A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Breastfeeding Feedback

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding advocate

It’s worn out now, but this shirt used to say, “Human. Kind. Be both.” I think this is a good motto when going about life. I often see comments under breastfeeding posts (especially when the child is beyond infancy) that it’s “disgusting,” “ridiculous” or “inappropriate.” Listen up, these statements are subjective at best and totally insulting. You don’t get to hide behind “Well that’s just my opinion.” It’s not an opinion, it’s an insult. And you can take your insults and shove them. You are welcome to ask questions, we love to answer them and share our experiences. We are moms making decisions for our families just like you. It might not look the same as yours, but that doesn’t matter. And you should be capable of understanding that you are not in charge of anyone’s life but your own. We’ve got this. We promise.


Breastfeeding Ends, No Need to Rush It

My husband caught this slice of life today at the indoor festival. My littlest son was tired and overwhelmed. He asked to nurse so we sat and had a snack while he had mommy time and dozed off for a nap. My biggest son gave the hot dog a thumbs up. Just a couple years ago my biggest would have done the same thing, sought me out to nurse for comfort. But now he, like all the kids, has adjusted and finds comfort in other ways, like a hot dog or hug or just sitting and resting with the family. He is beautiful living proof that they all stop breastfeeding eventually, that breastfeeding beyond infancy does not cause bad habits or psychological harm and that even if left to breastfeed until they themselves decide to stop it will all happen sooner than you think and go by in a flash. And when the comes it will resemble a punch to the throat. Hold them close, badasses, there’s no need to rush it.

The Badass Breastfeeder, Abby Theuring, breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding and the Holidays

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding

The holiday season is upon us! This means breastfeeding around extended family. It’s a positive experience for some people. For some people it’s downright awful.

Let me tell you that you are not required to change anything about your parenting choices when you are around others. It doesn’t matter who it is or where you are. Even someone else’s house. You are not required to leave the room to breastfeed unless you find this helpful such as moving to a quiet area so baby is not distracted. You are not required to move to make others comfortable. You are not required to cover yourself to make others comfortable. You not required to provide anyone with an explanation about how long you plan to breastfeed, why you feel the need to do it in the open or any other questions that makes you feel put on the spot. If you want to engage family in conversations about why these decision are good for your family then by all means, it can be a teaching moment. However, if you want to keep it simple, “I’m comfortable here, thank you,” “This works for us,” “We’re happy, thank you for asking,” and other non-engaging responses are perfectly acceptable. You do not have to try to please anyone. You know are right. Happy Holidays.

Pumpables Fitting Room: The Correct Sized Breast Shield

Did you know that the breast shield flange of a breast pump comes in different sizes? It’s actually a very important detail to your pumping success! We all know that every woman’s breast is a unique size and shape, but this is also true of her nipple. In order to pump the most milk possible and not experience pain while you do it you need to have a correctly fitted breast shield.

I was recently talking with a group of moms and heard many of them say that they didn’t know that breast shields come in different sizes. They thought it was “one size fits all.” It’s so easy to miss this type of information when we have never done this before and we are busy taking care of a newborn baby! If you are experiencing pain or discoloration of your nipple while you pump, little to no milk output, a pulling or rubbing sensation while pumping or cracked/blistered nipples you may have a flange that is not the correct size.

But how do you know what size you are? How do you know if you are currently using an incorrect size? The gang at Pumpables has done something truly unique. You don’t have to wonder anymore and you are no longer on your own to figure it out. When I first heard that breast shields come in various sizes I held a few up to my breast, shrugged and took my best guess. But this is not the best way to get the correct size!

Check out Pumpables’ new Fitting Room. You can take a short video of your breast in the breast shield while pumping and upload it to their website. Then fill out a questionnaire and a representative will get back to you with feedback about how your breast shield is fitting. Your video is kept absolutely confidential and is immediately deleted. Your video is not shared with anyone so you can rest assured no one besides the consultant will see it. 

Pumpables fitting room

You can upload your video right to their website as you fill out the questionnaire.

Many women claim that they do not pump much milk. It’s true that women respond differently to pumping, but sometimes it’s simply a matter of a breast shield that doesn’t fit right. You know your breasts will change size and shape over your breastfeeding and pumping journey, but your nipples will as well. It’s possible that your correct fit will change over time, multiple times! So be sure to monitor how your nipples feel and how much milk you are pumping as changes could indicate that you need to make a breast shield size adjustment.

If you are a working mom or spend long periods of time away from your baby you have probably experienced concerns about being able to “keep up” with your baby. Meaning that you fear your baby will drink more milk than you can pump. Sometimes a few minor tweaks to your pumping routine such as using Hands On Pumping or breast massages while pumping can help increase milk output. It’s also very common for child care providers to overfeed babies. You can work with your child care provider to avoid overfeeding. And make sure to upload a video to Pumpables’ Fitting Room to assure that you are using the correct sized breast shield.

U Boost is the First Breast Pump Booster to Help Moms Pump More Milk

Our names are Susan and Elizabeth and we have children whose ages are similar to the Badass Breastfeeder. We’ve watched her spread her messages for breastfeeding advocacy, which we’ve loved to support because we’ve had a parallel path – to revolutionize breastfeeding for new mothers through new technologies.

Over the past 6 years, we have worked hard with a dedicated team to develop new breastfeeding technologies that will help mothers achieve their personal feeding goals more effectively. Our new compression and vibration technology is rooted in scientific understanding of breast physiology, clinical data supporting the importance of hands on pumping and vibration as well as hundreds of hours of testing for a diverse group of volunteer testers. Our first product, U Boost, helps to increase your milk output. [Read more…]

When It Comes to Breastfeeding Everyone Has the Answer

I haven’t been totally honest with you. I haven’t been sharing my true breastfeeding journey for a while now. I was at first. I was all kinds of honest about how much breastfeeding drove me crazy, how nursing aversion set in and how I felt so touched out. I also shared the triumphs and the beauty. I still share that freely, but something has happened to my expression of the bad days.

I got so sick of hearing, “Well, time to wean!” And even the less obvious but still obnoxious, “You really need to listen to your body and it sounds like your body is telling you it’s time to end your nursing journey. But you have done so great, you should be proud!” Thanks, but I didn’t ask for your opinion and I don’t need your directive on how to feel much less on where I am in my breastfeeding journey.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding.

I got so sick of reading those comments and hearing those snide remarks from random people who I dared express a moment of frustration to. Why are we so weaning focused? It’s like as soon as we latch a baby on it’s all, “When are you going to wean? How long are you going to breastfeed?” Why can’t a person just breastfeed and see how it goes? Why do we have to know the end before the baby can even suck, swallow and breathe at the same time? [Read more…]

Breastfeeding Is Power

Breastfeeding began as the thing that brought me to my knees. It shook me to my new motherhood core. It pushed all of my buttons, buttons I didn’t know I had. It brought out anxiety, panic, fear, vulnerability and sadness. It didn’t work, it just wouldn’t work, no matter what I did. I felt like a failure, my body was letting me down and it was letting down the very person it was designed to care for. Then I got help and it began to work. It worked really well. I fought hard for it. And then I decided I would not stop until my boys were ready to stop. It gave me strength and power that I didn’t know I had in me. It has taught me about being a woman, being a mother, being strong when I feel weak, and power when I have nothing left to give.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding

Photo by Leslie at Tiny Bubbles Photography.

Breastfeeding Family Support

Family support is vital to a breastfeeding relationship. It’s so important that without it breastfeeding can end early, before mom and baby feel ready. I have a supportive partner. He’s always listened to me about my breastfeeding goals and supported them even when our first son was getting older. “Extended breastfeeding” was a foreign concept to both of us at the time, but he stayed in the game when I stayed breastfeeding. As well as breastfeeding in public for the first time with a cover. I lasted 3 minutes with cover, it was such a pain. He just said, “Take it off.” Now it’s normal. Breastfeeding anywhere in the world at any age is totally normal in my family.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Through Separation Anxiety

Exley is 3 years and 4 months old. He recently started a phase of separation anxiety with me. He has started to get upset when I take a shower, run to the store or just simply leave the room for a second. I return to find out he had a major meltdown that I had left or I can hear him start to cry and yell for me.

I see this is as a normal developmental stage. He is getting older and realizing that he and I are not connected at the breast. He’s becoming more aware of the world around him and is learning that I am a major provider of safety and security for him. The idea of separation between us is scary for him. 

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding through separation anxiety.

I deal with this by limiting my time away from him and having someone else run an errand if I can. I breastfeed him on demand. I reassure him that I will return and delay activities if needed. I invite him to other rooms with me, even the shower if he wants. I know that he will move through this stage more smoothly if I honor his feelings. I take his feelings seriously and try to be as gentle as possible.

Some people would say that I need to toughen him up; that I need to take this opportunity to teach him independence. Some people would say that I “baby” him and that he will grow up to have issues. (He actually just walked into the room as I am typing this!) Some people would say that I am doing too much and need to not “feed into” these feelings.

I call bullsh*t. He is tiny human who relies on me for keeping him safe in this world. No one would suggest that we ignore an adult’s feelings, so why are we so quick to ignore a child’s feelings? Ignoring a child’s feelings and forcing “independence” leads to adults that have no insight into their own feelings, no way of dealing with stress and increase the likelihood that they will act out or resort to drugs and alcohol. I’ve seen it as a social worker over and over.

I will not conform to disgusting social norms that push children away too soon, that don’t honor the feelings of child and adults equally and that suggest I’m damaging my child when the opposite has been proven time and time again. I will answer his cries always, I will breastfeed him until he is done and I will hold him close every time he needs me to. I know that this will lead a sense of security later in life, more emotional stability and more meaningful relationships with others.

***Edited to add that self care is a priority. This does not suggest giving up self care. This suggests seeing our children’s behavior as developmental rather than a burden and helping them through rough times.

Badass Breastfeeding

Mommin’ and nursin’ and bloggin’ and just generally badassin’.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding while working.