Ask an Expert: Tips to Pump More Milk

by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

Fan Question:

“I need some tips on pumping I almost exclusively breast feed but when it comes to pumping, I still (eight months later) getting less than two ounces.”

Lots of moms find they don’t respond to the pump the way they want to, whether they’re back at work full-time, or just wanting to pump for an occasional bottle.  Below are some tips on how to maximize your pumping sessions:

  • Check all your pump parts to be sure that they’re in working order with no cracks, if you have a Medela double electric, often the small white membranes need to be replaced.  Some lactation consultants will have a vacuum gauge they can use to test the motor and be sure it’s still effective.
  • Take a look at where and when you’re pumping – is it a quiet, private space?  Do you have enough time to relax while pumping?  Stress and anxiety can affect the way our body responds and may impact the amount we are pumping.
  • Have a picture/video of your baby to look at.  Bring a blanket or article of clothing that smells like the baby.  Thinking of your baby will help stimulate oxytocin which helps your milk to release and flow.
  • Place a blanket over the flanges so that you can’t see the amount that is coming out – this will help you to relax more.
  • Stronger and longer doesn’t always mean more!  Be sure to adjust your suction so that you’re comfortable, pumping shouldn’t hurt.  And too much pump stimulation can have an adverse effect.
  • Apply a little organic olive oil on the inside of your pump flanges to help decrease friction.
  • Lastly – use a combination of double/single pumping along with breast massage and hand expression, see video below:


Good luck!

unnamedAshley Treadwell is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), blogger on the topic of breastfeeding, and advocate for judgmentfree breastfeeding support for all mothers. Ashley lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, Tim, their two girls, Jane and Evelyn, and their dog, Grace and cat, Abby. She loves running, everything related to cooking and feeding her family, spending time with family and friends, and bad reality television.

Ask an Expert: Weaning From a Nipple Shield

By Anne Smith, IBCLC

Fan Question:

“Has anyone had any experience switching from a nipple shield to feeding without one?”

Answer: I don’t know how old your baby is, or how long your have been nursing him with the shield, but those are factors that must be taken into consideration when weaning him off. Although there are no hard and fast rules, many premature or SGA (small for gestational age) babies don’t nurse effectively until they reach their full-term corrected age, or until they weigh around 6 pounds.

Years ago, nipple shields were made of thick latex (the rubbery amber stuff), and this could cause a reduction in the amount of milk that babies received.  Newer shields are made out of thin, flexible silicone, and don’t cause the same problems.

It may be that your baby needs the extra help with milk transfer that the shield provides at this time, and may just not be quite ready to “graduate” quite yet.

Here are some techniques you can use to encourage him to take the breast :

  •  Provide lots of skin-to-skin contact. Tuck him in a sling “kangaroo style”. Try nursing in the bathtub.
  • Offer him the breast without the shield when he is drowsy. Babies are often less resistant to trying something new if they are partially asleep.
  • Start the feeding with the shield, then slip it off and offer your nipple after the milk has let-down, the initial breast fullness is lessened, and he has some milk in his tummy to take the edge off his appetite and settle him down.
  •  Put a tiny piece of damp cloth in the tip of the shield to stop the flow of milk. Some babies will take the nipple that is dripping with milk once they realize that sucking on the shield isn’t going to do anything for them.
  • Don’t trim pieces off the shield with scissors in an attempt to reduce dependence on the shield. This can result in sharp edges that can irritate your nipple and the baby’s mouth.
  •  Last but not least, be patient. Many babies who have become accustomed to nursing with a shield may take weeks to make the transition to nursing without it. A small percentage of babies never learn to nurse without the shield, but this is rare. In these cases, the mother can still maintain a satisfying breastfeeding relationship with her baby by feeding and nurturing him at the breast.

I hope that your baby will soon make the transition from nursing with the shield to nursing without, but regardless of when (or if) that happens, you can feel good about the fact that in spite of the challenges you encountered in the beginning, you are continuing to provide him with the many nutritional, immunological, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding.

Anne Smith, IBCLCAnne has been helping moms reach their breastfeeding goals for over 35 years, as a La Leche League and an IBCLC in private practice since 1990. Breastfeeding six children gives her a unique combination of first hand experience as well as professional expertise. In 1999, she started her website,, with lots of information on breastfeeding and parenting, and a wonderful group of bloggers, including Abby from The Badass Breastfeeder, Rachelle from Unlatched, and Marie from Anarchy in the Sandbox.

Join the more than six millions of moms who come to Breastfeeding Basics each year for information and support, and visit Anne on Facebook.

Not So Gentle Parenting

By guest blogger Terri

Like most things in life, the things we do are cultural. I believe you either do exactly what your parents did or the exact opposite of what they did. Either way, the way you were parented will affect the decisions that you make in adulthood….right down to the type of toothpaste and cereal you buy. So it is no huge coincidence that when I became a mother, I picked and discarded the staples of parenting that had been present in my childhood. [Read more...]

Badass Breastfeeder of the Week: Week of 4-7-14

Some people think to be “badass” you have to breastfeed topless on a crowded bus or stand on your head or hold a gun. This could not be further from the truth. The word “badass” became a part of this very early on for me. It simply symbolizes doing things our way. Questioning authority, questioning norms, questioning the mainstream. To me “badass” means being open to new information and choosing what is right for your family despite what everyone else is doing. This week’s Badass of the Week represents this. She is doing things her way. It might look different than other families. It might not be what the majority is doing, but it is what works for her and her family. It is about being true to what feels right.

katherine Despite being nearly 4 years old, this one still wants his nursies. Esp at night and when he doesn't feel good... like today in this picture.

“Despite being nearly 4 years old, this one still wants his nursies. Especially at night and when he doesn’t feel good… like today in this picture.”

-Badass Katherine

Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Introduction

Exif_JPEG_422I spoke with hundreds of women before writing this e-course. It was the responses I got from these women that motivated me to make this course as extensive as it is. What angered me more than the rare story of harassment was the level of fear that many hold about breastfeeding in public. They cited fear of being stared at, fear of being verbally abused, fear of showing their body and even fear of being physically assaulted. Has our culture sexualized and demeaned the female body so severely that women live in fear of providing the only natural method of nourishing their babies? It seems so. These fears are real. These are not irrational women. These are women just like every other woman who has internalized the demoralization of the female body and experience. I decided to take this personally. As someone who Nurses In Public (NIP) comfortably and with never a negative experience I felt it was my opportunity to share what I think and feel about the issue. I want to help you put a plan in place so that you can begin to unravel those negative messages and understand how you can begin on a path toward NIP.

Nursing in public can seem daunting to a new mother. It can even be difficult and anxiety provoking for a veteran mother! I will help you navigate the world of NIP. I will cover everything from clothing to comebacks to give you the confidence and tools you need to NIP without fear. Practice makes perfect with breastfeeding in public. The first time might be terrifying, the second time nerve wracking, but soon it will become as second nature to you as being outside has ever been.

Before we begin I would like to say that you are a Badass Breastfeeder. Plain and simple. There is no divide, there is no competition. You are not more Badass for nursing in public than you are for nursing at home. You are not less of a Badass for using a breastfeeding cover. At the end of each and every day this is about breastfeeding our children. It is about being informed and making those tough decisions for our children based on that information. That is Badass. This course is for informational purposes, not to try to change you. You are already a Badass Breastfeeder.

 ***I highly suggest taking this course as if it is a true 7 day course. Please read each day separately for 7 days in a row.***




Abby, The Badass Breastfeeder



“I have been following your NIP email series. This has been ….a subject which has brought me many tears over the last two months since my son was born. I have lost all but two of my friends and am not asked to family events any longer. In only two months. I hurt. I cry. I desperately miss the companionship of people. Why did it all go away? Because I breastfeed. The first few times people shrugged it off; I was using a cover. No big deal. But my son gets hot, so at Thanksgiving I opted to remove the cover. Everyone left the room. They sat down to dinner, and when I came in the whole table was full with no place and no chair set out for me. My significant other got me a plate and made a place for me, but the damage was done. I wasn’t fit company. A few weeks have passed and I was asked to a birthday party today. The first time anyone reached out to see me. So I went. I’ve been reading the emails about exuding confidence and reaffirming that what I’m doing by breastfeeding is good. Great even! But I want to feel free to do it. Part of the way through the party, my little man needed changed, so I excused myself to do so. When I got back someone from the family made the comment that he looked so much better full. I said he hadn’t eaten, I would never eat in a bathroom and he wouldn’t either. I then proceeded to feed him (with two shirts, one to pull up, one down) and enjoy the party. Every single person walked away from me. Everyone. I wanted to start crying. But then, one of the oldest and most respected friends of the family came over, sat down with me, and talked to me. This man, in his fifties told me how great of a thing I was doing both for nursing, and doing it in public. He lovingly told me about how his son (now 8) was breastfed until he was two and that it was only problems with severe biting that stopped them. Members of the family were starring and gossiping, not trying to hide it at all, and I suddenly felt proud. You and your series gave me the confidence to believe in myself and do what’s good for my son and society. I was rewarded by having someone they respect so much show them how dumb they were being. I want to tell everyone else to hang in there. It’s hard. It hurts. It makes you feel utterly helpless to deal with people. But if you hang in there, if you have faith and you follow this advice, it is more worth that tiny moment of the sweet and glorious victory than you would ever have imagined. Thank you Badass, for helping me.”



“Thank you so much for this e-course. I generally don’t feel uncomfortable NIP, but I appreciate the tips and encouragement you provide! In the last week, as I’ve been NIP more frequently due to being inspired by your emails, my friends have commented on how brave and awesome it is that I’m comfortable nursing my daughter wherever, whenever. I truly believe that people like you (and every mother who happily NIPs) are changing the world for the better. Thank you!”

-Stefanie , Proud nursing mother :)


“I would like to let you know that your course has truly changed the way I feel about nursing my baby in public. I do prefer to cover with the clothes I’m wearing and I have nursed in public with people standing next to me talking to me and they don’t even know!! A cardigan, nursing tank and well placed scarf does the trick! It’s made life much easier for my whole family since I don’t always have to run off to a private place to nurse…nor should I feel obligated to! :) thanks for the wonderful tips that have given me the courage to be a badass breast feeder!”



“Thank you so much for all of the information. I’m a ftm and have breastfed my son for four months now, I never was too timid about nursing in public but this helps me understand my rights. I fed my son in the middle of wal mart without a cover and it was amazing I felt like I changed the world just a tiny bit :). ”



“I just wanted to thank you for the NIP course, and all that you do to normalize breastfeeding. I EBF my 7 month old daughter, and even before she was born I became a lactivist! The only thing I ever had trouble with was nursing in public. But after following your facebook page and taking your course and seeing all the photos you post, I was inspired to NIP! I have done it a few times prior, but always made sure it was in my car or in a quiet, empty area of a store where no one would see me. Well, the other day at church, my daughter wanted to eat. And usually I would go to the nursery to feed her. But I thought, “why don’t I just feed her here, right in the pew?” And I hesitated. Then I asked myself “Why are you hesitating?” and I thought, “Because people may see my boob and may get offended.” Then I had a long thought process of about how that isn’t my problem. And that I should not feel ashamed because feeding my baby isn’t shameful. It’s normal. It’s nothing to feel weird about. And even though some people think that, it shouldn’t stop me from feeding my child. The only way I can get people to think like I do about breastfeeding, is to just do it and normalize it. Which is why I decided to sit in my pew, unsnap my bra, pull my boob out and feed my daughter. I felt so amazing. The male ushers looked my way and just smiled. No one cared! And my daughter peacefully went to sleep as the music played. IT was a beautiful moment! One women (who had two teenage children) commented to me, “Aww how I miss that. How wonderful!” As I got up to leave, I also saw another mom nursing her toddler, and I was like “AWESOME!” Now I don’t even think twice about feeding my baby in public.


-Badass Jen

Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Day 7 – Know Your Rights

971538_603901836343999_326644191_nCongratulations! You have made it to the last day of How to be a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days! This course will end with a summary of laws protecting breastfeeding in public and a list of breastfeeding resources for you to have on hand anytime you need them.

Breastfeeding is not a lifestyle choice. It is a public health issue.

Breastfeeding in public is not a privilege. It is a civil right.


Breastfeeding and the Law

You are very unlikely to have a problem breastfeeding in public. I know this happens to women and I know it gets a lot of attention in breastfeeding circles, but the reality is that the chances of it happening to you are slim. Having said that, I believe strongly that being informed and prepared is a huge factor in feeling confident about our decisions. You are smart. I know this because you are here reading, you are open to information, you want to know more. Another misconception about women is that we can’t learn and stand up for ourselves. You and I both know this is garbage.  When you learn and become informed you are empowered at a level that makes it difficult for people to take advantage of you. Today I will discuss your legal rights when it comes to breastfeeding in public and provide links to detailed descriptions of the law in your local area.

It is always good to know your rights when it comes to anything at all, but it’s particularly important to know about laws on breastfeeding in public. These laws are wildly misunderstood by many people that they can lead to further harassment. For example, telling women that breastfeeding in public is actually illegal in their state! The thing that has been put in place to protect us is being used to harass and control us. Knowing the details of the law is the best defense in the very unlikelihood that you will have problems breastfeeding in public.

You have the right to breastfeed your child in public. Don’t let anyone tell you different. There are different laws depending on the state you live in, but there is nowhere that you can get in trouble for breastfeeding in public. In fact, there are laws in place that make it illegal for you to be asked to stop. These laws are in place, but they are not the kind of laws that lead to arrests. If someone asks you to stop breastfeeding, that person is breaking the law, but he or she cannot be arrested or charged. Don’t feel discouraged though; incidents are being reported all the time and breastfeeding laws across the nation are changing drastically. The consequences for businesses and others who harass breastfeeding mothers may not be swift justice, but the climate is changing. For example, some cities are passing laws to make it possible for women to file lawsuits against businesses that harass them. The more you breastfeed in public and the more we talk about this, the faster these things will change. YOU have the power to make change by simply breastfeeding in public.

**Disclaimer** Breastfeeding laws are lacking, but if someone touches you without your permission or even places a blanket over you without your consent then they have committed criminal battery against you and this is illegal. You should contact the police immediately and move to safety. I do not expect you to engage in any situation that is dangerous or even uncomfortable. We are in this together and this is a process.

Here are two links that explain in detail the laws protecting breastfeeding and details on the laws in your state.


I feel that this is truly a feminist issue. Laws come to fruition when a group of people feel that they are being held back from fulfilling an important part of their life as a citizen of society. I believe that telling women that they cannot breastfeed in public is a way to control women. It is a tactic of oppression. It is a tool to keep women from having control of their own lives and decisions. I hope that this course has helped you feel empowered to take to the streets and breastfeed your child when your child needs it. I hope that you have gained confidence in yourself as a woman, a mother and a citizen. Every time that you breastfeed in public you help normalize it. Normalizing breastfeeding for men, women and children is important for society. It will help more women choose breastfeeding for their babies. It will help the incidents of harassment decrease. It will help society learn that women are extremely dynamic, valuable and powerful. You are a Badass Breastfeeder. You and your baby are going to change the world.

When you are breastfeeding in public and have positive experiences, which you will have, consider writing letters of praise or complimenting the establishment. Positivity breeds positivity. This establishment will take pride in their great customer service and be more likely to treat the next breastfeeding mother positively as well.

If you encounter a negative experience please be sure to report this to the Best of Babes Foundation at their NIP Hotline 1-855-NIP-FREE!

You can also report an incident and organize a nurse-in at this link.


**This course is geared primarily toward people in the United States, but my message about empowering yourself through knowing your rights stands for women all around the world. Most countries have laws protecting women breastfeeding in public. I encourage you to research these and become informed.


The Badass Breastfeeder can be found at

Blog and

Twitter @BAbreastfeeder

Youtube  BadassBreastfeeder


More breastfeeding and parenting resources can be found here.


NIP related reading:

LLLI | Breastfeeding in Public

Nursing In Public

Elizabeth Lee Designs: Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

Not a Fan of Nursing In Public? Suck on This

Six Tips to Braving Breastfeeding in Public

5 Places Where Breastfeeding is Certainly Inappropriate…

Breastfeeding in public |

The Breastfeeding Mother: Breastfeeding In Public

10 Tips for Breastfeeding in Public–With Confidence! | Native Mothering™

10 tips for breastfeeding in public

Analytical Armadillo – The Booby Whisperer: Tips for breastfeeding in public if you feel self-conscious

Analytical Armadillo – The Booby Whisperer: Let’s do breastfeeding covers

Analytical Armadillo – The Booby Whisperer: breastfeeding in public is offensive – see for yourself!

Every argument against NIP debunked – newly expanded! – The Debate Team

Random Rantings of a Tattooed Mummy: It is fine to be offended by public breastfeeding…

Why Children Should see Mothers Nursing in Public Nursing In Public

Breastfeeding Basics: Nursing in Public 

Why Children Should Witness Breastfeeding in Public ~ Nursing Freedom

PhD in Parenting – PhD in Parenting – Covering up is a feminist issue

peaceful parenting: Breastfeeding in Public: A Christian Father Speaks Up

The Breastfeeding Mother

Random Ramblings of a Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Cloth Diapering, Not So Hippy Momma!



Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Day 4 – Breastfeeding and Babywearing

Exif_JPEG_422Breastfeeding and Babywearing

Today is dedicated to nursing in baby carriers. I have enlisted the help from babywearing expert Jillian from In my opinion she is the number one go-to person for babywearing. I will cover each baby carrier and provide you with videos with step by step instructions on how to successfully nurse in that type of carrier. I often hear from women that they struggle to figure this out. I encourage you to watch these videos and practice in front of a mirror or with a friend. Then practice some more. Comfort and ease nursing in a carrier is just around the corner for you. You can do it. I know you can!

Wearing your baby is wonderful for forming attachment. It is great for maintaining milk supply. And it makes getting out and about so much easier. Nursing in a baby carrier can be one of the most discrete ways to breastfeed in public. People tend to think that baby carriers are expensive and not necessary. Few people put them on their baby shower registry, but wouldn’t hesitate to ask for expensive cribs, strollers, Jumperoos, swings and so forth. These items can be over $100 apiece. These items all act as a way for us to put our baby down when the best place for our babies is close to us. If you forgo the above items and choose instead to buy a carrier you are actually saving money!


Main types of carriers:

  • Soft Structured Carriers or Buckle Carriers
  • Ring Slings
  • Mei Tais
  • Wraps

Breastfeeding in each of these carriers will be slightly different, but the philosophy is the same. Loosen, lower and latch. You can put your baby in the carrier as you normally would, then loosen the straps or rings, lower your baby to breast level and allow them to latch. Here are some videos of how to nurse in these carriers. I have provided 2 different videos of slightly different ways to nurse in the carriers so that you can choose what works best for you. No matter what way you choose keep safety in mind. Here is a link to important babywearing safety tips.

I have put together a list of videos to demonstrate how you can breastfeed in the four major types of baby carriers.

How to nurse in a Soft Structured Carrier/Buckle Carrier:

Video 1 by Jillian at
Video 2 by Abby, The Badass Breastfeeder
Video 3 by Amanda, Admin at The Badass Breastfeeder

How to nurse in a Ring Sling:

Video 1 by Jillian at
Video 2 by Abby, The Badass Breastfeeder
Video 3 by Dare

How to nurse in a Mei Tai:

Video 1 by Jillian at
Video 2 by Danielle

How to nurse in a Wrap:

Video 1 by Jillian at
Video 2 by Karen

PAXbaby can be found at:
Youtube  PAXbabymom



Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Day 6 – Covering and Comebacks

ModestyCovering and Comebacks

Today I will discuss tips on being discrete if you should so choose. You are not required to be discrete to make others feel more comfortable, but if it makes YOU more comfortable then I fully support you. I will also discuss some various comebacks if you should happen to run into undesirable comments while breastfeeding in public.


Being Discrete

There tends to be a divide between breastfeeding mothers who cover and breastfeeding mother who do not cover. This is drama we do not need. Breastfeeding in public is a right of all mothers and all mothers need to feel free to do this however they feel comfortable. I choose not to cover and I have reasons for it, but another mother chooses to cover and she has her reasons. At the end of the day we are breastfeeding our children and that is the goal. Women have the right to breastfeed in public covered or not. Many women choose to be discrete when in public and that is your prerogative. I would like to take a moment to share some tips for being discrete if this is something that you choose. As long as we are clear that you do not HAVE to cover. You are awesome whichever you way choose because you breastfeed your baby. You are a badass breastfeeder however you choose to make breastfeeding happen for you and your baby.



You can accomplish being discrete by what location you choose to breastfeed your baby. Many public places have private rooms for breastfeeding mothers. You may need to ask, but even if they do not have a room like this you may be directed to an office or cozy break room. You can walk around for a few minutes wherever you are and size the place up. You might find that there is a section that is less populated than the others. You can choose a chair that is facing away from a crowd or place yourself inside a group of friends. Be sure to always to be looking at your baby so as not to start to think that people are staring when they may not be looking at you at all.



Nursing tops can add an extra level of protection in public. Nursing tops have secret passageways to your breasts that allow you to not have to pull your shirt up or down. You can also use a breastfeeding cover, but it is important to remember that they can cause more attention to be drawn to you than if you were to work with what you already have on your body. A light scarf can be draped down your chest. Wearing layers can also help create barriers between the public and your breasts. Putting a hat on our baby will allow the baby’s head to create a large barrier. You can also take an old tank top or t-shirt and cut holes right over your nipples then wear another top or cardigan. This way when you latch your baby on, nothing will show at all. People will likely think your baby is cuddling your chest or sleeping.



Breastfeed your baby before you leave your house to make sure she has a full belly and you will have enough time to get cozy and situated before she begins to feel hunger pains. You can use a baby carrier as discussed earlier which can act as a cover in and of itself. Practice your techniques in front of a mirror or friend to get comfortable before going outside. Remember that you are most discrete when you are just going about your normal activities. Nothing draws more attention than someone fidgeting around. Just act natural and people will be far less likely to even notice what you are doing at all.



I have never had a negative experience while nursing in public, but this has not stopped me from preparing myself in every way that I can. I believe that the more prepared you are the more confident you are. There is nothing worse than the feeling of someone saying something to you and not being prepared with a comeback. You will spend all day thinking of all the things you should have said in the moment! I have put together a short list of various comebacks to help you get started with choosing a few of your favorites. But before we begin, this is for fun. You are not required to engage anyone who is being negative toward you. Keep you and your baby safe first and foremost.



•          “Put a blanket over your head.”

•          “How would you like to eat in a toilet?”

•          “You’re an adult, you can handle a little discomfort; my baby can’t”

•          “Would you rather my baby scream of hunger?”

•          “You must be staring at my adorable baby”

•          “I care far more about what is best for my baby than I care about your opinion.”

•          “I saw far more boob on the cover of GQ magazine this morning!”

•          “Your staring is far ruder than anything I’m doing”



•          “Covering up perpetuates the idea that I am doing something wrong, and I will not be a part of that myth.”

•          “Telling me to cover up and remain hidden inside is a way to control me and my fellow women.”

•          “It’s natural for children and men to be curious about something they don’t often see; I’m Ok with that.”

•          “Pumping can diminish my supply and bottles can create nipple confusion; I cannot take that risk.”

•          “Covering my baby can prevent her from receiving enough oxygen.”

•          “I know my rights and I have the right to be here.”



•          “Breastfeeding works well for me and my family.”

•          “Thank you for your concern; I’m quite comfortable right here.”

•          “My baby has a right to eat, just as you do, whenever and wherever she is hungry.”

•          “We can’t afford formula or bottles.”

•          “My doctor said this is what I should do.”

•          “Breast is best!”


The toddler

•          “Yes, I’m still breastfeeding and it’s still none of your business.”

•          “The natural age of weaning for humans is somewhere between 2 and 7 years old.”

•          “The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months and to a minimum of 2 years old with supplementary foods.”


Youtube Video:


Further Reading:



Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Day 5 – Support From Loved Ones

Fotor0605144530Partner Support

One of the most important things to maintaining a breastfeeding relationship is unconditional support from your partner. Many women are lucky to have this support, but there are still a lot of women out there who struggle with criticism or friction from their partners. Breastfeeding in public can be difficult for some partners to accept because they may feel that their wife’s breasts are for their eyes only. They might also get teased by their friends for having a wife who wants to breastfeed since this is not very common in the U.S. They might feel if you are out in public alone that they can’t protect you from the harshness of the world that they suspect you will encounter. Our partners, especially men, are at the same mercy of societal norms and politics as women are.

Whatever it is that your partner is struggling with, it is important to remember that this is wrapped up in their own personal insecurities and concerns. It is not a lack of love for you or your baby. They need love and support as much as you do. Having these conversations as early as possible is vital to a successful breastfeeding relationship. Once your child is in your arms and you are learning the ins and outs of parenting it can be difficult to work this out. It’s never too late to work on this challenge, of course, but try addressing the problem before it gets out of hand. If you suspect that your partner is not supportive of you breastfeeding in public, try to have a conversation. You will more than likely need to have more than one conversation. You will save yourself some stress if you see it as a dialogue that will continue over time. Here are some tips to a successful breastfeeding dialogue.

•          Pick a time when your partner is open and relaxed. Try not to pounce on them right when they walk through the door. This will throw them off guard and create more resistance. Try the weekend or evening when there is more time to spare and pressure is off.

•          You may have already become an expert in your partner’s body language. If you begin a conversation and can pick up on signs of stress or annoyance then try again later. Pushing the issue may just lead to resistance.

•          Keep the conversation focused on your own needs. Blaming, name calling and a persistent “you do this, you do that” trend will get you nothing but walked away from.

•          Try giving examples. Pick a time when you felt unsupported and describe what could have been done to make you feel more supportive. “I felt angry the other day when we were out to dinner and you asked me why I needed to breastfeed the baby here. I wonder if in the future you could compliment me on the things I do for our baby.”

•          Ask what their feelings are and what you can do to help support them. If they seem to struggle, help them out by suggesting some concerns you suspect they have. “I wonder if you feel nervous about someone saying something negative to me.” “Do you feel embarrassed that your friends will see me breastfeeding?”

•          As usual, no judging. Allow your partner to really be honest without any judgment. It’s the only way to work through it. Listen to your partner. Sometimes just being listened to without judgment or interruption solves most of the problem.

•          End the conversation on a positive note. You don’t need to solve everything today. Having a positive conversation experience will encourage further conversations.

•          Offer to provide your partner with information that discusses the benefits of breastfeeding on demand. Sometimes it helps to see it in black and white written by professionals. This can help some partners realize that this is not a lifestyle choice but an informed decision about your child’s physical and emotional health.


Family support

We pick our partners and we pick our friends, but we don’t get to pick our family. I hear a lot about women who are not supported and are even harassed by family in regards to their choice to breastfeed in public. I would like to give you some ideas about how to deal with this painful kind of criticism.

Raising a child today is much different than it was even 10 years ago. Today we have Facebook and other social media venues where we display photos, post our opinions and disclose our personal experiences. People know more about each other today, but have less face to face time to relate on a human level. It is easy to criticize and engage in arguments when we are seated behind our computers. People say things to us that they would never say to your face. This can add stress to those holiday get-togethers on top of the stress already there for having chosen a different parenting style than your parents chose.

All of the tips for starting a dialogue discussed above apply; however, you may find that this level of intimate conversation is not appropriate with your parents, cousins or grandparents. That is perfectly understandable and therefore you may choose to have a few rehearsed lines to recite when someone approaches you about breastfeeding. Neutral and non-confrontational are your best bet for keeping the flow and getting through that holiday season without causing more stress to the family relationships:

•          “That worked well for you and this works well for us.”

•          “Thank you for your concern, but we are very happy.”

It is important to remember that these people are likely expressing their insecurities or regrets about their own parenting choices. It can be threatening to see the child you raised venture so far from how they raised you.

•          “You should be proud that you raised a strong enough person to venture from the norm and explore other parenting styles. I couldn’t have done it without the strength you instilled in me.”


Friend support

The transition from someone’s drinking buddy to someone’s mother is drastic and awesome. However, many women experience conflict when their values and priorities shift from their friends to the baby in their life. It is important to have unconditional support from your friends. These are people that you get to pick. These are the people that you get to choose to spend your time with. If you are having negative experiences it is important to express yourself using the tips for dialogue above. If you feel that you are not receiving the support you need to be successful as a mother then it may be time to think about what these people bring to your life. It is normal for things to shift drastically. These people may have been like family to you before motherhood and they may not now. Tell them what you need from them. Tell them how they can be a part of creating a positive environment for your child to grow up in. You may lose touch with friends and that is OK. They were an important part of your life.


Cutting Ties

Considering cutting ties with people can be a painful process, but your priority is motherhood and that is how it should be. You should not feel bad about your decision to create as positive an environment for you and your child as possible. If this is a road you are considering for family or friends then take time to think about it. Make decisions when you are calm and can think clearly about how this decision will affect the life if you and your child.


Mama Tribes

A Mama Tribe is a group of trusted women that you have bonded with through parenting. These are your closest friends and allies. These women can be hard to find if you are parenting outside of the norm. The internet is a valuable tool to help women who feel isolated find connection, but there is no substitute for face to face contact with like-minded mothers. Please read this essay I wrote about Mama Tribes for more information on how to find yours (your tribe is out there, I promise):


Further Reading:



Become a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days: Day 3 – Your Environment

Fotor01010124948Your Environment 

We have taken that first step to walking outside with our baby knowing that she will be hungry and want to breastfeed while we are outside. Now we can get down to real NIP business. You might be concerned that you are going to have a negative experience. This concern is normal and understandable in a culture where women have been harassed for this. These incidents are not common and you are not likely to be harassed when you NIP. However, you might find it helpful to start out in a place where you are almost guaranteed to have a positive experience. This way you can get your feet wet and gain a little confidence in a safe place. A breastfeeding friendly baby boutique is a place where you are sure to welcome. Often they even have comfy chairs or couches and pillows for you to sit and breastfeeding apparel and merchandise that you can look at while you nurse your baby. Stores like Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us are likely to have a comfy space set up for nursing mamas. You can attend a La Leche League meeting with other breastfeeding mothers. You might also find it helpful to practice these tips in front of a mirror or with a friend so that by the time you are in public you can complete them with ease. Now you are in public, you are breastfeeding and you are in a safe place gaining confidence! Practice, practice, practice.


Getting comfortable

Being comfortable is as important as anything else you will learn on your breastfeeding journey. Babies are little sponges. They can sense when you are uneasy or fidgeting or unsettled. This can cause your baby to become distracted, struggle to latch on and cause you even more stress when out about in public. I will spend today discussing ways to get comfortable in public taking into consideration every obstacle I can think of.


Take a load off

Unless you are a seasoned babywearer and can latch your baby on while they are in a baby carrier then you will probably want to be able to sit down. I have sat just about everywhere: display furniture at a store, lounge chairs in a restaurant, the steps of a church, under a tree, the bench at the front of the grocery store, a bus stop and the middle of the sidewalk. Don’t be afraid to sit down on something, anything. If you happen to be somewhere and you can’t find a seat then ask. You will likely find yourself on a comfy couch you didn’t know was there.

Once you are seated you might miss that big Boppy pillow that you have at home. No worries, lots of things can double as a prop for under your arm. Try your purse, a rolled up coat, a diaper bag, your partner’s knee or the blanket you were planning to cover with.



Living in Chicago I get a crash course in weather conditions every year. I have had to deal with 100 degree humid days and -10 degree biting cold. When the weather is this extreme I tend to stay inside for everyone’s safety. However, on the less extreme days I dress the part and step outside. If you are inside somewhere then you have less to worry about, but if you are out in the elements then you might find some of these tips helpful.

When it’s hot outside you can wear a thin tank top. That way when it is time to nurse you can just pull it down under your breast. If you are looking to be less exposed then try 2 light tank tops. You can pull the top one up over your breast and the bottom down under your breast so that very little is showing and what is showing will be covered by your baby’s head. You can also drape a light blanket over your shoulder, but be sure there is enough air getting back there so the air your baby breathes stays cool and fresh. A sun hat for baby works great as a way to cover up a bit more of your chest and breast as well! Don’t forget the sunscreen for your chest! It’s also a good idea to always have water. You can get spray bottles with a fan attached to keep cool.

When it’s getting chilly out, but you still want to go to the park there are things you can do to stay warm. You can still wear that big cozy sweater, but add a tank top or another shirt that you can pull down underneath it. That way your belly stays warm. You’ll need to open your jacket in order to get your breast out, so make sure to bring a scarf to cover your exposed neck and chest against the chill.

Getting and staying latched can be difficult in public with a distractible baby. Once babies get to a certain age they want to see all the exciting things going on around them. Their attention is being drawn in every direction that they hear a sound or see something fun. There is nothing wrong with your baby. This is normal and a healthy developmental milestone. This is a situation that might have you wanting to find a less happening part of wherever you are. Take your time, walk around, see if there is a location with less going on. You might also try wearing jewelry. Necklaces and bracelets can help a baby stay at your breast while she fiddles with the fun toys attached to mommy.  You might also try to turn to the side so that your baby can see what is going on while she nurses. This might help to satisfy her desire to watch and eat at the same time. You can try a cover or light blanket to help block off the world for your baby for a few minutes so that they can get done eating and get back to playing more quickly. If you are able to nurse in a carrier such as the Ergo, you can try putting the hood up to create a more peaceful eating experience.


Further Reading: