A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Breastfeeding, Breasts and Rules

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem nursing

Rules. Man, I hate rules. Most rules are arbitrary; anchored in control and profit. Traffic rules that keep cars flowing and not hitting each other, fine, I get that. But there are some rules that we never question that are simply there to oppress and control people. Some of them are loved so dearly that we made them LAWS. Like laws regarding my nipples. In most places I can get a ticket or even arrested if my nipples are exposed! The “I” in this sentence is important because I am a female and if I were not I would not be able to write that sentence. If I were a male I would not have any laws regarding my nipples. I would not be able to find ANY laws regarding the control of my body. Well, you can piss off with your rules about my body! And what about these other rules that aren’t laws, but they are so ingrained in our culture that we don’t even need them to be laws because the citizens keep them alive through social norms? Like I need to wean my child at a certain age or I need to cover when breastfeeding in public. You can piss off with those too!

Photo by Ivette Ivens

Unsolicited Breastfeeding Comments

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder

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.

Breastfeed to Sleep

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding her baby to sleep

Breastfeeding your child to sleep is not a bad habit, it will not create sleep problems and it is not spoiling your baby. You are providing a normal and natural way for your child to go to sleep. The suckling motion of nursing relaxes and soothes your child to sleep. Yes, I said “child” because this is not just for babies. Breastfeeding is far from just food. It’s one of those powers that makes you a super hero.

Breastfeeding and Boobs

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding in public

They are just boobs. Boobs in all their glory. Boobs are so awesome people just don’t even know it. They have so many uses. They are incredible! So then why is it that people freak out at the sight of a breastfeeding mother? Even go to such lengths to shield their children’s eyes! Yet we walk around the mall and flip through magazines with magnificent boobs on display and no one blinks.

My theory is that breasts have become so fetishized (as means of controlling women and our bodies) that when people see breastfeeding they see it as a sexual act. And therefore are repulsed by it.

The more we breastfeed in public and the more we question the insanity and the more we confront the dysfunction of society the better chance we have of our children and grandchildren growing up in a saner world.

Breastfeeding Is Your Journey and No One Else’s

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, extended breastfeeding

There is not a single voice that matters in this decision besides you and your child’s. A person wrote to me recently about how she had promised her husband that she would stop breastfeeding by 3 years old. Well, the child is now 3 years old and she does not want to stop breastfeeding, but her husband is pressuring her to stop. I told her that her husband’s opinion will matter when he is the one breastfeeding. Too harsh? No. A breastfeeding relationship belongs to the owner of the breast and the one suckling on said breast. Period.

Comparing Breastfeeding Experiences

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem nursing, tandem breastfeeding

I’m sure you’ve heard about not comparing your child to another child. Every child develops differently and there is no way you can judge your baby’s development based on someone else’s baby.

So why do we do the same thing to ourselves? I have a friend who told me that breastfeeding was no problem for her at all. She never had any struggles and breastfed both of her children until they stopped on their own. It used to make me feel jealous and defensive to hear her talk about breastfeeding.

Then I realized that my journey is just as awesome. It’s different than hers. And it’s different than any other mother’s journey. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and problems from kicking formula supplements, to nursing aversion, to tandem feeding and breastfeeding while pregnant. I don’t see my breastfeeding journey with my boys as “problem free.” And I am proud of that now rather than jealous of others.

I have a unique story with my boys. We all do. No one’s story is more valuable than any other’s. This is one beautiful, crazy, messy life that I am proud to call my own and to share with my boys every day. 

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.