I've tried to put together a variety of pictures; women breastfeeding after a hospital birth, women breastfeeding after a homebirth, women breastfeeding in the NICU, women breastfeeding older children, women breastfeeding while pregnant with another baby, women tandem nursing two children, women using various nursing holds, etc.  The truth is that women of size breastfeed under many different circumstances and conditions, and these pictures represent that diversity of experience.

Thank you to the women who have so generously sent their breastfeeding pictures with me so that I may share them as needed.  Thank you for being patient while I gathered together enough entries to make a diverse gallery of photos.

[Readers, remember that the copyright for these pictures remains with the mothers, and no one may reproduce these elsewhere without express permission.]







































You can see more lovely nursing portraits here, at my friend's blog.

As an addendum, here is a video promoting breastfeeding for native peoples.  It's long, and it has some of the usual misleading talk about breastfeeding "preventing" obesity (it may lower the chances for obesity modestly but it certainly doesn't prevent it unilaterally), but it does use images of all sizes of women breastfeeding. That's very rare in breastfeeding promotion materials.



(You can find more support for breastfeeding for native mothers at http://nativemothering.com/.)

I'm always looking for more photos of plus-sized pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. I am especially interested in having more pictures of women of color who are also women of size, but I am happy to receive any photos.

If you have some photos you want to share, you can email them to kmom AT plus-size-pregnancy DOT org.  Be sure to give explicit permission to share your photos, and remember that they do get shared with the world permanently if you decide to do this!

Thanks again to those who have generously shared their photos.  Enjoy!

7 comments:

Issa Waters said...

Thanks for these. It's so nice to see breastfeeding mamas and babies, and I find it even nicer to see ones with bodies like mine.

heddaberry said...

Love these photos! I was told that a) women with big breasts don't have enough milk because there's too much 'fat' in their breasts and b) that it's just too hard to maintain a 'side hold' position once the baby gets older. I am still breastfeeding my 9 month old son and don't plan on stopping until he weans himself. Boo on those, especially other women, who try to make it seem impossible if you're plus size!

heddaberry said...

I love these pics, thank you so much for sharing. I was devastated when I first started breastfeeding and midwives, colleagues, and nurses seem to want to discourage me in one way or another. I may have an 'ample' bosom, but that doesn't mean I don't have 'sufficient supply or 'the steadfastness' to last out the hard parts at the beginning.

9 months on and we are still going strong and I love every minute of being able to provide nourishment for my beautiful son.

Dre said...

Thank you for posting this! I am quite large and I nursed my sons for 13 & 10 months respectively. With much disdain from my MIL who was also my childcare provider. I figured that was the one thing being large was good for.... Feeding those babies!

Bazile said...

I want to say that I also love these pictures. I'm not comfortable sharing pictures of me nursing, but I salute the women in these pictures since so often larger women seem to be completely left out of breastfeeding discussions.

heddaberry, I'm still nursing my (a few days shy of) 20 month old with G cups. We still use the football hold since it's often the one she prefers, though things like the cradle hold have gotten easier for me. Any problem with maintaining any position while nursing usually has more to do with the 20 lb toddler and not the mid 200s mama, since I stay pretty still and she'll "walk" around my body with my nipple in her mouth, lol.

jljyoung said...

I will try to email pics if I find time. I'm chubby with large breasts. I never heard of that "too much fat to nurse" myth! That it's awful. I have rather large breasts, and I have oversupply issues. I even had overflow when my son was 3 and nursing. I am now nursing baby number 3 with no problems in a lot of different positions. I'm a major lactivist!

Karen Bunyan said...

This is a wonderful post. I am currently breastfeeding my second child and was feeling a bit shy about feeding outside of home due to my larger size. I think some of this is due to the lack of plus size women in breastfeeding literature. Watching images of smaller breasted women holding an infant to their mainly clothed breast didn't help my confidence as I have a lot more on show when feeding. Reading this post has reminded me what a beautiful thing breastfeeding is and that I have nothing to be ashamed of or hide. Thank you