Breast and Bottle Feeding

It seems to me that when I ask an expecting mother what her feeding plan is, she always makes sure to specify that she is planning to breastfeed, but wants to give bottles. Some things I hear are: “I want dad to bond too”, “I have to return to work”, and “I might want a break”.   Sometimes I wonder if new mothers think that they will be judged if they give a bottle. Well, judgment does come in all forms, but it certainly will not come from me.

Let’s talk about bottles for a minute. I support families through their breastfeeding journey. The mothers who call on me for help are often in a position where they need to give a bottle, and are concerned about how it might disrupt breastfeeding or how they can make both breast and bottle feeding work together. Some situations I see are mothers who are returning to work and need to introduce bottles for day care, or maybe it’s a premature baby who is getting bottles in the hospital. Whatever the reason, the fact is we don’t want bottles to interfere. To be quite honest, I find bottle feeding a pain. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to breastfeed. How do you know how much milk to give in a bottle? How do you know what kind of bottle to use? Do you heat the milk or not? Too many questions here – I found it much easier to put the baby to breast and be done with it. My first baby did not have many bottles, only during situations where I was not able to be at home at all. I did not work when he was a baby, so we were able to do that. I know that is not the norm. When my twins came along, I had to do more bottle feeding, just because I needed the help. It was always breastmilk, which mean I had to get pump time in as well.   It’s a lot of work.

Mothers are often concerned that babies who are primarily breastfeeding need to have a special bottle. It is not necessarily about the bottle, but about HOW the baby is getting the milk from the bottle. Paced bottle feeding, where the baby is getting milk from the bottle in a slow, paced fashion, is the way to go.

Check out this link about paced bottle feeding if you want to learn more about that.

On this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, we talk all about giving bottles and some common situations that might come up. Check it out!




Newborn Schedules~What To Expect?

I saw this great family today. Baby is 4 days old; he is baby number 2 for this mama. The baby was feeding well, milk was coming in, and mom felt good. While we talked, her older son (3 and a half) was bouncing around and chatting away with mom and dad. He didn’t pay too much attention to his little brother, and mom seemed pretty comfortable navigating the new waters of having 2 little boys. After I observed the baby feeding and we discussed a few other breastfeeding concerns she had, mom pointed to her first son and announced “I won’t make the mistake of trying to get this baby on a schedule like I did with him”. Dad nodded his head in agreement. I was surprised to hear her say this – I usually hear new mothers proclaiming their dedication to obtaining some sort of schedule.   “This time” she said, “I will just go with the flow”. Such wise words.

In the many years that I have been working with families, schedules are an important piece of the postpartum puzzle for many new parents. This is really difficult, and I try and coax mothers to keep an open mind about developing a schedule with a baby at a young age. Schedules flaunt structure and routine during a time when so many changes are happening. Parents are looking for something to set in place so they can feel like they are balancing everything. However, no one ever bothers to tell the baby that this so-called schedule is being implemented. Babies have their own ideas, and it is usually not anything like what your schedule says. Babies are very unpredictable. They eat at different times each day, sleep can be erratic and spontaneous and it is nearly impossible to foretell their temperament. For some new mothers, this is a scary concept. Structure is a way of life for many people (not me, of course. I fly by the seat of my pants) and the thought of going through the day not knowing what will happen is downright scary. Because babies are their own little person, their needs are specific. Just like ours. We aren’t hungry at the same time each day, we don’t sleep the same each day – neither will your baby. The only difference is that we can discuss this with everyone around us, and your baby can’t. The more you push your baby to get into a routine that works for you, the harder things may seem.

Take this time to get to know your baby. After the first few months, babies may be easier to guide into a routine that is more predictable. This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, we talk more about schedules and what you can expect. Click on the link below to listen, and feel free to reach out with any feedback!


Where is your Self Care?

Self care. Repeat that again…SELF CARE. Taking care of yourself. It’s like I’m speaking a foreign language. Most mothers I meet are not even thinking about self care, let alone practicing it. It is important, and I’ll tell you why.

Burn out is a real thing. When you’re a mom, you aren’t really thinking about how much parenting takes out of you. Sometimes we get into this routine of doing everything for everyone around us. Think about it – maybe you are taking care of a baby. Maybe you have older children and a baby. You have a partner and laundry and 3 meals a day to get into your kids. Oh and maybe you have a dog to look after and groceries to buy and doctor appointments and and and…So where is the time for you?

Self care is not negotiable. It is an integral part of parenting. Unfortunately, it is up to you to make sure that your self care time is part of your routine. This isn’t something that anyone else can do for you. Plan it out if you have to. Put it on the calendar. Even if it is just 30 minutes out of your day that you can call your own, make it happen. Look forward to it. It sounds very cliché, but you really can’t take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself.

So your job right now is to make a list of things that you can do for yourself.   The next step is to put it into practice.

Want to hear more about self care? Check out the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week and we will school you on all the ways you can make self care a real part of your life. Once you do, we want to hear about it. Share your ideas!



Breastfeeding and Milk Supply

Milk supply. The dreaded nemesis of every breastfeeding mother.   It seems like milk supply dominates the thoughts of breastfeeding women everywhere- and not just low supply. I get questions about low supply and oversupply, concerns when supply is perfect. Usually when supply is perfect, mothers are worried that it’s still not enough. Milk supply issues, real or perceived, are one of the main reasons mothers stop breastfeeding altogether.

Where did this fear come from? Whenever anything happens, mothers question the milk supply. Baby didn’t sleep well – must be supply. Baby didn’t poop today – must be supply. Baby is fussy at the breast – must be supply. Baby is fussy after feeding – must be supply. And on and on and on. Truth be told, it is rarely a supply issue at all. There are only a small number of women who legitimately cannot make enough milk. The rest CAN and WILL make enough, but confidence (or lack there of) along with the naysayers will kill it.

So what is the problem? It has been my experience that several things can happen. Babies aren’t always efficient at getting the milk out in the beginning. If the milk is there and they are having a hard time getting the milk, this can be perceived as a supply issue. If the baby seems unsettled after a feed and it is assumed that the baby didn’t get enough to eat, this can be perceived as a supply issue. Often these babies will be given a bottle, which will take time away from the breast and lead to a supply issue. It was never a supply issue, but more of a learning curve for parents who are misreading cues. Babies that do not feed well from birth can have a hard time stimulating supply from the start. This can cause a supply issue, but can usually be resolved when recognized and if mom is getting the help she needs to get baby on track.

If you are concerned about supply for any reason, or just need reassurance that supply is fine, a lactation consultant can help with this. The peace of mind that can be gained in just talking this over can be invaluable.

For more insight into milk supply, check out week 6 of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast!! If you love it, leave a review. Reach out to us with your stories and suggestions; we would love to hear from you!

Coming Home

It’s your first day home with your baby. Could anything else feel more terrifying? I don’t think there is a new parent out there who didn’t say to themselves “I am not qualified to take care of a baby!” at some point in those early days. When you are in the hospital (if you gave birth in a hospital setting) there are nurses and doctors checking on you, visitors coming to see you and the baby, help with diaper changes, bathing, changing clothes. Even your meals are brought to you. Everything you need is just one push of the call button. It’s blissful. Then you’re discharged.

This is when all the chaos starts. The first night home can be challenging. In all the preparation families do to bring a new life into the world, I don’t know how many actually prepare and learn about HOW baby will react to coming into this world. It’s cold and loud and bright – babies are used to a cozy womb. Overstimulation is common during the newborn period. Reading baby behavior can be difficult, especially if this is a foreign language to you and you are sleep deprived. Maybe you envisioned yourself holding your sweet baby, breastfeeding, and setting your baby down to sleep. Everyone sleeps for a few hours and then up again. In reality, the baby wants to eat every 30 minutes, cries if you put her down and no one is sleeping. And it’s all perfectly normal. In fact, I would expect nothing less.

This week’s Badass Breastfeeding Podcast is all about the first few days home, what to expect, and how to survive. Don’t miss it!




Breastfeeding – the extended version


What is extended breastfeeding, anyway? How do you determine when you have crossed over from “regular” breastfeeding and into “extended” breastfeeding? I have heard many opinions about this, so let’s get right down to it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies breastfeed for 2 years. The World Health Organization (or WHO) recommends up to age 3.   My point of view is really anything beyond the 2 years that is recommended by the AAP. I breastfed all my kids for over a year and I don’t really consider that extended. Some consider anything over the first year to be extended breastfeeding. However you look at it, it’s beneficial for mom and baby.

Society is pretty vocal with their judgment about this particular topic.   Kind of that no filter, offensive type of judgment. Since I work with breastfeeding mothers, I will celebrate any breastfeeding milestone. I am also a safe place for mothers who are breastfeeding into toddlerhood. Often mothers won’t even tell their family members or their doctor that they are still breastfeeding for fear of the backlash that may come with it.

As with any other aspect of parenting (or really anything else you do in your life), extended breastfeeding is a choice that is made between mother and baby and the family, and doesn’t need the vote of approval from anyone else. If it’s working for you, keep it up.

Week 4 of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast is all about extended breastfeeding. Interested in hearing more? Check it out here.



Breastfeeding 2?


Have you ever seen someone tandem nurse? It’s somewhat of a unicorn in our society these days. Just knowing someone who has managed this is enough, let alone witness it with your own eyes.

Tandem nursing is when mom is breastfeeding her new baby and still breastfeeding the first baby. This is a pretty amazing thing to be doing, especially when you consider that she is now breastfeeding 2 kids and 2 different stages of development. So let’s put this a different way. I breastfed twins. 2 babies (my claim to fame, by the way). I am really proud that I breastfed twins. I also have a master’s degree. And published a book. But that breastfeeding twins thing – definitely my best work.   However, breastfeeding twins is not tandem nursing. Tandem nursing is a completely different type of talent.

Let’s break it down. Now we have a woman who is breastfeeding a toddler and becomes pregnant. Do you remember what it’s like to be pregnant (if you aren’t pregnant right now, that is)? Do you remember the breast tenderness, the fatigue, the overall feeling of ICK that can take over at times…now imagine breastfeeding a toddler through all of that. And the toddler along with a newborn. It is probably one of the most remarkable things a new mother can do. I celebrate women who do this, because it is certainly not for everyone.   One of the biggest obstacles to tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant is getting past societal norms. The information, or lack thereof, is astounding. Everything from slighting your baby from nutrients to preterm labor – everyone has an opinion about this and most of it is not valid.

This is where I plug the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. This week we talk about tandem nursing and breastfeeding while pregnant, and all the fun that goes along with it. Want to learn more? Have your own experiences? Tune in, and then feel free to reach out with your stories as well.   Check it out!