On Breastfeeding

by Lara on January 24, 2013

(At least!) 101 Reasons to Breastfeed
Photo courtesy of Aspin Photography

I feel both fortunate and proud that we have been able to exclusively breastfeed for almost six months now.  I use the word ‘fortunate’ because I personally know women who have been to hell and back fighting to breastfeed their babies.  I use the word ‘proud’ because quitting was never an option.  While there have of course been difficulties, we haven’t encountered any insurmountable roadblocks.  For all of this, I am grateful.

Before I really started to read about breastfeeding, I set a goal to do it for six months.  I figured six months is the minimum recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, so that’s good enough for me.  There were three things I didn’t realize at that point:

  1. That if I stopped at six months, I would have to supplement with formula;
  2. That the hardest parts about breastfeeding typically take place in the early days and weeks;
  3. That I would love it so very much.

At this point in our journey, G and I have worked through engorgement, thrush, plugged ducts, elimination diets, an oversupply and a forceful let-down (and the resulting hindmilk/foremilk imbalance and lots of gas!), nursing strikes, and supply drops.  Oh, and night nursing every hour for at least a month.  But we’re still going strong.

I never thought I would be one of those women who got all mushy and passionate when talking about breastfeeding.  But I am.  I can’t imagine not doing it and I can honestly say it’s right up there with pregnancy and birth as the most rewarding experience of my life.  If my body and G are up for it, there is no way we’re stopping at six months.  I’m going as long as he wants.

My advice to moms-to-be and new moms would be this:

  1. That breastfeeding is natural, but not always easy;
  2. That it will get easier;
  3. That it is so, so worth it (for at least 101 reasons!).

Here are some of the products and resources that have been most helpful to me thus far.



  • Target nursing bras for sleep
  • Bravado nursing bras and nursing tanks for daytime
  • Disposable nursing pads:  Not everyone needs these, but if you are a leaker, you need LOTS.  Disposables are best to avoid thrush.  I learned that the hard way.
  • Soothies nursing pads:  These are just for the early days while your nipples are dealing with the shock of all the stimulation.
  • Bamboobies nursing pads:  Much more comfortable than the disposable, but I would only recommend these if you aren’t a heavy leaker.
  • Organic nursing pillow:  I really wanted to avoid the chemically-treated mainstream pillows and I was lucky enough to receive this as a baby shower gift.  I didn’t end up using it much for nursing, but it is GREAT for other baby-related uses (namely propping up my elbows and back for night nursing).
  • My Brest Friend pillow and extra cover:  I ordered this in a panic a couple weeks postpartum.  It helped us a lot with form and latch but I didn’t need it for long.
  • Nursing Cover:  I only used this for the first three months.  Since then, G flails until I take it off.
  • Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump and a Hands-Free Pumping Bra
  • Pumping accessories (wipes, microwave-steam bags, storage bags)
  • Misc (nipple creams, supplements)

So that’s our journey thus far.  As I said, I feel very fortunate.  In another month or two, we’ll be looking to introduce solid foods through baby-led weaning.  I am apprehensive for the changes this will bring to our rhythm.  I’m also excited for the next step in this adventure!

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah S. January 24, 2013 at 7:53 am

Yay Lara! WTG. And what a totally gorgeous picture. Only you would be so annoyingly put together and lovely nursing your newborn 🙂 I don’t think I willingly went near a mirror for at least 6 months!


Lara January 24, 2013 at 8:17 am

So sweet of you to say, Sarah. I happened to have my makeup and hair done because we were taking G’s newborn photos. I had to nurse him do much throughout the session that the photographer decided to snap a photo, and I’m glad she did 🙂

…we’re almost to six months and I very rarely look in the mirror still! Glad it’s not just me.


Rebekah January 24, 2013 at 9:24 am

I LOVE this post. I am so glad to hear you’ve been able to breastfeed and that you’re going to continue. I didn’t think I was going to love breastfeeding because it was really tough for me at first – painful and just really hard – but now I’m here, still nursing at night because he loves it – he grabs my hand and runs over to his bed and goes “nurse?” and I can’t say no. And seriously – such a beautiful family – great job Mama!


Lara January 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Thanks Rebekah! Indeed, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who thinks breastfeeding was easy in the beginning. So cute that your little guy asks to nurse. My lactation consultant said her son’s first words were, “Other side?” I thought that was so cute and funny!


coco January 24, 2013 at 9:42 am

I’m exactly like you said in 1-3. Now I want to BF for a year at least (because I want another baby soon). BF is wonderful! 🙂


Lara January 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Wow exciting!


Missy January 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

The picture says it all – no words needed 🙂


Lara January 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Thanks Missy 🙂


Andrea@WellnessNotes January 24, 2013 at 10:35 am

I love the picture.

And, yes, breastfeeding is one of the most wonderful experiences in life. So glad you guys made it through the roadblocks and can now enjoy it!!!


Lara January 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Thanks Andrea! It’s definitely a joy.


Ruby @ Focus, Woman! January 24, 2013 at 11:07 am

<3 this – it's how I felt as well. Ended up going for 2,5 years, and only quit because first trimester painful nips & a UTI just were too much to handle. A loves the boob and is very passionate about breastfeeding. It's so awesome not to have to worry about nutrition, or giving them too much or too little or having to buy formula.


Lara January 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I just clicked over to your blog…can’t believe I missed the big news! Congratulations!


Jessie January 24, 2013 at 11:52 am

Gorgeous photo! What a great memory to capture on film.

I loved nursing. And yes, the transition from nursing to solid food is a really confusing and tricky one. Mostly because it changes every couple of weeks or so. BLW is a great system though & I did come up with a formula of sorts for when to nurse/when to feed etc. if you’re interested. But you really just have to feel it out. It’s so fun though! Lots of work/planning but still fun.


Lara January 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Thank you Jessie!
YES I would love any and all advice about solids and BLW. I am a mix of nervous and excited about it. Mainly nervous and reluctant, though. I’m scared of the mess, how it will affect my supply, and how it will affect our nursing relationship. If you have time to pass some advice over, that would be so appreciated. accordingtolara at gmail.com.
PS When are you going to cave and join facebook?!


Abby January 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Love this post! Such a gorgeous picture too! I nursed my daughter until she self weaned at nearly 18 months, and now only 2 months later I already miss it. It is such a wonderful, snugly, bonding time that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
I also love that you say you’re proud of making it this far. So many women struggle with breastfeeding that I always felt a little guilty any time I mentioned how proud I was/am to have exclusively breastfed for so long, but it truly is an accomplishment and there really is a lot of work and sacrifice that goes along with it. I’m so happy you guys are doing so well, and G couldn’t be any cuter!


Lara January 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Thank you, Abby. I was definitely hesitant to express my pride because I know that every woman goes through her own journey. But really, I’m proud, and I think that’s ok 🙂 18 months is awesome–you should be proud, too!


KatyBug January 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

GREAT post! I just published my own resources list, linked in my name above. I’m back to work, so there are some of the same but a lot different!

Breastfeeding mamas, unite!


Lara January 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Pumping is a whole separate beast! I am in awe of working mamas who pump. It’s so much work. Your post is much more comprehensive than mine…do you mind if I add it to my list?


KatyBug January 25, 2013 at 8:20 am

I’d love it, and I’ve bookmarked your list to share as well!


Stacy K January 25, 2013 at 9:52 am

Can’t wait to read your list as I will be heading back to work in the middle of February and need to figure out the balance of pumping and nursing.


Lara January 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Stacy, Katy linked to it if you click on her name above 🙂 i will also add it to this post.

elise January 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm

gah. i love this post. i have it starred in my reader and bookmarked under baby stuff in my browser and yet i still feel like ill be emailing you or asking everyone via the blog during those trying times.
how did you know that all those things were what was wrong (thrush, plugged ducts, etc.) and how did you know to fix them??? im so nervous that everything that can go wrong will. i guess i should get those books. seriously lara, when the FRICK did you have time to read those????
oh and THANK you for th elinks to the nursing bras/tanks bc i need exact references. they are all sooooo hideous and if im going to do hideous it better dang well be functional and comfy.


Lara January 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm

It makes me so happy that anything on here might be helpful to someone!

To answer your questions, I didn’t read the books as books; I read them more as references. So, when I suspected we had thrush, I read about it. From what I have experienced and heard, with breastfeeding, you’ll know when there is something off right away. Your body makes it really clear, really quick (plus you are so in tuned with it anyway at that point).

With the thrush, I had shooting pains in my breast. I googled “shooting pains breastfeeding” and, voila, thrush. (This was further confirmed by a lactation consultant and a doctor, of course). Plugged duct = pain in one big, lumpy place. For fixing them, just arm yourself with as many resources as possible. Since you work in a hospital, can you find a lactation consultant NOW that you can contact after the birth for assistance? That would be a HUGE help!

I’m all about comfort these days 🙂 You’re going to do so great with all this, I just know it. I bet you’re a total natural. Motherhood has brought out my inner hippie. I think you’re in great shape 😉


elise January 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm

well i know we get a lactation consultant immediately in the hospital. im guessing we have access to that person after we leave too. i also know that the hospital provides nursing classes (free) for new moms for 6 months after birth. if they’re anything like our (horrible) birthing classes i will duck out after the first five minutes, but since this is a way more foreign thing, i may find it useful. oh and its 3 blocks from our house.
hopefully me and my kiddo are in sync from the get go, but its nice to know that a combo of resources and my own mom-stincts (is that a thing?) will be enough to figure it out.


Lara January 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Yeah the nursing classes sound like they could be lame…if you do need someone postpartum, you’ll want one-on-one! It sounds like you’re totally prepared.
Yes I think mom-stincts is a thing 😉


Melissa January 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Love the pic, and so happy to see you loving BF so much! It really is a beautiful experience to share and a great way to bond with baby. The good news is, even when you’re done (whenever that may be, in a year, whenver) there will be lots of different opportunities to snuggle your sweet pea and shower him with love. I worried we’d lose that, but I promise you, we haven’t.

I do wonder how it will go next time around (someday!) for me — I nursed/pumped for Maya for nine months and was really proud of that because I was a terrible milk producer but I wanted to keep going as long as I could. I wonder if it will be easier, or just as hard? I also wonder if I didn’t go back to work, would I have been able to really build up my supply? Who knows?


Lara January 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm

It’s great to hear that the snuggles won’t end 🙂 Nine months is wonderful and something to be so proud of! I often wonder (if it ever comes to be!) how my experiences with a second baby would compare with my first. My mom has had four and says that every baby was different!


Heather Eats Almond Butter January 25, 2013 at 11:09 am

I’m so happy breastfeeding is working and that you love it, and I think it’s awesome you want to keep going. 🙂

Such good advise too. I would have never made it as long as I did without those visits from our LC!


Lara January 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Thanks Heabie!


CaitlinHTP January 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

pretty picture of mommy!


Lara January 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Thanks Caitlin 🙂


Deb January 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm

“At this point in our journey, G and I have worked through engorgement, thrush, plugged ducts, elimination diets, an oversupply, a forceful let-down, nursing strikes, and supply drops.”

I have no idea what you are talking about but I do know that I love you and your little family <3


Lara January 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Hehe…well thanks Debs 🙂 We love you too!


Lara January 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

P.S. You don’t need to know any of that stuff…most of it is pretty unpleasant! Oh, but did you know breastfeeding burns 500-800 calories A DAY?! That part is awesome.


Deb January 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Yes. I knew that factoid and burned with jealousy!


Leah January 26, 2013 at 9:41 am

Great post Lara! I loved breastfeeding Sophie and again now with Ella. I find second time around to be easier. I guess maybe it’s because I knew what to expect and my body was like “ok, let’s do this again!” It didn’t hurt for as long with Ella like it did with Sophie, thankfully!! I have similar bras to the sleep ones that you linked from Target, except I got mine from Mothercare in England and I LOVE them. Nighttime bras are a must for any nursing mama! Or just good bras in general! I didn’t have great ones the first time around, but this time I splurged and it has made it so much nicer. Amazing what a good bra can do haha.


Lara January 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Good to know that it’s easier the second time around 🙂 I’ve been a cheapo with bras and have been thinking lately that I deserve more than one good one!


Aline January 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm

We are at 21 months nursing now – I am kind of ready to stop but the babe is not and like you said – it’s her decision, though I try to keep it at 2 nursing sessions now, instead of the 5-8 that she would like.

I would like to add that I’ve had some serious supply issues in the beginning, that I “almost” fixed after at around 4 months by starting to take Domperidone, which is a medicine that helps with low supply. It’s not for everyone but I used Domperidone for the first year and it worked. But even if I would have only had the small supply I started out with, sans medication, I would have still continued breastfeeding. I know some kids get annoyed with nursing when there isn’t much there but my daughter always, always loved it an it really is a wonderful bonding experience and whenever she was upset, I could just take out the boob – it always worked.

So I just want to say for other people who deal with supply issues – breast feeding is not necessary an all or nothing thing. Not being able to exclusively breastfeed doesn’t make you a bad person or less of a woman. It took me a long time to realize that.


Lara January 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I’m so glad the medication helped you! That’s great. I absolutely agree that breastfeeding isn’t an all or nothing thing. Good for you for keeping at it!
I’ll be thrilled if we can go until 21 months 🙂


Yelena January 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm

I can’t agree more. Nursing my little sweetie has been the best experience and I never thought I would like it so much. We are coming up on almost 8 months and he has only had 5 emergency ounces of formula.

Motherhood looks wondeful on you! (now back to stalking you on instagram)


Lara February 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thank you, Yelena! Your little guy is so stinkin’ cute!


glidingcalm January 30, 2013 at 9:13 am

What a beautiful picture!

Breast milk is pretty much the best nutrition out there for a baby, so I can’t imagine deciding to go another route… unless of course it just wasn’t possible for some reason.
Graham is so lucky to have such a caring, thoughtful, wonderful Mommy!


Lara February 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

You’re so sweet! You’re going to be a great mommy someday!


lauramich January 31, 2013 at 7:51 am

The biggest heartbreak of mommyhood for me so far was not being able to breastfeed exclusively. But by the time D was 4 days old, he’d lost so much of his birth weight that the lactation consultant—the lactation consultant!—had us start supplementing with formula. We’d hoped it would be temporary, until my milk came in full force … but it never did. I tried all the tricks (fenugreek, blessed thistle, oatmeal, beer; I’m still eating oatmeal every morning and taking brewer’s yeast tablets), but I wasn’t willing to try any of the Rx options because of the risks of PPD. I figured D was better off with a reasonably well-adjusted mommy who had to give him formula than a depressed mommy who might (might!) be able to BF exclusively.

I can produce about 10–12 ounces of “Mommy milk” per day, but the rest of D’s nutrition comes from a can. But after 3 months, I’ve continued plugging away, giving him every drop I can, even pumping my meager amounts now that I’m working full-time. Based on my own research, I strongly suspect that I have insufficient glandular tissue (IGT), in which there simply aren’t enough glands to produce enough milk.

It breaks my heart because looking at the ingredients of a can of formula is depressing (it’s basically vitamin-enriched nondairy creamer!) and because D is such a natural nurser and loves it so much. It’s often the only thing that brings him back down when he’s fussy. Knowing how important it is to him has helped me fight through and stick with it. At the same time, I’m grudgingly grateful that the formula is there; in another time and place, D would’ve starved to death. I’m also grateful for the LC who recognized that we needed to supplement yet encouraged me to not give up on nursing, that it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.

So, yes, Lara, consider yourself blessed!


Lara February 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Wow, you are amazing!


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