Baby Explains- Normal Newborn Behavior

By Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC 


Dear Mommy,

Thank you so much for breastfeeding me!  You probably already know that your milk is designed especially for me, and is better than anything else you could feed me.

I know that right now, you feel like your friends who aren’t breastfeeding their babies seem to have an easier time of things.  Those other babies sleep soundly and longer between feedings, they drink so much, and they don’t fuss to eat all the time like I do!  I can tell you’re getting a little bit frustrated, and I hear all the advice you’re getting … my grandma says you weren’t breastfed and you turned out just fine, my daddy says he feels like he can’t do anything to soothe me, and that lady with the cold hands that you call “doctor” gave you a can of something that she says will help me grow faster.  You’re tired and frustrated because taking care of me just seems too hard, but please mommy, before you give up this yummy breastfeeding thing, let me explain some of my behavior to you.  It might help you feel better.

First, if you and I were separated after I was born, for any reason (maybe it was hospital protocol that I be left under a warmer, maybe you were recovering from surgery), I’ve got some catching up to do, because I probably lost more weight than my friends who got to stay close to their mommies.  It’s OK … I’m really good at letting you know when I need some more calories, but it’s important that you let me breastfeed lots and lots, even if my grandma says “he just ate!!”  In my first few days, the nurses at the hospital might tell you I’m hungry and your body can’t make enough milk for me … but mommy, that colostrum from your breasts is some awesome stuff!  It’s packed with protein, which binds to any bilirubin in my body (elevated bilirubin causes jaundice in more than half of newborns) so I can poop it on out.  It’s also a great laxative, which makes it easy for me to get all that black, tarry meconium out of me and we can move on to the seedy, yellow-brown poops that are much easier to clean off my sweet tushie.  Now, the colostrum is really thick and sticky, and I’m so small and still figuring out how to move my tongue, and we’re both still trying to get comfortable together, so it might take me 20 minutes or longer to suck out just ONE TEASPOON (5-7 mL) of that liquid gold.

But it’s OK, mommy!  You know, there is really nowhere I’d rather be than in your arms, hearing your sweet voice and smelling you  — even though you haven’t had a shower since before I was born, you’re just delicious to me.  And something else you should know about me … even though I have a really cute “Buddha belly” that looks all chubby, the capacity of my stomach on the day I’m born is just 5-7 milliliters – that’s the size of a small marble!  You’re the smartest woman in my whole world, so I know you see the connection here!  The amount of colostrum in your breast is exactly the capacity of my tummy!  My stomach walls on my first day of life are very rigid and won’t stretch; this is why, if anyone tries to feed me with a bottle, I’m going to spit most of it back up again, even though I eagerly suck at it.  See, mommy, I only have two ways to send and receive information from my brand-new world – I can cry, and I can suck.  I can’t see much, and all these sounds are so much louder than when I was inside you, and I can use my hands to help me orient myself on your breast, but crying and sucking are pretty much how I make sense of everything.

From the Heart Photography – Tiffany Hileman

I know it seems really confusing, mommy, that I would want to suck and suck and suck even though my tummy is full.  When I suck, lots of great things happen for both of us.  I keep my own digestion moving by triggering the involuntary digestive muscles in peristalsis – moving the contents of my stomach along because I’m still moving my mouth and tongue, which are the beginning of my digestive tract.  When you let me do all this suckling at your breast, I can very easily regulate how I suck, depending on why I’m sucking at any given moment.  You can probably feel when I’m suckling nutritively and swallowing lots of milk, and when I’m kind of relaxed about it, feeding sort of like I’m savoring a bowl of ice cream … you know how sometimes, you scrape just a tiny bit onto your spoon, because you want it to last a long time?  To me, you’re better than ice cream!  But on a bottle, it’s impossible for me to suck and not get whatever’s in there, and that’s confusing to me, so I might keep sucking because that’s what my instinct is telling me to do, or I might realize my tummy hurts (because even on day 10, my stomach capacity is only a ping pong ball) and I’ll cry and cry because all I really know is crying and sucking!

A word about these instincts I feel … I really can’t help it, mommy, that I want to suckle so much.  It’s just how I came out, and there doesn’t seem to be much that I can do about it.  Please believe me, I’m not trying to trick you!  In a few weeks, this need lets up a tiny bit, but for now, suckling is my M.O.  But, do you want to know something really cool?  I’m not the only one who benefits!  When I suckle at your breast in these early days, your body actually activates prolactin receptors!  Isn’t that amazing?  In my first two weeks, the higher I make your prolactin levels go (my suckling triggers a prolactin surge in your body), the more of these receptors get activated in your breasts, and the higher your potential milk production will be for as long as you choose to breastfeed me.  That’s one reason your lactation consultant tells you to wait on introducing that bottle or that binky– this prolactin receptor thing only happens for the first 10-14 days.  After that, the prolatcin surges when I breastfeed are much smaller, so the more receptors there are to gobble up what prolactin is there, the more easily you’ll make all the milk I need.

Besides prolactin, there’s oxytocin, another hormone I activate when I am at your breast.  Oxytocin is part of what makes you so addicted to me!  It’s “the love hormone” and it helps you feel relaxed and content when we’re breastfeeding.  Go ahead, mommy, exhale and relax!  It’s OK!  Oxytocin release is triggered by nipple stimulation, not necessarily milk removal (though when things are going well, my stimulation of your nipples usually means I’m removing milk!).  Now, I know this might sound a little awkward coming from your baby, but I need you to know something about oxytocin.  There are only three events in your life that trigger oxytocin release: nipple stimulation (like when I’m breastfeeding), labor (the oxytocin released during childbirth stimulates uterine contractions, which is why nipple stimulation might be suggested when labor stalls, and also explains why sometimes, after you breastfeed me, you feel an increased expulsion of lochia and maybe some cramping), and … orgasm!!  Isn’t neat that the same hormone plays a part in making me, birthing me, and feeding me, and it’s a hormone that makes you feel GOOD to do all three?

Mommy, I know you are trying your very best for me and you’ve been worried about whether your body can satisfy my appetite.  I know you’re used to being able to measure everything, and your breasts don’t have markers on them to tell you how much milk I got.  Maybe you used a breast pump, and that confirmed your worries that there isn’t much milk there – but mommy, please understand that a good pump can mimic me, but your body wasn’t designed to have all these wonderful hormone surges for a cold piece of plastic with a noisy vacuum motor.  You know that feeling you get when you hold my warmth and weight, smell how delicious I am, and nom nom nom on my fat cheeks?  That feeling helps you make milk!  That feeling is part of the whole system that was designed to make you need to be close to me, just as much as I need to be close to you.  And mommy, I know you’re very busy, and important, and there’s so much you used to do before I came, and I know right now, it feels like you’ll never do those things again, and our house is getting messy, and maybe that scares you.  But please know, every moment you spend holding me, every time you gaze lovingly at me, and every hour you spend breastfeeding me in these early days is so important to me, because you’re all I know.  I love daddy and grandma and all of our friends, but I’m designed to be happiest and least stressed when I’m with you.  Can you wear me in a sling or soft carrier after I’m milk-drunk?  I really like listening to your heart beating while I sleep, and you are warm and soft and smell so good.  That space between your breasts is perfectly sized for my head, and there’s nothing I like better than the feel of your skin against mine.  Well, maybe there is something I like better … I love it when you sleep next to me after we’ve been breastfeeding.  Oh, mommy, when you nurse me while lying down, you relax and your milk flows so nicely, and I feel like you’re so happy to be with me, and I’m very special to you because you don’t have to run off and do something else as soon as I’ve let your breast go.

And mommy, I have a promise to make to you.  I can’t say for sure when it will happen, but there will come a day when I need you a little bit less intensely.  My feedings will get more organized, my weight gain will stabilize, and sometimes, I’ll even like when my daddy or grandma or other loving person holds me.  But today, I need you.  You’ll always be my number one, even after we’re done breastfeeding, but I will learn, like you did, to defer my needs and to trust others to meet them once you and I get a good thing going.  Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me so far. Until you start giving me an allowance, I hope my good health, sweet smiles, coos, and giggles will sustain you!




Many thanks to the hundreds of readers that shared so many beautiful photos of their newborn babies.  There is just a small sampling here but you all have incredible photographs of your beautiful babies.  Thank you for being willing to share and to all the photographers of these precious images!


Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC and La Leche League Leader, has written articles for the La Leche League publications Leaven and Breastfeeding Today, and is the author of the La Leche League tear-off sheet Vitamin D, Your Baby, and You. She is a frequent presenter at breastfeeding education events. Excited about her work toward a Master of Public Health, Diana hopes to work in public service as an advisor to policymakers in maternal/child health and nutrition. Diana, mother to three breastfed children, has served as a clarinetist on active Army duty in the West Point Band since 1995. Diana enjoys running, writing, skiing, and cross-stitching when she finds herself with spare time.  She also writes at Normal, like breathing



  1. Beautiful!

    • This artical has really helped me continue with breastfeeding my daughter. I have read it 3 times! She is 8 weeks old on Tuesday and I love breastfeeding, I only wish I could have read this when I breastfed my son, as I gave up at 10weeks after combining feeds with formula. I didn’t know what I know now and I used to get very stressed. I was only 16 when I had him and he was a very colicy baby. I thought bottle would be best for his needs because a breastpump would only give me 6oz at the very most and I thought I was starving him despite weight gain.

      Thank you so much for this artical, it makes me cry, in a good way!



  2. Kate Eschete says

    Oh this is a wonderful tribute to the way things are just supposed to be! I loved it, and in my search for amazing things about breastfeeding, this has to be the most beautiful thing I’ve read so far! Oh, please keep writing, please keep writing!

    • You said just what I was thinking…I got teary eyed reading it….=)

      • Same here! I got all emotional. Pregnant with my first child, who is due in Dec end. I know, I am a bit early, but hey, you can never have enough knowledge of anything right? The Article is very very beautifully written 🙂

  3. Love love love it!

  4. Sarah Appleby says

    How proud do I feel after reading this beautiful letter! I’m still breast feeding my 2 year old, and her little sister who has just turned one! tandem feeding is exhausting, this beautiful letter just reminded me why i chose to do it in the first place, sometimes when we feel shattered, and its hurting, its tempting to give up, thank you for sharing this x

    • You are still breastfeeding your 2 year old? That’s a little old, don’t you think? When the child can walk up to you and suck on your boob, I think it’s a little old to be breastfeeding.

      • Hi anon

        Sorry to stop you there but have you read the World Health Organisation’s breastfeeding information? It says you should try to breastfeed for 2 years and longer if mother and baby desire. Just filling you in on how things have changed!

      • Don’t you love how people who make rude and snarky comments post anonymously?

        Good on you, Sarah, for tandem feeding your babes!

      • Good thing that’s not your child then

      • Ha!! My 4 children who naturally self weaned at age 4.5+ (and my 1 and almost 3 yr old who are currently nursing) would very adamantly disagree with you!! For them, there is nothing more natural (though definitely not always easy for mama ;). One day our society will wake up and realize what nature and history has been telling us about what is normal and natural in child led weaning.

      • Hi anon,
        I’m just wondering what in particular about nursing a child that walks and talks makes you so uneasy? It’s your decision, but at no point does breast milk stop being the best a child can get. A child with language and mobility is still a child…not so different from a newborn or an infant. If it’s not right for you, it’s not right for you but by no means does that make the child “too old” or mean it isn’t right for someone else, as mentioned in the replies, WHO recommends breastmilk until age 2 or later. And I find the ‘sucking on your boob’ part a little disrespectful and offensive. The child is eating.

      • Who are you to question someone else’s style and choices what is right for you is not right for some one else….. How rude and ignorant!

      • Dear “Anonymous”,

        You obviously have not read any information about the benefits of full-term breastfeeding, nor have you read that it is considered very normal to breastfeed until 2 or 3 years old, or even older if that’s what your child wants. It’s people like you who give breastfeeding a bad rap. Educate yourself before posting rude comments on someone’s input. Your comment was uncalled for and just plain stupid.

        • I am 4 months into Breastfeeding my baby girl. At this point I don’t think nursing for longer than one year will be right for me personally, but would I ever judge another mom who goes longer? Not in a million years! I think it’s a personal choice and its up to mom and they shouldn’t be told otherwise by ignorant people. But, there are sadly so many people who feel this way and it reminds me, how brainwashed society is about these subjects. Getting down to the truth of the matter, human beings are animals. We are creatures and if we follow our instincts we usually do what is naturally healthiest for our babies. If babies were meant to be cut off of their milk at exactly one year of age, why does milk supply go on and on and on endlessly? Why doesn’t ilk naturally just stop a year after you give birth? Why do doctors recommend replacing breastmilk with homogenized cows milk? think about it before you make ignorant comments! people really get on my nerves sometimes…. Live and let live!

      • Is this a serious comment? Have you been living under a rock? This is a normal, common thing.

      • I think its terrible that someone would comment something negative about another person when the comment board is ment for commenting on the beautifully written words of our children. Have some respect for the writer who obviously worked very hard on something that she should deservedly be proud of. This is a beautiful work of art and I am lucky to have been allowed to share this with all of you.

  5. Love this letter. My daughter is six months old and I am still feeling all sorts of those emotions. Thanks for writing and expressing this process in such a beautiful way.

    • My son is also 6 months old and as we speak is sitting on my lap starring into my eyes as he just finished feeding. To date, I have added it up and I have breastfed him over 2000 times since he was born. Such a great experience and such a touching article. Thank you so much as sometimes, when it gets inconvenient, we forget how much the baby truly appreciates us as mommies.

    • My sons are 20 and 13, and all those emotions came rushing back as I read it! 😉 What a well-written letter. Oh, and to Anon above, you’ll be relieved to know they’re no longer nursing. 😀

  6. Both of my babies refused to breastfeed. We even saw a lactation consultant that tried for several weeks before she gave up. We received scornful comments and were made to feel guilty for not breastfeeding. And before the milk came in (took a week) we had to use formula. I wasn’t about to let my babies starve, as some even suggested.

    Be thankful that you are able to breastfeed your children, and please understand that not all mothers have that luxury.

    • We do understand that, absolutely. Articles like this are to share information in an accessible and artistic way, not designed to lob guilt or condescension on anyone. Most mothers truly do the best they can in that moment with the knowledge and support they have available to them then and according to the situation. Articles and information like this aren’t intended to make people feel guilty, they are intended to help change the support that’s out there by giving more information. Many women don’t know what normal newborn behavior is and stress that they are doing something wrong when really everything is fine. It’s important to have the information to know when to actually get help and when it’s within the wide range of normal.

      I’m sorry breastfeeding didn’t work out for you, that must have been so difficult. Your children are lucky to have you, someone willing to make difficult choices for their well-being, as their mother. ~Jessica

    • My son wouldn’t breastfeed either. I tried and tried for six weeks. I had help from the nurses in the hospital, my boss (who was an avid BFer herself) and even lactation consultants. He just wouldn’t latch on. Many people told me I should have tried harder and not given up so quickly. I think six weeks is a long time to feel like your baby is starving! We had to supplement him with formula at some feedings since I also wasn’t producing enough milk while pumping. Eventually I had to switch him to formula only. I felt awful and thought I wasn’t a good enough mom. I even had to listen to my “loving” mother in law tell me it was my fault he wouldn’t latch on and I was a failure. Nice. But then I talked to another lactation consultant who explained that BFing isn’t for EVERYONE. She really eased my mind and made me feel ok about myself and not BFing my son. Now he’s 11 months old and happy as can be. I guess not BFing him didn’t damage him afterall. 🙂

      • I don’t want to say I’m “glad” to see these comments, but it does feel nice to know that I’m not the only one who wasn’t able to breastfeed. We experienced a whole raft of problems from flat nipples to a tongue tied baby and a lack of milk supply. We saw an endless stream of lactation consultants and doctors and even made trips to the hospital with a baby with low blood sugar who wasn’t getting enough to eat. I pumped like crazy, took medication and still ended up having to switch to formula alone. I too felt like a failure as a mother, as I couldn’t do the one thing I had really wanted to do. Add to that the nasty comments you get sometimes and you can feel quite down. But my little love bug has thrived and is a happy healthy little guy.

        I really appreciate the reply from theleakyb@@b, I support breastfeeding and know of the benefits. It’s lovely to see it from the baby point of view. Thank you for your kind words. All the best.

        • This is a beautiful article on breastfeeding, which I wholly support. However, I was in the <1% of mums who don't produce any milk at all…nada, none, not a drop "not even a glisten" as one midwife told me!

          After 3 days of "not a drop" in hospital, I was asked very gently if I would consider formula. Thanks heavens yes! My poor baby was so hungry. I tried everything for 4 weeks after my daughters birth and still got nothing. When I was out, random strangers would stare and tsk tsk at me, even making awful comments about formula and bottle feeding which is just terrible and none of their business.

          Importantly, I believe though this experience is that I don't feel guilty….not one bit. I tried, it didn't work and I figure it's more important to have a fed baby, than a breastfed baby. Mum's place so much pressure on themselves and each other when we should be supportive of each other…we are all mums trying our best and what works for some, doesn't work for others.

          As a student midwife, I am an advocate for breast feeding, but more importantly, I am an advocate for the mum. Happy mum, happy baby 🙂

      • For all those out there that tried with their first to breastfeed and were unsuccessful – I hear you! I had the same problems. I became wrought with guilt and stress and finally made the hard decision to switch to formula. My oldest is a healthy allergy free 4 year old, happy as can be and she never really nursed. So when I got pregnant with my second, I adapted a new philosophy. If it works; it works, if it doesn’t; it doesn’t. No stress, no pressure. My second daughter nursed perfectly from the very first moment. She nursed for 9 months and then self weened. It was an amazing and rewarding experience and I feel lucky I had a second chance at it. So I guess I am saying, just because it didn’t work once, doesn’t mean it won’t ever. Either way, your baby will be perfect.

        • Thanks for posting this. I am currently pregnant with my second child and can’t help but wonder if I will face the same supply issues I had with my first which resulted in me supplementing. It is nice to see that there is a possibility of it working this time around, but if it doesn’t work I will not stress over it. I just want my baby to be happy and healthy however that needs to happen.

        • Laura hunt says

          HI, all my family members have had various problems with b/f, I’m certain that it helped my mum to have post natal depression, so I,m adopting the same attitude; if it works then it works, but I’m certainly not going to stress myself out or let others guilt trip me! I really hope that I won’t encounter problem! 🙂

    • stephaniemz says

      Mary, it took my milk a week to come in as well, but no one told me my baby was starving (because she wasn’t). All moms do the best they can though!

      • Amen. A lot of nurses and drs. pressure Moms to have their milk “come in” even less than 48 hours after birth. (I remember a nurse coming in about 24 hours after I had given birth and randomly feeling my boobs asking “are you engorged?”… UMM excuse me NO!) Which in reality it usually takes 3-5 days and up to 7 is NORMAL. Supplementing because you think the baby is not eating anything only exacerbates the problem and your milk will take longer and longer to come in. My milk didn’t come in (that I even noticed) until 5-7 days… he had plenty of colostrum and transitional milk to tide him over in the mean time and grew very well.

      • I have had two failed attempts at breastfeeding, the nurses were shocked both times that I literally had nothing at all – not even colostrum (as one nurse said, there wasn’t even a glisten). I am now pregnant with twins, and will try yet again. I would love to be able to breastfeed my children, I don’t know why I don’t produce milk. If anyone has any suggestions what I can do prior to the birth (like can I take the mothers milk tablets while still pregnant?) Suggestions gratefully received…

        • The only way for the nurse to know you don’t have colostrum is by nursing herself. Sometimes it’s so little it won’t come out witha pump or hand expression but that does not mean baby isn’t getting it. I was told this same thing by a nurse who convinced me I was starving my baby even though he had been pooping plenty (which is one of the best ways to judge how much baby is getting) and had already passed the meconium by the second at in the hospital. My best suggestion is not to listen to the nurses (unless they are supportive). Your milk will very likely not come in until a few days after you’re out of the hospital. Another thing that will help: find a La Leche League in your area and meet other BFing moms that you can lean on for support when you feel like you might be doing something wrong or baby isn’t getting enough. Support and encouragement are the best supplements, IMO. Have faith that your body is doing what it is supposed to do for your babies & have patience that it will happen. Best of luck!

    • Not everyone can breastfeed. I nursed my 3 kids, but milk supply dropped off with 2 & 3 by 4 months. You only need to give your child 2 breast feedings a day to get the full effect of their Mother’s antibodies and after 4 months these antibodies go away. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not nursing. My milk didn’t come in for a week with my first and yes- she was starving. She only stopped crying when she got the real milk. You are a great mom!!

      • I’m not an expert, just a mom who so far has a total of 4 years breast feeding (14.5 months, 19 months and still going at almost 15 months), but I’m fairly certain the baby still gets antibodies from mom for as long as you breastfeed. IMO any breastmilk is beneficial, but I know first hand that breastfeeding isn’t always easy.

      • Yes, your baby continues to get antibodies from you for as long as you breastfeed. When you kiss your baby, cuddle your baby, etc. your body “picks up” his/her needs and your milk supply changes with whatever that is. Nature is amazing! I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty or feel like a bad mom. But we shouldn’t not tell the truth just because it might hurt someone’s feelings.

      • This post addresses three of my biggest pet peeves.

        1. Not everyone can breastfeed. So this means that we shouldn’t discuss it to enable the 95-98% of women who CAN breastfeed lest we offend the 2-5 who cannot? That is like saying we shouldn’t say that people should walk regularly in case it bothers people who are wheelchair bound.

        2. The antibodies go away at 4 months old. That is just one of the many many myths that people state for some reason or another. I have no idea where this idea comes from, but if you look at a reputable source (like dr Jack Newman’s site) you will find this – and many of the other myths surrounding breastfeeding – are not true.

        3. Stop making people feel guilty. There was nothing in this article at all that said “you should feel guilty if you don’t breastfeed me” if you interpreted it that way, then that says more about your feelings on the matter than that of the Leaky Boob. I have done things that cut my breastfeeding relationship with my firstborn short because I didn’t know any better. Am I irritated with myself for not having done more to educate myself and for blinding following people’s bad advice? Sure, you bet. Do I feel guilty? Nope, because I did what I thought was right at the time. I have since learned more and as such, my next two children have the benefit from this knowledge.

        • No one is trying to make anyone feel guilty. She is simply showing her envy in moms who could fully breast feed their children. and just like you cutting your breatfeeding short because of bad advice, she was mis-informed. my pet peeve: defensive people!

          @ the leaky b@@b
          this was such a great article. it was more then just my hormones from being 28 weeks pregnant that made me tear up. i cant wait totry and breastfeed for the first time.

        • When I read this I was rid with guilt as I didn’t have enough milk for my little one and she was having trouble latching on and after 6 weeks i made the decision with the lacation consultant to stop breastfeeding, tried mixed feeding and expressing but no use then and put my little one on formula she is happy… to this day I still get bad remarks from my mother in law about not breastfeeding my little one and I must admit when going out and going to feeding rooms and when i gave/give my little one a bottle i get dirty looks from breastfeeding mothers (even one mother told me im a selfish mother and another called me lazy)… it wasn’t easy for me being a first time mum and having to go through this… great article but it does rid me with guilt!!!

          • I’m so sorry you are experiencing guilt over your situation. I encourage you to not let information that is just information bring on guilt for your circumstances. Information needs to be shared and doing so is in no way intended to guilt anyone, you experiencing guilt from reading this may be more about your own internal struggle. Our filters can make it so we take what’s out there and let ourselves get down on ourselves about the hardships we experienced. Feeding your baby is important, I’m sorry it didn’t work out the way you had hoped and I hope you find peace with it soon. (((hugs))) ~Jessica

          • Lazy?? I breastfeed my 6 month old, and to me, it is the easiest thing ever! I feel for you mums who formula feed. You have to sterilize, and warm, and do so much, just to get baby fed. I just whip it out, and stick her on! How lazy is that!

        • Agree 10000%! Every time I read a helpful article or story about breastfeeding, the comments are all about, “Well don’t forget about those of us who CAN’T breastfeed!! What about us!?!?” Maybe those of you who can’t breastfeed/have stopped trying should…I don’t know…stop reading sites about breast feeding? Come on.

      • Hester, I’m so sorry you had a difficult time; women are so brave! You actually start to produce colostrum at about 20 weeks and then it surges once the placenta is delivered. Congratulations on your twins; they come with their own set of challenges! I’m sure you are lining up a team of helpers, you only need to focus on your recovery and feeding your babies. I hope you are able to deliver at a facility with certified lactation staff but if not try LaLeche they do a great job. Keep your babies close to you and get lots of stimulation; even if you cannot nurse both you can pump for extra help.I agree with MamaLola, help and encouragement are paramount, send the naysayers away! Keep us posted.

      • I am not sure where you got that info from but it is not evidenced based. Mom’s lose their supply (if they had a full one to begin with) by using formula, hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, pressure from large implants and improper emptying of the breasts. When ever any formula is in the mix there is NEVER full protection from mom’s milk. EVER. It actually takes 2 weeks for moms milk to fix what formula does to the babies sytem. And in a suseptible baby it may not be able to do so 100%. It is always better to give SOME breast milk rather than none. But the only way to get full protection is to fully nurse for 6 mo before introducing solid foods and continue nursing past a year. Most moms lose their supply because they do not get proper help. Formula companies want you to do so…then $$$ in their pocket. Multi billion dollar corporations, advertise, to sell their product and trick our brains into thinking it isn’t so bad. Moms can’t advertise their milk. But moms are learning more and more.
        Pam BA, RN, IBCLC, Researcher

        • mummypiekins says

          My son won’t breastfeed. I’ve been trying at every feed since he was born 3 1/2 weeks ago. He simply will not latch on and suckle and usually ends up screaming which breaks my heart. I saw a breastfeeding expert last week and she said he ‘can’ do it but for some reason he won’t. As a result I’m having to express and top up with formula as I can’t express as much milk as he needs. I know it’s not my fault that he won’t breastfeed and I know that I’m doing the best that I can in the situation I’m in but I do still feel tremendously guilty that I’m not able to breastfeed. Reading posts like this makes me feel really sad. I KNOW that breastfeeding is the best thing for my little boy and I so wish it was working out for us. I understand that this isn’t designed to make non-breastfeeding mums feel guilty, but I think some of the posters on here are being quite insensitive to those of us that it hasn’t worked out for. I already feel bad enough that I can’t breastfeed my son. Reading someone go on about how giving my baby formula is damaging my baby’s system breaks my heart but there’s nothing I can do about it other than starve my son by only giving him what little milk I’m able to produce. Please show a little more sensitivity to those of us who would LOVE to, but can’t.

          • Mummypiekins, please don’t give up!

            You’ve got what your son needs and it’s just taking you guys longer to get in sync. I don’t know enough about your living arrangements, but stress and anxiety can definitely affect nursing, especially in the beginning.

            Get someone to take care of the house, explain to people that you come into contact with that you need support for your choices and that you will ask for advice when you want it, thank you.

            Take your son into bed with you and gird yourself with patience. If you have a spare moment, take a look at Dr. Jack Newman’s book about breastfeeding — it was very helpful to me when I was figuring things out.

            My son is 4 weeks 3 days old and nurses sometimes every hour, sometimes every 3 hours, there’s no rhyme or reason. In the beginning it was extremely difficult because of all the instructions I was getting, it was difficult to get comfortable while nursing because he would want to stay at the breast sometimes for as long as an hour! Lactation consultants at the hospital were great, but more willing to do for me than show me how to latch him on myself.
            In the end I figured out what a proper latch felt like from the inside and how to help him form it even when he was opening his mouth only a little. We co-sleep and have from the beginning, which (I feel) allowed me to have more rest and be more relaxed while he feeds, if he chooses to feed for a long time.

            Hang in there, contact resources in your community and family. Above all, have faith in yourself!

          • I just want to kindly point out that I don’t think people are trying to “guilt” the people who weren’t able to breast feed or chose not to. I think they just wan’t to make sure that those who are breast feeding and looking for information are not being given false information or information that will hinder their experience as a breast feeding mother. I don’t think its “Anti-Formula Fed” as much as it is Pro-Nursing. Many of us have a very hard start of things in the first few weeks of nursing, and hearing the wrong information may make us stop…. “for example not having any milk..” and some might not produce any and that is fine, But some Might produce pleanty but not be able to express it in any way but to suckle the child. And to hear how people didn’t produce any may make this hypothetical mother question if she is “starving” her child… or that there is no benifit after 4 months, of course we are going to correct the statement. there are still antibodies, it goes like this:
            the WHO recommends at least 2 years of breast feeding or more, ….if you can’t ….
            then the recommendation is no other milk introduced besides breast milk for the first year…..if you can’t….
            then it is solid foods may be started at 6 months if the child is interested and a supported sitter (and a couple other things I don’t remember)….if you can’t the….
            then it is 4 months min to help the baby remain allergy free for the first 6 years, ….if you can’t then….There is evidence that exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months protects against wheezing in early life…..if you can’t then…..
            feed the baby breast milk as long as you can….. if you cant then… at least give the baby the colostrum to give him/her some of the protection of your immune system …if you can’t then formula feed…..
            its a big series of recommendations…. not just one… and it goes in stages form the most ideal for the child to formula which can still produce healthy children…….
            BUT the moral of my huge post…. we aren’t trying to be insensitive to the formula feeding mothers we are trying to make sure the new and to be breast feeding moms have the right information, and the support they need…. because it’s NOT EASY to be a breast feeding mom we have insecurities like not knowing hoe much the baby is eating because we can’t see it through a bottle, and our children being hungry “all the time” in the beginning because it is digested faster and more thoroughly…. so we all go through moments of thinking we are starving our babies even me when my child was gaining 2 oz a day….

        • I am with you mummypiekins. That was one insensitive post. Formula is not the devil and has its uses like keeping my baby from starving because I can’t produce enough milk despite everything I have tried.

    • I think this article is to help women like you, who had a difficult time breastfeeding. It’s trying to support them and encourage them, gently, to keep trying. Obviously, it doesn’t work out for everyone, but I don’t feel like they’re shaming anyone for trying and failing to breastfeed. They’re just trying to support mothers who are having a difficult time by explaining their baby’s behaviors and needs…to make it seem a little less frustrating while they work on making it work…

      I don’t think this was meant to be a catch-all, end-all…it’s just capturing a moment and trying to make it less stressful. And you shouldn’t feel like a failure as a mother, you’re just trying to care and do best for your baby and that’s really all everyone else is doing–just keep loving and caring for your baby, that’s the most important thing!

  7. BEAUTIFUL and SO true!!

  8. This is so beautifully written. I’m crying my eyes out while reading it. I’m happily nursing babe #2 at 13 months. Breastfeeding has been one of the most rewarding experiences ever. We had a very rocky start with our first and our second baby came out smacking her lips and ready to go. It just goes so quickly. Thanks for reminding me of those newborn days!

    • I’m happy to hear that im not the only one “crying my eyes out” I’m 32 weeks pregnant and hope to breastfeed my baby once she comes and it’s nice to hear so many positve, reassuring things about it! This article was beautifully written and will help reassure me through those dificult first few weeks! Thanks!

  9. This is so beautifully written. I wish I could have read this during my daughters first few weeks of life. I had a c-section and since I had a fever, she was given a bottle against my wishes and I didn’t see her for several hours. We got off to a rocky start and it took a long time for my milk to come in, close to two weeks. Now that she is 5 months old I can’t imagine not breastfeeding. I didn’t think I would make it this far but it’s so much easier now. It’s the best part of my day feeding and cuddling with my little girl!

    • My experience was very similar to yours. Felt like giving up those first few weeks, they were just awful, but I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel and now nursing brings such joy to my day. I’m going to print this off and keep it handy for next time 🙂

  10. Elisa Merritt says

    Beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes reading it! Holding my fourth LO who is 5 months old right now, amazing how fast it goes! That newborn time is so special , and now he’s a squirmy little worm. Hang in there mamas, it only gets easier and more rewarding.

  11. What a beautiful explanation of normal newborn behavior, which in our culture is often seen as being problematic. Thank you. I hope to share this with moms-to-be. Babies are designed to be with their mothers, of course.

  12. Beautiful written and I love all the information this gives. So great every women should read it. Can I share on my blog? And Can I print and give to every women I know? Thanks!!

    • Heather, you can link to this on your blog and you can share an excerpt on your blog but please don’t copy and paste the entire article on your blog, instead, direct them here. Feel free to print it out to share, lots of families need to read this!

  13. Love, love, love this!! Going on 21 months of breastfeeding my little boy. I want to wean, but he is SO not ready. Reading this made me remember why he loves it so much!

  14. this article made me so upset! I wasn’t able to carry on breastfeeding my daughter and i feel like i was robbed of the bonding experience i should have had with her. I am so extremely jealous of all the mothers who are successful in breastfeeding. I feel like a failure when ever i think about it. I feel as though i wasn’t the best mother i could have been and i will never get the opportunity to change that. Whats done is done but it still hurts. This what a wonderful and beautiful article and i wish i could have been all that my baby needed.

    • Please don’t feel guilty. You did the best you could with what you had at the time. While breastfeeding is an incredible experience, it is not the only aspect of being a mother.

    • I am so sorry for your difficult experience and your grief. Sometimes when we are hurt, we need to acknowledge it and grieve deeply before we can heal and move on. May I lovingly suggest that it’s okay that this still hurts? That just means that you aren’t healed… yet. Please keep reminding yourself that you can feel the pain without believing the lie that you are not enough for your baby or that you were not the best mother you could have been. You are the best mother that you are. You are what your daughter needs. You will get through this, and one day you will have healing from this sadness. God bless you and your little girl.

      • Sarah, what a great response. I loved, “…is not the only aspect of being a great mother.”, boy, that sums up motherhood. We beat ourselves up so thoroughly in every aspect. It’s the constant effort that we make day-in and day-out that makes us a great mother–even when we aren’t fulfilling our own (and others’!) expectations.
        I also loved your suggestion that “it’s okay that this still hurts?”. We, often, don’t allow ourselves to heal (through hurting) because we think it means weakness. It DOES make us vulnerable and that’s difficult to be when we don’t have supportive people around us.
        You’re the best.

    • Don’t feel bad! We live (well, at least in North America!) with a system that is failing moms left, right and centre with helping them breastfeed! For all the reasons stated in this article, we should be making it a priority to help and support every mom to have that experience. Too many fail at breastfeeding because the system is so messed up – like the comment in the article about the doctor handing mom formula! In the US it is even worse with many going back to work in 6-12 weeks! That is insanity in terms of a breastfeeding relationship. We moms, ALL of us, whether we were able to breastfeed or not, need to stand up and say that new moms need GOOD support, information and help!!
      I’m so sorry you’re hurting 🙁

      • I agree about the hospitals. My son was induced due to a bladder issue, so as soon as he was born I held him for a few minutes and he was whisked away to the NICU and my husband and I weren’t allowed to go see him for several hours after that. I breastfed him as soon as I could, but after he was discharged, I read the discharge form which said that after he had nursed with me they were giving him formula after I left! I was so outraged when I read that! My husband and I stayed in the hospital with him the whole week he was in the NICU and I breastfed him every three hours every single day. Yet they still gave him formula, even though he latched on right away and was very good at sucking, nursing anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes each time. Luckily after the first couple of days, I had extra milk production so I pumped and left it in the NICU refrigerator for them to feed him if he needed it. I’m still mad that they elected to feed him without my knowledge and permission, which I wouldn’t have given anyway. Ugh.

  15. Thanks for this article! I have a one month old who seems like he’s CONSTANTLY eating… though if I time it, it’s actually more like 30 min, 40 minutes, 2 hours in between. He seems like a bit of a cluster feeder. Anyway, this was encouraging. I’ve been tempted to give him formula because he just seems so hungry! We’ll keep at it though. His little legs are already getting chunky, so I know he’s okay, it’s just a lot sometimes (especially with a toddler underfoot!).

    • I’m so happy to hear that you find this article encouraging! My advice is not to time the feedings. Just use wet/dirty diapers and weight gain (according to WHO breastfeeding charts). You’re doing wonderful! Go mama, go!

  16. This made me tear up. I had a hard time getting started with breastfeeding and just shared my whole feelings about it on my blog. I absolutely love it now. It’s such a great feeling knowing that she’s chunked up in such a short amount of time because of what *I* did for her. It’s also great that I’m forced to take a small break out of my day a few times a day and just relaxed…my type-A personality definitely needs that forced break.

  17. This is so Beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes reading it! it make me want to go and breastfeed my baby, but he just finish nursing 5 minutes ago. Every mom, every dad every one in the world should read this is just so amazing and so tru!!!

  18. This is so beautiful, it actually made me cry! Motherhood and bf have definitely changed me. Thank you for sharing this.

  19. This is beatiful and reassuring to read right now that I am breastfeeding my 5 week old. I am dealing with him having silent reflux and me having an overactive letdown which is beyond frustrating. I breastfed my oldest for 26 months and my middle child for 18 months, and I am sticking to it because I know the benefits of breatfeeding. It’s just really hard when I see my baby choking on my milk or refusing me and pushing me away due to my overactive letdown, I just hope it gets better soon.

    • Have you done any research on how to slow down your overactive letdown? My LO, too, has reflux, and would gag, choke, and cry during my letdown at first. We have come a long way since where we were at 5 weeks… I looked on -> which has a lot of great tips for a strong letdown and how to reduce it (by what’s called “block nursing”). Basically, you do several feeds (or even just 2) on one side before switching to the other. I did this for maybe 2 days and my letdown was drastically reduced. I would recommend only doing this for a short time (like 2 days), because you don’t want to decrease your milk supply that much, just enough that you’re not engorged and squirting everywhere.
      Another great tip is upright nursing – lean back in a chair with baby on your tummy, upright. This will help them to control the flow and keep them from choking.
      In any case, wishing you the very best with your new LO!

    • Have you tried Laid-Back breastfeeding? Gravity really helps in this position of mom reclining plies mom gets the benefit of complete relaxation by being supported by surrounding pillows, etc. Google it for the video 🙂

  20. Thank you! Such a beautiful and touchy piece. I’m going to share this with my future-mommy friends!

  21. I agree – very beautiful! I had some trouble breastfeeding my first child and I ended up exclusively pumping for close to a year. I successfully breastfed my second child over a year and I’m not breastfeeding our third child who is 5 weeks old. It’s been hard. Elimination diets, forceful letdown, oversupply, and painful gas for my precious little one… It’s been hard for my husband too. He has had a harder time bonding with our children who were breastfed because he has a harder time comforting them, which is frustrating for him. It’s also been hard for him to watch us in the early days as my oversupply led to latch issues, which therefore led to bleeding raw nipples. Even the elimination of dairy in my diet has been hard for him. There are days where he makes me feel like breastfeeding is not worth the effort and sacrifice, not because he truly feels that way, but because he cares so much for our children and me. This article was a great reminder of all of the reasons why it is worth all of the effort and sacrifices and more. I’ll be forwarding this on to him…

    • *I am NOW breastfeeding our 5 week old… I’m not NOT breastfeeding. Wow… that little typo makes my comment confusing!

      • ((HUGS)) Hang in there mama. As you know, things will get easier. One of the things my husband found very helpful for bonding with out last baby was having his own sling to carry her in. I think sometimes we easily fall into the rut of letting dad deal with the older kids while mom deals with the baby. In our family, that has made it harder for my husband to feel connected with our 3rd child. We had to be very intentional in making time for him to spend with her, even if it was just lying down with her in bed after she nursed, or giving her her evening bath. I hope you guys find a good groove for your family. Best wishes.

  22. I needed this, especially today.

  23. This post nearly brought me to tears! Something every expecting and new mom should read! It sums up those first few days, weeks and months so perfectly! Nothing compares to the breastfeeding relationship between a mother and her child! Amazing!

  24. I thought the messy house thing only happened to me. It made me so happy to know other mamas put housework on hold for baby. My husband complained but wouldnt help. I didnt care. He was exclusively BF no pacifers ever! I’m proud. and this was beautiful.

  25. Beautiful! Now if we can just add in a part about choosing to not circumcise our little boys and how that will bring you backwards a few steps on breast feeding I think it will have all the bases covered. Little baby boys were born perfect and intact and should be kept as so.

    • Ur wrong.

      • Chris, you may not agree with her but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong. Why start an attack that doesn’t even appear to attempt conversation? You disagree with her? Fine. But Ann is as entitled to her opinion as you are to yours. In your opinion she is wrong. I imagine that in her opinion you are wrong. Where exactly does this kind of reply take us? Certainly nowhere beneficial for anyone.

        Ann, please ignore Chris and resist the urge to reply. It’s a dead end anyway. I appreciate the way you articulated what is important to you without it being an attack on anyone. Thank you so much. ~Jessica

  26. Stef Jones says

    I am so happy to read this. I think this should definitely be shared with all breastfeeding mothers of newborns. In fact, I think that the L&D staff in hospitals should read this too. I was pressured to supplement in the hospital because my milk had not come in yet on day two! If I would have read this and not have caved in to the presure my newborn would not have been given 10 mL of formula before they discharged us. The Certified Lactation Consultant/RN was the one to give my baby the formula too, the compromise was that she used a supplemental feeding tube like system. Since hospitals don’t give breastfeeding moms the support they need, I’m glad that you do. Thank you!

  27. I agree – this should be made available for every new mum (or even expectant mum) to read. Not only is it touching, but it contains a lot of necessary knowledge in one place. Love it!

    • Looking back – I got some crazy advice time how long on each side – one nurse even said time how long
      baby sucks. As I had trouble getting my daughter latched on – I was reluctant to take her off once she managed. {She was 1 mth prem} Lots of conflicting advice – but best person to listen to is baby.

      • They wanted me to keep track of all these things but the ONLY thing I wanted to do was sleep after breastfeeding the baby haha. So I stopped getting up out of the hospital bed to write it down.

  28. Great piece. We shared it with the followers on our wall.

  29. What a lovely article! This is a very informative piece, making a lot of the scientific side of breastfeeding more available to non-medical moms. It is right on the money! I will share this with every mama I know!
    PS I know a lot of moms who were unable to breastfeed for whatever reason are still hurting, and still feeling guilty. I wanted to tell you, you are awesome for how deeply you love your baby! I know how it hurts when you’re unable to breastfeed. You need plenty of support and affirmation to help you through that disappointment and guilt. Tell those blaming, judgmental people to shove it, and enjoy your precious children. You are super moms!

    • If anyone suggested that you should have let your babies starve , rather than formula feed – then they are not fit to be parents. The first principle of infant feeding is to feed the infant.

    • What a lovely article! Chocked me up! And you’re very right there Maria, though I must admit, there’s alot of support on rest feedin and very little support for the mothers who tried struggled and just wanted someone to say its ok to stop and ff, I’m pro breast feeding but I’m also pro formulae feeding, I tried breat feeding, had pretty much all the info, had fantastic support in the hospital but once I was home and my little boys short tongue was making it difficult to attatch and I had very big nipples, one of which was interved and the mill would gather in the areola and wouldn’t express or suckle off, after just a week of suck an awful time and the facilitater saying ‘just keep trying’ I was caught on my own sobbing that badly with my baby in my arms with him crying because I just could cope with the pain anymore, there needs to be more understanding facilitaters who realise how it’s effecting mum too, all I wanted to do was breast feed and I felt such a failure when it wasn’t working, there was no support to stop, just to keep trying, in the end I hid from knocks and calls from facilitators telling me to carry on and I still feel guilty now sometimes. Although I had such a bad experience, I would definately try again, I would hope it worked better next time and know my problems to start with and will refuse the community facilitators, there’s too much pressure and not enough ‘help’ I felt, but everyone has a different experience, I don’t think there should be judgement on breast or bottle feeders, it’s personal choice, being a new mum is hard enough without judgemental comments and people dissing formular or breast feeding mums! It’d be nice to mums just to support each other however they feed! But it is lovely to read successful stories and articles like this, but I also feel its helpful to see the other side where people struggle, just for the other mums out there who feel very alone in their choices and nice to see breast feeders supportive comments for a change! I hate seeing breast feeders judging bottle feeders and vice versa! At the end of the day, that baby is being fed! As long as mum and baby are happy that should be what matters x

      • Sorry about all the grammar…on my phone and couldn’t go back to proof read the corrections on predictive text etc lol

  30. I read this while nursing my 5 month old 🙂 Even though she is the THIRD child I have nursed, we really struggled at the beginning stages. The first few months were brutal. I wish I could have read such a loving and encouraging (not to mention informative!) letter to help us through. What a blessing to share this with other mothers who might really need the extra support during those tough first months! Thank you for writing this.

  31. This was very beautiful. I had trouble nursing my son, who was born early. I cried at the hospital when he couldn’t latch on & the nurses insisted on feeding him formula. Right off the bat I felt like a failure as a mother! I spent the first 2 months struggling w/him frustrated & in tears. But I didn’t give up! Finally he latched on & I couldn’t have felt better. I was so glad that I wouldn’t accept defeat! It was worth it! Unfortunately he was a very stubborn little boy & he absolutely refused the bottle. So no one else got to enjoy the opportunity of feeding him.
    I nursed my son till he was almost 3yrs old. Although now he is a boob fanatic and still has to kiss my chest before he goes to bed. That is his comfort! I battled scrutiny from my family because they didn’t understand & thought that he was nursed way to long. I just ignored just them & did what I felt was best! So again, thank you for writing this. It helps to remind me that all the sacrifices I made were defiantly worth it! To all of the mom’s who were not able to breast feed, kudos to you for trying! (Sadly there are moms out there who snub their noses at it.) The most important thing is that you tried!

    • I think that you’re causing damage to your child. The fact that he has to come in contact with your breasts before bed should tell you that you screwed up. A boob fanatic? And you still think you were right? Why on earth would you breastfeed a 3 year old? Your family was right to scrutinize your actions.

      • Absolute rubbish! Do you honestly think a three year old cares about how much you choose to sexualise breasts? They gave him life and love and are a source of comfort for him and this is how things are supposed to be. If he still wants to kiss his mommy’s breasts at 13 it will be time to worry. Until then, allow him his joyful innocence!

        Terri, if you come back to read these comments I say keep up the good work! I’m still bfing my three year old girl and can’t imagine parenting her without that incredibly useful tool in my belt. One anthropologist worked out through extensive research that in our natural state the weaning age of humans would be 4.2 years. The WHO recommends feeding til age 2 and beyond and no medical body has ever placed an upper age limit on this beautiful bonding experience. Personally, I’ll trust science over judgemental idiots with nothing but misguided opinion to back them up any day!

        • I did research and a human physically loses the ability to suckle around the age of 6-8. Breasts are not sexual organs. You do not need breasts to conceive a child. Only to feed and comfort. Who doesn’t love to lay on someone’s chest and listen to their heartbeat? All of my nieces and nephews love to lay their heads on Grandma’s “soft pillows.” I force weaned my daughter because I was given misinformation and thought I could not breastfeed while pregnant. She still sticks her hand in my cleavage for comfort. This country is one of the only ones that thinks breasts are sexual….my grandparents remember breastfeeding until they were 5. Getting a magazine or book and going to sit on mommy’s lap. Back then and now in 3rd world countries it is very important to breastfeed so long just for survival. They need the extra antibodies and protection from disease and it also is very necessary for surviving malnutrition in times or places where food is not available in abundance and the children would surely die. It is natural and beneficial. It is funny that we don’t think it’s gross to drink other animals’ breastmilk but it is gross to drink human breastmilk. SO strange.

  32. I really wish FF moms would just not comment on articles such as this that their babies turned out “fine.” OK, I’m sure they really are “fine,” but just as we are not writing these articles to make you feel guilty, you should not leave comments to take away from the triumph that is breastfeeding a baby.

    • I agree here. It kind of bums me out when people say a FF baby will turn out “just fine” well even if the baby weans early and has good success making an easy transition to formula, it still is hard to say that their baby is just fine, as the risks of not BFing/early weaning span out over their entire life. It’s not as if we expect babies who are FF to not grow or spontaneously combust when weaned, they can and do grow just fine, but risks for diabetes later in life, allergies, asthma, ear infections, sids, childhood lymphoma, etc (I could go on but I’ll stop) increase.

    • Agree!!!

  33. I was crying after the 1st pragraph! I felt like it was written just for me. What a lovely article- every new BF mum should read it. Makes you love BF even more when you read it from the baby’s perspective.

    I remember those early days, the ‘Dark Days’ as I call them because it wasn’t easy for us. I was so focused on the technical side of things, worried about the latch, producing enough milk etc that I didnt enjoy it and couldn’t figure out what the ‘bonding’ thing was all about. Things couldn’t be more different now, 4 months on. I look forward to our nursing sessions, especially when she’s finished feeding and looks up at me with those eyes, so content and a with big smile as if to say Thank You Mom. To die for!

  34. This was a wonderful piece to read, especially since I seem to have been stuck on my corner of the couch endlessly with my sweet newborn. She needs me, and even though I “need” a shower, I think I need her too. Hopefully the rest of our breastfeeding experience is as wonderful as it has been these first few weeks. Thank you for writing this and reminding me why it’s a wonderful thing to dent the couch cushions, as long as you have the right reason to blame.

  35. I think this is a wonderful piece, so eloquently written. It brought me to tears. I am a midwife in a busy hospital and often I find there just aren’t enough hours in the day to give all my ladies the help I wish I could give or that they all deserve. I have been trying to relay all the information you have discussed and more to my ladies but sometimes I feel like I might be nagging them and I do not like the image of the bully midwife. I am a breastfeeding mommy myself and totally understand the exhaustion, hormones and discomfort/pain after childbirth, I’ve fed my hungry baby for 3-4 hours at a time while so tired I could’ve died. Trying explain it to a woman after 20 something hours of labour, at 3am, while their baby just wants to suckle and suckle that this is normal just doesn’t cut it usually no matter how many explanations we give. But to have such a beautiful summation of all the right reasons to keep going and the wonderful times ahead if they can, is just fabulous! If you would permit I would love to print off this article to give copies to my ladies both antenatally and postnatally. I think it would help to prepare women for what may be ahead and to reassure them that nothing is wrong, when nothing is actually wrong!

    • Emily, yes please. We would be honored for you to print this out for the women you work with. Please credit the author, Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC and this website. Thank you so much. ~Jessica

    • Julia Burns says

      Emily, I couldn’t agree more with your comment regarding lack of time and the amount of education able to be imparted in that very small window. I’m a Student Midwife who works in a very busy public hospital – women are in and out before you know it. Milk has often not come in on day 2 when mummy’s choose – or are pushed – to go home. Explaining to first time mum’s in particular about what’s normal behaviour is time consuming – and often I unfortunately don’t have the time. But this piece is beautifully written and I will pass it on to my colleagues. Thank you.

  36. Wonderful, wonderful article and I love the angle! coming from baby it’s just…better! I have three children. My first and i learned together, and not very well nor very quickly. We eventually got it together and when the second one was born, I was confident. He, on the other hand, screamed bloody murder every single time I lifted my shirt. I was baffled. I KNOW how this works, dont’ I? My frustration level probably had a lot to do with it, and his clausterphobia (but you don’t exactly know that when they are band new, do ya?), so eventually I gave up and gave him a bottle and felt terribly defeated. When my third was born, I braced myself, gritted my teeth and…he practially latched himself on with no help from me whatsover. he jsut twitched his fuzzy little head and away he went. he was a natural! All that to say, for those who have tried and failed, do not let a bad experience (or two, or three) cause you not to try again if you have another child. They are all unique and it begins from Day One! 🙂

  37. Alisha Hoogerhuies says much this would have helped me (including the comments). the first 4 months were awful. totally not the blissful joyous experience I THOUGHT it was supposed to be. An unscheduled C-section and an infection in my uterus because of super long labor (I was trying for a natural birth) taxed my whole system. the first 2 days were great. she latched and the nurses said I was a pro, did I have children already (no). then she began to scream and cry…then lose weight. by the 3rd day my milk was almost non existent and she shed almost a whole lb. I asked what could be done, they said they could give her a bottle.. I felt like a my b@@bs were worthless lumps in front of my body, there for nothing if they couldnt serve their purpose. well, I asked to see someone else. a LC came to my rescue. she gave me the gift of S&S. i nurse my baby and when I ran out of milk, if she was still hungry, I s&s’ed her. it stimulated my ducts and she was fed. later pumping and nursing became my life…and s&s. whatever I needed to do..we one month after she was born, my milk came all the way in. I really sympathize with those Mom who have to formula feed when they have a BF mind. if JENNIFER hadnt come in to my world I would have FF you know. for my babe. believe me, when pumped, I pumped with heart, and those precious few drops I’d get, I mixed with formula. I am lucky, no other woman in my fam could BF. much love to all!

  38. This is a BEAUTIFUL article… I am adding it to the breastfeeding resources page on my blog Mama Wit and will send it to all the new Mamas I know; I could really have used an article like this in the first week!

  39. I wish there were more resources for pregnant mothers to prepare them for what breastfeeding is going to be like. And not just like a short 30 min class, one almost as in-depth as a Lamaze class. What to prepare you for, what could happen what is normal, what isn’t normal. Now to latch a child on, how to properly delatch. And I wish in the hospital a breast feeding “doula” someone rooting for you, who’s next suggestion wouldn’t be formula. And she would be the around the clock, not just during certain hours. Most breast feeding consultants are there only during certain hours.

  40. I think this was wonderfully written. As stated by others I wasnt able to breastfeed. I tried for a week and got mastitis and then discovered blood clots in my lungs. The medication they had to give me to save my life would have went thru my milk, so my son was formula fed. Prior to that my middle son was unable to breastfeed as well, as he has Down Syndrome and couldnt latch on, and prior to that, my first daughter was unable as well due to the roof of her mouth being too high. I tried very hard with all my children, but it just wasnt for me. But I can appreciate an article like this, it doesnt make me feel any less for FF my kids. But I still urge women to BF. I think its a wonderful magical moment with thier babies and well worth the effort. It ISNT easy. It is HARD WORK. But the end result is great! Thank you for this! I linked it to my facebook page!

  41. I would also like to say what a wonderful article and I wish it was around 12 yrs ago when I had my first bub. I am a mum who only BF for a short time each of my 3 children due to constant exhaustion and other reasons. 2 children for 2 mnths and proudly, my 3rd for 5 mnths. And battled with the Bfing then battled with guilt when I gave it up for FF. I learnt that I was the important thing in my babes lives anyway so I can only do my best for them. This article is fantastic, informative and like others have said, doesn’t make me feel guilty for not long term feeding. Thank you! And for those who can and do BF for as long as possible, I congratulate you on a fantastic job and for those who can’t BF, same to you too. 🙂

  42. A caring dad says

    As the father of a seven-month-old, I wanted to add a male voice here. I think this was a wonderfully written piece, both informative but also deeply touching. My wife has been able to feed our daughter through many struggles in terms of latch, positioning and worries about supply. For all the partners of a breast feeding mom I just want to say, be supportive! It makes a huge difference! I am so proud of my wife and what she has done for our daughter!

  43. This has to be the most beautiful thing I have ever read. I am currently breastfeeding my 12 month old and dreading the day when she weans. I have friends that tell me I should be weaning her now and I am not ready because she may be my only baby. I remember nursing her when she was a newborn and it was a challenge but I fell in love with nursing her. I am going to hate when it ends.

    • Still nursing my 28 month old, who will be my only child. Keep going if you and your baby are still enjoying your nursing relationship!!

  44. Beautiful! Brought me to tears. Resisting the urge to wake up my 5mo old. 🙂 Will print this out to keep as inspiration for future nursing adventures. Agree w previous posters that a doula / advocate is so important on those first days. Mine was my mom–former OB nurse, champion breastfeeder. We now joke about “Grammy’s Breast Bootcamp,” but it was the best baby gift that we received!

  45. I just cried when I was reading it.
    Melanie,you are one of those mothers that didn’t have a chance to bf and you don’t feel offended by articles like that as it is not the intention.Formula was invented to serve in situations like yours.There are not many mothers who understand that we have to be able to talk about breastfeeding and it doesn’t intend to insult anyone.Some of those mothers failed to breastfeed not because they FAILED,but because they didn’t have enough previous knowledge and support.Knowing that they still get angry when articles say ‘breastfeeding is superior to formula feeding and it has such and such advantages’.They feel guilty and they shouldn’t because they tried so hard.We as mothers don’t have chances to learn by observation like women could a few hundred years ago when families consist of a few generations or tribe and not only mother and/or father and child.
    It is different if a mother makes conscious decision with all her knowledge to formula feed.They shouldn’t even comment on articles on breastfeeding.Sorry for such strong views on that.
    I hear from all ff mothers that feel pressured to bf.All I can say as bf mum that I was pressured to do rather opposite both from health workers to friends and family members.
    All the best to all mums who work hard for their children.I always think how I’d like my mother to work hard for me.

  46. Brought tears to my eyes. I had such a hard time in the beginning. It killed me that with all the reading I did, I was still unprepared for breast feeding. I ended up having to supplement with about 3-4 oz of goat milk formula due to that I did not nurse her every 1-2 hours. She slept a lot, so I thought was not hungry, hence my milk supply did go down. I did go to a lactation consultant, but alas the increased nursings did not help much, so I kept supplementing as needed. Some days, no supplementing, some days supplementing. My baby is a year old now, and I still nurse her! I don’t plan on stopping unless she self weans. I am so in love with the concept of nursing my baby. I feel that it is one of the *best* aspects of Mothering.

  47. Nicola Smith says

    This is fab! Love it! I only bf my 1st for 6 weeks, I totally didn’t understand what was going on and my Health Visitor/MW was useless. 2nd time round I was more prepared and had a much better understanding, this would have helped me loads the 1st time! As a result I BF sucessfully for 8 months 🙂 I loved it.

  48. Thank you for this article. I’ve just given birth 4days ago to my 2nd girl, and going thru the early days of breastfeeding again. This time around, i am still getting the same questions and comments as before— “is she getting enough?”, “maybe you’re not yet making the right amt of milk,” “you should start expressing milk and let her have the bottle….” it’s very tiring to keep having to respond to these comments! Should print out a copy of this and have them read befire they speak with me:) it’s a great article! Will spread the word!

  49. BEAUTIFUL. I need to make lots and lots of copies of this, so the next time someone stares at me for feeding again after just feeding I can hand them this. I wish I would have had this when the nurses kept staring at me after they asked how long I fed for and I laughed and said I lost count after 40minutes.

  50. Thank you so much for this! I learned a few things, and I consider myself to be pretty educated about breastfeeding, having attended many, many breastfeeding meetings and LLL meetings over the past 4+ years! The day’s following a baby’s birth are some of the most intense, spiritual, and memorable times in a woman’s life. I hope that many women get to read this before giving birth and that it helps them get off to a great start with breastfeeding. There are so many myths, misconceptions, and fears that our culture has to overcome about breastfeeding. I hope this article helps to dispel the myths a little bit. I nursed my daughter for 2 yrs and my son at 22 months is still nursing. I won’t be having any more babies, but as a nostalgic person I love to read posts like this and revisit those special newborn memories!

  51. Totally tearing up! Proudly still nursing my 28 month old. I remember those tough early days of nursing and I wish I had read this before my baby was born – might have made those early days a little easier. 🙂

  52. What a beautiful way to write this!! I love how it is from the baby’s P.O.V! 🙂

  53. Sally Greene says

    Thanks so much for permission to reprint this blog (with proper citation) to share with moms. I think this will be a great addition to the breastfeeding promotion packages we provide to our pregnant moms at WIC. I will need to modify some of the wording as all WIC literature needs to be at a certain reading level. Will this be OK? I will still retain the citation and will try to retain the spirit as much as possible. If you have any issues with this I can send you a copy of the final draft. I haven’t yet printed the blog out and looked at exactly what I will need to modify. Thanks in advance!

    • Sally, I would love to see a copy of your final version before you distribute it. Thank you very much and I’m so thrilled you found this piece to be valuable.

      • Sally Greene says

        Thanks Diane
        I will discuss this with my supervisor. If she Ok’s it I will definitely email you before I distribute. It the meantime I will be giving your website out to interested moms. Along with Kellymom and Babygooroo. Thanks so much for your inspiring blog.

  54. What a moving and beautifully written post! If this isn’t motivation for a new mother to tough it out, I don’t know what is! I also had a hard time in the beginning and am so glad I persisted. I think the most important factor for a breastfeeding Mom is having the support group around her encouraging her and believing in her and letting her know that she can, in fact, do it. I drove all around my town (up to 90 miles away) seeking lactation consultants and people who could help me for this very reason. The support infrastructure is invaluable, because every comment to the contrary saps at a new mother’s determination to do what is hardest, but also what’s best, for the baby.

  55. Beautiful article, reading through tears. I wish I’d seen this in the first difficult weeks of breastfeeding my baby girl, and been able to show it to her Daddy too. I mistakenly thought breastfeeding would be no problem 2nd time round but had trouble with latching and then too much weight loss. Had to pump after every feed at 2 weeks and with cracked nipples – ouch. I started to resent the time it was taking and was feeling exhausted, sooo nearly gave up .. and did give a couple of formula feeds. No regrets over that as they allowed us both to get some rest and it all came right in the end. Now really enjoying feeding my 5 month old who is thriving, and nursing while I write this.
    I know my problems were relatively minor in the scheme of things and am very grateful we got past them. Its not always possible but great that so many Mums choose to breastfeed first.

  56. Lovely! I remember the first few weeks with my first born, and the frustration of nursing CONSTANTLY. It was all so worth it. My second is due in seven weeks, and I can’t wait for that closeness again. It’s true that my entire life will revolve around breast feeding in the beginning… but I can’t think of anything more worth it.

  57. I love this letter too, but I stopped breastfeeding after 1 day or 2 after a painful bleeding nipple bump in the road. & every time I come across this kind of stuff, my heart breaks. I’m sobbing and heart broken. I already have such low esteem for myself. I’m constantly disappointed in my shortcomings, especially my motherly ones.

    this kills me. I’m hyperventilating with grief. I wish I’d had this available to me upon my baby’s arrival.

    • Oh, Kay, I’m so sorry to hear that you are feeling sad about your breastfeeding experience. I wish you had the support and accurate information you needed to get over that “bump in the road” so that you didn’t have to be filled with regret. My wish for you is that you are able to not blame yourself for your experience and instead devote all of that energy to loving and enjoying your baby. Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt — pain means something needs to be tweaked or adjusted in either mom or baby or both. Please continue to follow your instincts — no one knows your baby like you do, and YOU are the best mom for the job!

      • Diana, what lovely words! I wish I’d have had that said to me, unfortunately everyone I spoke to just told me to keep trying…I had an inverted nipple the gathered milk in the actual nipple and couldnt express off, just had to let it drip, have very large nipples, my little boy had a small mouth and short tongue and could only suckle milk off one side due to the inverted nipple, after a week my nipple was red raw and bleeding with bits coming off…all I got was ‘keep trying’, I was found by my partner after a week one morning sobbing holding my gorgeous boy as I didn’t want him to ‘touch me’ (latch on) he instantly got a bottle and formular fed my baby, I still feel guilt now a year on but it’s alot less and it’s took a long time to get here, I just wish a professional could of actually helped but all they wanted was me to breast feed as I was, no decent tips, didn’t tell
        Me I could get a larger pump which I have found out for myself months later, no understanding really of the pain and emotional pain, I just wanted someone to actually help me or to tell me it’s ok to make a new choice,for my mental health, luckily I had my partner…not everyone does. I’d still choose to try breast feed again but wouldnt put so much pressure on myself and make choices without feeling as guilty, at the end of the day – happy mum = happy baby, and baby is fed and loved whichever way you choose to feed 🙂 x

  58. What a beautiful article! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  59. What a nice article. I do really feel for anyone who wanted to BF and hasnt been able to for whatever reason. I have a 4 month old son who I have been lucky enough to breastfeed after having to have a cesearean. My mum was unable to breastfeed me and feel sad to this day that there was nobody to support her and that she was advised so quickly at a young age to give a bottle.

    I have been called a ‘weirdo’ for breastfeeding, had people be annoyed when early on and I didnt want to go out and would rather stay snuggled with my baby feeding him for long periods and have also annoyed relatives who would like to feed him as I dont like to express. It all feels right to me and for every person who says about bottles giving a better nights sleep faster etc, I would much rather roll over and cuddle up and not get up and warm up a bottle. Also breastfeeding gives me one free hand to write while I am feeding, or stroke my cat or ven put my make up on now he is a bit older ha ha

  60. In case this helps anyone, my first baby (now I have three) nursed on me the second night of his life until I was blistered. I thought it was supposed to hurt so I just wiggled my toes while he sucked. I thought the blisters were drops of milk (in the dark), that’s why I kept going. On the brink of tears and bleeding all over the floor (because I was sitting in bed so long trying to nurse), I called a nurse because my baby wouldn’t stop screaming. To my chagrine, she brought a bottle of formula, horrors! I was so engorged (imagine cup size I, as in INCREDIBLE, yes, THAT big) and nothing was coming out! I saw three lactation consultants. The first two were terrible. All they did was criticize everything I did *because it comes so naturally, you know…*
    The first week at home, but after four days, I used a pump (a few minutes at a time because it hurts so much!) every so often to try and get milk out. Lo and behold, milk started coming out. It took about a week or two of pumping that I allowed him to nurse on me because I needed time to heal. Even if he hadn’t nursed, at least I had my milk for him. I understand feeling like a failure. My own mother would say, “Why can’t you nurse him? Why aren’t you producing milk?” She was the worst. Fortunately, my husband supported me (and his mother!!!) through my tears.
    I had a happy ending in THAT aspect of being a mother. Now that he is almost 8 years old, I realize that there are SO MANY other aspects that make one a good mother. Don’t beat yourself up over this one. Like in life, it’s the series of chapters that make up the whole book.
    Love yourself, that’s the best thing you can do for your baby.

  61. Rory's Momma says

    I really enjoyed this article! It’s so sweet and also informative. I will be sending this link to all the new mommies I know!!!

  62. I have really enjoyed reading this, thank you its a great way to make sense of those early days:)

  63. Jenni Cushaway says

    That was beautiful! I cried through the entire letter!

  64. This is such a lovely article, it really did bring me to tears.
    I have come back to it over and over in the last week, and also passed it to my husband to help explain a little of how I was feeling.

    My lo is a month today, but in that month we have been
    on wuite a journey.
    My birth was unexpectedly fast and required a trip to the hospital rather than my peacful home water birth.
    All went well, other than a nasty tear, but I didnt connect with my lo right away.
    She latched on twice in 24 hours for five mins, and then didnt latch on for a further 8 days.
    After lots of help, advice and home visits, she still was not feeding-all mill was being expressed and given by syringe. I was tiered and I didnt know what else to do…to be honest I began to feel detachef from her and wondered why no one told is it cam be this hard.
    Then someone said what is now my mantra – relax and trust your instincts. I did – she latchef on…I got a blocked duct, mastitis, over active letdown and we are now recovering from thrush, but we are still fighting on.
    I found it hard to feel positive about feeding (it hurt so bad afterall) but I was certain we were not giving up, it just wasnt an option.
    I read this article and my heart broke – how could I feel bad about it all? We are on a journey together, which has its twists and turns, but we are getting there…oh, and she is adorable! I no longer dread feeds, even when she is fussy like today. Seeing her thrive and gain weight is the only reaaon I need to stick at this…even after the Dr ‘gave me permission to give up’, looking down into her eyes as she gets her milk makes my heart swell.
    Thank you.

  65. Thank you for this letter. My son is three weeks old, and I couldn’t help
    but imagine that it was him talking as I read the letter – and it really helps make everything much more bearable.

    We have hit a growth spurt, and he wants to nurse every 20 minutes it seems. My husband is convinced that the baby can’t get enough milk, and that’s enough to destroy my confidence. This letter helps restore it. I can see things from the baby’s point of view and know that he’s getting what he wants and needs…

    Thank you again.

  66. I loved this. It echos so many things I experienced in the first days with my baby. I had a c-section and it took several hours for the nurses to bring the baby to me. As a result, she had a really bad latch and I was too out of it to know what to do despite some help from the hospital. I was pressured to give her formula from the nurses, and I became convinced that she wasn’t getting enough from me because she had lost 12% of her birth weight by the time we were released, and it took almost 5 days for my milk to start. I also developed thrush from the antibiotics I was given, but didn’t know it and suffered with terrible pains the first 5 weeks. Finally when i was about to give up I went to a breast feeding support class. The consultant helped us with her latch, and took a look at my right breast after I described the terrible shooting pains I experienced every time i nursed on that side and she told me she believed I had thrush and to call my doctor right away. Because I had been in so much pain, I dreaded nursing the baby, which did effect her weight gain. If my supply was low, it was because I wasn’t nursing enough. It was a vicious cycle. Anyway, she was (and still is) a bit of a barracuda. Once i got rid of thrush (which took weeks), everything changed. As I got better, so did my patience and her latch. By the time she was 3 months everything was finally ok! She is almost 9 months now and still being happily breastfed. I’m really so glad I stuck with it. It helped that my husband was so supportive and even a little pushy! and kept encouraging me even when I wanted to give up. To those going through these kinds of things, keep trying as best you can. If you make it past the really tough hurdles the rewards are endless. 🙂

  67. I loved this. It echos so many things I experienced in the first days with my baby. I had a c-section and it took several hours for the nurses to bring the baby to me. As a result, she had a really bad latch and I was too out of it to know what to do despite some help from the hospital. I was pressured to give her formula from the nurses, and I became convinced that she wasn’t getting enough from me because she had lost 12% of her birth weight by the time we were released, and it took almost 5 days for my milk to start. I also developed thrush from the antibiotics I was given, but didn’t know it and suffered with terrible pains the first 5 weeks. Finally when i was about to give up I went to a breast feeding support class. The consultant helped us with her latch, and took a look at my right breast after I described the terrible shooting pains I experienced every time i nursed on that side and she told me she believed I had thrush and to call my doctor right away. Because I had been in so much pain, I dreaded nursing the baby, which did effect her weight gain. If my supply was low, it was because I wasn’t nursing enough. It was a vicious cycle. Anyway, she was (and still is) a bit of a barracuda baby which didn’t help! Once i got rid of thrush (which took weeks), everything changed. As I got better, so did my patience and her latch. By the time she was 3 months everything was finally ok! She is almost 9 months now and still being happily breastfed. I’m really so glad I stuck with it. It helped that my husband was so supportive and even a little pushy! and kept encouraging me even when I wanted to give up. To those going through these kinds of things, keep trying as best you can. If you make it past the really tough hurdles the rewards are endless. 🙂

  68. I loved this! I might have also shed a tear or two…
    I breastfed my daughter until she was 13 months and I went back to work. Then my son until ten months. I was working full time and pumping. My boobs just new it wasn’t the real thing (I even had and oversupply and active let down issue). Huh, funny how that works? Killed me to put him on formula.
    I am now pregnant and really hoping to make it over a year. I always miss it after I quit and say “Oh, I wish i would have done it longer…” The human body is an amazing thing. Congrats to all of you moms who make the sometimes unpopular choice to nurse. Sometimes it isn’t always a successful choice and that’s okay. I think the more moms that are knowledgeable and supportive of nursing the better for our babies.

    • Wow. That was a really moving letter. I had my baby two weeks ago and was getting tempted to stop breastfeeding. My baby boy has been getting fussy during nursing lately. He cries, turns red, and twists, but then still wants to nurse. It’s not fun for him or I. I don’t know if he’s getting gas, not enough milk, etc. We are both getting very frustrated and after a few attempts to keep feeding him I give up. I think he’s getting milk because I can see it on his lips or rolling down his chin when he releases. He has also gained weight and grew 1.5inches since we left the hospital.

      Your letter/article has made me put aside my thoughts to stop breastfeeding and want to continue to do this for his benefit. Thank you!

  69. Great article. I’ve forwarded the link to everyone I know. I had one of those babies who fed non stop. Comfort sucked more than eating though of course. I feel I still have a low supply, but my son nursed exclusively for 6 months, and still does. I have had many people comment that he is too old to nurse so often, but I know not to change my ways on what they say. My son is happy and healthy and I am glad I did what I did. I do of course fear that I will have problems with my next child. (The first 6weeks were very hard) A couple years ago I never thought I would breastfeed, and now I am such an advocate for it. Living in Canada I feel we have more support within our health care system and the year off work only aids in a healthy breasfeeding relationship. Ultimately, we have to do what is best for our family as a whole whether it be breastfeeding or formula feeding. Good luck to all the moms out there, and remember that sometimes online support is the only positive support you might receive.

  70. Thank you for this article! A good friend forwarded to me, after I gave birth, just a few weeks ago, on Aug 17th to a beautiful baby boy. I made the decision to breastfeed before I was even pregnant. I never knew the emotions that would come with it though! When my baby was only 2 days old he cluster fed on and off for 6 1/2 hours in the hospital and then 3 short hours later he nursed again for 2 1/2 hours straight! He was crying and fussing the whole time, because he was just not getting enough. My husband and I decided to give in and got the nurse to bring us some formula. I started crying, cause I was heartbroken and felt like a failure, because I couldn’t make enough food for my baby. He fell asleep after a little of the formula and we both felt better he was satisfied. I didn’t give up and continued nursing him every time he was hungry, only supplementing formula when absolutely necessary. Then my milk finally came in and my baby seemed satisfied, and we did not have to supplement with anymore formula. He is a pro at latching on! There are times when it seems all he wants to do is nurse and nurse, but this article helped me to understand his behavior better. It made me cry and I also felt a little guilty for getting frustrated with him. Breastfeeding may not be the easy route, but it is totally worth it for me & my baby! Thank you!!

  71. Kristy,
    There are lots of reasons your baby might be doing what he’s doing — all of which a good IBCLC can help you sort out. I urge you to reach out to one in your area and talk to her about your concerns. 🙂

  72. My daughter was born a month early and her first agpar score was 2. Because of this , she was sent to SCBU. On her 3rd day I was told her condition was stable, and I just had to get breastfeeding established. Being on the ward , furthest from SCBU, going there when a feed was due – only to find she had been given a bottle really helped. So did being told I must be discharged at 7 days, while my baby stayed in hospital. AFTER ALL EVERYONE KNOWS SEPARATING A MOTHER AND BABY IS VITAL FOR BREASTFEEDING TO SUCCEED !
    Over the next few days – my husband drove me to the hospital in the morning, and picked me up in the evening. On day 11 – they finally decided my baby was ready for discharge, and asked if I would like to spend a couple of nights in the mother-and-baby room – which was attached to SCBU.(Which I did.)
    I am proud to have succeeded in spite of the hospital.
    If I had had a second child – and the same circumstances as the first – I would have acted differently.
    For a start – the time allowed in hospital would have been 2 days for a non-surgical birth. I am and
    honest person – but would have lied and cheated to breastfeed. When they said – the baby has to stay till breastfeeding is established – I would have said “I’m going to bottle-feed”, just so I could take him/her home. The lie – would be that I would breastfeed.

  73. Love this 🙂 My baby girl is only 10 weeks old but my husband and I are avid bookworms, so we already read to her!

  74. Thankyou, needed it all confirmed, have a 4 day old, and while we are going ok, this is just the sort of thing to keep us going 🙂

  75. What a completely beautiful, wonderful, awesome, really well-written post. Thank you.

  76. I found your piece, in general lovely. However, as an exclusively breastfeeding Mom, a former NICU parent (that EBF my daughter for a year), and a registered nurse, I’m dissapointed in your choice to paint all healthcare professionals as anti-breastfeeding formula pushers.

    I am a NICU nurse, and perhaps because of my own experience of having my first child in the NICU for a week, I am extremely passionate about normalizing the NICU experience as much as possible. I am a lactation resource nurse for our unit, and one of the best parts of my job is being able to help new Mom’s and babies over come their seperation and establish a breastfeeding relationship. Due to medical need, we do sometimes need to use formula (a huge difference from the well baby area, where a breastfeeding Mother should never, ever, be offered it), but I offer as much support and encouragement to my Mother’s as I can to breastfeed and/or pump breastmilk so the newborn can receive only breastmilk.

    Though this piece only mentions healthcare professionals for a brief few lines, the attitude speaks volumes, and saddens me greatly. I want to approach the parents of a patient as a supporting member of their team, but instead am often met with distrust, suspicion, and combativeness, which I feel is greatly due to the prevalent idea that it is ‘us against them’. The sad part is, the babies care suffers in the end when care is given in an environment of hostility instead of nurturing.

    • Hi Beth,

      Thanks so much for your response. I’m sorry you found my tone toward healthcare providers in hospitals to be negative. It sounds as if you are extremely well-informed and invested in giving the most normal experience to all of the mothers and babies in your care, even after complications. However, according to this report released by the CDC last month, you are the exception, not the rule.

      Until healthcare facilities reject formula company intervention, implement programs to support normal birth practices, and embrace the use of human milk for those babies who are in medical need of supplementation, the system will continue to be an obstacle that mothers and babies have to work to overcome. My intent in this piece was not to bash healthcare providers, but to expose that the current system does, by and large, make it more difficult for a mother to breastfeed her baby, thereby acknowledging that those first few weeks are harder than they might otherwise have to be — and that a mother should seek support, not give up.


  77. I breast fed my twins for a year and am a big breastfeeding supporter but this was not beautiful or tear inducing it was a cringe worthy attempt to give good information to people. I was really disturbed by the “letter” its just really bizarre to have a baby write a letter that includes them talking about orgasms and such. I feel this may make people look at breastfeeding as a joke.

  78. This was so precious. I absolutely cried at the end. As a mom of 4, I know those early days feel like they will never end, and I will be trapped on the couch nursing for the rest of my life. But then they are 7 and 5 and 3 and 7 months and busy and running and exploring. And I’m crying again. Loved it.


  79. I loved nursing my daughter and I can’t wait to nurse my son when he arrives in (give or take) one month. 🙂

  80. I feel so frustrated reading things like this, that claim to tell you how your baby feels. I remember before my daughter was born, reading all the attachment parenting stuff, and I was so sure that I would be breastfeeding, babywearing, and co-sleeping like a champ. None of that worked out for us (I did breastfeed for 13 months, but it was pure hell). My daughter hated the moby wrap. I kept trying different ways, different times, cause everyone says that’s what babies want. She didn’t sleep well at all with co-sleeping either, 20 different ways.
    I wish instead of writing these articles, over and over again, somebody would just tell the truth: All babies are individuals, just like all people are individuals. Babies are born with personalities, and if you listen, they will tell you what they really want. Don’t listen to some proselytizing AP guru. Listen to your baby.
    I now have a nearly 2 year old who’s smart as a whip, attached to her mommy, generally happy, eats a wide variety of healthy foods, sleeps like a champ, never gets sick, and is quite social. And I am damn sure it’s not because I killed myself to get her breast milk the first year!

    • Addison, isn’t it wonderful to see your child growing in their unique personality? Good for you in listening to your child and your parenting heart to be able to adapt and find something that works for you.

      Diana isn’t an AP “guru,” she’s a lactation consultant and all this is intended to address is normal newborn behavior. In no way does she say that all babies are exactly the same however it does communicate the reality of certain facts such as the size of a newborn’s stomach, the hormones released with breastfeeding and the science of a newborn’s instinct to be close to their food source and safety. Babies are all individual, nobody is saying they aren’t. There are certain facts that do remain the same for normal, healthy babies.

      I’m sorry this article offended you, clearly it’s not intended for someone that has it all figured out and feels confident in their parenting ut rather for the new mom that is feeling overwhelmed and worried that her baby is eating so often or cries when they are set down. Keep doing what works for you! ~Jessica

  81. My son is two months old today. He is our first and I spent nine months of pregnancy creating a utopic vision for how it would be when he arrived. I would have a natural delivery–in a tub, I would breastfeed exclusively, carry my baby in a Moby wrap and bring him to work with me. I did have a natural delivery, but after 20 minutes in the tub I couldn’t wait to get out…and ended up delivering him in a bed after all. After two days my utopia dissolved. My son had a horrible latch. I thought he was getting milk but learned after meeting with a lactation consultant (a week later) that due to improper latch he was transferring a minimal amount of milk. As a result he lost 22% of his birth weight and developed severe enough jaundice to be hospitalized. He screamed under the bililights all night while I wept uncontrollably in the hospital bed. I couldn’t comfort him and no one was helping me to try to nurse him. After three days in the hospital his biliruben levels came down but he continued to lose weight….he would scream all the time and thrash around frantically at my breast, clearly wanting to eat but not getting what he needed. I felt like a total failure. We finally started supplementing him with formula and he immediately. started gaining weight and transforming back in to the baby we knew. I tried to breastfeed through his third week unsuccessfully. We got lots of advice and assistance but his shallow latch and my flat nipples were not good companions. I tried a breast shield but by this time our mutual frustration was just too much for me to handle on top of postpartum hormones, lack of sleep, and disillusionment about how these first few weeks would be. I did pump throughout this time and was able to give him a few ounces of breast milk every day in a bottle (along with formula). When he was 6 weeks old and we were all feeling like we were settling in I decided to try breastfeeding again. With a shield he did it successfully! We are now breastfeeding in the evening and at night as I’m back to work. Some breastfeeding sessions are more successful than others as his latch is still not great. We both love the “close” time though and it is helpful when he is fussy in the evening. I really went through a grieving process over not being able to breastfeed exclusively. I would encourage others to keep trying…you never know! And…even if your baby is only getting some breast milk they are benefiting from it! If you can’t breastfeed, don’t beat yourself up…allow yourself to grieve if you need to…then focus on all of things you CAN do for your amazing little baby! As a side note…our little guy doesn’t like the Moby wrap unless he’s sound asleep when you put him in it…as soon as he wakes up he wants out! He also doesn’t like coming to work with me (I own a floral design shop). Despite all of the disillusionment having our son in our lives is an incredible experience, we’re learning together every day! Remember…once baby arrives so many things are out of our control…we have to work together WITH our baby to find what works for BOTH of US!

  82. I have been nerves about the whole motherhood thing. Then the question of whether to breastfeed or no came into play. For the first time in many months i cried for a happy reason. Thanks the article real help put things into perspective.

  83. I loved this article! It made me go grab my youngest (18 mos), whom I breastfed for 13 months, and hug her until she hollered at me to stop! I too had no breastfeeding support with my older kids and just didn’t know where to look for help. I’m so glad this topic is talked about more openly now for first time mommies and been there done that mommas too.

    It makes me sad that our breastfeeding triumphs make some formula feeding moms so angry or hurt. I refuse to hide my happiness and pride in my breastfeeding experience though. I encourage all moms to breastfeed, even if you only make it a day, a week, a month!

    I can’t wait for our newest addition to join us next month and I hope to go at least a year breastfeeding him too!

  84. Oh – how I wish I had read something like this before BFing my kids… I had read and heard lots of garbage like “only let them nurse when they are hungry and they shouldn’t be hungry more often than once every 2 hours” and “don’t let her use you as a pacifier.” I’m grateful BFing worked out for both my kids even though I didn’t respond well to my first’s cues, and with #2 I had one bad night of not responding, followed by finally trusting my instincts and her communication. This article is not about making people feel guilty (I don’t – although now I know things could have been better if I’d had better information). It’s about getting crucial information out. This really should be passed out in BFing classing and maternity wards (to BFing mothers). Thank you!

    • Thanks so much, Deborah! You’ll be happy to know this piece has received many reprint requests from all over the world, so hopefully, the word is being spread and mothers will have confidence in themselves and their babies. You clearly articulated what many refer to as “guilt vs. regret,” where you regret not having information to make things go better for you, but you don’t feel guilty because you did your best with what you knew. I am a firm believer that our culture fails mothers — not the other way around — mothers want to do right by their babies, but there are so many barriers to their success when it comes to breastfeeding. Hopefully, you and I and other mothers out there are slowly but surely changing the culture to one where breastfeeding is the norm — both biologically and culturally.

  85. I agree with Deborah — this information needs to be more widely spread so that new Moms know what is “normal”.

    I am the mother of two breastfed daughters and I have to say that #1 was quite the challenge because I had no idea what was “normal”. It took about 6 weeks the first time for me to really understand what was going on along with lots of crying and confusion by me and the baby!
    I finally realized through trial/error and reading on the internet what was supposed to happen with breastfeeding.

    I am now currently the Mom of a second baby and this time around breastfeeding has been a lot easier for me because of the experience I had with #1 — knowing that after a certain amount of time in the beginning, that the feedings will become more regular and the baby will not be so fussy.

    But after reading this article, I was left wishing that I had read it 5 years ago when my first baby was born. Oh how I would have benefited from reading something like this then because if you notice in my comments above — all my learning was self-taught. The nurses, the pediatrician, everyone I know and work with — they are all pro-formula and mother getting “rest” and not “stressing out too much”…….I never met anyone in my life that has breastfed so I had and currently have no support for that practice. I can not tell you how many times I had to keep stressing in the hospital to please don’t feed formula and to wake me up when the baby is hungry (nurse: EVEN AT 3AM??? me: YES! Even at 3am!!) or that using a pacifier was “NOT OK!”. Even other things like really sore breasts in the hospital…I had a nurse telling me to put ice packs on them…….which apparently dries up milk supply …….luckily there was one breastfeeding savvy nurse to tell me to stop with the ice. But I could tell that in the wee hours of the night when I was wheeling my breastfed baby back to the nursery after feedings…..that I was the only one awake and doing so……all the others on the floor where in the nursery getting formula bottles from the nurses….no one wanted to interrupt their sleep I guess.

    I am also a working mother in a very high pressure/corporate america type job and the hoops that I had to jump through to be able to pump at work were enormous 5 years ago and to my sadness, even worse this time around. No one is educated on breastfeeding……or perhaps they are but are turned off by it’s “inconvenience” but for me it’s the most important part of taking care of your newborn. I would not even think of not breastfeeding for the first year of life. (Of course, I know there are circumstances for some people that inhibit their breastfeeding and I don’t mean to say that formula is wrong in all circumstances). So I insist on having a room for pumping — as I did one year with daughter #1 and plan to do the same for #2 — but the looks, the annoyance, the conversations of how this “interrupts business”, the discomfort of not having anyone support me on the issue compiled with the fact I HAVE NEVER EVER worked with a breastfeeding mother in all 19 years of my career (I’m 39) — makes it tough. And while I am not a fan of working, I am the breadwinner in our house so I keep going so that my kids have a good education, and roof over their heads, and are taken care of — so I keep the job but luckily because I had my kids later, I have a decent amount of seniority and pull at my job so that pressure can go in one ear and out the other — but I can see that for someone who doesn’t have my status at work that they would feel intimidated to give up breastfeeding/pumping real fast because the practice is not accepted and no one wants you taking 20 minutes out of the work day every 3 hrs to go and pump or even worse, not being able to travel overnight or do long 4-5hr meetings without needing a pump break.

    I have to say that this article is by far the most beautiful article that I have ever read on breastfeeding. I am going to save it in my diary to share with every friend I have who gets pregnant and for my daughters when they grow up so they can read it years from now. And of course, breastfeeding is something I will help, encourage, and support when they become mothers one day.


    • LisaMarie,

      Wow. Just WOW! Thank you for sharing your story and for fighting the good fight! My experiences are startlingly similar to yours — as are my outcomes, thankfully. 🙂 I’m very happy you found this piece to be helpful and worthy of sharing. Thank you again for taking the time to comment and share your success.


  86. Thank you for posting this. I am not a new mom but new at breast feeding. I tried to nurse my first one but he would not latch on. I gave him a bottle at the hospital. I tried and tried to nurse him but he would scream when I tried. I did keep on pumping and I hoped he would nurse but never really did. I pumped for four months with. The whole time and even today I felt like I failed as a mom because I could not nurse him. That’s why when I had my 2nd baby I tried so hard to breast feed. I am so glad I did. The whole time I was pregnant I was worried that he would not latch too. It has been rough because this is my first time. And he lost a lot of weight and I got a lot of different advice on what to do. I had no clue what to do. The doctor wanted me to nurse for 7 min each side and then pump and the. Give him a bottle. I tried it was so much work. Someone else told me to not do that. So I then stopped. Well I went back for another weight check and he was gaining what he should and then extra. And the doctor has no Idea I stopped doing what he told me to do. It’s hard when it is your first time nursing and you get advise and don’t know if you should listen or if you are doing the wrong thing.

  87. NotTheMama-Yet says

    Hi, Diana,
    I’m a freelance bassoonist, and I noticed that you’re a clarinet player! I’m not a mom (yet) but I’m wondering about your practice or performing practices while being a young mother…does baby like the clarinet, or is it too loud? Can you manage the breath pressure after giving birth, or does it take a long time to regain?

    Beautiful letter, by the way, and please forgive my somewhat off-topic question.

    • Hello! You ask some interesting questions! I’d have to say, in my experience, combining music and motherhood has been very difficult, but not at all for the reasons you might think. I didn’t try to practice near my babies. Breath support was never an issue for me, until the very end of my pregnancies (I played until delivery with all 3 babies). I also didn’t have trouble physically postpartum, but finding the motivation to practice was a challenge. The schedule of being a musician, traveling, etc. has been incompatible with the kind of family experience I wanted. Maybe it would have been different had my husband had a different kind of job, I don’t know, but since we’re both in the same organization, it’s been rough for me. Other mothers don’t seem to mind, though, so like everything, it’s going to depend on the individual. Good luck to you!

  88. Thank you so much! I’ve been breastfeeding my children for just over 6 consecutive years now, and as wonderful as it is and has been with each, some days are certainly ‘trying’. My first child has long weaned, but his 3 and 4 year old sisters are still loving their “boobie time” a few times a day!

    I have to admit it though, sometimes, mommy forgets how much she loves it too… A letter like this is exactly what I needed to read! The girls are no longer 3 or 4 months old, and the breastfeeding is much different than what is captured in this letter (which is was, once upon a time), but my daughters still have a strong need for me to understand why they continue to nurse in tandem. And I do get it, and love and cherish it.

    As you said, “I can’t say for sure when it will happen, but there will come a day when I need you a little bit less intensely… But today, I need you. You’ll always be my number one, even after we’re done breastfeeding…”.

    Thank You Diana.

  89. Gosh, I cried like a baby while reading that – twice! My daughter is 4½ months old and LOVES to nurse, I’m so grateful for that. I’m going to share this with all of my pregnant friends. 🙂

  90. Beautifully written. I really wish I had read this while still pregnant, or shortly after my last baby was born. Instead, I’m reading this while her and I are in bed (her sleeping) now that she’s 5the months old. I’m fairly certain that, had I read this 5 months ago, we would not have faces the troubles we did, and I would be confident in the amount of milk I had for her. Instead, I struggle with low supply because I doubted my ability and gave het formula. While I am happy to say I am EBFing bow, I would have liked to be able to EBF her straight from birth. Live and learn right? I’m still doing what I wanted to do. It just took is a bit longer to get there 🙂

    • Kristen, you did the best you could, and you’re giving your baby a wonderful gift every day! Feel free to share this post with your pregnant and new mom friends when you tell them your breastfeeding story. 🙂

  91. Sorry, *5 … not 5the, *faced, *her, *now
    My smart phone isn’t very smart :-p

  92. Call me mummy Tola says

    Loved this! I’ve got a 3 month old baby and breastfeeding has not been a walk in the park for me! Thankfully it’s getting better now. But in the meantime, I’m definitely going to share this with my Sis whose expecting her little one next month! It’ll definitely help prepare her better than I was! 🙂

  93. A lovely letter that helped me through the 4 very long days before my milk came in….I would say that my boy, my third child, was hungry; he came out chewing his hands and did not leave my boob for longer than 20 minutes during those first four days. I chose to cup feed him some formula to give me a break – 3oz gave me 1.5 hours of sleep…enough to keep me going! I am now in the stage of trying to build up milk supply (day 14). Breastfeeding was easy with my first (plenty of time to sit about doing it!) and wasn’t successful with my second; she couldn’t suck properly and I kept getting mastitis and she didn’t put on weight. I combined fed, and expressed 4 times a day for 6 months so she got breast milk…eventually she did learn to suck but it was never enough to stimulate more milk. I am hoping that I can make it work exclusivly this time with my final addtion. It is a hard road and we Mum’s need a lot of support to make it work, especially with subsequent children when there are many demands on our time. Breastfeeding is brilliant when it works and there is nothing quite like it!

  94. Lisa Bartlett says

    I was so worried before having my baby that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed and stressed about all the pressure I would feel to do it. I am very lucky that Olivia took to the boob right away, I have lots of milk and she is getting so big now. But I am stunned at how much pressure people are putting on me to NOT breastfeed! It’s like they don’t like me doing it, they think I do it too much and i’m spoiling her with food! They hover over us while feeding and say “hurry up Livvy, I want a cuddle” or “gee, she’s feeding again”, eye rolls and all!
    Sometimes I worry i’m not doing the right thing by her but the article is a great comfort to me.
    My heart goes out to all the mums who can’t feed, that must be awful too.

  95. Annette Poole says

    My daughter is 7 months old tomorrow and it makes my heart proud that she’s still my happy breastfeeding baby. Reading this article always makes me tear up!!

  96. Susan Ortiz says

    This made me cry!! Very encouraging!!!

  97. I’ve been breastfeeding for 16 months now and going strong! We started out with many obstacles, including nipple shields and supplementing. I’m glad I kept at it anyhow and ended up with no supplementing! I loved this article and shed a few tears remembering those precious first days. It even had some new information to learn that will help with the next baby!

  98. thank you for writing this.

  99. Jenna Parsons says

    So amazing! This made me cry, its just so beautiful!

  100. Love your words in this post – I am an advocate for breastfeeding but I think it is disturbing and inappropriate when women take pictures of their breast with their baby feeding off of it and upload it to the internet. Seeing everything but the nipple- how is it any different then wearing a pasty and uploading it to the internet? It is a sweet memory and a sweet moment between you and your child….why not keep it as that and not exploit it? Thanks for the post! 🙂


  101. I wish I had seen this 14 years ago.I had my 1st child 10 weeks early I was 21 and very frightened.I was always going to bfeed.So when the doctors rushed him away to scbu I was at a loss at what to do.Noone told me that it would be so hard.For 6 long weeks I sat at a machine with tears pouring down my face with hardley a teaspoon to show for it .My little boy was very poorly and I would have done anything to make him well.I thought that by expressing when he got well enough he would be able to feed.Sadly this was not to be.He is now 14 and though he was born at 2lb he is now 6feet tall and pats me on the head. My 2nd child was born 18mths later and was 2 weeks late weighed 8lb and once put on my breast stayed there for just under a year.My third was also born early 6 weeks and was tongue tied once she learned to suck she also managed to b feed for 8 months at first she was mixed feed as she was very small and again I could not express reading this I now know why.16

  102. I wish I had seen this 14 years ago.I had my 1st child 10 weeks early I was 21 and very frightened.I was always going to bfeed.So when the doctors rushed him away to scbu I was at a loss at what to do.Noone told me that it would be so hard.For 6 long weeks I sat at a machine with tears pouring down my face with hardley a teaspoon to show for it .My little boy was very poorly and I would have done anything to make him well.I thought that by expressing when he got well enough he would be able to feed.Sadly this was not to be.He is now 14 and though he was born at 2lb he is now 6feet tall and pats me on the head. My 2nd child was born 18mths later and was 2 weeks late weighed 8lb and once put on my breast stayed there for just under a year.My third was also born early 6 weeks and was tongue tied once she learned to suck she also managed to b feed for 8 months at first she was mixed feed as she was very small and again I could not express reading this I now know why.

  103. Love this beautiful letter from baby! I nursed my two children through tears, and nipples that were cracked and bleeding with my first, and then through jaundice and mastitis with my second! It was stubbornness that got me through, I think! Though the beginnings were rough, I am glad I stuck it out! I am now training to be a Lactation Consultant, and can’t wait to share this with breastfeeding moms but also with nurses at my hospital! I have also enjoyed reading through all the comments because it gives me an insight into things that we might be able to do better when trying to assist moms!

  104. Wonderful article!

  105. What a great letter. I’m going to print it out so I can reread it everytime I get irritated with BF. I EBF my first daughter (who is now 5) for a year. I didn’t feel it was right to “cut her off” on her one yr birthday, so I nursed her for the last time before I put her to bed on April 1, 2008. April 2, I gave her a sippy cup of cow milk. And she was weaned that easily. I know have a 9 wk old and EBF her. I feel like I have to nurse her for a full year, just like her sister. I don’t want her to be like, “You breastfed her for a whole year but you didn’t for me…” I’m sure that conversation probably would never happen, but it’s still a worry! This is our last baby; our family is “complete”. It makes me sad to never be able to experience the joys of pregnancy again. And after reading this letter, I feel like I don’t want to wean my baby at a year. Maybe I’ll go longer. Why rush through this amazing experience…especially since it’ll be my last time breastfeeding.

  106. I am so happy that I stumbled across this article on a friends facebook page.. I just had to comment! It brought tears to my eyes.
    I am the proud momma of a beautiful 4 year old boy. I wanted to say to all you new mom’s out there breastfeeding for the first time who feel like you wan’t to give up- DON’T!!!!!! It is so worth it!
    I was 19 when I had my son. For me, nursing the first couple of months was extremely painful, I suffered from severe post-partum, and I could NOT have been more stressed out if I tried. So many times I wanted to give up and just give my baby formula. I didn’t have any support. But something inside of me told me to stick it out through the tears and the sleepless nights and the endless feelings. Day by day, little by little, we made it work- and for 18 months. I am SO happy I didn’t give up nursing, but I wish I could have been able to read this article the first night I brought my baby home from the hospital and cried the entire night… looking back it’s actually a little bit funny lol. But remember; YOUR milk was specifically created for YOUR baby. Don’t cheat them out of it. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!! YOUR BABY WILL THANK YOU =)

  107. Julieann says

    Beautifully written. Wish I had the opportunity to read this before my LO (13 days old) arrived, as breastfeeding has been more challenging than I imagined (poor latch due to my large breasts with very small nipples). This article has allayed my concerns and rejuvenated me.

  108. I am crying my eyes out reading this. My son was born 9 days ago and he did a great job latching on and nursing in the hospital. Once we got home and my milk came in I was so engorged he couldn’t latch on anymore. I asked my doctor about pumping when he didn’t seem interested in feeding and she said that it wasn’t really a good idea because I wouldn’t sustain my milk supply. Thank God for one of my breastfeeding friends who came to my rescue. She took one look at me and told me I needed to pump. Then my son seemed very lethargic and his dirty diapers were nothing but diarrhea after having very normal bowel movements in the hospital. On our second visit back to the doctor he had lost a whopping 20 ounces since birth. It was all I could do to keep it together. The doctor said I would have to supplement with formula or pumped breast milk. I felt like it was my fault and that I didn’t have enough milk, like I had done something wrong. I am trying to use mostly breast milk because I can tell it is better for his tummy based on how he acts after he eats but my supply has went down along with his demand. Today another friend offered up the most logical answer for our troubles, that he may have had a stomach bug to account for his weight loss and his diarrhea. Although my doctor tried to assure me it wasn’t my fault it is amazing that we always jump to the conclusion that it is supply based or because of the infant, rather than what we would assume if anyone else wasn’t hungry and had diarrhea, that they are sick. I sincerely hope that my breastfeeding days are just beginning because I know of no better way that I can show my love for my newborn. My heart goes out to all the women who feel defeated, frustrated or who have been made to feel that their lack of success is something they or their baby have done wrong.

  109. Wow. I cried, I’m a week away from my first babys due date, and this totally made me cry!! This is a very beautiful post! Thank you so much!!!

  110. Nikki (Tanner's Mommy) says

    Wow…that’s all I can say about this “Letter To Mommy”. I couldn’t get through a sentence or two with bawling! It is so beautifully written and I, like most of the women who have already commented on this page, wish I had read this before my sweet little boy was born (3 weeks old tomorrow!). I have worried if I was making enough milk (I obviously am – he gained 1lb 11oz in 2 weeks!!), about the house being a mess (who cares when there’s a sweet little angel to snuggle!), having the baby blues from feeling overwhelmed, and the immense guilt I felt the first time I “gave in” and gave him formula because one of my nipples was so cracked and painful, and I could only feed on one side for a few days (I pumped on the painful side in the mean time, which I think helped it heal faster…that, and lanolin ointment!).
    I have two friends (first time moms like me) that gave birth within the past few days, so I passed this on to them, hoping that it helps them through the rough first few weeks.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS LETTER…I can’t tell you how much it has helped me emotionally!!

  111. Hayley McLean says

    My sister sent me this article to read while I was in hospital for 10days when I had my little girl. I was up every hour on the hour of the night, rushing down to the special care nursery to feed her (she had a bit of jaundice so was under the blue lights).. I read this article at about 2am one morning and absolutely bawled my eyes out! It helped me so much, so I read it everyday.. Knowing that breastfeeding was the best thing for my little girl, and it would get easier.. And less painful. Thanks to this article she is 3.5 months now and a happy and chubby little Buddha.. Exclusively breastfeeeding. Thank you so much! X

  112. I NEVER comment on posts. However, this article was so beautiful yet informative that I had to tell you!
    Thanks so much for writing this, I will certainly be sharing it. I am a mother of 3 who bf them all. I’m currently nursing my 3rd (4 mos) and STILL, with all my experience, let doctors and nurses (they need to read this!) make me nervous about how much my baby is getting! This reiterated the importance of listening to my own instinct and my baby. Thank you again.

    Regarding the comment about the 3 year old who kisses mommy’s chest; I think it’s adorble! Society is so backwards about breasts! They have us all convinced they are for sex. They’re not! The purpose of our breasts is to feed our children. That’s it!

  113. My daughter is almost 10 months and I love every nursing experience we have! I’m printing this and giving cops to all my Mommy friends. this really touched my soul! You’ve moved me to tears:*)

  114. That is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. My 7 month old son is breast feed and I have loved every minute of it and get sad anytime I think that one day it will all be over. I cried and cried reading this. Was having a crappy day and reading it made me feel so good about the great thing I’ve done for my son by breast feeding him. Thank you so much xxx

  115. Lovely article and wonderfully suportive.As a RN on a mother/baby unit, I want to encourage and support all mothers that choose to breastfeed. We hear the words “I want to try” a lot, but often these same mothers choose to send their newborn to the nursery for the night (difficult to be ready for baby’s cues or encourage the sleepy infant if he’s in his crib in the nursery rather than on mommy’s warm, sweet smelling breast), leave the unit for extended time (can’t put baby to breast if mommy is not available), or spend hours entertaining visitors instead of getting some much needed rest. If you want to breastfeed, please educate yourself by reading sources of literature on the subject, take a class (many are offered at hospitals, clinics, etc..), and please be decent enough to get off your cell phone while the nurse is trying to help you get your newborn latched. We want to help you the very best that we can while you’re with us.

  116. I am a chiropractor and functional neurologist and I love reading these sorts of blogs. To all the mother’s out there who had trouble breastfeeding…Have you ever considered getting yourself or your child checked by a chiropractor? It’s a common misconception that we “crack backs and help low back pain”. What we actually do is use gentle methods to stimulate certain nerve pathways. A well-balanced nervous system allows proper function, from sucking and rooting reflexes necessary for your baby to suckle, to proper hypothalamus and pituitary function which allows good amounts of follicle stimulating hormone and leutinising hormone, which allow your milk to “come in” and stimulate lactation. You may need some specific adjustments, or your baby may need them along with some palate and cranial work, especially if it was a traumatic birth requiring forceps/vacuum extraction, required even minimal assistance such as pulling the baby out, or caesarian. I help women with problems like this every day. You should contact a chiropractor that specialises in wellness care/cranials/paediatrics and pregnancy and ask them to check and see if they can help. All the best

  117. Thanks for finally writing about >Breastfeeding a new baby, normal newborn behavior | The Leaky B@@b <Liked it!

  118. This is beautiful! Made me teary-eyed! Thanks so much for putting into words how beautiful this bonding time is. Unbelievable experience I love my newborn, and I breastfed util his ped had me stop because of jaundice, he’s doing a little better now and the pediatrician told me I can go back to breast feeding, you can bet Im going to breast feed again! I know it’s the best I can do for him, and come on who wouldn’t want to hold a beautiful baby that close, and have such a wonderful bonding experience with him!?

  119. It’s so funny how things work out. I struggled so much when my son was born trying to breastfeed him successfully. I wanted so badly to breast feed and was so disappointed when it didn’t seem like it was going to be possible. I had to have an emergency c-section and wasn’t able to hold or be near my son for hours after delivery. So by then I was already having difficulty getting him to latch properly and I’m sure it had its effect on my supply. Also, my son had very bad jaundice before we left the hospital so his pediatrician put us on a formula supplement until it got better. I still don’t know if it was something that was 100% necessary, but I don’t regret following the recommendation as I made the best decision I knew to make at the time. But after days at the hospital consulting with the nurses, doctors and lactation consultants I was still having difficulty. I continued to try regardless of me and baby both ending up in tears at most feedings. Weeks later I was still consulting with specialists, my son’s pediatrician, etc… Although I kept at it. When I just couldn’t stand the pain or when my son was just too frustrated to continue trying I would supplement with formula or expressed milk and pump. I just wasn’t willing to admit defeat even though I wanted to and considered it every day at almost every feeding. Well eventually, I don’t know how it happened, maybe my son got used to latching, maybe my milk supply built itself up, but whatever it was all of a sudden our feedings were successful at last. I was so happy and relieved. Although I was was able to breastfeed successfully eventually, if I hadn’t been able to I would have been disappointed but I wouldn’t have let anyone make me feel guilty about something that was none of their business. I am an advocate of breast because it is the most natural and beneficial, but I hardly think that anyone should be judged a bad mother, or thought to be mistreating their child, because at the end of the day the child needs nourishment. I’m very glad I continued trying. I’m not saying it will work out for everyone like it did for me, and even if it hadn’t worked out that way for me I would still know that I am a good mother because my son’s stomach is full, his body is healthy and he smiles everyday. Don’t feel guilty reading something like what the author wrote. It was meant to inform and to be touching, not to shame. It is unfortunate for those who were or are not able to breastfeed, but who knows, maybe just this article will bring success for someone else and maybe even for those who were unable in the past. And in general, as mothers, we should strive to be less judgmental toward each other and to support and assist instead. We are all entitled to our opinions, but each mother is responsible for deciding for their own child and circumstances in the end. In my opinion there are much more harmful things a mother can do to her child than formula feeding so let’s keep things in perspective. All that being said, the letter is very touching. Bonding can happen even if the mother has to or chooses to bottle feed, but there is nothing like the feeling of love and connection that happens when breastfeeding.

  120. Thank you for such a beautiful article! I know I’m a bit behind, but this literally gave me the strength to plough through the rough transition! My new son is now 17 days old and I read this every time I nurse to remind myself how important this bonding time is…even at 3am! 🙂

  121. This was lovely!! I never really got to BF with my 2, for two totally different reasons, add c-sections for both babies(for medical reasons) and that contributed LARGELY to ppd 🙁
    However, if I ever have another, I am bound & determined to BF, and I have bookmarked this page for when times get tough!!!
    sidenote though- after knowing mothers and their babies who’s families have been torn apart by smothering deaths, i do not really agree with co sleeping. When my husband was in Iraq and I had my youngest(on a heart monitor) i took the bed part of the bassinet OFF of the bassinet, and put the little bed part on my bed, so that there was no chance of that. im also the same mother who still freaks if i feel that my kiddos have too many pillows in their beds though. lol

    • Hi Delaina,

      Thanks for your comment. You raise a good point about co-sleeping; those of us who work with new families are vigilant about providing accurate information about SAFE proximal sleeping. An outstanding resource, if you’d like more information, can be found at this link:

      Good luck to you and thank you again for your comment!

  122. This brought a tear to my eye. As a first time mum I have found breastfeeding hard at times, especially when you are exhausted and all baby does is feed feed feed.
    As a first timer you think that you are the only one that is struggling, so reading this is a great comfort that I am not alone, far from it, and re-assures me that my baby is no different than any other 🙂
    Thanks leaky boob! x

  123. “There are only three events in your life that trigger oxytocin release: nipple stimulation […] labor […] and … orgasm!!”

    This is not true. These 3 events usually cause the BIGGEST oxytocin releases, but oxytocin is released (in both men and women) during most bonding/intimate interactions:

    This is why new fathers (who obviously have not gone through labor/birth or breastfeeding) also have higher levels of oxytocin than “normal”:

  124. Thank you for this. I became a mommy 4 days ago, and breastfeeding is so hard! I did not realize it would be this hard. Reading this has helped me remember why I am doing this!

  125. I am sure this article has touched all the internet viewers, its really really pleasant paragraph on building up new webpage.

  126. Before I gave birth nearly five months ago I read everything I could about pregnancy, natural childbirth and breast feeding. More than anything I wanted to breast feed my daughter!! My greatest wish! After she was born I was immediately thrown in the deep end. All the reading did not prepare me at all. The nurses gave me my daughter so I could feed her soon after she was born and I had no idea what I was doing. She had shallow latch and it was so uncomfortable. From day one baby girl was a fierce sucker!! She would be labeled as a “barracuda” feeder. Oh my!! It took me so long to get the latch right. So soon I started to crack and bleed! The worse!! I dreaded feeding her. :/ eventually with the help of lactation specialists and google I was able to get a decent latch. And than I got thrush!! It felt like my breast was on fire everytime she fed. Again I started to dread feeding her. Fast forward a month later and baby and I were getting the hang of things and I didn’t feel like such a bad mommy. Sadly, this is when I had to return to work. I tried pumping at work but I’d only get at the most 4oz collectively from both breasts after pumping for an hour!! My milk supply was dropping.. And sadly I stopped breast feeding my love at three months. Sigh.. The whole process was tough and stressful. But for my child ill go through anything and everything to make sure they have the very best I can provide. I wanted nothing more than to continue feeding her, but I am glad she at least got three months.

    The woes of parenthood.. It’s true you never really understand til you are in it… All a good mother can do is what she believes is best for her child.. Lol so can please end the judgement parade?!

  127. This article is so beautifully composed. After reading “baby’s point of view”, it really puts their needs, and feelings in perspective. I am going on month 11 of nursing my son. I am so proud of myself for that! But I will admit, the begin had it’s challenges. I remember my husband helping my son open his mouth as wide as he could, by gently pressing on his chin, to help him latch properly. I felt like giving up on several occasions because giving him a bottle WOULD have just been easier for me. I completely understand some bottle fed babies’ mom’s, didn’t have that choice, and I am sorry for that, and I don’t mean to make you feel guilty about your choice.
    I went back to work at 6 weeks post-partum and pumped like a champ every day in the bathroom, and came home for lunch to nurse. This article gives me a warm-fuzzy-feeling, because all of that “stuff” I did to ensure I could nurse my baby, paid off. Thank you for this article. I hope expecting mamas out there are inspired to nurse their babies after reading this, and give it their all, even when times get rough! You go girls!

  128. I love this! I made he mistake of reading this after putting my little man down for the night. Now all I want to do is pick him up and snuggle him, but if I do that he’ll wake and be cranky. Oh well momma needs to sleep too

  129. This is a beautiful article.

    But I do find it so odd that there is so much “need” for support for breastfeeding mothers…who make up so much of the population. There should be more support for mothers who want to, but can’t breastfeed.

    I was lucky enough to have no issues nursing at all for any of my children, and I donated my excess milk long after they had self weaned so mothers who couldn’t nurse could still give their babies breast milk.

    I find something interesting here in the comments thread…the people who post “false” facts about breast feeding are told to check their sources, not believe everything they’re told, etc. etc. But then the people saying that are talking about their “facts” that aren’t concrete either. It seems to me that there are so many “facts” about breast feeding…but nothing universal except that breast is best. Maybe we could all just support each other rather than sharing “fact” after “fact” after “fact”? The reality is not all people can breastfeed, why not allow people to make their own choices about breastfeeding for their family and just enjoy your own little family?

    This article is beautiful, but it certainly tries to make it clear that breastfeeding is the only way to feed and love your child. And no, nowhere in the article does it directly say that but I nursed all four of my children for 2 years each, and I still felt that way when reading this article.

  130. What’s up, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the morning, because i love to learn more and more.

  131. I want to start off by saying I loved this “letter” and thought it was beautifully written. That being said, I had a terrible timing bfing my daughter. She was early (not a preemie though) due to meconium. Because of that she was jaundice (therefore sleepy) and she was a MAJOR tongue thruster. all of that to say she had significant trouble latching. The lactation consultants told me to use the nipple shield, worst thing EVER. The shield greatly reduced my supply, no matter what I did. I supplemented for about a week till my daughter had a reaction to powdered formula (not liquid). The reaction scared me so I started supplementing with my own milk, thus ANY breastfeeding session resulted in me nursing her (with the dang shield), then giving her a bottle of breast milk then pumping. Needless to say I actually began to loathe breastfeeding and this makes me so very sad. I so badly wanted to experience that breastfeeding feeling but it was such an ordeal every time just I couldn’t. At 6 months she went on a nursing strike and I said enough is enough. For my own sanity (and hers) I switched to formula. I’m now 30 weeks pregnant with my son and pray that he will be a much better nurser then my daughter.

  132. Hi, I just want to say that since I found this article I recommend it to all my new-mum parents. I have so many friends who had breastfeeding problems because they got insufficient or just plain wrong advice, both from family and from health professionals. Some of them made it through and are still feeding, but some stopped before they wanted to. I had mostly good support and advice, but even then I used to cut short my newborn’s comfort sucking because I was told by helpful people that it wasn’t good for her to fall asleep at the boob. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and the more information a mum has the better she can withstand the “advice”. Thanks leakyboob.

  133. Second time Mom says

    I loved this article.. I Bfed my 1st baby after 3 months of latching pains and blood from nipples.. but i survived and Bfed him for 13 months at which time I weaned him off and he was drinking from a cup. He never learnt to suck from a bottle just mom’s nipple. It made me feel amazing.. I am preggers again and was starting to feel that I will Bfeed for 3 months max as I have a toddler to take care of also.. but this post reminded me of the benefits of Bfeeding for the lil one. Once again, I want to Bfeed. I will try to do it if all goes well. Thanks for the inspiration and baby’s voice – which we forget sometimes.

  134. Thank you for writing this letter! Although it contained information that can be found elsewhere, it impacted me differently to read it as though my baby was trying to tell it to me. It’s like the letter is infused with oxytocin, and made me feel the love I feel for my baby.

    My baby is now 1 month old, and I definitely have gone through all the phases I have read here and on the website ‘The Alpha Parent’ (where I found the link to this article). Knowing that my body and the baby’s body is made to work perfectly with one another for each of our benefit, is one thing. To read it in a letter like this, is another 🙂

    As I was reading this letter I found myself exhaling like worry and concern were lifted, and that I can relax and be happy because everything is okay.

  135. Thank you SO much for writing this! I am 1 week post-partum today and no one told me that constant newborn sucking was normal. I thought I was going to lose it… until I read this! Now, I’m re-energized and re-dedicated to giving my daughter whatever she needs!

    • Wonderful! Just knowing what is normal can totally change how we feel about it, that’s why this information is so incredibly important. Congrats on your little one! ~Jessica

  136. Great article. I found a product which allowed me to continue breast feeding my 2nd child. My first was easy so didn’t expect problems with the 2nd but small baby, massive boobs and a huge flow caused her to be unable to latch fully and to bite me to avoid choking. I was in agony and feeling scared by every feed when finally a lactation consultant told me about a product called “breastwarmers”. Basically a large breast pad made from the silver space blanket material with a cotton cover. These warm your boobs gently and soften them. I wore them for an hour before I fed, way better, left them in my bra and by the next feed there was no pain at all! They also prevent mastitis which I had 3 times with baby 1. They are amazing, chemical free and should be given to all new mothers to help them to be able to feed. I then fed her for over 12 months with no issues at all.

  137. This is beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. I nursed my first for 16 months, and am currently nursing my 5 month and and reading this makes me want another. Nursing and working is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but it is by far the best decision I ever made. The bond that I have is something I believe was established through the moments we spent so close for so long. Just the best, no question. Thanks for writing this.

  138. This is beautifully written. I wish I had read this so much sooner. I haven’t given up on breastfeeding yet, because I am so passionate about breastfeeding my baby girl, but it’s been a really rough journey for me. She turns one month old in a few days, she is still a pound under her birth weight, and I am doing everything I can to keep breastfeeding. I had the idea in my head that it would be easy. I’d have no problems. That hasn’t been the case for me. Thankfully, though, there is a lot of BFing support out there I have found and I am not going to stop BFing unless and until I have exhausted EVERY option to make it work for us.

  139. For those of you that have problems with your baby latching, have you tried using a shield? I had to use one with my first daughter for about a month or so (I kept trying at every feeding without the shield first til we had success). Just thought I would throw it out there incase no one has recommended you try it, it’s worth a shot 🙂

  140. AWESOME article and even made me a little teary eyed! I remember what that felt like with both my kids as newborns, when they Now my youngest is 15 months, no signs of wanting to wean, he loves mama’s milk and I am so delighted to be able to give it to him. First time around with my now 4 year old nursing was very hard the first two months, but we nursed till 24 months and it was great!

  141. How sweet and so true!! I absolutely LOVED every moment that I had nursing my two girls. Yes, there are days that you feel like you are “stuck” and can’t get anything done because you are constantly nursing a baby. BUT, you can’t trade that moment for anything and to know that you are the only person that can do such a great thing for your baby is so satisfying!! I cried for over a week when my girls were done nursing. I thought the second time around I would be alright with it, but it was even harder. Enjoy those moments with that sweet baby. They just grow up way too fast!!!

  142. Great article with one exception. The part about the doctor habding a can of formula to help you “grow faster” is offensive and wrong. As a pediatrician I willtell you we do everything in our power to provide breastfeeding support. WE fought against hospitals giving out formula samples to new moms. We do not give out formula unless a mom asks for it and even then first we try to convince her to think twice and encourage continuedc nursing. WE recomend breadtfeeding for at least 12 months.

    Sincerely, a local pediatrician.

    • Thank you for the support you have and continue to offer. Unfortunately, while things are improving, the type of support you offer is not yet the norm. Many women experience formula pushing from their child’s doctor and acknowledging that helps those that experience that find that to be their experience figure out what to do with it for themselves. I believe things are changing but we have a ways to go. Thank you for being one to help lead the way. ~Jessica

  143. This was such a great article and it has convinced me to not give up on breastfeeding even though sometimes it is so stressful. With my older son I pumped from the beginning because he was born at 33 weeks and was unable to latch on. I was always able to measure how much milk I was making, so when my daughter was born full-term I was excited to start “actually” breastfeeding. I found it very stressful that I could not measure how much she was eating, even though she was content and gaining weight. She is almost 4 months old and is still on the petite side, but continues to grow and meet her milestones. I have been contemplating switching to formula because when we are together and I am able to breastfeed on demand she is a great baby, but when I go to work she gets very upset and refuses to eat while I am gone. I was thinking that maybe completely switching to formula would be easier on everyone because it never really seems like I get much milk when I pump at work. This article has completely changed my mind about stopping. I never stopped to think about her perspective on breastfeeding and how important it is to her and I am hoping that we can continue as long as she wants to!


  1. […] Breastfeeding a new baby, normal … – Is something wrong with your new baby or is this normal newborn behavior? A letter from a new baby, what’s normal. […]

  2. […] Baby Explains- Normal Newborn Behavior […]

  3. Even Before She Was Born

    […] I got.  Maybe you used a breast pump, and that confirmed your worries that the […]

  4. […] Breastfeeding a new baby, normal … – Is something wrong with your new baby or is this normal newborn behavior? A letter from a new baby, what’s normal. […]

  5. Of Course The New Baby

    […] tly sized for my head, and there’s nothing I like better than the feel of your […]

  6. Of Course The New Baby Is As Sweet

    […] much milk there – but mommy, please understand that a good pump can mimic me, […]

  7. Bouquet Blog says:

    Of Course The New Baby

    […] d for my head, and there’s nothing I like better than the feel of your skin ag […]