I Embraced Our Version of Breastfeeding by guest blogger Tricia


I had a breast reduction in my early twenties. The doctor who performed it told me that they were mostly fat and had very little glandular tissue (IGT). He assured me I could breastfeed one day and I assumed he knew what he was talking about.

When I had my first baby, Forest, I tried everything I could to breastfeed him, but I didn’t produce much milk at all and quit after 5 weeks.

I became pregnant with my second baby, Jude, 5 years later. This time I prepared myself to make as much milk as I could. I bought a Lact-Aid system to supplement with and read several books. I wasn’t going to let low supply stop me this time. My midwife insisted I not supplement right away and give my body a chance to meet my baby’s needs.

Jude was born quickly and had fluid in his lungs. We got to breastfeed once after his birth. He ate like a champ and it was clear that he would be a booby monster. Then he turned blue and was whisked away to the NICU and put in an isolette with breathing and feeding tubes. I couldn’t hold him, let alone feed him, for days. I pumped and pumped to get him every drop of colostrum. I hadn’t expected to make much, but when my midwife held up the bottle with 7 mls of colostrum and commented about how little it was, I felt defeated. I couldn’t give up, though. Jude needed those measly drops. I moved into the care by parent room and pumped constantly. On the third day my milk came in, and Jude came out of the isolette. I could finally hold and feed him. He had trouble latching with the SNS (Supplemental Nursing System), and though I had said no bottles, I was tired and gave in so that I could just bring my baby home.

I tried using the Lact-Aid, but each time it would result in a nursing strike and I gave up on it. I started taking herbal supplements and eating any lactogenic food I could find. We spent weeks going through the nurse, bottle, pump routine. When Jude was 4 weeks old my father died. I gave up pumping; I just couldn’t handle it anymore at that time.

My booby monster quickly started showing a preference for the bottles. The nursing became harder and harder and at 11 weeks I tried the Lact-Aid one last time. It worked! He took it happily and hasn’t had a single bottle since he was 13 weeks old. He became my booby monster again, and started nursing every single hour. I thought it was a growth spurt, but it still hasn’t ended.

At the same time, I noticed that he was having trouble maintaining suction with the tube in his mouth and realized he had lip and tongue-ties. I spent several weeks arguing with several doctors about fixing them. I finally got an appointment with Dr. Jack Newman. It was a 5 hour drive each way with a 4.5 month old who ate hourly, but it was worth it to me. With the improved latch, I thought there was a chance to increase my supply and wean off the Lact-Aid. I started taking Domperidone. I gained 45 lbs on it, but the increase in supply was negligible, and Jude began to refuse to nurse without the SNS anyway. I gave up on the dream of feeding without supplementation and embraced our version of breastfeeding.

Since then we’ve battled months of recurring plugged ducts and a case of thrush that just won’t go away. Jude still eats every 1-3 hours at night. I use the Lact-Aid for night feedings, and I can’t doze through them like a normal breastfeeding mum. If Jude falls asleep before he finishes the supplement, it will continue to drip into the bed and we will wake in a huge puddle of formula. Nights are the only time I really curse my low supply anymore.

Jude is turning 1 in just two weeks and he still wants to breastfeed constantly, but I can’t complain. I love it, and so does he. I’m so glad that I stuck it out through all of the troubles, because this relationship is so unbelievably special to us both. It was worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you really want to breastfeed your baby, don’t let obstacles stand in your way. I am proof that they can be overcome. You may have to change your expectations, though.


About Abby Theuring

Abby Theuring
The Badass Breastfeeder is a mother, writer, social worker, attachment parent, proud breastfeeder and advocate. Her career as a social worker has shown her that gentle and connected parenting is vital for life-long emotional health. You can find her blog at www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheBadassBreastfeeder.

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  1. Avatar

    My son is turning 2 years next month. Some of my friends asked me to stop nursing because it is totally useless to breastfed at this age. I want to continue but his theeths which have started staining make me double minded. May be I need to consult dentist before taking any decision. Your article is very informative and clear my many myths. Thank u so much for sharing

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    I too had many difficulties (tongue and lip tie with both my first and second baby). My first nursed awesome after the revision, but my second baby did not. I finally went to see Dr. Newman at the 4 month mark with my second because we were still using the lactation aid quite a bit and he was gaining slowly. Dr. Newman checked my for IGT, I was so worried that may have been the issue but he said no. I believe there is not enough info on this. He increased my domperidone to the max dosage and it worked! I did gain 20 lbs since delivery, but it was worth it. My son is now 5.5 months and nurses perfectly. Dr. Newman gave us the ok to start solids and it made such a huge difference. Your story is so relatable. You’ve worked SO hard to get where you are and you should be proud of yourself. We should not have to drive hours to get proper help. We should not have to argue about tongue and lip ties. We should not have to work so hard and fight to feed our babies. Please know that you’re brave and sharing your story just helped a whole lot of women.

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    I love this! I also chose to supplement at-breast for long-term. I credit it completely for the blessing that my almost 2yo still loves to nurse. We were able to slowly phase out the at-breast supplementation as he got older, ate solids, and was taking in fluids by cup as well. He was around 19mo when we had our last nursing with the lact-aid. I was so scared that without it, he would lose interest and stop, but NOPE, not even close. I finally got to feel like a “normal breastfeeding Mom” at 19mo, but it was worth it. Now at 23mo still going strong. Bless you Momma, I hope your journey continues to be one that brings both you and babe joy. =)

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    Rock on mama!
    My own nursing toddler loved your pictures! She smacked her lips and decided to nurse too :)

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