Becoming a Breastfeeding Advocate


When I was young, if you had asked me what I was going to do with my life, lactation consultant would not be my response.  I can guarantee it.  Maybe teacher or social worker.  I used to always say that I wanted to help women who are struggling in areas of life that I had found myself struggling in.  Looking at it this way, I guess I kind of did what I had intended.  I just never thought it would be as a lactation consultant.

If you listen to the podcast, you know that I came across this profession by default.  Completely on accident.  I went with it, fostered it, nourished and supported it.  This is where I am meant to be in life.  I think this is the background for many who find themselves in this profession.  It can be difficult though, life as an advocate for something you are passionate about.  Not everyone feels as strongly about your passion.

I get a lot of questions about becoming a lactation consultant.  It’s not an easy path, but most things worthwhile are not easy.  For those who do not want to become an IBCLC, breastfeeding mothers absolutely need the reinforcement of other women, mothers, and families who can support them through their breastfeeding journey.  Not sure what to do or where to start?  Put together a Facebook support group, get some breastfeeding specific education, shadow an IBCLC.  Tell a breastfeeding mother how amazing she is.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about breastfeeding advocacy and becoming an IBCLC.  If you are interested in getting more involved, you won’t want to miss this!




Discrimination and Harassment

Whenever a new mother tells me about a situation where she felt discriminated against for breastfeeding, I always figure that it will be the last time.  After all, we are in the 21stcentury now, right?  I guess I just don’t quite get it.

Let’s consider this a minute, and pardon me for stepping up onto my soapbox while we discuss.

Breastfeeding is a personal choice that is about mother and baby and nourishing and nurturing.  NOT sex.

Breastfeeding in public is typically discreet.  I have yet to meet a mother who completely undresses from the waist up to breastfeed at the mall.

Breastfeeding is legal. I won’t pretend to know the exact laws everywhere, but I do know that there are federal laws in the United States that support breastfeeding.  In New York state (where I am) breastfeeding is accepted wherever you and your baby are. No.  Matter.  What.

Certain things in life may make people uncomfortable.  That’s just how it is sometimes.  That doesn’t mean it’s ok to approach someone and tell them that what they are doing is “wrong” or that they should hide while they are doing it.  If we did that every time someone did something that made us uncomfortable, it would be chaos.  Can you imagine?   How about chewing with your mouth open?  Or crunching too loud when you eat?  Every time you see that should you approach the accused chewer and tell them that they should hide somewhere?  I don’t think that would go well (although I do know people who do this, but I don’t recommend it for everyone).

Know your breastfeeding rights where you live and wherever you travel.  And listen to the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week to hear more about how to advocate for yourself if this should ever happen.





I think I get as many questions about oversupply as I do about low supply.  Of course, having too much milk probably sounds like a good problem to have, huh?  Think again. Ask any mother who has struggled with oversupply and she will tell you that it is not a good problem to have.

Sometimes I think that mothers are obsessed with having too much milk.  I once had a mother contact me because she was concerned about supply being too low – she was “only” pumping 4-6 ounces at a time when at work. Needless to say she was very happy when I told her that she has a fantastic supply and it is not low by any definition.  Most babies do not eat 6 ounces when they feed at the breast, so why should you need to pump that much?  You should have what the baby needs, too much can and will cause problems.

Some women just make a lot of milk.  Other women, for whatever reason, may start pumping too soon and encourage more milk than the baby needs.  Regardless of how your supply becomes so abundant, you may need to slow it down or risk plugged ducts, mastitis and a baby who may struggle with too much milk at feeds.

There are ways to slow down supply, but the easiest thing is to not encourage too much from the start. Easy to say, right?  Sometimes you have to pump in the beginning – maybe baby doesn’t latch well or is separated from you.  In this situation pumping is a must.  Unfortunately this can alter what your body would normally produce for the baby and before you know it, you are full and uncomfortable and your baby is choking and pulling off the breast whenever the milk lets down.

Sound familiar?  Check out this week’s podcast and learn more about oversupply and some tips on how to manage it.  You will also learn about some consequences of oversupply that may have been mistaken for something else.  Don’t miss it!



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.