Tits, boobs, puppies, girls, hooters, fun-bags, bazookas, boozies and norks. For the next few minutes, we’re peeking into bras, bedrooms and beliefs as we discover how marvellous and multi-faceted our breasts can be.
What’s in a name?
Plenty, it would seem. Is there any other organ which so visibly embodies what it means to be Woman? Have you noticed that names given to breasts sit on the continuum of love and affection which ultimately becomes derision and misogyny?
And what on earth is a ‘banis bilong susu’ Well, it’s Papuan Pidgin-English for bra. Literal translations include ‘baskets of milk’ and ‘walls for breasts’. Susu can be either breast, or milk. What could be simpler?
Letting the puppies off the leash
Burning the bra; early feminists may have been onto something. What was once a sociopolitical act of defiance may be conducive to breast health. The stagnation and extra heat generated during hours of fashionable, cultural constraint mightn’t be such a good idea.
Why not take you bra off? Right now?
Let us know. Leave a comment.
Exercise; getting enough of it on a regular basis is consistently advised. The incidence of breast cancer is unfortunately, higher in obese women. Similarly, women recovering from breast cancer treatment are known to do better if they can undertake regular, supervised exercise.
Including upper body exercise and movement in our exercise routines will promote the movement of qi, blood and fluids through our chests and breasts.
The nipple-brain connection
No, this isn’t about our intimate partner’s occasional inability to think logically when presented with a bare nipple or two. It’s all about the love.
Intense nipple stimulation such as sucking causes the pituitary gland in the brain to release the hormone oxytocin. This stimulates the let-down response, and milk begins to flow.
Also released during labour, this hormone causes the uterus to contract during and after delivery and is believed to promote bonding between mother and baby. Both women and men are said to release oxytocin during orgasm; it’s quite possibly the body’s own love drug.
The first few weeks of lactation can be traumatic as the balance between supply and demand is achieved. Our milk is either insufficient, banking up, or constantly drenching our clothes, and flooding and choking our babies.
Traditional Chinese medicine says that milk is a by-product of abundant, healthy blood. Efficient emptying of the breasts is thought to guide the milk back up to them, which in turn promotes further milk production.
Acupuncture, certain foods-as-medicine, herbal remedies, and some all-natural topically applied substances can help women manage the physical struggles of the first weeks of lactation. Cracked, bleeding and blistered nipples, painful engorgement, the dreaded mastitis and insufficient milk supply can all be treated naturally.
Just be sure to consult an appropriately qualified and experienced health professional. It’s vital that you don’t self-medicate with herbal or other ‘natural’ supplements whilst lactating. What’s good for you, may not be good for your baby. Let the health professionals guide you.
Lumps and bumps
We’ve heard it, we know it, but let’s remind ourselves again. We must perform breast self-examinations each month. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it could save our breasts, and our lives.
If you’ve been worried about your breasts, or have forgotten how to self-examine, please see your family doctor for your ‘Well Woman’ health check.
© Margi Macdonald
Cautions & Care The information provided here is for your interest, and is not a substitute for face-to-face care and attention provided by your Family Doctor, and other appropriately qualified health professionals. If you have a concern about your physical or emotional health, you must consult an appropriately qualified and experienced health practitioner.
The images The sculptural breasts are features of ancient works found in Cambodia and Vietnam. These images belong to Margi Macdonald.
The painting Madonna and Child C.1609 is by Artemesia Gentileschi who “was one of the first women artists to achieve recognition in the male-dominated world of post-Renaissance art.”
The words Banis Bilong Susu was first published in the magazine Honestly Woman