“Surviving The Struggle & Why Support Matters” A Breastfeeding Series



Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy. Let these mother’s stories and portraits inspire you through the struggles.


 Breastfeeding can be so hard, especially in the beginning. When I had my first child I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, but I had no clue how to actually do it. When she was having trouble latching, the nurses insisted she take a bottle of formula, since the lactation consultant wasn’t there that day and no one could really help me. It took months of persistence, pumping, visiting a lactation consultant until she finally latched on. We had an amazing breastfeeding relationship and I am so glad that I was supported and able to make it through the struggles in the beginning. My hope with this series is that mothers who are struggling and not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel will read these stories and feel supported and know that they can keep going if they wish to do so.

Lianne March, a local La Leche League leader, shared her thoughts with me on early breastfeeding, “As a LLL Leader, it is such a joy to encourage a mom through a challenge and see her come out on the other side. Even better is when she becomes the one encouraging the next new mom at a meeting. LLL moms are a wonderful community of support for each other. Many moms think LLL Meetings are just for those having trouble to ask questions and get help, but that isn’t the case at all. It’s invaluable to have moms there who can share their past experiences and encourage those who are having difficulties. We encourage moms to start coming to meetings before their baby is even born, as there is so much they can learn about what to expect in the early days of nursing, and especially about avoiding difficulties. Breastfeeding is natural, but it isn’t always easy. I am so thankful we have this community available to support nursing mamas when they need it.”

All moms need to be supported. Reaching out to a local La Leche League leader can help and finding a local lactation consultant can make all of the difference. If it is the mother’s choice and desire to breastfeed we need to provide her with all of the support in the world to help her succeed.

-Natalie McCain (Creator of The Honest Body Project)

Need to contact Natalie? Email me at thehonestbody@gmail.com



“Nursing is an indescribable bond. This baby needs me and I need him. We are nourishing each other, making each other stronger and creating an emotion I didn’t think was possible. All from my body. We created this time we could spend together, just us two, away from the world.”


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“There’s more to a journey than just the physical side. Emotionally I really struggled with finding my stride as a new mom. I grew up in an extremely conservative household and was taught most of my life that breasts were purely sexual. Our first trip out of the house I dreaded the moment that my baby would be hungry because I had no idea how I would handle breastfeeding in public. For me it wasn’t as easy as whipping it out and latching her on. I really had to spend time focusing on her latch and making sure she was in the proper position etc. Soon enough I got used to my breasts being exposed and really started to realize that I don’t have to feel shame about my body and for nourishing my child.”


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“There are so many challenges in the beginning, especially the first time you’re nursing in general.  From the moment baby is rooting- you never know if they’re going to be a baby that has trouble latching or what challenges you may face.  It’s a very scary and intense moment nursing your baby for the first time.  Thankfully my second baby only had trouble for a few hours or so and then a nurse suggested “why don’t you go skin to skin with her?”  and I thought to myself duh I should have known that, what am I doing?  We went skin to skin and boom she had the best latch ever.  It’s amazing how powerful our instincts as humans are and that a simple thing such as skin to skin contact with the mother will help cement that nurturing bond and prompts them do what they have to do to survive.”


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“When I was a new breastfeeding mom, I remember feeling very self-conscious about nursing in public.  I remember one specific outing with my daughter, mom and grandma to look for christening gowns.  She was about 1 month old then, and I hadn’t been out with her very much before that.  I had tried to pump enough for a bottle (which had taken me 3 days) so that I could feed her when she got hungry, because I was too afraid to nurse in public.  We were having lunch when she decided she was hungry too, and as I reached for the bottle, my grandma said, “What are you doing? She wants to nurse!”  I told her I was afraid I was going to offend someone and she replied, “That’s silly!  If she’s hungry, you nurse her.  If someone has an issue with that, it’s not your fault.  You have every right to nurse her whenever she needs it!”  From then on, I nursed without fear.  If you don’t want to see me feeding my child, you have every right to look away.  Think I should cover up?  Once my daughter figured out how to pull my cover out of the way that went out the window, but YOU can feel free to put a blanket over your head while you eat!”divider

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“I love being able to be so close to my children. Cuddling in bed with both of them while they tandem nurse is probably one of the best things I have been blessed to do. They get to bond with each other and with me.”divider

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“Both of my babies were born 4 weeks early due to preeclampsia. My first baby, my daughter, was a very typical sleepy preterm baby.  She nursed pretty well the first few days, but she then became jaundiced and that made her sleepier.  She just didn’t have the stamina to make it through a whole feeding.  I met with a lactation consultant who did a weighted feeding and confirmed she was not efficiently nursing and that caused my supply to be low.  It was suggested I nurse her no longer than 20 minutes (to prevent her from tiring herself out), then pump, and then supplement her with what I pumped.  I was told to do this every 2 hours.  It was absolutely exhausting.  I ended up mostly pumping because otherwise I would get absolutely no sleep. I had her latch everyday, and she would nurse but could never stay awake.  The day she turned one month old, and would’ve been full term, she nursed well for nearly 40 minutes. From that feeding on it was smooth sailing. She nursed until she was 22 months old.  My second baby, my son, has been a completely different story.  He was also born 4 weeks early.  This time around I was prepared for the challenges that we might face.  I was so relieved when he was such a feisty, vigorous nurser! Then, 2 days after having him I had some serious postpartum complications.  I ended up stuck in the hospital and away from my new baby for over a week. I pumped the entire time I was hospitalized. Each time I pumped, I prayed that he would still nurse when I got home.  When I got home, we picked up right where we left off.”


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“There were a few nights at 3am, when I had not slept more than 3 hours in 2 days with nipples so chapped and swollen, that I cringed at the thought of her latching. It really hurt at times. Once she would latch it was fine, it was just the initial latch when your nipple is not used to nursing a little one. Having the support and someone going through it with me helped a lot.”


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“I was really emotionally unprepared for the difficulties I had nursing this time since he was my third child and I felt so experienced.  I struggled with delayed milk production initially.  I had a stressful delivery followed by surgery the next morning.  Something caused my body to delay milk production by 6 days or so.  He was latching ok but was so sleepy after 2 days of nursing and not getting much. I was eating all of the “right” foods, drinking the tea and taking the herbal supplements but nothing was helping.  By four days old he was becoming dehydrated despite all of my efforts.  I was pumping and nursing around the clock and getting nowhere.   I decided to use some donor milk and formula to get by until my milk came in.  It was a very difficult decision and I sobbed as I handed my husband the bottle.  After my milk came in he still wasn’t effectively nursing.  His latch looked and felt great but he wasn’t getting much from me.  After several meetings with the lactation consultant and pediatrician and continued weight loss we determined it was best to resume supplementing.  I used pumped milk whenever possible but also had to use some formula.  We tried a supplemental nursing system at first but after another week of weight loss we had to make a new plan.  I would nurse him 10 minutes on each breast, followed by expressed milk or formula in a bottle until he was full then pump for the next feed.  This happened every 2-3 hours around the clock. I was terrified I would never have what I perceived as a “normal” breastfeeding relationship with my son.  All of the hard work paid off though.  By 1 month he was finally just over his birth weight.  I continued to supplement as needed for another 3-4 weeks but as he became stronger and more effective at the breast he needed less and less from the bottle.  At 8 weeks we were able to move completely to the breast for his calories.    Around that time I began to experience intense crushing anxiety when he would latch on and nurse.   It was awful.  Again I reached out to a lactation consultant who explained that I likely had DMER which is a hormonal rollercoaster that can cause anxiety with milk letdown.  My ob/gyn prescribed an anti-depressant which helped immensely.”


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“Take a deep breath and give it another day. Even as what I consider an experienced nursing mom I had to relearn how to breastfeed a baby, because my son was different than the others. Struggling momma’s need to know they are not alone in feeling frustrated.”


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“I thought about quitting every single day. We were supplementing with formula and I knew we could easily make the switch to formula at any point. I made it my goal to get through the end of that day. Then the next morning my goal was to make it through that day. Eventually it just got easier and easier to meet my goal.”


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“The first 2 months of nursing were probably 2 of the hardest months of my life. We had struggled with my milk not coming in quick enough due to an unplanned cesarean, an undetected (for 8 weeks) tongue tie that before corrected had caused me so much pain I almost screamed every time he ate, and postpartum depression which made me just miserable. When I was going through excruciating pain due to my son’s unresolved tongue tie, I would lay awake at night wondering if it was worth it- if it would EVER get better. I was miserable, sad, I hated the pain. I felt guilty for crying while he was eating. I thought breastfeeding was beautiful, and from what I had seen, it looked so easy. With the pain, my PPD became even worse and I wasn’t finding joy in anything at that point. I had this beautiful little boy in front of me, but I was just so hurt. I just remembered my son’s Godmother in the back of my head reminding me that it WILL get better (and it did), that the beginning IS hard, and everything I’m doing is the best for him. I went to a lactation consultant specialized in latch problems and she was able to spot the tongue tie (it was far back, that’s why it went unnoticed,) and I was able to get it corrected. I kept seeing all of these mothers going through their daily lives making nursing look so easy, simple. I was so passionate about giving my son what he needed, and having that bond- that I just kept reaching for the light at the end of the tunnel.”


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“Everything seemed perfect at first but it just got more painful each time he would nurse. It was a toe curling pain…my nipple was cracked. I was very worried that we would have to stop. After about a week we went to the lactation consultant. She just adjusted his body around me and the pain was gone. It was just a matter of how I was holding him.”


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“With my first daughter, breastfeeding was difficult. Her latch was poor, her mouth was small, and I had a heavy letdown. I thought about quitting several times. By the third week my nipples were sore, blistered, and starting to crack. I was on several forums, and found about nipple shields. They were perfect. They helped my daughter learn to open her mouth more and they gave my nipples time to heal.”


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“The early days are very confusing. I’m a first time mom and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was still recovering from an unexpected c-section and here comes all of this nipple and breast pain. I read about other babies latch issues, or tongue/lip ties and I started wondering if we were having the same issues because it hurt so bad. How could any woman deal with this rawness and weird brick like pressure forever? I really thought that was going to continue for our whole nursing career. I really thought, “Well this will be a long road”. But I researched. I bookmarked plenty of pages on kellymom and read almost every post that popped on the La Leche League facebook page. Thankfully the rawness went away, and once he became more efficient the bricks went away (and returned every 90 minutes).”


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“I think it is so wrong for anyone to shame a mom who is feeding their baby. It is the most natural thing and no woman should have to remove herself from what they are doing to go sit in a bathroom, or make it an unpleasant experience for their child by covering up if they don’t want to.”


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“The other major thing to overcome is the immense amount of PAIN you have to endure to feed your little one for about the first 2 weeks of nursing.  Oh God, the PAIN, the slow, intense and torturous amount of pain with every single suck.  You really have to power through it.  The pain of your nipples feeling like just cutting them off would actually probably feel better and less painful then whatever is going on.  With the second baby I actually started to crack and bleed, which I only had a 4 month break in between nursing my two babies, but still apparently long enough to have to go through the whole starting over process again.  A couple times I actually cried real tears and thought to myself how does feeding your new born baby have to be this painful?  For me it helps to think- if this was a thousand years ago or say we were mid zombie apocalypse and there wasn’t doctors and medicine reliably available and I had to give birth and feed my young what would I do?  The answer is;  I’d have to be gangster and do what I have to do in order for my baby to survive.  So that’s just what I do. I just mentally tell myself this is what I would naturally have to do to ensure survival of my young, therefore this is what I am going to do no matter what.  No matter the amount of pain I have to endure to do so, no matter what anybody thinks or says to me or about me.  It’s between me and my baby and its just what I’m going to do.  I like the fact that I totally 100% grew my baby from my own body, birthed her from my body and she still continues to live every single day solely on the nutrition my body provides specifically for her every need.  It’s one of the best feelings I think I’ve ever had.”


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“With my past-due date twins, June was in the NICU for the first 2.25 days and didn’t nurse, let alone be held by a parent until 22 hours old (I pumped and they offered a little bit). That was extremely emotional for so many reasons because I had to taken turns leaving my babies, including a 15 minute travel time, all of which just felt so wrong. June was super sleepy and didn’t put a lot of effort into suckling. I had to work hard to get her awake to nurse long enough to gain weight as well as try to work on our delayed bonding and establish supply. June also unlatches often and has had a shallow latch, but I just cope with those. Casey confused me by crying a lot during the end of nursing sessions. By the end of day 3, I finally figured out that she didn’t want to nurse to sleep. Her trying to communicate with me actually caused a weight concern, but fortunately I started rocking her to sleep and she gained 9 ounces in the following week. She also has some difficulty (she gasps sometimes) if she nurses on my overactive side which scared me at first until I realized why she would seem to gasp randomly.”


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“I was spoiled in the early days of our nursing relationship.  My daughter latched on perfectly from the get-go.  I had heard horror stories from family and friends about chapped, cracked and bleeding nipples, how she would use me as a pacifier, cry constantly and would be stuck to me 24/7.  It was almost enough to make me not even want to try, but I promised myself I would give it a shot.  When I didn’t experience any of these issues, I couldn’t help but wonder what the heck they were talking about!  Was I exhausted?  Sure.  Was it a major feat to get a shower AND change clothes in the same day?  Of course!  But, I was completely in love with this little human, and breastfeeding her quickly became one of my most favorite things about becoming a mother.  Little did I know that all of this would change after a blissful, uneventful first few weeks.  At her 1 month check-up, her pediatrician became concerned because they didn’t feel she had put on enough weight.  They made me bring her in for weekly weight checks and told me if she didn’t catch up, I would need to supplement because my milk “might not be good enough for her.”  That phrase hit me like a ton of bricks.  How can MY milk be inferior?  What had I done wrong?  I went home from that appointment feeling defeated.  At two months, she had only put on 2 lbs from her birth weight, so the doctor suggested I top her off with a couple oz of formula a few times a day.  As a first time mom, being told that I’m not providing what my daughter needs to grow was very disheartening.  Not knowing what to do, I listened to their advice, and I tried to supplement.  I say tried because she always refused it.  She seemed completely satisfied after her nursing sessions, and she was having a normal amount of wet diapers, so I began to wonder if something else might be going on.  A week or so later, my happy-go-lucky little girl became inconsolable.  She would latch on and after a few minutes, she would arch her back and scream.  Her sleep became extremely interrupted, and she began waking every hour in obvious pain.  After another visit to the doctor, she was diagnosed with reflux.  She was put on meds and we were sent on our way.  After weeks of hoping and praying this would work, the problems only worsened.  I asked to be referred to a pediatric GI specialist.  After discussing her symptoms, the GI suspected she may have a milk protein allergy.  After trying to push more formula, when the Dr realized I wasn’t going to quit breastfeeding, she gave me a list of ingredients to avoid. The doctor informed me that she was considered failure to thrive.  That diagnosis crushed me.  I could have just given up and forced her to drink formula, but I refused to give up that easily.  I left that appointment bound and determined to be successful in our breastfeeding relationship.  After just over a week, she had put on 5 oz and was already showing signs of improvement.  It was like a huge weight had been lifted.  With each passing week, she continued to gain, and by 9 months she had completely outgrown her milk protein allergy.  It was then that I decided after all we had been through together, I would let her wean herself.  I’m so glad I made the decision to stick with it, even when giving up seemed like the easier thing to do.”divider

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“Recently I was told I should go nurse my daughter in the store bathroom and at a meal I was told to go nurse outside. I didn’t do either. But it makes me really upset that my baby isn’t supposed to eat inside a restaurant or in a store. It makes me sad that people still think it’s nice to offer the bathroom or a chair outside. I don’t want to be alone nursing my child in a gross bathroom or alone outside in the dark, nor does my child want to nurse in those locations or under a cover. Could you imagine eating in the bathroom under a blanket? How gross! That would be a health code violation. But with our nurslings it’s alright? I don’t get that.”divider

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“With my daughter I thought about quitting every single day for the first month.  It was just all so exhausting.  I set a quit date actually.  I said that if we went to her one month check up and she hadn’t gained enough weight then I was done.  With my son I never have thought about quitting.  It hasn’t been easy.  In our four months we’ve dealt with mastitis (3 times), reflux, and a milk protein allergy.  Even though its been hard, its been so rewarding.”divider

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“My girl is just now starting to interact, and I find every nursing time to be such a new experience. Once, I was preoccupied with something else while nursing her and I looked down to find her staring up at me, studying my face. When I made eye contact with her she didn’t break latch, but she gave me a big smile and sighed, then went right back to eating. It was a moment that reminded me to be present and to savor our time together.”


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” You CAN do this! Sometimes there are medical issues that prevent you from continuing your journey and I’ve seen good friends battle that. It’s so important to seek help if you’re battling supply issues and such. I’ve heard great success stories and I’ve heard of times where it just can’t happen. You won’t know unless you seek out help though and regardless you’re trying and that in itself is something to be proud of.”


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“It’s amazing to think that my body built him from one single cell and now continues to nourish him so his body can grow.  I feel very “god-like” at times which I know some people will scoff at but how else can you describe making and nourishing life from almost nothing?”


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“The connection I feel with my son is something words really can’t describe. I love watching him get excited to nurse, the smiles he gives me, staring into his eyes and the baby talk while he’s trying to eat all make my heart smile.”divider

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“I love that my body can sustain my daughter. I love that when she sees me she knows that I can provide everything she needs.”


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“I reached out to a local Mommy group near me that met once a week. Aside from hearing other struggles Moms were facing, I was able to talk about my own, get advice, seek more guidance. Not only did this help with my PPD, but it also pushed me in the right direction of better latching techniques, nursing positions, and many other things I wasn’t aware of as a first time mom breastfeeding. I had some friends that were a HUGE support during the beginning that knew what I was going through, and were there to help guide me through this as well. I had an amazing husband by my side that supported my breastfeeding journey (and still does)- even into extended nursing when/if I get there! Support is the key in my eyes to a great breastfeeding journey.”


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“I wish I knew about a heavy letdown and over supply. I had heard plenty of stories of people struggling to make milk, but none the other way around. Oversupply may seem like it’s not really an issue, but it can be a challenge. Heavy letdown has led to spraying everything around, my baby having gas, spit up from drinking too quickly, and at one point coughing and choking from not being able to stop drinking to take breaths. I’ve had to learn to unlatch her after letdown to wait for the spray to stop, stop and burp occasionally to get air out, and nurse in upright or side positions so extra milk comes out instead of back. With the oversupply I fight a constant battle of engorgement, possible clogged ducts, and a fear of mastitis since I can never get them empty.”


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“Trust yourself. Trust your baby. Trust your relationship. Trust you working together WILL bring success. Don’t let anyone discourage you, especially yourself. If baby cries, boob. If baby falls asleep nursing and you wait 45 minutes before moving so you can finish your netflix marathon, and baby wakes up when you go to lay them down, boob them again and find another show. This is the only time you have as an excuse to lay around and do nothing all day, except you’re sustaining life and watching Friends at the same time!”


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“I think woman to woman support is the greatest thing we can do for one another. I’ve met so many women who have given up on breastfeeding in the beginning simply because they didn’t know who to turn to. I would encourage any mama to meet with a lactation consultant, or go to a La Leche League meeting and find help. Even finding a friend who has experience breastfeeding can be a great resource. Sometimes you just need someone to text in the middle of the night when you’re freaked out who can calm you down and tell you everything will be alright!”


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“I really didn’t have much support at all.  Going into it I really didn’t even hardly have any knowledge at all about breastfeeding.  I thought ok simple just put my boob in the babies mouth and that’s it.  I did not realize how MUCH goes into it and how much you need to know about it all.  I remember being up all night in the middle of the night frantically googling what to do about this and that, all the time.  My doctor or my babies doctor never really encouraged it or asked about it.  In fact they kind of push formula more and adding rice cereal to their bottles for them to “sleep through the night” basically making it seem like my breast milk wasn’t enough nutritionally.  I didn’t belong to any “mom groups” or anything.  I had one good friend of mine that was ahead of me by 6 months and asked her a few questions here and there but other then that I had no one.  I did however have un-knowledgable family asking me all the time “are you sure she’s getting enough??”.  So no my already shaky confidence as a new mother was not really greeted with support and strength that a new mother would normally thrive on.  It actually was the opposite of what I needed.  But I had to push through it.  And in a way I feel like all the friction I faced only made me stronger and made me have to prove a point even more; That mother knows best and what I provide for my baby IS more than enough.  Now I belong to all the breastfeeding mom groups and so many of my friends look up to me as the breastfeeding guru and ask for help all the time with production and other issues they may have.”


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“I wanted to quit so many times.  I came very close when she was diagnosed with her milk protein allergy.  Everyone kept telling me to give it up and just give her formula; that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the diet restrictions.  A part of me couldn’t help but feel like they were right.  But, I remembered a saying I’d heard many times over the years, “never quit something on a bad day.”  Each time we had a horrible day, I would repeat that to myself, and then I would look into my beautiful girl’s eyes and realize I was doing this for her.  Though she couldn’t verbalize it, her eyes seemed to tell me that she wasn’t ready to give up and I shouldn’t either.”divider

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“Think of your future self a few months from now. She has breastfeeding established and has this irreplaceable connection with her child. She is in control and has it all down. She is you if you stick with it. If you decide to do everything possible, make the changes to make it work. Reach out to lactation groups and/or professionals.”


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“Once you get past that first month, it all gets easier. It becomes second nature. You don’t even have to think.”divider

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“My Mother in Law was so supportive.  She nursed all 3 of her children. She would come visit me everyday and support me. She was constantly reassuring me that I could do it, and to have faith in myself.  My mantra became ‘Never quit on a bad day.'”


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“My immediate family, especially my mother, has been amazingly supportive. However, there was some family who was not. I had someone try to talk me out of it in the delivery room even. I think for them it was a different time in the past and there’s a stigma about breastfeeding. I took it upon myself to educate them and others who may not understand- in a non shove it down your throat kind of way. To this day when I visit I get asked if I’m “STILL NURSING” and chuckled at when I say yes, but it’s okay. Jokes on you. My breastmilk is awesome and even works on healing pimples and cuts. My dad knows I can be sensitive about it and is very pro breastfeeding, but has recently made comments about me stopping soon because she’s a toddler now and no longer a baby. He’s likely saying that to mess with me though because he knows how to push my buttons. So are we still nursing? Hell yeah. She’s just not ready and unless I go away for a week or so without her I don’t see it happening right now. Besides I don’t think I’m ready. WE’RE just not ready.”


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“When people feel that it’s more socially acceptable to bare your breasts in a revealing outfit (i.e. talk show host Wendy Williams and her ignorant viewpoints on the subject of nursing…) there’s a HUGE problem.  It’s because of these skewed views that it is so very important to normalize breastfeeding. There is NOTHING more natural than breastfeeding.  Since the beginning of time it’s how mothers have nourished their children, and only within the last 150 years has it become “offensive” to nurse in public.  It floors me that nursing in public is so taboo in American culture. In nearly every other country around the world, breasts are viewed first and foremost as motherly and food for children, NOT sexual objects.  In a country that is so forward thinking in most other aspects, I cannot figure out why the opinions on nursing are so backwards.  Moms should not have to feel “gross” or “un-classy” for nursing in public. It shouldn’t be something anyone turns their nose up at.  Until the day when moms can nurse freely without these judgements, we need to continue to normalize breastfeeding!”


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“I don’t want to give the false impression that breastfeeding is simple and everyone can do it however it is natural and women should be encouraged, informed and supported in their choices to breastfeed.  We have a serious problem with over-sexualizing breasts and women as a whole and somehow we have lost sight of the function of the breast.  The more children that grow up seeing mother’s breastfeeding in public, on t.v. and in print the more families will choose breastfeeding and that is a win for future generations.”


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“Normalizing breastfeeding is important because every mom should be able to feed her child when, where, and how they want to. A new mom shouldn’t have to worry about some stranger being uncomfortable in addition to all the challenges she is facing already. Why should what a random person thinks have any influence on how a mom cares for her baby? Before there were bottles and formula a mom could comfortably feed her child when and where the child was hungry. No one would say or do anything to make the situation uncomfortable. If a mother couldn’t nurse her own child it was normal for another nursing mom to feed that baby. But in today’s time, the breast has become a sexual object and everyone is so concerned with being “politically correct” that what was once normal is now unacceptable by most and the mother is made to feel horrible about making the best decision she could for her child.”


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“You CAN do this.  Give it time.  I promise you if you stick with it it WILL get easier.”


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“I have received enormous amounts of backlash from people I thought were “close” to me/my “closest” friends. I was obviously wrong in how much I thought they had been supportive of me. I was told that if I wanted to nurse in public and show my breasts that I should be a stripper- at least I would get paid for it. My husband has received many negative comments on the fact that I support normalizing breastfeeding. My own mother thinks it’s disgusting. I stand my ground, it’s easy to give in to the negativity, but I have proven that I won’t, and will continue to do for my son what I think is best.”


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“The sweet moments we share are daily. When he gazes up at me to make sure I am looking at him, when he laughs while he is nursing, playful nursing, boo boo nursing, comfort nursing, meltdown milkies, and bedtime milk are all our sweet moments.”


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“My husband is a huge support, and so is my mom, but so far the best encouragement has been from my grandfather. We went to visit shortly after she was born. While I was trying to feed her, he asked if anyone had given me a hard time. I told him not yet. He looked at me and told me how I was doing a good thing. How I was taking care of my baby, and to ignore anyone who tried to give me a hard time. Who am I to argue with such a wise man!”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (65 of 151)

“I never considered quitting. I didn’t allow myself the option. I didn’t have the birth I wanted, and was completely devastated by this. If I think too long on this it devastates me all over again. But because of that, I made it my mission to not give up. I basically didn’t believe in any other type of nourishment and didn’t keep formula in the house. This had to work. Every time someone asked me how long I’m going to breastfeed for, it pushed me further to our 1 year goal. Every  “why not just give him what every other baby gets and be done with it”, it pushed me even even closer.”


earlynursingsecondsession (2 of 129)

“I’m a registered nurse.  After I had my daughter, I decided I wanted to work postpartum.  I knew I wanted to help other new mothers in those early days when its hardest.  I love to encourage and support moms that are struggling. I have told many patients my personal experiences.  I tell them how badly I wanted to quit, and how glad I am now that I didn’t. I remind them that while it is exhausting and even painful in the beginning, it won’t always be that way. If you can get through the first 6 weeks, it only gets easier.  There is a learning curve, you and your baby have to learn how to do this together.  That takes time, but it will happen!”


earlynursingsecondsession (118 of 129)

“Partner support is EVERYTHING to a breastfeeding mama. We are constantly facing trials- from latch or supply issues in the beginning or ridicule from strangers on the internet. Having support at home makes it all worth it and can often be the very thing that helps to overcome those trials.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (133 of 151)

“I didn’t need much motivation to keep nursing as we both love it. Besides I don’t think my toddler would even give me the choice! It became SO MUCH EASIER the older she got. My daughter now stands and nurses. Hungry? She can tell me instead of crying, but she will cry if I don’t give it to her! My little girl even figured out how to squeeze to get more out at once. It’s amazing watching her grow through the different stages of nursing and also just the bond we now have. Also it’s a cure for all! Baby fell down and scrapped her knee? Time to nurse! I don’t know what I will do after she weans.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (104 of 151)

“I think about quitting often.  It is very difficult to feel like you are the only one that can care for and comfort your baby.   My husband is very supportive and helpful but even now at 10 months there are moments that only the breast will soothe him.  My body is not my own now and that is a difficult thing to give up. There are days where I think to myself that it would be easier to stop.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (95 of 151)

“There are so many unknown struggles moms face during the time they are breastfeeding. I am nursing my 5th child and have encountered new challenges that were not there with any of my other children, that brought me to the point of wanting to quit.”


ppseries (90 of 125)

“To people who pressure moms to stop nursing or don’t support them, I wish upon them peace with their own life and experiences. Hopefully with peace will come the realization that everyone has a journey where they get to choose what works best for their family. I used to think parenting choices were so black and white before I had a kid. It’s easy then! But then I was able to see both why sides of either path are taken and the huge fact that it really doesn’t have to be all or nothing. No one needs to feel ownership over others actions, like nursing twins or a toddler (or both!). If it isn’t hurting anyone, you do you, and I’ll do me.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (61 of 151)

“My biggest challenge was confidence in myself and our nursing relationship. I posted questions in my local La Leche League group probably every every week for the first 2 months of his life. There was one point when he was a week or two old where he nursed literally for 3 hours, going back and forth. Full on drinking, not just suckling. I just let him go to town and asked the group. I knew it was cluster feeding but I was confused on how he could possibly fit that much milk in his tiny belly, and began thinking, ‘well what if he’s not getting anything and that’s why he’s nursing so long!?’ They say you really have to be confident in your relationship with your baby to be successful and I just kept reminding myself of this. I had to stop second guessing myself and him, and us together, and followed my mommy gut. He was gaining perfectly, so why worry? The second he cried and began fisting his mouth I’d bring him to my breast. Every time. No matter what I was doing. There were days where we were literally in bed the entire day. The whole day. Just hanging out, nursing, cuddling, listening to music, and talking. It always seemed like he wanted to nurse every time I tried making myself something to eat, or dinner was just finished. I had my boyfriend cut up my meat and veggies so I could shovel it in quickly, and I learned to eat with my non-dominant hand. I still a year later have to remind myself I can eat at a somewhat normal pace now.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (46 of 151)

“I wasn’t able to keep up with my daughter’s insatiable appetite.  I didn’t think I was producing enough milk because all she wanted to do was nurse, but after a few minutes nursing she’d get upset like she was still hungry. The around the clock nursing was also difficult because I had a then 3 year old who was having a difficult time transitioning from an only child to a big brother.”


earlynursingsecondsession (76 of 129)

“For mamas that are struggling and want to quit I would flat out tell them that they might regret it. Just keep going as long as you can.  This time is so precious and it really doesn’t last that long in the grand scheme of things.  My first baby is already TWO!  I mean how did that even happen so fast?!  I dream of the day I will quit all the time, but I know I won’t until I know my baby doesn’t need it anymore.  Now that I have baby #2 I know just how fast this precious time really does fly.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  It seems long and torturous and feels like you have a giant ball and chain strapped to your ankle 24/7 but really it’s some of the important moments you can share with your little one and it will be gone before you even know it.  So I would tell them to cherish every moment they can and don’t give up unless they really really can’t go on anymore.”


earlynursingsecondsession (29 of 129)

“My daughter is almost one and crawls right up to me knowing what she wants. Sometimes she’ll even pull my shirt down. If she sees my breasts she comes up to me as fast as possible because she knows she gets to nurse. My two year old says, “I want to nurse in the bed.” It’s actually the most amazing thing to hear because we didn’t think he would ever speak. Nurse was one of his first words. Our nursing relationship has only grown stronger.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (39 of 151)

“I feel that we (people) as a whole have sexualized the breast in such a way that people are so offended by it. But, if we as breastfeeding mothers continue to reeducate about breastfeeding, and the fact that breasts were biologically intended to feed our children- we can stop all of this shaming. Normalizing breastfeeding is something I am so incredibly passionate about because I have felt shamed for feeding my son, FEEDING MY SON. Are you kidding me? I will not feel bad, I refuse to let other moms feel bad- I want moms to feel comfortable using their breasts for what nature intended them to do.”


earlynursingsecondsession (14 of 129)

“I feel that support and knowledge is key to making it through the early days of breastfeeding.  I struggled in the early days with both my babies for different reasons.  The first time around it was the support that kept me going. The second time around it was my knowledge that I had gained from my first that made it possible to keep going successfully.  Breastfeeding my babies has been one of the greatest joys of motherhood for me.  I have become so passionate about the subject that I changed the field of nursing that I was in to in a position where I could help and educate new mothers everyday.  I hope to become a Lactation Consultant in the next few years.  I don’t believe in pushing “breast is best” on anyone. What I want to do is make sure that mothers that do want to breastfeed are given the support and knowledge that they need to have a great breastfeeding experience.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (2 of 151)

“Partner support is huge! I am so thankful for my husband. He understands the bond that we have and he understands his support is crucial to our journey.”


earlynursingjpgsfirstsession (11 of 151)

“With my first daughter there were lots of struggles in the beginning. We solved them by 8 weeks, then hit our stride by 4 months. Around 6 months the gymnastics started. Fingers and toes up my nose, teething and the occasional bite down, which thankfully only happened a couple times. Around 8 months started the distractions. Wanting to go, see, and explore everything while still latched on. I was prepared to nurse for awhile, but my daughter was done by 11 months. She just couldn’t be bothered to sit still long enough. She would throw a fit if I tried to sit her down and nurse her…that was it. I still gave her breast milk in her cup until my freezer stash ran out. I’m only 4 weeks in with the second, so I don’t know what this relationship will hold. Right now it’s all about nursing and sleep…this stage won’t last long though. They grow too fast.”


earlynursingsecondsession (98 of 129)

“When I was growing up I NEVER saw women breastfeeding. I also never even heard conversations about it. And because of that, our generation is fighting the battle for normalizing breastfeeding. By the time my daughter has a child I want our country to be a place where no one even bats an eye at a mother feeding her baby. I want other mothers to feel supported and understood. I want to normalize breastfeeding because I want others to understand that a breast feeding a baby is not indecent or immoral, its not sick and its not shameful – its nourishment how it was intended to be.”

Thank you the amazing mothers for posing for this series and sharing their stories!


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