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 your story.
    when my boobs were growing in elementary. i used to wear the tightest shirts to try to squash them. i hated them. i still dont care for boobs. my husband is a good liar and tells me he doesn’t either

  2. Can I just say that I will remember forever that I was offered a link to “click here to see why my breasts are so lopsided?” How can one pass that up, really? First of all…hats off to you girl for nursing like that. Most women I know in that situation may throw in the towel…or the pump, as the case may be. Secondly…as a Double D gal…I CAN NOT imagine having such dramatic difference. Really…like do you tip over a bit?
    And yes, though I have “just one” child, I nursed for 14 months. I’m a little overboard with the TMI, but I actually posted about a funny breastfeeding moment once. You’re welcome to read it, if you don’t mind my crassness.
    I’m sure there was a more tech savvy way to link that but…ah well.


  3. This very thing was on my mind yesterday! As I looked over the Sartorialist posts and ogled all the pretty clothes I realized that everything looked amazing on these “everyday” people *because* they were flat-chested. Clothing looks waaaay better on small boobs.

    I’m normally a D cup on a size 6 bod which is way more Playboy Bunny than the boring homeschooling/farming mom that I am. However, currently 2 months pregnant and bursting out of my bra — good gracious, F cup here I come. These things really get in the way, you know?

  4. Actually, I love this. I would put it in my top-ten Design Mom posts category, because, well, it’s so very real. Don’t get me wrong–I love almost every post, and that’s what keeps me coming back. But sometimes I just can’t relate to purchasing, say, bloomers for $50+, no matter how cute they are. I love the stories about real life, and boy, this is!

    I thought this was going to be a post about breastfeeding in general; how the baby nurses on one side, and maybe refuses the other, so you’re in pain and lopsided (been there, occasionally still am), but I like this even more. Because let’s be honest–breasts are a huge, big deal. To us, to our children who eat from them, to others. And they’re completely over-sexualized in our culture and over-valued just for aesthetics’ sake, but for women, they are part of our identity as females. And having to have surgery that alters them, well, that’s a big deal, too. Breastfeeding is not easy work, and your body just keeps changing even after the baby is born. Although, happily, breastfeeding is on a large upward trend, it’s nice to see a story like this because I know it will support women. With as many readers as you’ve had, Gabrielle, this is bound to be a comfort and a boon to several people reading here. As for me, it just makes you more like a mom I’d run into when I’m shopping for groceries, or like another woman in the mother’s room. I love that nursing has given me access to that room, where suddenly I join the club in which talking about breasts is a-okay.

  5. Ok we are twins. I had the same surgery on the same breast with almost the same results. I was/am still able to nurse but its not the easiest most enjoyable thing, I usually end up with clogged ducts/infections etc. My lump came back too, although I can’t say I have the weather predicting capabilities!

  6. My breasts did the same thing when I weaned my son… In my case it was only three weeks, but that didn’t make wearing bathing suits any easier! Another joy of motherhood!

  7. i had to giggle at the “fake boob” picture. My sister calls them her “chicken breasts” b/c they look and feel like a raw chicken breast (gross!), don’t they? we had terrible bridesmaid dresses for small-boobied girls once (halter style) and both had to wear the chicken breasts in these crazy bras just to get the dresses to look okay. best part was when the chicken breasts started to slide around during the dancing at the reception. mercy.

  8. I am part dairy cow. Ever morning I get up and feed my baby on one side then pump out 10 oz in the other. That’s more than a cup! From one side! At hone time!

    Then before I go to bed I pump another 10 out so I can comfortably sleep through the night.

    I started donating milk to the milk bank because I have SO MUCH. I could never begin to use it all. So far I have donated almost 2,000 oz (plus what I feed my baby.)

    Anyone want some? I have a freezer full!

    Glad you are (double) A-OK!

  9. I agree with the unfairness of giant lumps in tiny breasts! I have a giant lump in my left tiny breast. They didn’t remove it, just did a biopsy on it (I was 30). I have to get mammograms and ultrasounds regularly to check on it for the last 5 years. Mammograms are probably never fun, but on tiny breasts they are nearly impossible and very painful.

  10. oh yes, any sort of surgery around your milk ducts will possibly affect them. A breast reduction actually slowed my milk production down to a normal rate for the two kids I had afterward. And as far as being a weather vane? I get that too, in my hips that were lipo’d after a tummy tuck. After 5 kids, a tummy tuck had to have been the best money we ever spent.

  11. Oh my gosh! I never thought someone would experience the same thing I have! A couple years ago, with my second pregnancy, I found a lump in my breast that was painful and just got bigger and bigger throughout the pregnancy and into breastfeeding. I had several ultrasounds and mammograms, but the doctors weren’t worried about it. I was FREAKED out! Well, as soon as I stopped breastfeeding it went completely away within two weeks! But now every time the air pressure drops or I’m getting ready to start my period it gets a little “fussy”. Sorry about the TMI. I’ve never told anyone that, not even my husband, because I knew they would think I was totally nutso. Ha! Glad to hear someone has been through it too. After reading your story, I will think twice when the doctors tell me they want to remove it.

  12. I am so un-even that my friends talk about my poor lefty and big rightie. Hubs even asked me recently if I’ll ever even out after having kids and nursing. Hmph.

    I think my problem is because I prefer (and Ivy prefers) my right side and that’s also the side I tend to always nurse her on when in bed.


  13. Gabrielle you make me smile and make me laugh. Thank you!
    I wonder if we’re ever happy with our bodies. hehe I would love for my breasts to be a size B and sometimes even an A. Sadly I think they skipped A and B and went straight to a C, D and bigger. As I’m losing much needed weight all over my body I have hopes of the ole D plus gals becoming B’s but I fear they’re only going to be very long.

  14. I thought that I was the only person in the world who got weird boob pains when the barometric pressure changed. Glad that I am not alone.

    I go from a 32 B to a 32F/32G when I’m nursing. (If anyone knows where to buy at 32F or G nursing bra for under $200, I will seriously send you chocolate. ) I’ve been annoyed at the damage that that kind of stretching and shrinking has done, but I am now glad that they increase and decrease equally!

    1. I’m a 34F/G nursing. I have the Bravado Bliss (it comes in 32), no underwire, but structured–it’s great! At $54, you should try it!

  15. I’m doubly amazed. I’m normally an F, as in Freaking gigantic. But now I’m pregnant for the second time and the alphabet no longer works to describe my boobs, I can just tell you what 3 zip codes you’ll find them in. A double A is something that I can only dream about but I’d even settle for a boring old C cup.

  16. Nice to finally meet someone with the same problem as me. Sometimes I look in the mirror and feel like a national geographic shoot gone wrong. :)

  17. I’m glad you shared. People take having babies and motherhood too lightly sometimes and think both are very easy and think the whole process should be skipped over and not talked about. I think we should be more open about it and share the stories and not be “grossed out” by things that happen and are completely natural. I had to have surgery to repair the internal tearing that my daughter did after her birth. It was over 2 years after I had her. I couldn’t understand why my recovery was so hard and the doctor just said, “well you had a baby and you are a small woman.” We didn’t know about the internal tearing until I became pregnant with my son and were worried I’d have to be sewn up to keep him in me. I’ve told one woman about the story she couldn’t believe I’d tell her. She thought I should keep it a secret. I think the more we can learn so we don’t go into birth and pregnancy, or surgeries, the better. So, thank you for sharing and not being embarrassed by your story like some woman feel we should be. Stay strong!!

  18. not lopsided breasts but after my son, lopsided feet?! left foot is a 6 and right foot is a 6 1/2, almost a 7! obviously not as drastic as A and D cup but definitely uneven!

  19. this makes me happy. thanks for getting personal- you’ve got such an awesome sense of humor. It’s nice to know that other flat chested (well, i’m more like a B but can i be considered flat chested too?) aren’t just running off for a boob job at the first chance they get. i’m all about you get what you get and you don’t through a fit.

  20. I can’t believe so many comments on your boobs. I’ve had similar scares with my boobs, they are fine (whew) and the same size. Just a reminder to be thankful for all the lil & big things, no pun intended.

  21. I love that you wrote about boobs on your blog! -So funny, and interesting too!! (I’m still a newbie blogger, so I think I’ll stick to literacy for now, and bring on the boobs in a year or so!) :)

  22. I had a similar problem, although it was temporary. With my first baby I kept getting mastitis over and over again, but just on one side. After numerous runs through antibiotics and ultrasounds etc., I finally just quit nursing on that side. I nursed for a loooong time and had one awesome boob and one saggy sad boob.

    Now after being long finished nursing two babies, I’m sad to report they are both saggy sad boobs. Oh well, that is what good bras are for I guess!

  23. Thank you for sharing this story! I’m in my mid twenties and have always been small chested also, and I found a painful lump in my breast a couple of months ago. I have an appointment with a specialist next week, and I’m sure they’ll be telling me whether or not I have to get it removed. The whole thing has made me very nervous, so I really needed to hear that somebody else went through the same thing! :)

  24. I once had a physician look at me and say, “Most women have asymmetrical breasts, which means that one is larger than the other. Your right breast is larger.” I had no idea what to say because I couldn’t figure out why she would tell me that. It’s not super obvious to others, but obvious enough that since they’re my breasts and I see them every day, I knew that already.

  25. Great post! Every time I wean a child, I look at my breasts and think, “they couldn’t possibly have been that small before.” It’s amazing the transformations our bodies go through for these little people!

  26. Oh my stars. Hilarious. One of the things I love about being a woman is how we share with each other. I myself am barely a double A. If I ever again feel sorry for myself (only when shopping for a bra or swimsuit because it is just so darn hard to find anything that fits!) now I will rejoice that they are at least the same size. Not to rub it in. Thanks for sharing.

  27. WOW! I thought I had uneven breasts! That is impressive. And definitely worth sharing. I have one side that my bra nearly digs into, with overflow out the top. The other side fitting just fine. Quite odd. Recently I’ve been a bit obsessed-noticing how shirts pull more on one side, etc. Strange for me, wild for you!

  28. I think it’s crazy one little breast can feed a baby for a whole year! Despite my very best efforts my two little breasts only lasted about 8 months. And now they are even smaller. Too small to sag. Thanks for posting this Gabby :)

  29. Oh I love this!! Our babies are about two weeks apart. Your sixth, my first. Why are boobs always on our minds?! Probably cause the babes are always on them… I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with aa. I just emailed my sisters a trail of slobber my son left when cuddled up on my chest. There’s a distinct trail from my upper chest down to my nipple. They sure know where to go!!!

  30. I love any LDS girl who is willing to talk about her “rock hard rack” on her blog! I have the same issue. No surgery involved but freaky just the same. My little nursling just prefers one side more than the other. Nursing is a crazy thing. I latched her on this morning and somehow found a cheerio in my bra!

  31. I think you’re the best. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes I imagine you are perfect and your children are perfect, and your design, your work, your husband, and everything else in your world is perfect. It’s nice to know that this tiny little bit of you is not exactly perfect. ;) (execpt, for your sore boob’s sake, i’d probably be happier if that, too, was perfect!)

  32. I don’t care if this isn’t normal DesignMom material–I love it. I’m the same way, only I really don’t like wearing a bra. I’ve started to, recently, but only when I go out in public. And it’s because we’re weaning. To solids. Which means if I don’t have small-but-jiggly boobs, I’ve got food smeared all over me and him.

    It’s just part of the mom uniform.

  33. ok this is incredibly wild.. like crazy weird.. but nearly the exact same thing happened to me.. only on my left side after baby #2. People never believed that I could nurse the 6 that came after with only milk from one side! haha! I am so glad i read this. Now, I feel a little more normal. hehe.

  34. Well, I just love you more now that you’ve made me feel that I’m not alone in the AA club. I’ve never even had one of them be a D! :-)

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