My Baby is Healthy (and so am I) and That’s All That Matters: A Pediatrician’s Perspective

I didn’t have the easiest pregnancy; for one thing, I was considered a geriatric pregnancy, given that medicine was my second career, and I waited until after residency to get pregnant. 

I also have a history of depression and anxiety; thankfully, my depression was under control during pregnancy, but my anxiety certainly wasn’t – it worsened when I learned I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (likely due mainly to my advanced maternal age). 

In my mental preparations to have my baby, there was one thing I was always sure of: I would certainly attempt to breastfeed my child, but if it didn’t work out, that would be okay because, in my clinical experience, formula-fed babies did just fine. Furthermore, from the years of my struggles with my mental health, I learned the importance of choosing my battles, and it simply wasn’t worth it to me to agonize over breastfeeding if it didn’t come easily.   Continue reading

How Breastfeeding Coercion Stripped this Psychiatrist of Her Confidence and Mental Health


By Michelle M., Psychiatrist, MD, and First-Time Mother

It’s taken me a long time to really have the strength to talk about this, but I think it’s time.

I’m a 40-year-old, first time mom to an amazing 9-month-old son. Throughout my pregnancy I was repeatedly asked if I would breastfeed and received endless lectures on the benefits.  I was honestly skeptical about the claimed breastfeeding benefits… (liquid gold? seriously?), but continued to answer “yes”, as it felt like saying “no” would be the wrong answer.

I figured I would try, and if it worked, great!  If it didn’t, then formula was “Plan B”.  I really didn’t think much of it, and figured the baby would get fed one way or another.

Fast forward to my 37th week of pregnancy.  My water broke with no warning, and I had an awful labor due to a failed epidural and uterine tachysystole.  Then to top it all off, I had an emergency c-section when my baby’s heart rate disappeared from the monitors. Labor and delivery didn’t go exactly as planned, but I was elated when it was over, and I had my beautiful baby. 

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My Baby Scream-Cried The Entire Second Night In The Hospital

My name is Amber, and I am the mother of a charming, beautiful, and vivacious baby boy. I want to share with you a story: the story of my son’s birth and his first few months earthside. It is a multidimensional story full of love and heartbreak, but I think it’s important that other new mothers hear it. I hope they will know they are not alone if their early motherhood experiences are not what they always dreamed of.

I was working in an emergency room as a nurse and heading into my second-to-last semester of school to become a nurse practitioner. My husband and I had only been trying to conceive for a month. Because I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and irregular periods, I figured getting pregnant would take longer, but there I was on September 1 with a positive test. We were ecstatic. As a planner, I spent most of the next nine months thinking about and planning everything about my son’s birth. I consider myself a well-educated woman and medical professional, so it was no surprise that the heart of my plans included breastfeeding my son. I spent months researching the best pumps for when I had to return to work, deciding on a storage-and-feeding set, and learning about ways to strengthen the breastfeeding bond. Formula feeding never crossed my mind. After all, I was always told breast was best. Sure, I had some friends who gave some formula here or there, but I just knew I would be one of the ones who would exclusively breastfeed and pump for my son. Continue reading

“Parenting Classes Need to Discuss Other Feeding Options, Not Just Breastfeeding”


I saw on your website that you guys are encouraging parents to share their feeding journey and I thought I would share mine.

My baby was born March 6, 2021, after 48 hours of labor which resulted in a c-section, just shy of 39 weeks gestation. She was 6 pounds 3 ounces and healthy as can be. My plan was always to breastfeed, so the lactation consultants (LCs) in the hospital helped me right away with latching. We discovered a tongue tie and that was corrected when we left the hospital. 

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I Had All of The Support In The World And Breastfeeding Still Didn’t Work.

They tell you that if you prepare enough, breastfeeding will work. They tell you that all you need is support, commitment, and trust in your body, and you will be successful. If only it were that simple.

What they don’t tell you is that your mammary biology can have limitations. I am that mom. 

I knew I might have issues. I had breast reduction surgery back in 2001, but had been told that using the right technique would preserve my ability to breastfeed. Nonetheless, I set out preparing to ensure I would be successful. Besides doing yoga, pilates, weight training, and exercise, I entered the midwife program and prepped diligently. I did prenatal workshops and tracked down a book on how to successfully be a breast feeding after reduction mom.

I hired a private lactation consultant for a session ahead of time. We talked about teas and tinctures, techniques, and diet to help my supply be optimal. (Note: there is no evidence that teas, tinctures, or foods increase milk supply). We talked about how I could use a supplemental nursing system if necessary. I read extensively and was convinced breastfeeding was the only way to feed my son to ensure his well-being, and I would have no problem breastfeeding because I had SUPPORT. 

Note: Unfortunately, she was not informed of all her significant risk factors and how to supplement her baby until her milk supply was enough to feed her baby safely. Breast reduction surgery requires specific management and interventions that she did not receive.

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