A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

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.

Breastfeeding Can Feel Old Then Fresh Again

Things get old. Sometimes going outside, making meals or playing the same old games feels old. Even breastfeeding feels old sometimes, like could you please just skip a feeding? But one thing that never feels old to me is sharing a bed with these boys. I never get tired of pulling them into my chest, smelling their heads and watching their sleeping faces. I don’t even get tired of a foot or butt in the face. It’s always a new adventure. Simply going to sleep with 2 small children is a new and unique adventure everyday. I never get tired of finding out what tonight will bring. At the end of the day it feels like such an accomplishment to see them sleeping. Healthy and safe in my bed. The house feels calm and it’s very quiet for the first time since before the sun came up. When the little one starts to stir and asks for “boobie” in the pitch dark, breastfeeding feels less heavy and old than it did earlier. A quiet night and sleeping children can freshen anything up.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's boys cosleeping, bed sharing.

Extended Breastfeeding is Just Breastfeeding

3 years old and nursing every chance he gets, including at night. There’s nothing wrong with him. It provides him nutrients, comfort, safety and familiarity. This is his safe space. You are never wrong for breastfeeding as long as it feels right for you and your child. No matter what anyone says.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, extended breastfeeding

Unsolicited Breastfeeding Advice

When people criticize, give unsolicited advice, insult or claim they are offended by breastfeeding, breastfeeding beyond infancy, tandem breastfeeding or any other decision you are making about your own family you can simply ignore them. People can say whatever they want and it never has to affect your personal choices. Go ahead and waste your time being offended. I’ll be over here living my own life.Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem breastfeeding

Too Old for Breastfeeding?

That’s silly. He fits perfectly.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding

10 Things I Hate About Breastfeeding

It’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2017 baby! And I am here to rant about things I cannot stand about breastfeeding! Why? Because this is hard. Breastfeeding is really hard! It’s magical and empowering and all that stuff but I need all you new parents and parents struggling right now to know that you will not like everything about breastfeeding. And that’s OK! We do a disservice to each other when we wash over the negative feelings that breastfeeding can bring us. We can find comfort and community in the tough things that we deal with just like with any other journey in life. It’s the secret to our success. So let’s get to it. 10 things I hate about breastfeeding!

[Read more…]

Breastfeeding Toddlers and Small Children

I recently wrote a post called Common Toddler Breastfeeding Problems. In the comment section a woman asked me to write more about breastfeeding toddlers “because it can get really lonely.” That comment really stayed with me. I breastfeed an almost 3-year-old and almost 6-year-old. I have many friends and an online community who do the same so I don’t feel lonely all the time, but I certainly feel that way when I am not within that community. And I remember what it felt like when I had no mothering community at all. I didn’t even know another mother when I had my first son, Jack. [Read more…]

Breastfeeding Toddlers and Small Children

I recently wrote a post called Common Toddler Breastfeeding Problems. In the comment section a woman asked me to write more about breastfeeding toddlers “because it can get really lonely.” That comment really stayed with me. I breastfeed an almost 3-year-old and almost 6-year-old. I have many friends and an online community who do the same so I don’t feel lonely all the time, but I certainly feel that way when I am not within that community. And I remember what it felt like when I had no mothering community at all. I didn’t even know another mother when I had my first son, Jack. [Read more…]