Chestfeeding your baby is an important part of the pregnancy journey. Most often refereed to as the “4th Trimester,” the weeks after your baby is born is full of learning and growing for both mother and baby. Learning how to breastfeed takes up a large part of your sharp learning curve. So, take a deep breath, relax and give you and your baby the grace to take time, get messy, get frustrated and grow!
Whether you decide to breastfeed/chestfeed, give your baby breast milk through a bottle, make your own formula or use store-bought formula, it is a decision you should make after reviewing/reading (articles, family history, your own beliefs, research), considering (your own beliefs, research, your availability/situation) and talking/discussing (to your doctor/midwife, a lactation consultant, your partner, family/friends). It is your own decision and whatever decision you make will be right for you and your baby. I’m not here to judge, I am here to provide resources and information to help you in your decision process.
No matter what you decide, I recommend interviewing a couple IBCLC's (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and hiring the one that makes you feel the most comfortable. It is helpful to meet with them before you have your baby so you can develop a plan and feel supported from the beginning. Then, it is advisable to meet them again day 1 or 2 after baby is born. (I have a list of great ones on my resources page!)
You also want to contact your health insurance and ask what breastfeeding supplies/items they cover. Most cover a breast pump and some cover nursing bras/clothes. This is important to know before you make your decision and before you go into labor. Lastly – stand by your decision! Take pride in providing for your child. Do not let others shame you into or out of your decision. You know what is best for you, the baby and your family.
African American Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon: To Educate, Advocate and Promote Black women Breastfeeding in our homes, communities and nations. To provide a continuum of care so that any Black woman who faces challenges to breastfeeding success can obtain counseling and clinical care for free or at low cost. Phone number: (503) 430-9072.
4 Women: Information on women's health topics, screenings, and diagnostic testing. Spanish resources available.
International Breastfeeding Centre: Dr. Jack Newman, lots of helpful information on various topics having to do with breastfeeding, tongue-ties, breastfeeding a toddler, medication while breastfeeding and more.
Lamaze International: resources from conception to parenting. Provides information on breastfeeding, pacifiers, sleeping, and more.
Best for Babes: a great website full of information and resources committed to “beating the Booby Traps that prevent Moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals.”
Childbirth Connection: a website full of helpful information on all aspects of pregnancy, labor and beyond. Provides top breastfeeding books and other resources.
Chocolate Milk Mommies: lactation help supporting black parents and their babies. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s Health: covers topics from why breastfeeding is important, to pumping at work and common challenges.
Oregon Inter-tribal Breastfeeding Coalition: We are a non-profit organization. We seek to redefine unity, to promote, educate, support, and respect our diverse Native American community in Oregon; reclaiming breastfeeding and infant first foods. Phone: (503) 734-4346.
Breastfeeding Laws: provides laws for Oregon as well as the Federal Laws. Covers information on employer laws as well in regards to breastfeeding.
Pumps: speCtra is the pump I use. I found it to be better than the Medela. It is quieter. It is more gentle on your nipples. It works better to get the milk out of the milk ducts; I have personally had a lot less engorgement and clogged milk ducts since switching to the speCtra.
The Nursing Mother’s Companion (6th edition: 25th Anniversary Edition, 2010), by Kathleen Huggins. Information, support and practical troubleshooting to help you through all the phases of breastfeeding: planning, first week, first 2 months, months 2-6, months 6-12, and nursing a toddler. With appendices on medication safety and nursing mother resources. Buy on amazon here!
Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers by Jeanine Valrie Logan & Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka Outpaces other books on the topic because it gives privilege to actual women. Facts about breastfeeding and statistics can be found in numerous pamphlets and with professional lactation consultants. However, there is no other book on the market that can give a new or expectant mother the experience of seeing her experience reflected in the stories and pictures of other women. While there is growing coverage to the disparities in breastfeeding rates, the actual thoughts and experiences of African-American nursing mothers are overlooked. It is precisely these first-hand experiences that breastfeeding mothers seek from other women. Buy from amazon here!
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding (2009), by Ina May Gaskin. Everything you need to know to make breastfeeding a joyful, natural, and richly fulfilling experience for both you and your baby. Ina May Gaskin explores the health and psychological benefits of breastfeeding and gives you practical advice that will help you nurse your baby in the most fulfilling way possible. Buy from amazon here!
The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding (2017) by Kimberly Seals Allers Journalist and infant health advocate Kimberly Seals Allers breaks breastfeeding out of the realm of "personal choice" and shows our broader connection to an industrialized food system that begins at birth, the fallout of feminist ideals, and the federal policies that are far from family friendly. The Big Letdown uncovers the multibillion-dollar forces battling to replace mothers' milk and the failure of the medical establishment to protect infant health. Weaving together research and personal stories with original reporting on medicine, big pharma, and hospitals, Kimberly Seals Allers shows how mothers and babies have been abandoned by all the forces that should be supporting families from the start--and what we can do to help. Buy from amazon here!
Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers(2nd Edition, 2010), byNancy Mohrbacher IBCLC FILCA, and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett PhD IBCLC. Forward byJack Newman MD. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it may also be more challenging than you expect. Some mothers encounter doubts and difficulties, from struggling with the first few feedings to finding a gentle and loving way to comfortably wean from the breast. Buy from amazon here!
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th Edition, Revised & Updated, 2010),by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman. Dedicated to supporting nursing and expectant mothers, the internationally respected La Leche League has set the standard for educating and empowering mothers in this natural art for generations. Buy from amazon here!
Little Black Breastfeeding Book: Maternal Experience of Breastfeeding (2012), by Jacqueline Lois The Little Black Breastfeeding Book is a small reference book that arms women with the emotional tools they will need to nurse their babies through the first year of life. The title is a bit of a play on words as it is small in size and it is black in cover, but it also is directed toward black women as it shares the authors story as a black woman who has breastfed her children and who would like to see more black women do the same. Buy from amazon here!
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solution Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America (Revised & Updated Edition, 2006), by Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman. Breastfeeding support: why breastfeed, how to deal with many specific challenges, how to work breastfeeding into your life. Buy on amazon here!
Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More! by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada (La Leche League) A mother of multiple babies may find herself wondering if she can produce enough milk, how to coordinate feedings, and if breastfeeding is even an option for her. The simple answer: Yes! All aspects of caring for multiple babies are addressed, including possible complications of pregnancy, preparing for a multiple birth, coping with newborns who might need to spend time in a NICU, establishing a milk supply for multiple babies, adjusting as a couple, and caring for toddler multiples. Buy on amazon here!
Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond, by Hilary Flower Hilary gives comprehensive and in-depth answers to a wide range of questions related to breastfeeding during pregnancy and tandem nursing. This book pools the stories of over 200 mothers from around the world. Extensive reviews of medical research and discussions with experts in the fields of nutrition, obstetrics, and anthropology have provided the author with a thorough understanding of what we know and what we can surmise on this important topic. Buy on amazon here!
Balancing Breast and Bottle: Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals by Amy Peterson, BS, IBCLC and Mindy Harmer, MA. CCC-SLP There may be times, whether by necessity or choice, when you need to offer your baby a bottle or a pacifier. You will want to find a feeding and comfort method that works for you and your baby without sabotaging breastfeeding. Balancing Breast and Bottle provides you with valuable information on how to select and use the bottle nipple or pacifier that is best for your breastfed baby, discusses the dilemma of how to feed a breastfed baby during separation, while protecting the breastfeeding relationship and making sure every mother can reach her breastfeeding goals. It also helps mothers understand the basics of breastfeeding and how a baby's suck can be used to select the best bottle nipple. Tips for collecting, storing, and stockpiling milk are included, along with various pumping scenarios to ensure the baby's bottles are loaded with as much breastmilk as possible. In this book mothers will learn how to find the ideal balance between breastfeeding, pumping, and bottle-feeding for their own family. By following the tips in this book, every mother can feel confident her baby will eat when they are apart. Buy it on amazon here!
Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods- and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater, By Gill Rapley. Great book for all parents. You can skip the baby food, the jars, the spoon feeding and enjoy eating with your baby. Buy on amazon here!