5 Unbelievable Facts About Breastfeeding

The art of breastfeeding is as miraculous as giving birth itself.  But in this modern age, it has become less “natural” and “instinctual” and many women struggle with different aspects of it.  Whether it’s mastering the perfect latch, or getting comfortable nursing in public – it’s never an easy task.

While any mother unable to breastfeed should  never feel guilty – those that can often need some encouragement through the difficult times.

This guest post by Erica Johnson from Inner Parents highlights five unbelievable facts about breastfeeding that are sure to encourage any lactating mother that she’s doing what’s best for her baby.

5 Unbelievable Facts about Breastfeeding - a Guest Post by Erica Johnson

*This post may contain affiliate links*
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of www.runningintriangles.com

The breastfeeding relationship can provide a wonderful bonding experience between a mother and her infant. Nursing is also deeply comforting to most babies, helping them relax and drift off to sleep.

The benefits of breastfeeding are not just emotional, however. Breast milk is a complex and dynamic substance that science is only beginning to understand.

Here are five facts about breastfeeding that prove what a truly unbelievable feat a woman’s body is capable of producing.

5 Unbelievable Facts about Breastfeeding - a Guest Post by Erica Johnson

1. Breastmilk Contains Substances That Cannot be Recreated in Formula

Hormones, living immune cells and enzymes are exclusively supplied by breastmilk and are perfectly suited to each individual infant’s needs. Human milk contains several different types of proteins in concentrations and forms that are easily digestible. While minerals like calcium and iron are present to a lesser degree in breastmilk than in formula, they are in such readily available forms that the baby ends up absorbing a greater amount. The immune properties in human milk also bring the benefit of easier storage and less worry compared to formula.

2. Breastmilk Boosts Baby’s Immune System

Breastmilk is filled with a wide array of immune factors that help protect babies from viruses and bacteria. The specific antibodies the mother supplies provide tailored protection against microorganisms commonly found in the environment the baby is entering. The transfer of antibodies continues even once weaning has started: As baby begins to eat more solid food and less milk, the concentration of immune factors in the breastmilk increases.

3. Milk Composition Fluctuates Continually

Babies often can’t help falling asleep while nursing, but it is not just the act of nursing that encourages sleep. Studies of breastmilk samples have shown that certain sleep-inducing components are present in greater amounts during the evening and nighttime hours. The milk’s make-up changes even over the course of a single feed. At the beginning of a nursing session, the milk is high in lactose, low in fat and perfect for quenching baby’s thirst. Closer to the end, the lactose level decreases and the fat level rises, giving the baby a kind of “dessert” that keeps them full and satisfied until the next feeding.

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression
Learn more

4. Breastfeeding Burns More Calories Than Pregnancy

During the third trimester, approximately 300 more calories are required daily to support the growing baby. While breastfeeding, the mother will need 500 extra calories to produce breastmilk. Breastfeeding mothers often find it easier to lose the pregnancy weight, and nursing also helps the uterus return to pre-pregnancy size by stimulating stronger and more effective uterine contractions.

5. Breastfeeding Reduces Cancer Risk

Women who breastfeed their babies have been shown to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in their lives. Scientists believe this protection stems from the fact that estrogen levels are lower while breastfeeding continues. In addition, breastfed babies have lower rates of obesity throughout their lives. Since obesity is a significant factor in several types of cancer, the baby also is placed at a lowered risk of cancer in their own lives.

For more breastfeeding help, enroll in Milkology 


Milkology is a 90 minute online breastfeeding class run by certified lactation specialist, Stacy Stewart.  For less than $20, you can get some amazing tips for breastfeeding success – with a money back guarantee! 

The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions

Being successful at breastfeeding can be as simple as finding the right position.  Certain breastfeeding positions work better for some than for others, depending on the situation and your comfort level.

Here are some tips to ensure that you are utilizing all the positions correctly and getting the most out of your breastfeeding experience.

The following is a guest post from Ahmed Fawzi at www.Breastfeedo.com.  [Images used with permission]

The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

5 Breastfeeding Positions

1. Cradle and Cross Cradle Nursing Position

Both are the most common nursing position of all time where you carry your baby within your arms to breastfeed him.

Cradle hold

In which your baby is lying on your forearm on his side “the forearm of the same breast you use to breastfeed”

Cross-cradle hold

The same of cradle hold except your baby is on the opposite forearm of the breast you use to breastfeed (i.e. if you breastfeed from the right breast, your baby is held on your left forearm and vice versa)

Important notes

Your baby is on his side where his head and neck are in the same straight line. In other words, if your baby’s neck is tilted down, the swallowing process would be hard which affects the milk extraction negatively and hence your milk supply.

Your breast is at the same level of baby’s head.

Always keep your baby’s head free to move back to enable him to catch your breast deeply and widely.

Stomach to stomach

Baby’s legs are around your waist for more comfort and control.

2. Football Nursing Position

the football-hold-during-breastfeeding
Football Hold Position Tutorial

This position got its name as it looks like when football “rugby” players are carrying the ball under their armpit. Your baby is on his side or his back and his head -the rugby ball- is between your armpit and your used breast.

Baby’s body is wrapped around your side and back “hidden from the side view.” This particular position is preferred in 3 main cases:

If you have twins  – double football hold

After C-section – no load on your abdomen

Large breasts – you have a good/wide-angle view of your baby’s latch

Important notes

As we said before, your baby’s body is wrapped around your truck but keep his legs away from any solid surface such as the back of the chair or sofa.

That is because the natural baby reflex, called stepping reflex (when his legs step on any solid surface he tends to push himself against that surface) makes the latching process hard and unstable.

The most comfortable position while nursing without thinking is…

3. The Laid Back Nursing Position (it is also called The Biological Nurturing).

Simply, you are lying on your back in a semi-reclined position by using two pillows under your head and neck and your baby is positioned along your body.

In that amazing breastfeeding position, you get the use of gravity to fix your baby while latching without the need of pillows or extra effort to support.

Laid Back Position Tutorial
The laid-back nursing position is best for :

Tired and lazy moms 🙂

Breastfeeding at bedtime

If you don’t have any breastfeeding pillows or blankets to use

For moms who are suffering from low breast supply.

HOW?  During this nursing position, your baby’s body is in contact with all your body.  This would stimulate the breast milk let down and makes your baby at the optimum feeling of comfort and security.

Important notes

Laid Back Position Tutorial

It is the most recommended position after birth and within 1 hour.

The biological nurturing helps your baby to self-latch by searching for your dark nipple (and he can smell it, too.)

This position is also suitable for moms after c-section with little modification. Just rotate the baby 90° degrees clockwise or counterclockwise to avoid his load on your abdomen.  Also, you can rotate the baby more than 90° degrees to reach your shoulder.

4. The Side-Lying Nursing Position

Side Lying Position Tutorial

Nursing while side lying is another in bed breastfeeding position which is suitable at the end of your day. Both of you are satisfied when it comes to breastfeeding at night where:

Your baby wakes up to get his meal

You stay comfortable and you don’t have to change your position   completely

Important notes

It is suitable if you co-sleep with your baby.

Both of you are on their side, facing each other forming V shape.  Your baby’s head is at the level of your breast the same side of lying and his head is free to turn back.

Once he is latched, keep the tummy to tummy contact using your free hand by pushing his body gently into yours.

Your baby’s hands are hugging your breast during this position.

5. Koala hold or Upright/sitting Nursing Position

In this position, your baby is sitting upright in front of you.  Make sure to support his neck and shoulders with your hand on the same side of your used breast. The other hand is to support your breast to help him latch on properly.

Use this position

When your baby is older than 1 year

If you have a fast/strong milk ejection letdown reflex

If your baby has acid reflux (GERD: gastroesophageal reflux disease)

Or if your baby has problems in swallowing

Click to see the list!

10 Vital Notes on Breastfeeding Positions

1. After birth, your baby must be checked from a professional health care provider (pediatrics or lactation consultant) to check if there are any anomalies within his mouth like tongue tie or cleft palate.  In such conditions, you would be guided to implement special precautions in different location positions.

2. Pick the quietest and the most comfortable room in your house before breastfeeding initiation.  Relaxation has a positive effect on the breast milk supply.

3. Apply breast massage before latching to enhance the blood circulation within your mammary glands (breast milk factories).

4. Before each latching and within any nursing position, ensure that your baby is widely opening his mouth before breast insertion. This wide mouth opening looks like he is yawning. Once he does, take the opportunity and insert your nipple deeply into his mouth.

the wide-mouth-opening-while-baby-latching-picture
Tips for correct latch

5. It is highly recommended to shift between different nursing positions until both of you are satisfied.

6. Each situation has its own position as we mentioned earlier, and don’t forget that your baby has its own preferences regarding the nursing positions. Keep watching your baby while breastfeeding to understand his own language.

7. Always support your head, neck, and shoulders using pillows to avoid back pain.  And remember that any type of pain would put you under stress which decreases your milk supply.

Tips for correct latch

8. During breastfeeding, make sure your baby’s nose is free and you can pass one finger between his nose and your breast. It is a healthy sign of good latching.

9. Another healthy sign of good breastfeeding position is when your baby’s chin is immersed in your breast.

10. Burping your baby after each feeding would enhance your breast milk supply. By doing that, you move out the entrapped gases and air in your baby’s stomach which means less colic and more breast milk instead.

Signs that you are using a suitable nursing position:

Your baby is gaining weight properly

No sustained breast/nipple pain after each feeding (mild pain is accepted).

No milk leakage during feeding which guarantees tight seal between his mouth and your breast.

You can hear the swallowing sound during latching.

Your nipple after feeding is round with the same dark brown color.

I hope you enjoyed this very informative guest post from www.breastfeedo.com!  Make sure to check out their website for more great infographics and visual tutorials.  And don’t forget to follow Breastfeedo on Pinterest!
Find more breastfeeding posts and resources HERE.

For more breastfeeding help, enroll in Milkology 


Milkology is a 90 minute online breastfeeding class run by certified lactation specialist, Stacy Stewart.  For less than $20, you can get some amazing tips for breastfeeding success – with a money back guarantee! 

5 Basic Breastfeeding Products

There are millions of baby related products out there, but when it comes to breastfeeding, all you really need is a good milk supply and a hungry baby.

I compiled a list of my favorite breastfeeding products because, while I could have still done it without them, they all provided me with one important thing – C O M F O R T!  And being comfortable while breastfeeding is so important to developing that good milk supply.

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

1. Boomerang Nursing Pillow

I received this Jolly Jumper Boomerang Nursing Pillow as a gift at my baby shower and it has become a staple in my house.  It is so much more than just a breastfeeding pillow…

During pregnancy, it was the perfect shape to both support my stomach and tuck between my legs while sleeping.  The boomerang shape was also perfect to tuck behind me in bed for extra support while sitting upright.

I loved it for breastfeeding because it was so versatile.  I could fold it half if I needed firm support under just one arm, or lay it across my lap.

The little fold at the end of the pillow case acted as a pocket – perfect for stashing emergency washcloths (ok, let’s be honest, for my cell phone).

The shape was just right for propping baby up at any age.  Whether I laid baby on their back or tummy, I found that the “V” shape was better for supporting them than the “U” shaped pillows and I could easily bring the sides in for more security.

It’s so soft!  This may be a disadvantage to some who are looking for firmer support in a nursing pillow but I loved how flexible it was compared to other ones.

I stopped breastfeeding a long time ago, but this pillow is still my favorite one to have around the house – specifically for cuddling up on the couch or propping myself up in bed.  (It’s recently come in very handy during my battle with chronic pain.)

2. Medela Breast Pump

Like many first time moms, I didn’t buy a breast pump before the baby was born because I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to breastfeed.

After my first child was born, I inherited a brand new Medela Swing breast pump from a friend.  Since I had never used a breast pump before, I thought it was fantastic – but I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

So when I was pregnant with my second child, I stupidly sold my Medela Swing and “upgraded” to a fancy double electric pump because I assumed that two was better than one (and it was a great deal).

BIG MISTAKE!  It had no where NEAR the sucking capacity of the Medela…

I went back to the basics with the third one.  Since none of my kids were big fans of bottles and I wasn’t going back to work – my pumping requirements were very minimal.


This time I chose the Medela Harmony manual pump.  My favorite feature was the ability to stimulate the nipple with the pump to initiate a let down.  This is super important when your nipples aren’t as sensitive anymore (i.e. after breastfeeding three kids).  I also found that I could pump more milk simply by being able to manually control the rhythm of the suction.

The Medela Harmony is a great little breast pump for days when you’re away from baby or feeling extra engorged.  It’s perfect for traveling, easy to clean and is a no-fuss solution.  The Medela Swing is a better option for more regular pumping.

3. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

I had an excess milk supply and an overactive let down reflex which meant that I leaked milk A LOT.  Because of that, I tried SO MANY different brands and types of nursing pads before deciding that these Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads in particular were beyond compare.

They are SUPER absorbent.  They resembled a full diaper when they were soaked, but they didn’t leak no matter how much milk spilled into them. Like a sanitary napkin for your boobs.

They have a sticker on the back so they stay in place! So simple, but so important.

You can’t see them through your bra.  They’re not bulky or “papery” and they don’t have weird lines or patterns on them.

They are super comfortable.  Even with raw, sore nipples.

They’re individually wrapped.  Not in pairs which is great because I often had to change just one at a time.  They’re also easy to throw in the diaper bag, purse, gym bag, even small enough to keep in your pocket

They usually included a free gift (sample) in the box like breast milk collection bags, or individual packets of baby wipes.

4. Tank Tops with a Built-In Shelf Bra

Women's Camisole Built-in Shelf Bra Adjustable Spaghetti Straps Tank Top Pack
I bought way too many nursing bras.  I thought I was going to need them all but what I wore almost every day while I was breastfeeding is one of these tank tops with the built in shelf bras.

If you’re going to buy them, buy them in bulk because you’re going to get milk and baby spit up on them, and you’re eventually going to have to do laundry, but you’re going to want to put another one on right away.

The built in shelf bra is important because you need the support and also something to hold your nursing pads in place (those stickers can’t do it all).

They’re comfortable enough to sleep in.  In fact, I think there was barely a moment when I wasn’t wearing one of these tank tops during my breastfeeding years.

I wore them as a base layer under all my other shirts so that when I had to nurse in public I just pulled up the top shirt, and then pulled the tank top down to expose the nipple.  All that was visible between the two shirts was a small opening (covered by baby’s head anyway) and I didn’t have to fuss with an annoying nursing cover.  Not that I cared, but most people couldn’t even tell I was nursing.

5. Avent Isis Breast Shells

No one even told me these existed, I found them by accident…

When I breastfed for the first time – my nipples felt like they were on fire.  I expected some pain with breastfeeding, but it turned out that I had a cracked nipple and developed mastitis.  My nipples hurt so badly that I couldn’t even wear a shirt over them.

So I went on the hunt for something to help.  I was looking at nipple shields which I didn’t buy but found these Avent Isis Comfort Breast Shells instead and they ended up saving my nipples and ultimately, my breastfeeding relationship.

How, When & Why to Use the Breast Compression Technique while Breastfeeding
Breast Compression

Basically they are a protective dome for your sore nipple.  There is a soft silicone part that is shaped like a donut and goes against your breast and


then the hard plastic cup shields your nipple from brushing against clothing or being hit or poked by accident.

They are comfortable enough to wear to bed and the best part is that they also collect any milk that leaks out!

If you’re extremely engorged they can be a bit painful to wear but will greatly help to reduce flat nipples.  (You can also check out my tips for using the breast compression technique to help with engorgement).

Breastfeeding Products

For more breastfeeding help, check out Milkology –


A 90 minute online breastfeeding class run by certified lactation specialist, Stacy Stewart.  For less than $20, you can get some amazing tips for breastfeeding success – with a money back guarantee! 

How, When & Why to do Breast Compression

Breast compression is the underdog of breast feeding techniques.  WHEN to do them and WHY they can help are just as important as HOW to do them.

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

In a previous post, I praised an amazing small town nurse who gave me so much information on breastfeeding.  I promise that I will, eventually, get ALL of that knowledge out of my head and onto this website  but I want to start with something that was a huge contributor to my breastfeeding success…

Breast Compression

It sounds self explanatory, right?  You just squeeze your breast, what’s so hard about that?  I did breast compression with my first.  And my second…   I think?  The fact that I can’t even remember doing them means that they weren’t important to me back then.  After learning how to do them properly with my third one, and learning all the reasons why and when, I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had known about this the first time.  And the second.

Pin it!
Pin It!


Get your baby latched on properly.

I like this infographic from The Milk Memoirs 

After baby starts sucking you may FEEL your milk let down (not all women can feel it) and/or SEE your baby’s sucking start to become longer and slower.

Read this if you feel anxiety or depression when you breastfeed

Some women suffer from a condition known as D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex) which causes disturbing feelings when their milk lets down.  Click here to read my post about D-MER.

Grasp your breast with whichever hand feels more comfortable. 

Some might prefer to grasp with the hand closest to the breast, others might be more comfortable reaching across their body.

This will also depend on what position you are holding your baby in to nurse.

You can switch it up throughout the feeding.

Your thumb will be on top and the other four fingers will remain on the bottom of the breast. 

Your hand will form a letter “C” (it helps to imagine you’re holding your breast like a cheeseburger).

Try to keep your hand close to your chest.  You want to stay as far back from the nipple as possible so you don’t affect baby’s latch.

It’s not as effective to squeeze the breast from the sides or to use a “scissor” hold.

Now squeeze as hard as you can handle.  It shouldn’t hurt, but you want to use firm pressure, especially if your breasts are engorged.

a blocked milk duct or mastitis

Do not move your fingers around or slide them towards the nipple.

Don’t rub or massage the breast as this can cause irritation on the skin.

If you have extremely full breasts, whether it’s the first morning feed or when your milk first comes in, you may feel “lumps” of milk – focus on those spots first (sometimes they can be as far back as your armpit).

Squeeze one spot for roughly 10 seconds (or as long as baby continues to suck) and then release.

You will notice baby take longer, bigger gulps, some milk might even leak out from the corners of their mouth.

That section of the breast will start to soften

Baby may temporarily stop sucking after a few big gulps to rest.

Wait for baby to start sucking and compress the breast again.

You can try moving your fingers onto a different spot or switching hands to access the other side of the breast.

The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions
Find a position that works for you


DO NOT do them before your milk comes in.  I mean, you can, but there’s no point.

Do them when your milk comes in.  You will have a lot of it and your newborn baby will get tired of sucking before they get to that hind milk.

Do them when your breasts are really full.  Usually in the morning or if you’ve been away from baby and haven’t fed or pumped in a while.   It’s a great way to empty out full and sore breasts very quickly and make sure that baby is getting to the hind milk before they get too full.

Turn Up The Heat breast pads
TheDandelionShoppeUS on Etsy

The Turn Up The Heat breast pads by TheDandelionShoppeUS on Etsy are perfect for warm relief during engorgement and also cold relief to treat soreness. They have a removable machine washable cover and I love the hole in the middle to avoid irritating sore nipples!

Do them when your breasts are not full.  Doing compression during feeds even when your breasts feel empty will help drain the milk glands completely which will increase your milk supply.

My Top 5 Recommended Products

Do them when you have a clogged milk duct. This is when one of those “milk lumps” gets stuck and doesn’t want to empty.  Put a warm wet washcloth on top of the breast first and then apply lots of pressure to that stuck lump while you nurse.

Do them while pumping.  Breast pumps are not as efficient at emptying a breast  or getting enough hind milk.  A good example of this is to compare a bottle of pumped milk while doing compression vs. without.  You will see a higher fat content in the bottle pumped with compression.

Do them when you have incredibly sore nipples.  Baby won’t have to suck as hard to get enough milk (giving your nipples a bit of relief) and it will also speed up the length of the feeding.

Do them when baby falls asleep at the breast and/or stops sucking.  Breast compression will either make baby start drinking some more, or spit out the nipple if they are full. (I talk about breastfeeding at bedtime in my two part sleep training guide).

Sleep Training Guide Part One
Part 1: How to Sleep Train a Newborn
Sleep Training Guide Part 2: The Trick to Sleep Training
Part 2: The Trick to Sleep Training

Do them when baby cluster feeds.  The hind milk will help baby to feel fuller for longer and can reduce the amount of time you spend feeding.

Do them during night time feedings or dream feeds.  Babies are quite drowsy in the middle of the night and may not suck with the “power” that they use during the day.  Doing breast compression can help baby get milk more efficiently so that everyone can go back to bed.


Do them if your baby has greenish-coloured poops.  The greenish color could be because they’re not getting enough hind milk.

Do them if your baby gets a slight diaper rash.  Not enough hind milk can change the consistency of baby’s poops and cause their bums to get red.

There are so many benefits to using breast compression.
Read my story

The biggest WHY is to get baby the hind milk that has a higher fat content.  It will help them to gain weight faster and stay full longer.

I know that breast compressions are usually only suggested in the first couple months – during the time when breastfeeding is still trying to become well established.  But I became SO obsessed with doing them because I was able to see the benefits in my baby right away that I continued to do them whenever I felt it was necessary.

For more breastfeeding help, check out Milkology!


Milkology is a 90 minute online breastfeeding class run by certified lactation specialist, Stacy Stewart.  For less than $20, you can get some amazing tips for breastfeeding success – with a money back guarantee! 



Prior to starting this blog, I shared my tip about breast compression with anyone who seemed to be struggling with something it could fix.  I had a hard time trying to find a resource that stressed the importance of them.

BreastFeeding Inc.

The best online information about breast compression is from Dr. Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC  of Breastfeedinginc.ca.  [I’ve noticed quite a few other blogs or websites share his exact article or excerpts from it and it’s great information but it’s very… medical.]  

You can also purchase his book Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding.

Breast Compression
Click here to access a library of videos demonstrating the breast compression technique and proper latching techniques at Breastfeedinginc.ca


Another good site to check out for more visual aids is Breastfeeding.Support it’s run by IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) Philippa Pearson-Glaze and the site has a ton of breastfeeding articles, tips and advice with some great pictures.

This awesome article from Positive Health Wellness has tons of information about breast changes during pregnancy.
check it out!

How to Use the Breast Compression Technique How to use the Breast Compression Technique

How, When & Why to Use the Breast Compression Technique while Breastfeeding

What Breastfeeding Meant to Me

We’ve all heard of the benefits of breastfeeding but we’ve also probably heard a number of horror stories about bleeding nipples and bathroom feedings.  It takes sacrifice, practice and patience but what you get out of it is so worth it.


*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I didn’t need any convincing to breastfeed.  I was so curious about experiencing this miracle for myself (and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on formula).  I researched more on breastfeeding than anything else while I was pregnant and I was probably more worried about successfully breastfeeding than I was about labor and delivery. (For some great info on breast changes during pregnancy check out this article from Positive Health Wellness).

This helped!

At first, breastfeeding came easily.  Baby latched on well.  Except that ONE time.  Which led to a cracked nipple.  Which turned into mastitis.  Oh and what are those white patches inside his mouth?  Greaaaat… he’s got thrush.

And then engorgement happened and while I was happy to see the breasts I’ve always dreamed of, I couldn’t put my arms down at my sides because of the milk backed up into my armpits.  Which led to a clogged milk duct.  Which turned into mastitis.. again.

And that was only 1 month in…

But not once did I think – “maybe this isn’t for me.”  Because it wasn’t about me.  It was about my baby. 

And I was going to give him the best damn breast milk a body could make, even if it meant wearing cabbage leaves in my bra.

But, actually, it was about me.

Because for the 9 months that I carried him, the people in my life took good care of me.  I felt like the most important person in the world to them.

They called to see how I was doing, carried bags for me and opened doors for me.

They painted rooms and cooked me food and bought me gifts.

They put their hands on my belly and while I thought I wouldn’t  enjoy that, I really did.  Because it made them so excited to witness this miracle growing inside of me.

And in those final hours before he was born, they comforted me and encouraged me and cried with me.

And then it was over…

They placed him in my arms and in that one instant it all became about him.

My needs faded into the background and his came first.  Everyone crowded around to get a glimpse of his tiny face and fought over who got to hold him next.  This was the way it was now, and would be for a very long time.  For a few seconds I felt jealous.  But then… he cried.  He was hungry…

Suddenly I became the most important person in the world again – to him.  And it didn’t matter whether or not I was important to anyone else as long as I was important to him.

Breastfeeding my second child came easier.

But she cried.  She cried so… damn… much.

She didn’t like when anyone held her except me but she also didn’t like NOT being held.

She refused to take a bottle.

She refused to take a pacifier.

She was constantly gassy and it took an elaborate series of moves just to get her to burp.

The only thing that could soothe her was a nursing session…
postpartum depression
I didn’t speak up then but I’m speaking up now

In the gloomy hours of the night, as I sat lonely in the nursery with my breast shoved into her mouth to keep her quiet while everyone else was asleep, I felt a deep darkness set in.

I cried because it’s so much easier to cry in the dark when no one is watching.  I was so tired.  And I was so mad.  I hated that I was the only one able to soothe her.  It felt like a curse.  It became a regular occurrence during our 3 am feeding sessions.  She would suck and I would cry.  I wanted to sleep.  I hated breastfeeding.  I hated that it was all on me to do this.  I hated feeling like I was on a leash, a servant to my baby’s cries for comfort.

But that was just the postpartum depression talking… (or was it?)

What is D-MER?

My doctor offered to put me on medication – “but you can’t breastfeed while you’re on it,” he said.

WOO-HOO – a way out!

But as much as I hated breastfeeding, the thought of stopping – like really, actually stopping, not just threatening to stop – opened me up to a flood of emotions.  I cried again, but not because I was mad, this time it was out of sadness and regret.  I was sorry for this little girl who just wanted to eat and her mother hated feeding her.  She would be deprived of the benefits of breast milk because of me.  I felt like I had failed her.

So I exhaled after what seemed like an incredibly long breath in.  And then I felt inspired and encouraged to do right by her.

“No, thank you, doctor.  I WANT to breastfeed my baby”

If you have suffered from postpartum depression, past or present,  download this FREE printable PDF workbook to help you tell your story (even if you decide not to share it with anyone else)
Click to download!

It was the breastfeeding that led me into the darkness but also the breastfeeding that saved me.

From a mother who knows what it feels like

My youngest daughter also gave me a fair share of trouble when it came to breastfeeding.
I learned this from her!

At the time of her birth, we lived in a small town in Saskatchewan and the one public health nurse there had been the public health nurse for over 20 years.  She had watched all the town’s babies be born, she helped their mothers feed them, she vaccinated them and gave them flu shots.  She watched the efforts of her hard work grow up into strong and healthy adults.

She was, by far, the BEST nurse I ever had the honour of knowing and she taught me more about breastfeeding than I ever learned from the countless nurses and midwives I had in years before.

So we got through the tough stuff, thanks to her.

And it was only with my third baby did I truly come to ENJOY breastfeeding.

Being an already busy mom of two, I longed for those moments when I could just sit down for a few minutes to feed the baby.

I studied her face, her eye color and the way her hair was growing in.

She never bit or scratched me.

She loved to make eye contact.

She didn’t talk or demand that I pay attention to her.

She just drank and was happy and content.

It was a tiny peaceful moment… our moment… my moment.

 Now that I am done breastfeeding my babies – I miss those moments… the peaceful ones, the painful ones and the dark ones. 

To them it was merely sustenance, but to me it was so much more.

For more information and resources on breastfeeding click here.