Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction - A Memoir

A few months ago, we sent out a Call for Breastfeeding Stories.  Our desire was to flood the Internet with beautiful breastfeeding stories of triumph, overcoming challenges and struggles, and positive outcomes, regardless of the total amount of milk a mom was producing.  We are thrilled to share these stories with you, our readers, and hope that they offer support and inspiration for you, wherever you are in your breastfeeding journey. 

Thank you to all of the mothers who submitted their stories!  If after you read these memoirs you are inspired to submit your story, feel free to send it to    


This breastfeeding memoir is from Jenna.

Ten years ago, eighteen-year-old Jenna was bouncing between San Diego and Los Angeles counties looking for a plastic surgeon. They had to be willing to do a keyhole incision and leave my nipple attached while they performed a bilateral breast reduction. I was a senior in high school and had my breast reduction surgery during spring break. 

Fast forward six years. I find out I'm pregnant the day my boyfriend gets to Djibouti, Africa, where he'll be deployed for the next 7 months. I sought out a natural birth provider in my network after reading the book, Defining your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery by Diana West. In this book, it encouraged mothers to birth as naturally as possible for the best chance at breastfeeding after a reduction and this book had become like a Bible for me, so I followed its every recommendation. After finding midwives, a doula and a baby-friendly hospital, I looked for an IBCLC and a Breastfeeding 101 class. I knew I needed to be prepared or I would succumb to all of the "boobie traps" within the first few days. My daughter was born on the much later end of normal, well past 42 weeks, was 9lbs 11oz at birth, and was born with a tongue tie and upper lip tie. I was given hell at the hospital for not wanting to give her formula, after requesting several times to be seen by the in-house IBCLC. The nurses and pediatricians said they'd never seen a mother be able to exclusively breastfeed after a reduction and feared that I wouldn't feed my baby because of my determination to nurse. 

At 6 weeks old, my daughter was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies making even allergen-free, prescription-only formula not an option. The first six weeks I pumped after every feeding.  My husband spoon-fed, finger-fed, syringe-fed, cup-fed, & I used an SNS. At our 2 month pediatrician appointment, our doctor told me to quit trying and that what we were doing wasn't sustainable. I sought out chiropractic care, craniosacral therapy, multiple tongue tie revisions, continuous IBCLC care, breastfeeding support groups, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, removed all allergens from my diet, quit my job, and somehow decided, breastfeeding was worth it all. From eight weeks old, we exclusively nursed through recurring tongue ties, vasospasms, low milk supply, mastitis, severe food allergies, thrush, and an abscess, for over 3 years, through a pregnancy and tandem nursing for a year and a half. Her younger sister is 28 months and we don't see an end in sight. 

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We Were Not Meant to Mother Alone

A few months ago, we sent out a Call for Breastfeeding Stories.  Our desire was to flood the Internet with beautiful breastfeeding stories of triumph, overcoming challenges and struggles, and positive outcomes, regardless of the total amount of milk a mom was producing.  We are thrilled to share these stories with you, our readers, and hope that they offer support and inspiration for you, wherever you are in your breastfeeding journey. 

Thank you to all of the mothers who submitted their stories!  If after you read these memoirs you are inspired to submit your story, feel free to send it to    


Our first breastfeeding memoir is from Michelle.

I booked at least 2 vacations for my maternity leave, all on airplanes. I was going to wear my baby everywhere, nursing her as we went along. I had the organic breast pads purchased, all the nursing tanks, and the most breastfeeding-friendly bottles, but of course I wouldn’t need those for at least several months. I would see Mamas nursing their babes at the beach and I would find myself staring as I daydreamed about my nursling that was to come. December 2013, my sweet baby girl arrived.  She latched and we were a nursing team. 24hrs later I was told she was Coombs positive and her jaundice levels were high. She was sleepy, was losing too much weight and I needed to give her formula in a bottle. I cried lots of tears. "FORMULA? No way!", but I had no other options. Every time I fed her, and I wouldn’t let anyone else feed her.  I felt awful and felt like I was letting her down. 7 days later I was told, "your daughter is failure to thrive". Queue more tears, more formula, more guilt, and not a lot of milk being produced from me. 

Over the next month, my journey consisted of doctors’ visits, pumping 8x a day, a baby screaming at the breast due to bottle preference and low supply, tube feeding, domperidone, and yet my milk never fully came in. 5 weeks in, a friend asked me to go to a breastfeeding support group.  I went and hoped no one would notice me feeding formula to my sweet baby who wouldn't latch more than 5 minutes. Everyone noticed, yet no one judged me. 

3 months in, at the Breastfeeding Support group that I now attended weekly, a Mama who I hardly knew asked if I wanted her to pump for me, and then another offered to help, as well. This would begin my donor milk journey, and a mental shift in my head that allowed me to stop seeing what I wasn't capable of, and start enjoying the beauty that came from a community that would end up feeding both of my babes! I threw away my pumping and tube feeding schedule right along with the lies that told me I wasn't enough because I couldn't get my body to do what I needed to do to fully feed my baby. We kept nursing as much as possible until 10 months and she got half formula and half donor milk. 

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A few months later, I was pregnant with my son. After my prenatal appointment at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, I got permission from my doctor to start hand expressing at 37 weeks to collect colostrum to give my baby in the hospital through syringe feeding at the breast to help flush any jaundice he would have since he would be Coombs positive, as well. I started to collect donor milk and I had a community that donated enough breastmilk to supply him 9 full months as I only provided him about 30% of his needs with my own supply. He was born and I had a tiny bit more milk and a lot more confidence. I knew that no matter what, a nourished baby is a loved baby. I knew now that if I needed to give formula, I wasn't less of a mother.  If I fed my baby pumped milk, donated milk, only could nurse a few times a day, used a cover, didn't use a cover, nursed for 3 months or nursed for 3 years, no matter what, I WAS ENOUGH. Even after a 6 day stay in the hospital for his Coombs, a tongue and lip tie revision, and a micro supply, we nursed for 10 months with donor milk through the SNS tube feeding at the breast. We then fed formula in a bottle and nursed as often as he wanted. He nursed until 16 months. 

Today I am working towards my IBCLC, because of the non-judgmental support I received from the San Diego Breastfeeding Center community. They didn't sprinkle magic fairy breastfeeding dust on me that fixed all issues, but they gave me a plan that was doable. They gave me tools to accomplish the goals I set for myself.  They gave me hope and they provided me with a community that was there to cheer me on. When I think about my breastfeeding journey, it is less about feeding my children, and more about the discovery that we Mamas cannot mother alone; we were never intended to do so. It takes a village to raise a baby, and for me, it took a village to feed mine. I am forever grateful. 

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Awesome Opportunity Drawing at the San Diego Big Latch On Event!

So you thought you were just coming to the Big Latch On event to hang out with friends and latch on your kiddo, right?  Well, wait until you see all of the fantastic breastfeeding and pumping swag you have the opportunity to win at our drawing on Saturday!  

We feel incredibly fortunate to have the support of so many local businesses and national breastfeeding-friendly companies.  These businesses have graciously donated goods and services to help raise money for the San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation, our non-profit organization which offers reduced-fee private breastfeeding consultations for local low-income families.  Last year we raised about $2500 for our foundation at the Big Latch On event and we are hoping to DOUBLE that this year!  

Leading up to the actual Latch On, you will have a chance to purchase opportunity drawing tickets.  You will receive one free ticket with registration and the rest can be purchased for:

$1 - 1 ticket

$5 - 6 tickets

$10 - 12 tickets

$20 - 25 tickets

ALL proceeds will be donated to the San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation

At 10:45am, we will begin to announce the winners of each prize.  You must be present to win the prize.  For a full rundown of the entire Big Latch On event, please check out our Facebook event page

Ready to see what you have the chance to win????


Dr. Stanton Hom - New patient chiropractic package

Dr. Karin Nealon - $200 craniosacral package

Rumina - several Pump&Nurse bras and tanks

Tula - Free-to-Grow carrier and blankets

Nature’s Whisper - 3 yoga class package

Deanna Honda - free massage

Morgan Gates - one-on-one makeup lesson

Ashlee Hayden - free photography package

Hands for Life Ocean Beach - Mama and Me chiropractic package

Good Vibrations - Free first chiropractic visit

Micah Arsham - Free Acupuncture visit

Whole Family Wellness - Free Acupuncture visit

Nursing Noah - teething necklace

Becoming Peaceful - Free parent coaching session and free parenting workshop

Emily New - massage

Wholesome Home - Natural product gift basket

Inspire Life Chiropractic - Discounted first exam and book

Nutrition in Bloom - free classes and free private nutrition counseling session

Freemie - Equality pump with deluxe cup

Glamourmom - nursing tanks

Fairhaven - Milk saver and milk tray

Momzelle - $50 gift card

Bamboobies - breastpads and nursing shawl

Ardo - hand pump

Dairy Fairy - bras

Jay Elle  - breast pump bag

Mama Magic Birth - free elimination communication class

If you are unable to attend the Big Latch On this year, but would still like to donate to the SDBFC Foundation, you may do so through our website at anytime.  You can also choose us as your charitable recipient through Amazon smile.  Just one click and .5% of every Amazon purchase you make will be donated to our Foundation!

Call for Your Breastfeeding Stories!

This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is Sustaining Breastfeeding Together, which really brings forth the collaborative nature of breastfeeding.  When I think about the components that shape a mother’s breastfeeding experience, the first thing that come to mind is support.  Who is part of her ‘Dream Team of Breastfeeding Support’?  Her partner?  Her family and friends? Her doctors and midwives?  Her lactation consultant?  Her local and online community? All of these connections shape how we view ourselves as a breastfeeding mother and how successful we feels about ourselves and our experience.  Since not all of us are fortunate to have a huge system of in-person breastfeeding support, online support can be critical.  

Over the years we have collected breastfeeding memoirs from our readers.  Our goal is to share the many different ways that mothers breastfeed, each story highlighting different challenges that may arise and how mothers are resilient and determined to find success, whatever that may look like to them.  

This August, in honor of the 2017 World Breastfeeding Week’s theme, we are sending out a call for YOUR breastfeeding memoir.  Would you like to share your story so that another mother may find support from and connection to your experience?  Did you overcome a challenge?  Did the support of another person help shape your breastfeeding experience?   



  • We will be collecting breastfeeding memoirs from August 1 - September 15, 2017.
  • Each memoir should be between 150-250 words and include a photo
  • Each memoir must be original content
  • All selected memoirs will be posted on the SDBFC website’s blog and be considered for inclusion in an upcoming breastfeeding book!


Possible topics, but not limited to:

  • Increasing milk supply
  • Going back to work
  • Overcoming breastfeeding challenges
  • Breastfeeding after a NICU stay
  • Breastfeeding after breast surgery
  • Tongue tie
  • Breastfeeding twins
  • Positive nursing in public experience
  • Full term breastfeeding
  • Tandem nursing


Feel free to post any questions in the comments.

Please email your original breastfeeding memoir and photo(s) to Robin Kaplan (


There are so many online stories of moms feeling like they’ve failed…. Let’s flood the Internet with stories of triumph!

2017 Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Giveaway

The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2017 is ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’, which is probably our favorite theme thus far!  We know that all families benefit from a team of support to reach their personal breastfeeding goals and this year’s theme really brings that collaborative spirit to the forefront!  In addition to the in-person, online, and mom to mom support that the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and the Badass Breastfeeder offers, these amazing companies have been part of this breastfeeding-supportive team for families for many years and we are thrilled to partner up with them this year for our 2017 Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Giveaway!

To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2017, over 15 breastfeeding-supportive companies have donated items for an enormous Breastfeeding Mom Prize Package, valued at over $2000!  First we’d like to introduce you to the co-hosts of the 2017 Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week giveaway.  Then, we’ll share all of the goodies that have been so graciously donated.

Meet Our Hosts!

San Diego Breastfeeding Center:  A judgment-free online and in-person resource for evidence-based breastfeeding information and personalized assistance for mothers facing breastfeeding challenges.  Founded by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC in 2009, SDBFC offers private breastfeeding consultations, classes, free support groups, and an extensive blog. In August 2016, Robin started the San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which offers reduced-rate lactation consultations to families with financial need.  

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The Badass Breastfeeder: The Badass Breastfeeder is a blog written by Abby Theuring, a social worker, writer, public speaker, activist, wife and mother of 2 who lives in Chicago, IL. The blog empowers mothers to breastfeed in public, and to breastfeed beyond infancy. It encourages moms and dads to trust their parenting instincts and helps parents develop the confidence to make important decisions for their families. It’s also the personal story of one family’s struggles through the ups and downs of attachment parenting. Unlike many parenting blogs, it paints an honest, authentic picture of the stressful moments that come along with being a parent. The Badass Breastfeeder is a global community of moms and dads who share their experiences so that we know we are not alone.

How to Enter the 2017 Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Giveaway

You may enter the giveaway from August 1, 2017 - August 7, 2017.  On August 8, 2017, we will announce 1 lucky winner of the Breastfeeding Mom Prize Package.  Winners must live in the United States or Canada.  You can receive up to 33 entries into the giveaway by signing up for our newsletter, adding comments to this blog post, and checking out our social media.  

Now for the Prizes!

One Amaryll hand pump from Ardo. The Amaryll handle attaches three ways for the perfect, ergonomic way to pump right or left-handed. Amaryll is an efficient, easy-to-use and comfortable option when you need to pump on the go. Like our electric pumps, Amaryll does not "let go" of your nipple for added comfort and effectiveness.  Includes three breast shell/flange sizes (26mm, 28mm, 31mm) plus the Optiflow (26mm) soft silicone breast massage insert.

One $50 gift certificate to GlamourMom. The original expert in full support nursing bras built into stylish tanks and tops.

One Ayla All In One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Bra from Dairy Fairy.  A lacy, supportive and comfortable bra for nursing and handsfree pumping. We make ingenious intimates for mama's milk. 

One Pump&Nurse Set from Rumina, which includes: 1 Pump&Nurse Tank and 1 Pump&Nurse Bra - style, color and size of winner's choice.  Rumina's Pump&Nurse bras and tank tops makes nursing and pumping, Simple, Comfortable and Convenient.

One $50 gift certificate for Lactation Granola Bars from Oat Mama.  Undeniably delicious and packed with brewer's yeast and healthy fats from nuts and seeds, Oat Mama lactation granola bars are lovingly crafted by breastfeeding mamas for breastfeeding mamas.

One Bamboobies Breastfeeding Bundle, which includes a pack of reusable nursing pads, a jar of organic nipple balm, and our new nursing yoga brahhh.

One Milk-Saver. One Milk Tray, one Nursing Blend, one Nursing Time Tea, one Softies Nursing Pads, and  one Nipple Nurture Balm all from Fairhaven Health. Milkies by Fairhaven Health is a line of innovative breastfeeding products to help moms reach their breastfeeding goals! Products include breast milk collection and storage solutions to help moms returning to work, as well as supplements, teas, nipple balm, nursing pads, and much more!

One $50 gift certificate from Momzelle.  Momzelle's mission is to help mothers feel comfortable and confident breastfeeding in public by designing high quality, affordable and super cute nursing wear.

One $100 gift certificate from Vida Leche Amor. Vida Leche Amor is a collection of fashionable tops and dresses designed to be worn during the full-term breastfeeding relationship and beyond.

Freemie Deluxe Cup Set with Expanded Compatibility Kit (works with all compatible pumps)  Pump with your shirt on—anytime, anywhere, with Freemie!

One Large size NuzzleHUG.  The NuzzleHUG by Nuzzle soothes a nursing mother's lactation discomfort with warm and cool breast, neck and body therapy.

One Milk It Kit and a set of 120 waterproof breastmilk labels from Milk It. This set will help mom organize and label her milk and go back to work without worry of pumping session walk-ins or shared fridge milk mishaps!

One Chic Cowl Nursing Top in Purple from Udderly Hot Mama.  You'll feel so stylish and enjoy the quick access to nursing so much that you'll want to wear this shirt all year round. The patent-pending inside flap, included in every Udderly Hot Mama® nursing garment, provides extra privacy during a feeding. When baby's weaned, you can easily remove it and add your top to your everyday wardrobe.

One Breastfeeding/Nursing Necklace from Wee Kings.  Wee Kings nursing necklaces are the perfect distraction for baby's hands while being fed, and are a stylish, practical accessory for mom to wear.

LatchPal Breastfeeding Clip and Little Zip Pocket Blanket from Happy Fig.  LatchPal is the only breastfeeding clip of its kind; the one-handed, patented, quick fastening method makes it easy for postpartum and pumping mothers to secure their shirts and nurse in comfort.  It also doubles as a nursing reminder clip!  Little Zip Pocket Blanket is a fashionable and functional blanket that can be used for cuddling, nursing, and carrying your parenting necessities. This innovative blanket has a hidden zipper pocket that stores diapers, wipes, breastfeeding accessories, and more.

One $75 gift certificate from Milk Nursingwear.  Milk Nursingwear designs chic nursing tops, nursing dresses and nursing sleepwear that feature hidden openings making breastfeeding anywhere, anytime both convenient and discreet

One Prenatal Bundle from Rumina Naturals.  Our Prenatal bundle includes three of our best selling products.  Our Womb to Grow complete prenatal vitamin,with Methylated folate, will nourish mom and baby from the inside out while our Totally Tallow skin cream will provide soothing moisture to a growing, glorious belly! Our Baby Rump Rub is a must-have for all new Mommas to help heal and protect those tiny bums from diaper rash right from the start.