Congratulations, You’ve Retired! An Open Letter to my Boobs After a Decade of Feeding

It’s been six months since my decade-long breastfeeding journey ended. And my boobs are having an identity crisis.

Despite closing the milk bar in style (Weaning Weekend Away, it’s a thing!), the liquid gold is still on tap. My milk ducts, proudly eligible for long-service leave, are stubbornly refusing to give up the gig.

I’ve googled. On average it takes seven days for your milk to dry up after ceasing breastfeeding. So why on earth are my girls still cooking dinner 26 weeks after they were last required? Honestly, I’m concerned about their mental health. My D-cups are stuck in the past and no amount of sage tea seems able to snap them out of it.

Beyond breastfeeding

We’ve been through a lot, the boobs and I, so it’s time for a motivational chat, maybe it’ll perk them up a bit as they contemplate their future beyond babies.

Dear Boobs,

I get it. It’s hard to remember who you are when the seasons change and your function in this world alters. Once revered ornamental delicacies, then later of life-sustaining importance, you guys must now question where you belong (honestly though, quit looking under my armpits, that ain’t your destiny!)

Perhaps you’re having a little trouble accepting there will be no more babies or boob tubes. It breaks my heart too. It’s healthy to indulge in a little nostalgia, recalling the days you could hold up a string bikini like nobody’s business. But this moping around, waiting for someone to feed every few hours smacks of desperation. It’s got to stop.

Trust me, I know it’s difficult to re-invent yourself when you fear your best days are behind you. But moving forward is a part of life Boobs. Letting go of what was is a gut-wrenching art that can’t be rushed. You’ll get there.

And haven’t we had some memorable times? Remember that Christmas we got our first bra? When some misguided Secret Santa decided to surprise a 12-year-old tomboy with lingerie while her ultra-conservative grandparents watched on. Ho, ho, ho.

I stuffed that hideous beige trainer under the bed for a good six months before I finally accepted that you pair had arrived. But my appreciation grew as I got to know you. I was relieved to find you resembled neither ironing board nor mammoth melons. Bravo Boobs!

In adolescence I cast a critical eye: skin too pale, hair too thin, nose too big, but you Boobs? You were just right! Picturesque in push-ups and cute in crops, you obediently did everything you were asked. What troopers you were in that deep-back halter neck dress and those strapless bridesmaid gowns.

And while you sparkled in your glory years, it was your perseverance in the dark days of learning to breastfeed when I began to appreciate your true beauty.

Gosh you put up with a lot. I’m sorry I didn’t consult you when I naively placed us in the “I-have-chosen-to-breastfeed-even-if it-kills-me” camp. (And kill us it nearly did.)

How was I to know I’d give birth to a vampire with no intention of ever perfecting the elusive “Special K mouth”? Then I tortured you with that pump for two months while you “healed”. Some rehabilitation program! I understand if you’re still a bit cranky about that. But you got me back with the mastitis, didn’t you?

It brings a tear to my eye to recall how you guys rallied for each new bubba. Little overachievers you were. While other mums ate lactation cookies to boost supply, you guys cooked up a feast for octuplets. You’ve always been keen to please, perhaps that’s why you are having a little trouble now you are no longer “needed”.

So many times you had my back. Entertaining a stroppy toddler while I finished a book and coffee was above and beyond the job description Boobs. More than once you allowed a sick eight-month-old to comfort feed for seven hours straight. You tolerated a weaned-but-heartbroken-about-it two-year old’s comfort tweaks for months as she learned to sleep without you.

If patience is a virtue, you are a saint Boobs. (Actually, I think I’m gonna call you St Boobs from now on.)

And so, what will be the next part of our journey? I may have done something the other week that upset you. Just so we are clear St Boobs, that time I googled “breast lift”, I was only mucking around.

It’s not that I want more from you guys at all. I suppose I was simply curious about the relocation fee. You know, it might be nice to spend your retirement years with a view from the upper level rather than lounging around in the basement. Or perhaps we will just reinstate the underwire (never fear, push-up bras are out lest we create more boob wrinkles).

Whatever your future (there’s that small matter of the upcoming mammogram), I am proud of you guys. You’ve served us well. But now, don’t be afraid to let go of the past (take a hint guys, no more milk!).

You’ll always be important, even if you aren’t nourishing babies. You’ll always be beautiful, even if you aren’t in a Victoria Secret catalogue. (And just quietly St Boobs, those are things I sometimes need reminding of too.



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Jillian Berry is the exhausted mother of four spirited daughters. Once a journo and editor, she now enjoys torturing her children with zucchini. When she’s not searching for her phone charger, she can be found trying to remember her password, which she only reset yesterday. She fantasizes about escaping to a remote island with her Kindle and a giant jar of Nutella. She’s also a (provisional) psychologist who’d love to make the world a better place, if only she could find the energy.

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