Double A

Have I told you about my crazy breasts? They are vastly different sizes. I am so lopsided that when I catch a glimpse of myself just out of the shower, I have to call Ben Blair to come witness the insanity (Ben! Come see! You will not believe this!!).

Why are they so lopsided? Well, it’s a boring story. Sometime after baby number two (I was approximately 26 years old), I found a large and painful lump in my right breast. When I consulted with doctors, the consensus was that it should be removed. So I had surgery. And happily, the lump wasn’t cancerous. But, during the surgery, my milk ducts on half my right breast were sliced through and they’ve never drained properly since. (In case you’re wondering, there’s no blame here. When making the cut, the doctor was doing his best to hide the scar and it is hidden beautifully. If I flashed you, you would never know I had breast surgery.)

So basically, this is what has happened with babies 3 through 6:

1) I get pregnant. My very flat chest swells to a B-cup. I take every opportunity to admire my new chest in the mirror.

2) Then the baby is born and starts to nurse. My milk comes in after a few days and I am temporarily transformed into an Amazon Woman with a rock hard rack. No one is allowed within 3 feet of me to prevent any accidental bumping of my super sore chest.

3) The baby nurses equally on both sides for about a week. At which point, the baby starts favoring my left side. After two weeks, you couldn’t pay the baby to nurse on my right side. So I use a pump to remove the milk from the right side for a few more weeks until my right side completely dries up. (Yes, I keep the pumped milk in the freezer. I use it to bake cookies for the neighbors. Kidding!)

4) For about a year — from 2 weeks after the birth until I stop nursing — I walk around with crazy lopsided breasts. Lopsided as in one is a C or D cup (depending on if the baby has eaten or not), and one is a double A. For those of you that aren’t flat-chested, I feel I should point out that double A sizing does not work the same way as double D. Double A is smaller than A. It’s like almost A. It’s that small. I am not kidding you. When I’m not nursing, I have to shop for bras in the training bra section.

Times when it’s problematic to have one size D breast and one size A breast:

1) During swim season. Like the month of July, for example.

2) When you’re bra shopping.


Actually, it’s not that bad. I have this fake boob (pictured here, because I know blog readers are a curious bunch) that I wear in my right side bra cup and it does a pretty good job of even-ing things out. It’s not perfect, but I’m hoping no one is staring that closely at my chest.

Also, I know that as soon as I wean, the left side will drop down to a double A again and Ill be back to my totally flat-chested self. Even then, they’ll never be a perfectly matched set, but they’re close enough. So this is a temporary craziness.

Anything else I want to add? Why yes. Three things:

1) Pretty much immediately after the surgery, my lump came back. Bigger and badder than ever. I get it checked regularly and it seems to be harmless enough. Although it does act as a reliable weather forecaster. Whenever I notice my lump aching, I know it’s going to rain. I’m totally serious. My breast predicts the weather. It’s a great party trick.

2) Doesn’t it seem like the reward for growing up with a flat chest in a society that values big boobs above all else would be perfect breast health? Me too. It’s unfair people. I call a redo.

3) If you meet me in person, don’t be afraid to check out my chest. I would do the same thing.

And that’s the story. So. What about you? When you want to share TMI on your blog, what’s your favorite topic. : ) Any other crazy nursing stories out there?

P.S. — I know this isn’t typical Design Mom fare, but it’s on my mind, and I thought you might indulge me. Also. My breast surgery left major bruising for weeks and weeks across my whole chest and had crazy after-affects as described above. My advice: don’t take any surgery lightly.

210 thoughts on “Double A”

  1. Love this.

    I’m a card carrying member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee.

    I’m only joking by the way; we don’t really have cards.

  2. Thanks for this post. Sometimes you master bloggers/women/mothers seem more like perfectly designed superheroes with immaculate taste and immeasurable talents. It’s nice to hear that you’re just “normal” superheroes like myself, shopping for bras in the training bra section ;)

    1. I agree, Kelly! It’s nice to find that Gabby has parts of her she doesn’t like, well, just like us. Lopsided in one way or another.

    2. I completely agree, Jenny and Kelly! It is sometimes just nice to remember that bloggers, who’s taste, lifestyle, and design sensibility we so admire are just normal people with normal lives and normal idiosyncrasies.

  3. I, too, shop in the training bra section. Its’ nice to know I am in such lovely company.

    Except I recently got to shop in the big girl bra section since nursing finally worked out with my second baby and I have boobs. Yaaaay! I’m reveling in them while they last.

  4. I sympathize, as Lulu gets ever closer to weaning she has decided that only my right breast is worth her time.

    I want to know wabout your top–super cute!

  5. I’m now totally distracted because I got to the weather-prediction part and all I can think of is Amanda Seyfried’s character in Mean Girls, who claims that her breasts can predict the weather. “There’s a 30% chance that it’s already raining…”

    1. Kate – I thought the EXACT SAME THING! Hah! And got distracted as well trying to remember which movie it was!

      So great!

  6. My sister has some weird condition where both boobs let down milk simultaneously, so if she nurses on one side, the other side is squirting milk full force. So she’s always had to pump (or find another baby to nurse on the other boob).

    Also, I always loved my small A-cup breasts. Until I had two kids. My small but super PERKY breasts are now sagging. Nooooooo! Totally unfair I say.

    1. Wait a second, is it not normal to let down on both sides at the same time? My first baby is a year old now and I’ve always let down on both sides simultaneously and never thought anything of it…

      1. It’s normal for both sides to let down. But all-out squirting, that’s another story. Most of the rest of us just experience dripping while the other breast is being fed from.

        1. I had all out squirting from my other breast when I nursed my babies. I called it my fountain. I could seriously spray 3ft out. but that only lasted for the first month or two. Letting down on both sides is completely normal…at least for me.

    1. I was wondering that, too. There are so many things that you can encounter with breastfeeding that beat the books I’ve read. Thank goodness for reliable lactation consultants–and support!

      1. Yes, I’ve been able to produce enough milk with my left side to exclusively breast feed. But if couldn’t produce enough milk, I would supplement with formula and I wouldn’t feel one ounce of guilt or regret about it.

        Just wanted to say that, because I know nursing doesn’t work out for everybody.

        1. It’s true, Gabby. Breastfeeding is the best food our new babies can get–that’s been covered beyond argument. But we all need slack, support, and credit. Momming is hard work, no matter what. It’s good to keep in mind that ideal isn’t always reality, that’s okay.

          How great, though, that you’ve still been able to exclusively breastfeed of one side.

  7. isn’t there a movie where one of the characters predicts the weather with her breasts? I swear there is…a teeny bopper movie…if I remember it later, I’ll comment again!

    glad it’s not cancerous, and good for you to be able to nurse with only 1 breast…amazing what our bodies can do, right? That breast must produce a ton of milk to compensate for the other. At least you don’t have to remember which one you finished up on last time you nursed…alternating can be a pain… :) there’s always a bright side, right?

    TMI can be very funny…and insightful…and helps me feel like I know you just a little bit more intimately… you are a REAL person…dealing with REAL stuff… thanks for sharing and being fabulous!

  8. ohh, oohhhh! It’s MEAN GIRLS… Amanda Seyfried plays the dumb blonde, and she thinks her breasts predict the weather… hilarious!

  9. I never had a lump or any kind of breast surgery and I had similar nursing problems. For some reason my right side makes about 5 times more milk than the left (I know this because when I pumped that was the approximate difference). I even sweat a lot more from my right underarm than my left. With both my kids, after the first couple of months I eventually gave up nursing on both sides and nursed exclusively on one side as the left side supply got worse and worse, despite my attempts to always start on that side and make sure the kids spent lots of time nursing on that side. And also suffered the different-sized boobs, although not to as dramatic an extent as you have! Isn’t the human body bizarre?

  10. this is the most wonderful, hilarious, honest, fantastic blog post ever. thank you so much for sharing your imperfection with us :)

  11. I can sypmathize! I was an almost A until after college (weight gain… not that I was EVER skinny) and then I made it into the “real” A. :) I feel like I was always slightly lopsided, but now that I’m nursing, I’m much more lopsided. I think when I wear a bra it’s not as obvious – and patterns help. I wonder if it will even out when I’m done nursing? The smaller side produces less milk, so I always nurse on that side first to stimulate it to make more.

    Also, breastmilk in cookies? Funny. But have you heard of the REAL LIFE guy who made CHEESE from his wife’s bmilk? Sorry for the caps. It’s that weird, though.

    1. Anna, I’m speechless. My state’s fair is about the biggest thing since the Mall of America was built here, and I’m praying that this never, ever, ever appears there.

      1. The twelve year old in me snickers that he served the breast milk cheese at his restaurant, which is a brasserie. “Brasserie” has always made me titter. I said titter!

  12. This is an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I am normally a 32B. ( when not nursing, or pregnant Which I have been for the past 5 years) And a 32D while I’m nursing. And like Michelle says, both let down milk at the same time.
    The magic of the female body.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing! Even though I’ve never had breast surgery and there’s nothing wrong with my right breast, my first baby always preferred my left breast and completely gave up my right one eventually. I was lopsided for a long time. I can already tell that my 3 week old is preferring the left one too. I should probably look into one of those false breasts.

  14. I was so happy to read this! After the birth of my second baby, I had to have a huge lump removed too. Mine wasn’t cancerous either, but it sure stressed me out. I used to think nursing must be the easiest and most natural thing ever, but I soon learned for myself the sacrifice us mothers make of our bodies for our babies. :)

  15. Fascinating post! I’ve always been on the large size in “the girls” department – as in, “would you please look at my face when you’re talking to me, not at my chest!” since about 8th grade. I had always heard (and hoped) that after nursing babies you would get smaller, but, alas, I nursed six babies and I’m still huge. And my babies always preferred the right side, who knows why.

  16. Oh my goodness Gabrielle! I am so glad to know that I am not the only woman out there who is a AA… it sure feels like I am! Small breasted women unite!!! I would go braless except for the fact that, even though my youngest weaned himself last Novemember, I still leak!

    As for nursing and being uneven, at least it is temporary. And your fake booby will do the trick for now, eh?

  17. I always hated the bras that said, “NEARLY-A” – as if I just BARELY fall short somehow. But I have always said I would rather have a small chest than a big one. I knew a girl once that said she had to dig holes in the sand at the beach to be able to lay on her stomach! ha. And frankly, I would always rather have a man looking into my eyes than at my chest when he’s talking to me.

    Thanks for sharing – you’re a brave woman to put it all out there!

  18. I totally appreciate booby tmi. I really do. I myself was flat chested and have now grown to a b cup in my second trimester. It amazes me…and my husband. :) I do plan to breast feed and this is all very informative to me. Little did I realize I would need to switch boobies or having the baby favor one side.

  19. I like being small chested. It makes running so much easier. As soon as I became pregnant with number 2, I immediately jumped to a B-cup and I think I’m only going to get larger and then let the nursing begin. When I was in high school, I thought I wanted big boobs, but I didn’t really. My MIL is large chested and it’s a pain for her to buy clothing.

    My Granny had breast cancer and had one of her breast removed. She hated wearing a fake boob on one side, so she was overjoyed when there was some abnormalities in the other breast and she could just be flat chested. Not quite what I would want, but it works for her!

  20. Thank you for sharing this! How crazy that the lump came back but I love that you can tell when it rains by it ;) I’m not small chested, in fact I’m the opposite camp & while breastfeeding I get into the mid letter of the alphabet. And the left one is bigger & each kiddo favors that one. Also, my left breast with this baby decided regularly to humiliate me. Like my breast pad shifted & I leaked all over the place while giving a LECTURE!

  21. i have the same issue ~ milk came in much stronger on my right side, which was always a bit bigger, but now, according to the bra specialist @ nordstrom’s “there is a significant difference” and “i don’t normally see that” ~ geez, thanks! left is a B, right is a C ~ so comforting to hear that i am not the only one!

    i also have a little fake boob insert that i use on occasion ~ always make my husband laugh when i pull it out of my bra:)

  22. What a fascinating story. Any men that read your blog are probably freaked out right now, but I love the girly discussion that’s happening in the comment section. :)

    Breasts are wondrous creatures. Life giving, life taking, objects of entirely too much scrutiny. The obsession with breasts has always fascinated me.

  23. I’m with you in the lopsided department…..also in the breast lump dept. Just FYI..another option besides surgery is cryoablation. If you havent’ talked to your doc about it ask! Took less than an hour in my docs office and very little bruising afterwards. Lump gradually disappeared over the next 6-10 months.

  24. I’m also very small and have had 2 children and three very large lumps removed (2 on the left and one on the right). The surgery made my very small breasts even smaller and after I finished nursing the left side shrunk so much that my nipple inverted. Great post! What we do for our babies.

  25. i am fascinated! really, i am! i love breastfeeding… the goodness of it for the baby (in so many different ways), the weight loss for me, the bond between baby and momma, but the one thing i have NOT been blessed with… is big boobs passed the 3 month mark. seriously!! so disappointing. i’m probably an A… sometimes double A cup too. when i get preggo, presto… the boobs are nice and big! ha ha! then i nurse and they’re still nice and big… but only for so long. yup, around the 3 month mark, they get tinier and tinier. very sad, really. i always go ’til at least a year with nursing and i exclusively breastfeed too! what the heck?! so maybe you have lopsided boobs when you’re nursing.. but at least one of them is nice and big. ha ha! basically i’m nipple feeding here.

    but i do have to add… my babies have all preferred a certain side too… they almost look the same but lefty is a tad bigger (like millimeters, i’m talking here) and all 3 of my girls have preferred the left. too funny!

    1. Uh oh, this is what I’m worried about. I’ve never been more than AA, and at 6 months preg am psyched to have “ballooned” up to an almost-B (although I’m still wearing A bras that used to gap). If they shrink after three months and you still have 9 months to go, what are they holding onto? Where does the milk go/come from? Clearly I know nothing from breastfeeding and will be signing up for a class pronto.

      1. Hormones kind of level out around the 3 month mark (hence the shedding of luscious locks while preggo) so that probably contributes to the change in size. Dont worry, tasterspoon, size isnt an indicator of quantity. (Also, I produce plenty of milk, but never leak… everyone is different!)

      2. your body will make sufficient enough milk for your baby. that’s why it’s kinda cool to see how different babies look from all sorts of breastfeeding moms. i see some massive babies from teeny tiny moms with micro boobs… and i see little bitty babies from mamas with large tatas. they all grow differently. it is kinda strange to think that they were so large and now so small. but baby doesn’t seem to mind. we’ll see how long she goes. my 1st went 14 months, 2nd went 22 months, so the 3rd… we will find out. obviously i make enough even with these little guys! ha ha! or they would have all stopped a long time ago. ;) good luck with baby!!

  26. At 46 years old, you’d think I’d be over the whole body image thing, wouldn’t you? But I’m not. *sigh* I keep telling myself that I will still look cute when I’m older because my breasts won’t be hanging down to my waist, but what I wouldn’t give to be nursing again! :) Thanks for putting yourself out there…I feel like I have a new best friend. :D

  27. I enjoyed reading the comments almost as much as the post. Breasts are so weird, but I’d rather be a mammal than a marsupial, eh?

    1. Mary, marsupials are a kind of mammal (they keep their babies in pouches, where the baby drinks mums milk)! Breasts are indeed weird, but yep, having a pouch would definitely be weirder! (I’m in Australia – it’s full of weird marsupials here!)

  28. I’ve heard that breast milk can also be used to make fancy soap. :)

    (I googled a lot when I had a baby in the NICU and an overflowing freezer full of milk.)

  29. I have to tell you, I’ve been reading your site for well over a year now, and I comment here and there, and I really adore your style and what you decide to share with us. But honestly, by far and away this is my favorite post ever. Possibly on any blog I’ve read. I might had to send you a bill to have my couch and keyboard cleaned from the juice that spouted out of my nose (MY NOSE!!) after reading it, but otherwise, I’m sad we live so far away because I’m pretty sure we could be good friends.

    Thanks for all your generosity with us, your anonymous, adoring internet fans.

  30. At 6 months, my son decided he no longer wanted to nurse on my smaller, right breast. I think it made him work harder to get milk and he decided to boycott. The left breast managed beautifully for the next 8 months of our nursing relationship. In the meantime, I resorted to the same solution as you. It worked well enough, but it was still a pain!

  31. Okay, still laughing. Also, “Have I Told You About My Crazy Breasts?” clearly has to be the name of your memoir/biography! (I hope you take that in the harmless way I intended it!)

  32. My four pregnancies have sent me from a C cup to a J cup! My trouble? My breasts grew with each pregnancy, then again when the milk came in…. but they did not return to their pre-pregnancy size onced I stoped feeding, they stayed the same! With each pregnancy they just grew some more and didn’t go smaller afterward. Even losing weight doesn’t change them, they are stuck at an excessively huge size! The body is a weird thing sometimes!

  33. The crazy evolution of ones breasts. I’m scared to have babies and nurse because although big boobs may sag after…small ones have the potential to flop over like little empty dog ears ;)

  34. Wren only nurses from my left breast too – the power boob! She went on a right boob strike within the first few months of her life and I gave up trying. So I have been incredibly lop-sided for the past year. Funny thing, I used to be very conscious of it and I’ve lost interest in it. I even find myself wearing tight-fitting t-shirts again, which clearly show the (BIG) difference, but I don’t really care much about it anymore. Ha! The bra and swimsuit issue is annoying and to be honest, I had never even considered using a fake boob insert. Until now!

    Aaah, the amazing boob.

  35. this post was hilarious and interesting all rolled in one.
    all i know is that boobs are totally overrated. after babies they all turn into rocks in socks. big fleshy pieces of (saggy) fat. what’s the thrill, anyway?

  36. Ohmygosh, I love this post! A totally new cyber side of GB I’m being exposed to. Love it! A little coincidental, too, since I just looked at myself in the mirror yesterday and thought about how lopsided my tiny breasts looked in my snugish tee shirt! (I’ll consider it my personal badge of honor for providing breastmilk for my twins for almost 2 years!!).

  37. glad to know I’m not the only lopsided one out there, though it didn’t turn out that way until after this last pregnancy (my 3rd)
    while we’re on the subject, do you get stretch marks up there? it’s the ONLY place i ever get them in my pregnancies since I balloon up to a double D or E!

  38. I love that a post about Martha Stewart’s cake cutting, overpriced perfection is followed up by a personal account of imperfection. And that it was done so matter-of-factly and without warning. Loved it. I’m a designer, too, and sometimes we get so wrapped up in perfection and cute objects and perfectly designed rooms that it can be hard to just feel OK enough to get up in the morning (maybe that’s just me). I think the world is more interesting and beautiful in its imperfection. And, I must add, I’d love to have your figure and your small chest (oh to be able to go braless) You look great in your clothes and you get a lot more selection than us plus-sized gals!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top