Breastfeeding And Supplementation

We Were Not Meant to Mother Alone

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. 

Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction - It IS Possible!

Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

Many women wonder if they will have a full supply after having a breast reduction.  While the basic answer to this question is “we don’t know yet” - there are many factors, as well as things she can actively do, that can affect her ability to breastfeed successfully.  In this article, we will discuss what those activities are and how a mom can maximize her supply when breastfeeding after a breast reduction. We will also look at what long-term supplementation can look like, if it is necessary.

It is important to remind you that breastfeeding does not have to be an “all or nothing” endeavor!  We need to re-define what “success” means when it comes to breastfeeding after a breast reduction. Anytime a woman has a physiological factor that can affect milk supply, we always want her to understand that ANY amount of breastmilk is amazing. Whether she is able to provide 10% or 100% of what her baby needs, she is doing a fantastic job.    

Defining my Breastfeeding Experience: Inclusive Breastfeeding

Defining my Breastfeeding Experience: Inclusive Breastfeeding

Written by Aran Tavakoli

It has been nine months and I just put away my pump. Getting it ready for storage was bitter sweet. How many hours have I spent with that machine in the past 9 months? Its usefulness outweighed the annoyance.  Once again, at this point in time, I am redefining my breastfeeding relationship with my baby. 

Breastfeeding has been an extraordinary journey. I have experienced and learned so much. I keep searching for a word that captures and defines my experience, but I can’t find one. I believe the breastfeeding community is actually missing a term for mamas that fall into their own camp. There is the exclusively breastfeed group and the formula group. Research often distinctly divides mamas and babies into these two groups. But, there is an ever-growing group of mamas that breastfeed and give formula to support their breastfeeding relationship with their baby. The current words used to describe this group include combo feeding or more commonly, low supply needing supplementation. 

Weaning from Supplemental Feedings

Written by Danielle Blair, MS, IBCLC

This is Part Two in our supplementation series.  Don’t miss Part One: I'm Told my Baby Needs Supplementation...Now What?

If you were instructed to offer supplemental feedings shortly after birth, it can be challenging to know when your baby no longer needs extra food.  You will be working closely with your baby's pediatrician, and hopefully an IBCLC as well, to determine how baby is progressing.


The Why May Determine the When...

The reason for supplementation will most likely determine when supplements will stop.  Some conditions, such as low blood sugar and jaundice, are resolved relatively quickly with good management.  In these cases the doctor may instruct you to stop supplements once the problem is solved.  Longer-term supplementation, such as for a premature baby, baby with feeding challenges, or a mom working to increase her milk supply, will likely require a longer weaning process.  In both cases, though, watching the baby for signs of effective breastfeeding will be an important part of baby's care.

I'm Told my Baby Needs Supplementation...Now What?

Written by Danielle Blair, MS, IBCLC

If you are planning to exclusively breastfeed your baby, the thought of being told to offer supplements (meaning extra milk in addition to direct breastfeeding) for your baby may be downright terrifying.  You may be concerned about nipple confusion, milk supply, or exposing your baby to formula.  Hopefully by learning about common reasons for supplementation and supplementation methods, you can avoid unnecessary supplementation and learn how to offer supplements in ways that are less likely to interfere with breastfeeding.


Why might a baby need to be supplemented?

There are many common reasons why a baby might need supplemental feedings.  It is important for you as a parent to advocate for your baby by making an informed decision that the supplement is medically necessary.  Some common medical issues that can arise shortly after birth that may lead to supplements are prematurity, low birth weight, poor feeding, low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), elevated bilirubin levels (jaundice), dehydration, excessive weight loss or poor weight gain.  In all of these cases, the first step is to ensure that baby is breastfeeding effectively.  If not, a supplement might be called for as part of the baby's medical treatment.