Bottle Feeding

I often get calls about a baby who won’t take a bottle.  This is usually accompanied by a plea from a desperate mother who is getting ready to return to work and fears that her baby won’t eat all day.  The internet is full of helpful (or not so helpful) suggestions for parents to try.  Some work, some do not.  Ideas such as “your baby will drink from the bottle when they are hungry” don’t usually work.  Young babies are not masters of manipulation and they are not refusing because they have a different plan in mind.

On the same level, I usually hear from someone that their first baby (or second, or third…) would not take a bottle.  Ever.

So what’s a mother to do? It has been my experience that if a baby will not take a bottle and you have tried all the other little tricks such as changing bottle nipples, walking with baby while feeding, paced feeding, there is one thing left.  It’s possible that your baby can’t take the bottle.  They can’t figure out how to make it work.  This could be a coordination problem, tongue tie, suck issue…there’s several to investigate.  This can be overcome, but the best thing to do is call a lactation consultant to assess the latch and see just what your baby is doing when bottles are offered.  Is she gagging?  Pushing the nipple out?  Rolling it around on her tongue? Chewing on it?  Remember, breastfeeding is instinctive.   Breastfeeding comes easier to babies than bottle feeding,  and your baby may need a little help to figure out how to do it.

If you never need to give a bottle, then you have nothing to worry about.  However, more mothers are returning to the workforce a couple of months after having a baby and giving a bottle is an important part of that.  Do you find yourself in this situation? Then you need to check out this week’s podcast.  All about bottle feeding, and what to do if it’s not working.




Breastfeeding Boundaries

Boundaries are tough. It’s easy to say that you will be able to set and keep boundaries, until that day comes.  As soon as your child cries or complains the likelihood of caving in to toddler demands is indisputable.

This is the same for breastfeeding boundaries.  When we talk about breastfeeding boundaries, we are referring to those times when you feel touched out or overwhelmed and feel like you need to gain control over the breastfeeding relationship.  How does it even get to this point, anyway?

I’ll give you some examples.

Your toddler is still breastfeeding and you have another baby.  All of a sudden you realize that feeding both is just too much but you don’t want to wean completely. 

You are working full-time and your baby is over a year and you want to stop pumping and just nurse the baby in the morning and before bed.

These are just 2 of the scenarios that have come up with families I work with.  Sometimes you aren’t ready to wean yet, but you are ready to create some structure around the breastfeeding relationship that has always been on demand.  This is ok, but setting boundaries can be a challenge.  A necessary challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.  You are already creating boundaries in your every day life as a mom, but you may not realize it.  Think about your daily routine, where you may have boundaries set and how you came about  that.  Think about how this impacts your life and your baby’s life.  Will it be a tough adjustment for either of you?  Probably.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.  You will be setting boundaries your entire parenting life; might as well start somewhere.

Tune in to the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week and get some great suggestions on how to create boundaries, if that is what you need.  Keep listening for the ongoing support Dianne and Abby can offer.



Body Changes

I was a distance runner when I had my first baby.  I ran throughout pregnancy, and started running about 2 weeks after he was born (I DO NOT recommend that, BTW).  It was important to me.  I was a little surprised when I got pregnant with Nathan, and I was determined to keep life as “normal” as possible.

If I only knew then what I know now.  Famous last words, right?  Now I know that body changes happen, regardless of how you treat your body during and after pregnancy.  Body changes happen even if you didn’t gain much baby weight and are able to lose it quickly.  Body changes just happen.

I was talking with some new mothers at Breastfeeding Bootcamp, my support group for breastfeeding moms.  The conversation started because of nursing bras, and what to do about sizing. Breast size increases for most women during pregnancy, and even more after the baby is born and the milk comes in. A good fitting nursing bra can be a hot topic of conversation.   From nursing bras to new clothes – and the mothers got into a conversation about finding comfortable pants that fit after baby.  One mother, whose baby is 5 months old, confided that she is at her pre pregnancy weight, but her pre pregnancy pants don’t fit.

Body changes.

Things happen during pregnancy.  Body parts expand and grow and stretch to accommodate a growing baby.   Sometimes things don’t quite go back to where they were before pregnancy.  Hormonal fluctuations can bring on changes too.  This is a very normal part of having a baby.

Remember how I said that I was running again pretty quickly after I had Nathan?  Well, within a year and a half I found myself pregnant with twins. I was told that I could not run during my pregnancy this time.  I am blessed with big babies, and the twins were no exception.  By the time they were born, I was so big and stretched out. This is the conversation I had with my doctor at the 6-week checkup:

Me:  “where is all this extra skin going to go?”  I seriously felt like I could remove the skin that had stretched on my belly and build a new person with it.

Dr. V: “hmm.  Maybe no bikini this year”.

Seriously?  No bikini THIS year?  How about ever?

For years after having my kids I had that desire to look just like I did before I had kids.  Even now, there are days when I think about that. But the desire is not as strong as the love I have for my kids.  I worked hard for those body changes.  I am proud of that.  I want every mother to be proud of that.

For more on all kinds of body changes during pregnancy and post partum (I am sure there are more you have never even heard of!) check out the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week. Dianne and Abby will break it all down for you.  Don’t miss it.


A few weeks ago I received a random text from Missy.  Missy has been my bestie since we were in Girl Scouts at the age of 8.
“Matthew is trying to tell me that we are NOT the only species that drinks a different species’ milk. Tell me he’s wrong”  the text read.

“Matthew is definitely wrong” was my response.  Knowing Missy as I do, I imagined she was enjoying her victory at that moment.  Matthew, her (usually) very knowledgeable husband, had to accept his defeat with this one.

When I first started to learn more about breastfeeding, I remember hearing someone say this exact thing. We are the only species that drinks a different species of milk. At least intentionally.  I really had to give this consideration at first – think about other mammals, whether or not I had ever heard about them feeding from other species. When you really look at it that way, it seems kind of strange to think that we are the only species that intentionally and willingly drinks the milk of another mammal, and consider it normal. Yet, feeding the milk that our body creates especially for the baby that we birthed is strange to some.  Am I the only one who sees this as odd?

I have no idea what sparked the discussion between Matthew and Missy about this very topic. Honestly, I have known Missy for so long that I didn’t even ask why they were arguing about human milk when their youngest child is a teenager and had weaned long ago.  This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Abby and Dianne talk more about milk because this is a question we get quite often. Not just about human milk, but about when to start babies on another species of milk and how to go about making that switch. Or do you even have to? Want to hear more about that? Tune in this week!


Nipple Confusion

Nipple confusion.   The cryptic puzzle that has plagued my lactation practice for years. To me, nipple confusion is like the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot –  some swear it exists, yet I have never seen or met anyone who has experienced it.

So lets talk about nipple confusion.  It is a common fear for so many new mothers. They are told that if the baby gets too many bottles they will not want to breastfeed.  That bottle feeding is “easier” than breastfeeding.  This is also false.  If you want to learn more about this, check out my blog post from a while back.  This breaks it all down for you:

So if bottles aren’t easier, why does everyone fear nipple confusion?  Because society says it’s so.  Now, don’t get me wrong – bottles can absolutely disrupt a breastfeeding relationship, causing milk supply to drop.  This happens because bottles keep babies from feeding at the breast. Feeding at the breast will keep your milk supply at it’s best.  Of course, sometimes bottles are unavoidable, and that’s ok.  As long as babies are not overfeeding by bottle, it will be easier for them  to go back to the breast.  Breastfeeding is not just about food…there is so much more to it than that.  Babies don’t abandon breastfeeding as easily as some might think.

For more information on nipple confusion, what it is and what it isn’t…tune in to the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week. Dianne and Abby will set it straight.




Birth Trauma

I cringe whenever a new mother tells me that her baby’s birth was awful, but all that matters is that her baby is healthy and well.

I want to scream “NO! That’s not all that matters!  YOU matter just as much!”

Somehow, society has decided that what happens during the birth is obsolete, and all that matters is a happy, healthy baby.  Of course we all want a happy and healthy baby, no one is denying that or saying anything contrary to that.  However, if things do not go as easily as you had hoped, that can be disappointing, upsetting, and downright traumatic.  When someone tells you that its ok, the healthy baby is all that matters, they are minimizing the reality of what really happened.

Traumatic birth is a real thing.  It happens a lot, way more than people think.  It is talked about even less.  Often the mothers I work with tell me they just want to forget what happened, put it behind them.  Who can forget the birth of their baby?   It’s a significant life altering event.   Finding a way to process what happened is a meaningful and important part of recovery.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about traumatic birth.   Tune in to hear more!



Partner Support

When I had my first baby, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I was so unprepared for the whole experience and I didn’t know how to ask for the help I needed – if I could even articulate what that was. I figured people would just know what to do.

They don’t.

If you don’t know what you need and don’t know how to ask for what you need, you will be doing way more than you should be doing. If you are one of those strong-willed mamas (I happen to be one of those) that denies needing help or figures that it will be easier to do it yourself, well…you might learn the hard way.

We weren’t meant to do this alone. We were not meant to have a baby and do everything by ourselves without support, guidance or both. Maybe you’re thinking “it’s ok, I have a wonderfully supportive partner”. Well, that might be enough. However, the chances are that your supportive partner doesn’t know what to do either.   Somehow, as the generations moved on, we lost the art of community support. Families used to rally around new mothers, helping with meals and other children and recovery. Mothers and babies were left to bond, breastfeed and recover from the childbirth experience, knowing that their aunts, mother, sisters, neighbors were there to pick up the slack. It’s not like that anymore. Well, I’m sure it’s like that somewhere, but it is no longer the expectation. We are almost offended by the offer of help, as if it is the universe’s way of telling you that you aren’t good enough. I think it’s time that it circled back around again, and we appreciated this for what it is – a celebration of bringing a baby into the world and supporting the new family as they learn the parenting ropes.

This week Dianne and Abby talk all about partner support and how this looks. Check it out here: