Tag Archives: Breastmilk

There are no advantages to breastfeeding


Allyson Frances photo Advantage noun

  1. a condition or circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position.

There are no advantages to breastfeeding.  No, that is not a typo; there are no advantages to breastfeeding.  Look at the definition of the word advantage above.  It is something that “puts one in a favorable or superior position.”  Nourishing our babies with our Milk is not an advantage, it is physiologically normal.  But, we have always heard, “Breast is Best.”  What does this imply?  It simply implies Artificial Baby Milk (ABM) is the baseline, and human Milk is just an additional, extra special add-on.   Words have meaning.  Milk is now considered the exception, not the norm. Wait!  There are no advantages? Consider the following questions:  How does Milk

  • reduce a Mother’s risk of breast cancer and postmenopausal osteoporosis?
  • reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as Type I Diabetes, Celiac Disease, and Crohn’s Disease in children?
  • lower the baby’s chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in half?
  • protect your baby from infections and diseases such as respiratory infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, ear infections, urinary infections, late-onset sepsis in pre-term infants, and childhood overweight and obesity?

Milk is not an extra nutritional substance you give to simply help prevent infections or disease.  Rather, Milk is made naturally to grow an infant and help him thrive.    Think about this statement taken from a Pediatric Research article, “Thymus size is dependent on whether the infant is breast-fed; the thymus size of breast-fed infants is twice the size of formula-fed infants at 4 mo [months] of age.”  The thymus gland is vitally important to the development of a child’s immune system.  The thymus size should be baselined from that of Milk-fed infants, not the other way around.  This is a paradigm shift that needs to emphasized:  The thymus is not “extra large” because it is twice as large as the child who receives ABM; it is the normal size. As late as 2003, The World Health Organization established guidelines detailing the best alternative to an infant obtaining Milk at the breast.  The WHO prioritized these options as:

  • Milk from own mother by breastfeeding,
  • Milk from own mother, expressed,
  • Milk from a wet-nurse, or
  • Milk from a milk bank, or
  • Breastmilk substitute

However, when a baby is unable to be at the Mother’s breast, the next option offered tends to be the last on the list of alternatives.  If we embrace the paradigm shift by changing the language used to describe and detail the feeding of infants, all  of us (parents, caregivers, healthcare providers, lactation specialists) can better demand and defend the need for more acceptable and accessible postpartum care, lactation support, and more options for the advancement of donor Milk options.  Access to Milk Banks is far less than the number of those that want or need such services.  As such, we need to demand more Milk Banks.  Even though Artificial Baby Milk continues to be an option that has saved many lives,   it should not be the baseline; it is an alternative substitute.  I once had the opportunity to hear CNM Nancy Giglio share,  “We must respect technology, but preserve physiology.” We should say the same for Milk. We must preserve and protect what is physiologically normal.  It’s time for a paradigm shift.

In a society where there are many demands on new Mothers, who are often times away from extended family and support structures, there needs to be a shift back to what is normal.  When Milk is seen as something that is an extra or taken by new Mothers as an additional pressure to be a “good Mother,” then the biological needs of the dyad are strained.  Milk then becomes a concept of something that is viewed “above-and-beyond” or something that is “more than enough.”  As Mothers, just being “enough” – in and of itself – is challenging in its own right.  Using words like “best” or “superior” to describe Milk only goes to further create environments or situations that become almost unreal or unattainable to many new Mothers.  Under such scenarios, ABM companies can then find it easier to market their products and push their brands in efforts to alleviate these so-called burdens felt by  new Mothers.

Relying on words such as “advantage” or “benefit” when describing Milk insinuates a certain level of superiority or privilege.  We, as a community, need to be cognizant of language and how we use it.  Doctor Wayne Dyer states, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  I encourage all of us to undertake the paradigm shift of how to care for infants.  In doing so we can better articulate what is physiologically normal, and provide with is biologically intended for these Little Beings.

Austin Rees, IBCLC

Sacred Milk Co-Founder


References: Newcomb PA, Storer BE, Longnecker MP, et al. Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 1994;330:81-87 http://www.jaoa.osteopathic.org/content/106/4/203.full.pdf

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241562218.pdf ‘The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding’, bullet 18 states: “The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the vast majority of infants can and should be breastfed. Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable for her infant. For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative –expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat –depends on individual circumstances.” [] Hasselbalch H,

Jeppesen DL, Engelmann MD, Michaelsen KF, Nielsen MB 1996 Decreased thymus size in formula-fed infants compared with breastfed infants. Acta Paediatr 85:1029–1032 http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v62/n1/full/pr2007178a.html


Bring them Back with our MILK



Why Milk Is SacredThe journey of pregnancy into birthing our babies is indeed sacred, powerful. It is an inward harnessing of the force of universal creation.
We are confronted with what is raw and truly deep within us.
We surrender to what is.
We birth.
Once our babies are born our bodies begin to make milk, perfect nourishment drawn from us.
Rather than separate from our baby once the umbilical cord is cut, we draw them back to us with our milk.

Katrice’s Milk Story


Sacred Milk Katrice's Milk Story

My Milk Story
Katrice Ross

“The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” was placed in my hands when I was pregnant with my son back in 2004. I read the entire book and was confident in my decision to breastfeed. I thought to myself, “How hard can it be?” I would soon find out that it would be the hardest and at the same time, most rewarding aspect of motherhood.

Katie has been a family friend for a very long time. She is a former La Leche League leader and is the first person to notice my son wasn’t doing well. She decided to give the local La Leche League leader a call and that’s how I met Gini, Sara, and Austin of Sacred Milk. I remember my first visit with Gini and Austin. Gini realized right away that my son was severely tongue tied. It was so tied that he couldn’t lift his tongue at all. By this time, my son was about a month old and was severely dehydrated. Austin had some frozen colostrum and offered to give it to Ethan. I am so thankful for that precious liquid gold! Even after doctor visits and a hospital stay he struggled with feeding. All I can say is I thank God every day that Gini made the call that saved his life. I can’t even begin to imagine what would have become of my son if it wasn’t for her.

His tongue tie was released very quickly after that first meeting. Gini did call and set up his surgery for me. After it was over, he nursed like a champ. Gini and the other leaders helped me build my milk supply by renting a pump for me. I would nurse, then he was given a bottle of formula, and then I would pump. It didn’t take long for me to get a full milk supply. I discontinued my pumping and formula regimen. I did have to use a nipple shield the entire duration of our breastfeeding journey but that didn’t bother me. How I loved my bond with my little nursling! There is no greater feeling than knowing your child is comforted and nourished with your warm milk. I am thoroughly convinced that our bond is so powerful because of breastfeeding. It’s hard to put into words how much breastfeeding has transformed our relationship.

I was a single parent at the time and thought it would be best if I went back to college. I did it to secure our future. I would have done anything for my precious baby. We continued to nurse while I was in school. I am a firm believer in attachment parenting and it helped me tremendously during that time. I could still bond with my child even though we had to be apart sometimes. We stopped nursing just after he turned two years old. That was also when I met the love of my life. Eric and I have been together for 7 years and married for 5 years. Eric told me that he loved Ethan as his own the minute he laid eyes on him. It melted my heart to watch them bond. We were meant to be a family.

We welcomed our daughter Rebecca into the world last April. I contacted Gini as soon as I noticed that nursing was becoming quite painful. Gini came to see me and knew right away that my daughter had both a lip tie and a posterior tongue tie. My baby basically chomped on my nipples. I had to start pumping to heal my very damaged nipples. We took Rebecca to get her ties snipped 4 days after she was born. The healing process was very long and painful for both Rebecca and me. After she healed I noticed that she still wasn’t feeding any better. I continued to work with Gini and used skin-to skin, nipple shields, and Supplementary Nursing Systems. (SNS) She wasn’t gaining any weight. I continued to pump after every nursing session and would also feed her a bottle of my pumped milk. When she wasn’t gaining weight I would add extra breastmilk fat to bottles.

I stopped nursing at every feeding. I would nurse her a few times a day and would feed her bottles the rest of the time. Rebecca is 16 months old and I’m happy to say that she still nurses in the morning before we get out of bed. I couldn’t give it up even though it varies how long she will nurse for me. Those few precious minutes of blissful connection mean the world to me.
I tried everything I could to improve our nursing relationship. We enrolled her in Early Intervention, she went to feeding and occupational therapy, we had a swallow study done, we had a developmental specialist evaluate her, I started taking her to see a chiropractor when she was 3 months old, and I worked with my lactation consultant/developmental expert friends. Ultimately, we concluded that Rebecca was born with low muscle tone that has caused a few developmental delays. Pumping has never been easy. I have overcome many challenges. I am so thankful to have the support of my milky mama friends. My goal is to continue bottle nursing with love until my daughter turns two. My milk experiences have taught me that I can accomplish anything that my heart desires. All it takes is a little determination and a lot of love.


Chyanne’s Milk Story

Milk Story, Sacred Milk

Chyanne & her son just after birth.

The moment I found out about being pregnant I was a cluster of emotions. I was a nursing student and working in a hospital, I was a grieving daughter, I didn’t have time for a baby. But a baby, was something I never thought I would have. And I love babies: their smell, chubby cheeks, coos even their cute little poops. We are keeping this little miracle.

At the time I wasn’t married and in my religion that was a big NoNo. Once I started showing I got glares, eye rolls, heads shook disapprovingly. I once had a lady look at me and say, “You’re not a good Christian for getting pregnant before getting married. You and your child are going to hell.” I really think Men have it so easy especially when words and looks like this are exchanged.

20 weeks comes and I am told by my doctor that we are having a girl. Yay!? Wait. What a girl? That doesn’t feel right I thought for sure we were having a boy. My gut said boy. Turns out my doctor was wrong about a lot of things, not just the sex of my baby.

I felt something was wrong, not to mention that doctor was as unpleasant as rubbing salt on an open wound and then spraying lemon juice all over it. My new doctor was and still is everything I wanted in an OB. She listened to my concerns and sent me for an ultrasound.

Not only was I NOT having a girl…that’s right it’s a boy! But I had a complete placenta previa…how did they miss that? We discussed options and if my placenta didn’t budge I’d have to have a c-section.

I remained positive. But my natural birth went flying out the window. Fast forward to 33 weeks, placenta still had not moved. Not only had it not moved but my uterus was hostile and contracted any time I moved so I was on bedrest from week 25 to week 36. I kissed my career and schooling goodbye. We schedule a c-section, my worst nightmare! All I could do was blame myself. This is what you get for not being married.

At 36 weeks exactly, with my wonderful boyfriend we were getting prepped for surgery. I was so scared I started crying and my doctor held and soothed me while I got my spinal. Can I just say that she’s amazing! We get started 3 minutes later I hear my son’s cries. Boyfriend crying, I’m crying, OR is crying it was amazing. They put him on my chest and my world forever changed. In the recovery room we nursed and I cried. My son was a month premature but he was perfect nothing was wrong, no NICU, and we both lived.

I loved breastfeeding him, but he fell asleep so easily, I told myself he had a rough day and we would try later. Later comes he wants to sleep, but the nurse urges us to wake him and feed him. I stripped him naked, rubbed his feet, tickled his hands, under his nose, took his diaper off. He slept, the nurse came in did the same. He slept on. She put a wet washcloth on him…that woke him up. We got him on the breast, he latched took two sucks and fell asleep. Because he was premature he didn’t want to nurse..it was too hard. That’s ok, we will prevail. Breastfeeding for my son and I was never easy but we never stopped.

Fast forward to 4 months at his weigh in…yeah we had to have weigh ins. Our doctor sat us down and suggested that because of Parker’s lack of weight gain and projectile vomiting that we try formula. He said that Parker was probably that 1% that had an allergy. Until this point I had tried everything from completely over hauling my diet to sitting him up for 30 minutes after a feeding. My baby was vomiting, colicky and had explosive poop every 15 minutes. And as much as I wanted to breastfeed his health was more important. I still pumped with hope that one day I could breastfeed.

All I could think was I couldn’t have a baby the natural way and now I can’t breastfeed. I’m such a horrible mom and it’s all because I was pregnant before I got married. A month later and I have a completely different baby. He’s happy, he sleeps, he eats, there’s hardly any vomiting, and normal poops!

Until it all rewinds on us. My milk had dried and Parker went back to his old ways. We try formula after formula until finally we find something that works. But my milk was gone. My milk was gone. My milk…I was heartbroken. I still am.

When I say I am envious. I really am because I made it through bleeding, cracked and sore nipples, endless nights of sitting up with him, just for my sons body to be on formula and my milk to dry up. I grieved, I cried, I begged and pleaded with God. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Now I’m here in present time, the biggest advocate for breastfeeding, and I myself can’t breastfeed. Talk about an oxymoron. But I will support women who can and who do.

This is my Sacred milk story.
Chyanne Brogni