1. We’ve all had days when we wanted to give up.
2. There are breastfeeding helpers out there who won’t judge you. Keep looking till you find one who makes you feel safe and supported.
3. Breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing.
4. Breastfeeding looks different for each mom and baby.
5. It’s normal for newborns to never want to be put down. Ever. And it’s normal for them to nurse all the time, sometimes more than once an hour. Really.
6. Almost all moms will make enough milk if they nurse often enough, but for a small number of moms, this isn’t the case. Low milk supply is a real thing, and if you have it, you deserve good, kind, thoughtful help.
7. Tongue tie really can impact breastfeeding. Tongues that are tied down can’t milk the breast properly (leading to low weight gain) and can cause a lot of pain.
8. Tongue tie isn’t always the problem, or isn’t always the only problem. Breastfeeding difficulties are usually multifaceted, which is why all moms deserve the skilled help of a good IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).
9. I wish all good lactation consultants were covered by insurance, but we are not there yet. Please spend the money to get good help. Most lactation consultants don’t cost more than a good stroller or a baby swing. Most lactation consultants will spend two or more hours with you and provide follow-up.
10. Most breastfeeding problems can be solved by going back to basics. If your nipples hurt, you probably just need to change position, shape and hold your breasts, or unlatch and start again. If you aren’t making enough milk, you probably just need to nurse more frequently. Start with the basics before assuming anything more complicated is going on. Trust biology, your body and your baby.
11. Lactation cookies and herbs can really help, but they are only helpful if combined with other treatments for remedying supply issues.
12. Breastfeeding isn’t meant to be done alone. Find your tribe. Go to a breastfeeding support meeting. Find moms online who have babies your age. It can make a huge difference.
13. Some babies sleep long stretches and fall asleep easily. Some do not. It (usually) has nothing to do with how you are feeding your baby. It’s usually just genetics and temperament.
14. There is no magic age when babies should stop nursing in the middle of the night. Some babies need the nutrition well past the first few months, and many like the nighttime connection for years.
15. You should breastfeed for as long or as short a time as you want. It is entirely up to you (and your baby).
16. It is NEVER anyone’s place to judge a mom who chooses not to breastfeed. There are so many reasons why a mother might make this choice, and none of them reflect poorly on her mothering or her level of care for her child.
17. How much you pump doesn’t always reflect how much milk your baby takes at your breast. Most babies take more than the pump extracts; some take less.
18. Working and pumping mothers deserve all the respect and love in the world.
19. Moms who exclusively pump do, too.
20. Babies who never latch are rare, but this does happen, and it is one of the hardest things I have witnessed as a breastfeeding helper. These moms deserve the right to mourn the loss of at-breast feeding, but they need to know this doesn’t make them any less of a breastfeeding mom.
21. All mothers have a right to feel whatever they feel about how breastfeeding went for them. All feelings are normal. All feelings are real.
22. Whether or not you breastfed or were breastfed matters in many ways, and in many ways it doesn’t matter at all.
23. Breastfeeding, above all, is love. It’s one of many ways to exchange love with your baby, your toddler or your child.
24. Children need to grow up seeing breastfeeding. It makes breastfeeding normal. It teaches them breastfeeding positioning, behavior and more. This is one of the key ways we can increase the breastfeeding rates in our country.
25. Breastfeeding is normal. Breastfeeding is intense. Breastfeeding is simple. Breastfeeding is beautiful.
Wendy Wisner is a mom of two, a freelance writer and a lactation consultant (IBCLC).