All About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has been the most natural way to provide health for both baby and mama since the beginning of time. 

Nowadays, some mothers are led to make the decision to not breastfeed due to the availability of formula, jobs outside of the home, lack of community, incorrect information, etc. However, most of the challenges to breastfeeding can be overcome with a little information and support! Let’s talk about the benefits of breastfeeding and the support that is available to you so that you can be equipped to make the best decision for your family. 

Here are five of the top reasons I encourage mothers to pursue breastfeeding even when it is difficult, and five ways to overcome the difficulties associated with breastfeeding.


  1. Breastmilk is created by the mother’s body to be perfectly suited for her child. No formula or other type of milk can compare to the perfect nourishment provided by breastmilk. Breastmilk contains genetic information intended specifically for the child for whom it was created. It will adapt according to the baby’s needs and the baby’s age. For example, it will produce hormones to lull the baby to sleep at night, it changes its nutritional content as the baby grows, it will have a higher fat content at the end of the meal to help the baby have balanced blood sugar and energy levels, and (unlike formula or other types of milk) breastmilk can change the nutrients it supplies if the baby is sick to help the baby’s body fight and heal. Additionally, breastmilk will change depending on the environment – for example, if a mother is exposed to the child’s daycare, she will create specific immunity to infections she comes in contact with at that daycare, and will transfer this immunity to the child!
  2. Breastmilk provides countless benefits to your baby’s health. (We are still discovering more and more amazing ways that breastmilk either heals or prevents disease!) A mother’s milk promotes immunity to her baby. When the mother is exposed to a viral or bacterial infection, she creates antibodies that can transfer to the baby through the milk so that the child’s body is equipped to fight against this illness. Breastmilk feeds beneficial microbes in the child’s gut so that they have less incidence of a variety of sicknesses such as ear infections, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, SIDS, allergies, skin issues like eczema, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and digestive issues.
  3. Breastfeeding promotes bonding with your baby. It creates a sweet time for mother and child unique to their relationship, plus so much more. The hormones that increase with skin-to-skin contact set the baby up well to trust the mother, reduce anxiety and fears for both child and mother, and even cause the mother to have more maternal sensitivity for her child!
  4. Breastfeeding provides health to the mother! From the very beginning as soon as the infant is born, breastfeeding helps the uterus contract to birth the placenta and cause the uterus to start returning to it’s pre-pregnancy size, thus promoting healing from the pregnancy. Women who breastfeed have also been found to have a decreased occurrence of breast and ovarian cancer, endometriosis, cardiac disease and osteoporosis. Some studies have also shown that breastfeeding can help prevent postpartum depression and anxiety. 
  5. Breastfeeding comes with convenience. While pumping is admittedly not fun nor convenient, the act of breastfeeding does provide convenience. Breastfeeding can cause a more peaceful environment since there is not the delay of preparing/heating milk or formula while the baby is crying for food. There is no need to get out of bed in the middle of the night to prepare a bottle, no need to pack supplies when traveling. Breastmilk was designed to be available when your baby needs it, and you can even nurse while you sleep! And, bonus, breastmilk is free!

With this knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding, let’s now discuss some issues that many women experience as new mothers, and how you can overcome them to provide both you and your child with the best possible health. 


  1. Issues with latch or pain: Many sources state that “breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.” This statement infuriated me when I first started breastfeeding, as I cried from pain each time I pumped or fed. But then I learned. When it is working as it should and mother and baby are both positioned correctly, it actually does not hurt! One of the most game-changing pieces of advice my lactation consultant gave me was to “point the nipple up” toward the roof of the baby’s mouth. Once I tried this, the pain instantly went away. If you are experiencing pain, perhaps this or another positioning issue is the cause. Please seek help – it might be that one session with a lactation professional is all you need! You also may want to have your child evaluated for a tongue or lip tie which can interfere with latch. 
  2. Your baby may be in the NICU: sometimes this is the unexpected reality, as it was with my first child. If your child is unable to latch due to a medical emergency, you can absolutely still pump and have your baby’s feeds be solely your breastmilk, and to establish your supply. This is what your baby needs most of all to help gain strength and support his or her immune system and thereby be able to leave the NICU (plus it is what your body needs to help you heal after delivery)! Lactation consultants in the hospital should be able to help you figure out pumping and how to establish your milk flow. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it. Additionally, if it is difficult to establish a latch after your baby comes home from the NICU, you can still pump and bottle-feed while encouraging your baby to take to the breast. It can take time, but it is entirely possible to feed on the breast after the NICU. (Once my daughter finally latched at 8 weeks, she then breastfed until she was over 2 years old!) 
  3. Returning to work: pumping on the job can be daunting. Depending on your job you may not get much time to pump throughout the day. Discussing this with your employer and perhaps your coworkers, practicing with your pump before you go, encouraging yourself to keep providing your child with the healthiest life possible in this way, and knowing your rights will help you have success in the workplace. has lots of resources and suggestions to help you have success with breastfeeding while maintaining your job. 
  4. Issues with milk supply (too much or too little): Not being able to produce enough milk or producing too much can be painful and discouraging. Engorgement is when your supply is too much for the demand and often occurs during the first week or two of your child’s life, as your body is trying to learn how much milk your baby needs. Cold compresses, cabbage leaves (used appropriately) and frequent nursing can help you diminish pain and avoid mastitis while waiting for your body to regulate your milk. If you do not have enough supply, you may simply need nutritional support. Certain herbs like fenugreek, stinging nettle, chasteberry, goat’s rue and fennel can help stimulate production. Adjusting your protein and fat intake, possibly adding in soaked oats or quinoa, and increasing your hydration can all help with increasing production. Every woman has different nutritional needs, so seek help if you are unsure about how to tweak your diet. 
  5. Frequently the issue with lactation is simply a lack of support. If you do not have the support of your partner or family members, reach out. There is a fantastic worldwide community of women who have experienced their own struggles with breastfeeding and have made themselves available to support you in whatever way you need. Most of these groups are free to join and there is probably one in your area. Check out La Leche League (, local birth birth centers, social media groups or check with a local hospital to see if they have breastfeeding support groups. 

At Be Well Clinic, we are passionate about breastfeeding and are here to support and empower you in providing this blessing to your child. We can support you with practical lactation guidance, nutritional recommendations, assessment of lip or tongue ties and general breastfeeding support. We also offer a free service where you can weigh your baby before and after nursing so you can see how much milk they are receiving. If you need any help with breastfeeding, please reach out to see how we can support you best!


A.A.P. Breastfeeding Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 2 February 2005

Lawrence, Ruth A. M.D., “Babies are Born to Breastfeed”, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Statement

The Complete Book Of Breastfeeding M.S. Eiger. MD, S. Wendkos Olds, Copyright 1999, Workman Publishing Co., Inc.

Uvnas-Moberg, Eriksson: “Breastfeeding: physiological, endocrine and behavioral adaptations caused by oxytocin and local neurogenic activity in the nipple and mammary gland.” Acta Paediatrica, 1996 May, 85(5):525-30

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