Donna Header 1pngcert seal

Text Size


  • A Five Step Cure For Breastfeeding Ignorance

    glasses and newspaper

    "I thought breastfeeding would be easy because it's how our species has survived for like, forever. How hard could it be if a baby's survival depended on it? It didn't take me long- maybe a day- to figure out how dangerous that thinking was."

  • Birth and breastfeeding are meant to go together.

    new mother and newborn in hospital

    "I spent most of my pregnancy studying labor and birthing. In one course, there was a page on latching your baby for breastfeeding. I didn't really pay attention because I was worried about handling contractions during labor. I didn't even think about breastfeeding."

  • Breastfeeding in America

    "I had never seen a mom breastfeed her baby in real life. I babysat and bottlefed when I was a teen. I have several nieces and nephews but my sisters didn't breastfeed. So there was my son and me, with no idea how it all worked. I wasn't just scared. I was terrified."

  • Build your Breastfeeding Support Network

    Whether you are a fourth-time breastfeeding pro, or you are a first time breastfeeder in your non-breastfeeding family, it is especially important to surround yourself with people who believe in you breastfeeding your baby. Encouragement and support are vital in the early months, when you are learning, and you doubt everything! You need people who can remind you to keep going, and see the bigger picture, when it seems easier to quit.

    1. Make a list of your friends and family who breastfed.

    While you are pregnant, ask them what their early weeks were like, and what was helpful, and what was not. You will get a better sense of who you feel comfortable talking to, when it’s your turn to breastfeed.

    2. Look up support groups in your area.

    Visit a local breastfeeding support group, or a ‘mommy and me’ support group. They come in all flavors. You don’t have to have a baby to attend--just come as you are--pregnant. Most moms will tell you they wish they had taken the time to actually meet real live moms and babies before they gave birth. Support groups are a good way to meet other moms, and make new friends with babies the same age as yours.

    La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, Baby Café and WIC all have active support groups all over the USA. Most hospitals and baby stores have groups, and you will find others on Meetup.

    Online groups can be a lifesaver, especially if you are housebound with weather, a premature baby, or illness. An advantage of online groups is specialization. No matter what challenge you find yourself facing, there is a group focusing on supporting people with that challenge. Search on Instagram and Facebook, or Google specific words of what you want.

    3. Find an IBCLC who will come to your house.

    Make a list of lactation specialists who help moms in your area. International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) have the most expertise, training and experience. Schedule a 10 or 15 minute prenatal conversation to see if you feel comfortable asking them for help, should you need to.

    The Breastfeeding Café is my online support community filled with expectant and breast-feeding and moms. It’s a friendly place where you can grab a cup of coffee, login and chat. Come join us!

    4. Build a list of trusted resources.

    You can google a breastfeeding question and come up with some surprising (and embarrassing) results. Search first with these trusted resources.

    1. Kelly Bonata is an IBCLC who writes evidence-based and articles clearly explaining every aspect of breastfeeding.

    2. La Leche League - For over 60 years, this organization and its Leaders have supported, encouraged and empowered women to breastfeed. Small groups meet all over the world and trained group Leaders provide phone support and inperson support at group meetings.

    3. Breastfeeding USA is a nationwide network of breastfeeding counselors who provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support and promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm.

    4. WIC (Women, Infant and Children Nutrition) WIC equips WIC moms with the information, resources and support they need to successfully breastfeed through the use of incentives, support groups, IBCLCs and WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors.

    5. BabyCafe USA -- Baby Cafés are free groups for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers offering support from trained staff, and opportunities to share experiences and make friends.

    6. USLCA is the professional association for American lactation consultants. Check certification and and look for an IBCLC lactation consultant near you.

    Call or text (845)-750-4402 with your questions. And don’t worry, you are not “bothering me!” Answering breastfeeding questions is what I do, and how I work with all mothers. Happy breastfeeding!     -- Donna Bruschi, IBCLC

  • Not breastfeeding when you go back to work?

    mother and newborn baby hands

    "I've thought about breastfeeding. I have to go back to work 6 weeks after my baby is born. It just doesn't seem worth all the aggravation that I've heard about. I want to spend the few short weeks I have recuperating and enjoying my baby."

  • Painful Breasts = Mastitis

    "I had a c-section. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good during the first week, except for my nipples, which felt like hot coals. I thought that that was the worst thing that could happen until one morning, I woke up with incredible pain in my breasts as well."

  • The 5 warning signs you NEED help.

    mother and baby

    "Everyone says its really rough in the beginning...I don't want to give my baby formula...I just have to tough it out for two weeks...the Pediatrician said I was starving my baby.....Everyone is telling me something different!"

  • Why "Fed is Best" is not best.

    "I tried breastfeeding and it didn't go well. My doctor said that I didn't have enough milk and I knew I would be going back to work eventually. She took a bottle right away. I'm angry, sad and disappointed I couldn't breastfeed, but after all, 'fed is best'."

  • Why do women fail at breastfeeding?

    Breastfeeding Infant

    "I gave birth on Friday. There was no lactation help over the weekend. A pediatrician would only discharge us if we fed the baby 4 oz. of formula. I was anxious and I didn't know what to do, and ultimately, I failed at breastfeeding my baby."

  • Your Baby Is Using You As A Pacifier


    A pacifier by any other name is a 'dummy' -- a fake.

    Pacifiers don't have any milk. They are something to suck - an object to suck. A firm object that in the same category as hard candies, lollipops, popsicles, pens, spoons, and straws to name a few others. Generic, easily lost, easily replaced.

    That's not you, not any one of them.

    The biggest difference between you and a pacifier is milk. You may feel drained as your baby is lazily flutter sucking, not just pacifying but also getting everchanging droplets of milk. Milk specially designed for your baby's age and gender, full of antibodies, hormones, nutrients, probiotics and things that we don't even know exist. That, in itself, should encourage you to let your little one suckle.

    Suckling is so important -- suckling relieves pain and anxiety!

    In an adult, the need to suck is clinically, and jokingly, called an oral fixation. It's so pervasive that there are thousands of jokes and beliefs about it. It's a habit that is hard to break because it is not a habit. It is a need. Humans are born needing to suck. It's how we survive as infants. We eat and we soothe ourselves by suckling. If we suck our thumb or a pacifier or breastfeed until we wean ourselves, the need is integrated and we grow out of it. If we don't integrate this reflex, it lingers as an 'oral fixation.'

    There are a hundred good reasons to let your baby suckle at your breast.

    Hunger and thirst are obvious. But what about being too cold or hot? Overwhelmed by noise and lights? Bored because you are busy? Lonely, distressed, disturbed, tired and upset? Maybe you are stressed and your baby picks up on it? Your baby might be startled or scared or worried? Worried? Why would a baby be worried? Because he has asked to breastfeed and you haven't let him yet. That's an excellent reason to worry!

    Even when you don't know why your baby is needing to nurse, breastfeeding your baby or child will solve a multitude of woes.

    Intertwined with feeding is our need for attention. It is through communicating with other humans, especially our mother that we learn everything we need to know in the early years. Breastfeeding engages all five of the baby's senses at once. There is a constant interaction between mama and baby gazing at each other, talking and listening, touching and stroking. Every single interaction fires neurons in the brain and makes connections. This is one of the reasons breastfed babies have higher IQs.

    What it really means.

    In its primal way, your baby is saying, "Mama, I need you. I need you, the life giver, the one who nurtures me best. I need you to comfort me. I need you to help me through this time, until I feel good again. I need you to nurse me while I feel uncomfortable. Someday I will be able to tell you I'm sad, hungry, lonely, angry, hot, cold, lazy or that I just don't know what's wrong, but I can't do that yet.

    "I need your milk. It's made just for me. I need your eyes looking into mine, to know that I am safe. I need to know that you are near. I need to hear your reassuring voice soothing me back into happiness. I need to taste your milk that leads me drip by drip into comfort and contentment. I need to feel your skin, your touch, your grounding presence bringing me back when I fly off into the unknown.

    "Most of all, I just need to know that you are with me, human being to human being."

    Why is pacifying at your breast so hard to do?

    The challenge I see in my work with moms is that parents feel overwhelmed at the duration and intensity of all the caring that newborns require. It's easy to breastfeed for up to a point, but sometimes, babies ask endlessly. If you don't nurse them, they cry and a crying baby can cause you to feel all kinds of horrible feelings.

    When you are upset, it is very hard for your baby to calm down. When you feel overwhelmed, you will try anything to stop your baby from crying. As a result, you rush through one thing after another trying to solve an unknown problem and upset the baby even more by overwhelming them with even more sensations and processes.

    Learning to be still and present with an upset baby is partly instinctual but mostly it's a learned skill. The first step is to understand that humans usually only need to be listened to and comforted when they are upset. They don't always need a problem solved in order to return to happiness.

    Back to pacifying. If suckling at your breast works, then use it.

    What better way to teach your child to calm by connecting with other humans than by offering comfort and company of breastfeeding during the challenging time of life called infancy? Offering (or forcing) a baby to use a pacifier teaches them to look for comfort from objects, not humans. When you hold your baby and let them suckle, they learn empathy and compassion. They learn how to help others in times of suffering. Nature has something for you in return. You get a blast of oxytocin, the love hormone, and you calm down and return to your calmer, more generous self.

    For what is the purpose of our ability to ask for help, if we can not connect with another in our darkest, most painful hours?

    My love to you and your family....