What’s Up Bessie

by HEAB on December 17, 2010

Several of you have asked me how the breastfeeding is going. I first wrote about my difficulties with nursing in this post. A woman’s milk typically comes in anywhere from 3 to 5 days after the baby is born, and up until then her body produces colostrum. I produced very little colostrum and even after nursing or pumping every 3 hours, my milk took forever to arrive. So, that first week we had to start supplementing Summer with formula. Needless to say, I was devastated as I had wanted so badly to breastfeed exclusively. In the beginning I was completely anti-formula, but now I’m so grateful for it because without it, Summer would not be thriving.

I’ve tried everything to try and increase my milk supply. If I read or hear about a certain food that helps, then I eat it. I drink a ton of water, and I’m taking all the various herbs including fenugreek, fennel, and goat’s rue. I drink Mother’s Milk and red raspberry leaf tea all day long. I took Domperidone, a prescription drug that increases your prolactin levels, encouraging a greater milk supply, but after one month and no results, I weaned myself off of it. All this time I’ve still been nursing, supplementing, and pumping every 2 to 3 hours. It’s a lot. I’m tired, BUT things are getting better. Early last week, I had my thyroid and iron tested. Both were borderline low, and after a week of iron and thyroid supplements, my milk supply seems to be slowly increasing. I’m not sure how much Summer is getting from me, but my lactation consultant is coming by the house next week to weigh her before and after a nursing session. That way, we’ll know for sure. We are feeding Summer less and less formula, and I’m able to pump more. I’m happy, and I think all my efforts are finally paying off. Will I ever be able to breast feed exclusively? Who knows, but I’ve given it my best. If things continue to improve, then I hope to stick with it. The nursing itself has gotten so much better, and I love the time with Summer. There’s nothing like it. 🙂


Hi HEABers.

I’m still trying to get in plenty of Omega-3’s for Summer and enjoying every bite…


2 eggs scrambled with 1 TBSP butter, canned wild salmon, and topped with brewer’s yeast. Love it.

Thanks to everyone who has written me with advice and encouragement. I’ve needed it. 🙂

Enjoy your weekend!


Shelley December 26, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I enjoy your blog, and have pretty much been a lurker til now but feel compelled to comment. I had similar struggles with breastfeeding. What it taught me was that with children, you need to be flexible and open minded. As my two girls have gotten older this is hammered home more and more often. It is a good lesson to learn early on.

Amber December 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Hey Heather! congrats on that sweet girl! I had a very difficult time with breastfeeding my daughter. Horrible milk supply and no increase after trying EVERYTHING, and i mean everything. We supplemented from the start, and once her demand greatly increased, I stopped with the pumping and switched to formula completely. (it just didn’t seem worth it to produce only the equivalent of one feeding/day after pumping like a fiend!) I cried, was embarrassed, and felt like a failure. But you know what, the thing that she’ll remember about me is not whether I solely breastfed her, it’s how much I loved and cared for her throughout her life. It took a while to get over not being able to soley breastfeed her like “real” women do (lol), but now that my hormones are stabilized (she’s now a year old) I feel fine about it. : ) your attitude is fantastic and I just hope that it’s a little bit of an encouragement to you. you’re absolutely not the only mama in the world who’s had to supplement. you’re doing so great!

HEAB December 21, 2010 at 12:13 am

Thanks so much for the encouragement and for understanding what I’m going through. Everyone kept telling me my milk would come in and that very few women don’t actually produce enough milk for their babies. Well, like, you, I’ve tried everything, and I’m still not producing enough. Definitely producing MORE, but still not ENOUGH. So, I’m going to keep up with it for as long as I can, but I know if I were to quit, I would have a hard time with it. I really enjoy the nursing itself, and it’s something I really just don’t want to let go of…at least not yet. Again, so good to know I’m not the only one who has been through this. So thanks. 🙂

Hayley December 20, 2010 at 11:55 am

THIS is the outfit I was referring to! I love it.. 🙂

I’m SO glad to hear you’re still working at breastfeeding. The fact that you’re being so diligent with it goes to show that you’re doing all that you can. Hopefully it will continue to work out, but if not then you at least know you gave it your best. The most important thing is that Summer continues to stay healthy and grow. She’s such a beautiful baby, but then there’s no surprise there – she’s got good genes! 😉

Emily Elizabeth December 19, 2010 at 8:41 am

I’m so happy to read this! I know it has been extremely hard and I’m so proud of you for sticking with it. I hope things continue to get better!

HEAB December 19, 2010 at 8:43 am

Thanks Emily. Me too. 🙂

Charlotte December 19, 2010 at 1:05 am

You are doing a fabulous job, Heather! Nursing can be so so hard. I remember one of my biggest shocks about new motherhood came from realizing that something as “natural” as nursing did NOT come naturally to me at all! The first 3 months were really hard for me with my first but then we settled into it and it ended up being a great experience. You sound like you have a good handle on your expectations but just know that you are doing great no matter if Summer has to have some formula or not.
PS> I had to give up dairy when I was nursing but never chocolate. Good luck with that!

A Teenage Gourmet December 18, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thank you for your help with the e-mail replies so far. 🙂 Sorry, I have another question! How/Where do you get the code to send the actual e-mail to? I cannot find a “how to” online. Thank you again.

Melissa @ TryingToHeal December 18, 2010 at 10:47 am

Ah, I hope the iron and thyroid supplements start working even more for you and summer! she is getting so big already!!!

Abby December 18, 2010 at 10:04 am

Hey Heather (and Summer!)
I just read this in our local paper and thought of you…

Cookies for breastfeeding moms! Maybe you could HEABify something similar? Heck, cookies as medicine…works for me 😉

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 10:42 am

Just read about the cookies. I need those! Wonder if they’d let me do a HEAB review? Thx for the heads up. 🙂

Pure2raw twins December 18, 2010 at 9:05 am

Thinking of you guys!!! I wish I had some advice to give. Loved seeing her cute little face!!!

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 18, 2010 at 8:39 am

I’m glad your efforts are finally paying off! Summer looks healthy and strong – not underweight, so I think you’re doing just fine! 🙂

michelle December 18, 2010 at 4:42 am

She looks SO much like your husband 🙂

Asha December 18, 2010 at 1:45 am

Heather, hope you don’t think I am annoying, but I loved this post and just had some ideas I wanted to share with you. I am (DUH) not an expert, however if I were in your situation with Summer I might:

1. Eat lots of grass-fed raw butter. Here in California we get really good quality raw dairy products, and especially the raw butter has tons of vitmains notably A, D, E, and K.

2. I think the Weston A Price philosophies on nutrition make a lot of sense, and one post on creating home made baby formula was very interesting…at least for some ideas.
3. I would make and drink/slurp up home-made bone broth. This always helps re-balance and strengthen my body, and your body probably could use some extra nourishment and power during this tiring time 🙂 Good thick chicken stock is full of cartilage-building proteins and amino acids, minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals.

Good luck!! I love Summer’s flowery outift…she is so cute and I can really see her personality coming out in this picture!

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 9:56 am

Thanks so much Asha – not annoying at all. We’ve got the Weston Price formula recipe bookmarked. In honesty, I would love to make it for Summer, but with everything else going on, the thought of homemade formula was stressing me out. I really want to try it though. I have friend who made it for her baby (Hi Gwennie if you’re reading this!), and she emailed me the website from where she orders all the ingredients. Now that Summer and I are finding our groove, I really should look into it. Raw butter – would love to find some. I eat a ton of regular butter, although I do prefer grass fed. I know there are some raw dairy farms around here, and so I’m going to inquire. Also, telling my mom to make me some thick bone broth. That sounds so warm and comforting. Thank you! 🙂

Courtney December 18, 2010 at 1:06 am

So glad things are getting better Heather. Breastfeeding is wonderful gift you are giving Summer and yourself. I am having some challenges as well so I know how exhausting it can be physically and emotionally. All your efforts will pay off and I’m sure you will breastfeed exclusively.

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 9:51 am

Thanks Courtney – I hope so. 🙂

christyn @ All Ways Nutritious December 17, 2010 at 11:54 pm

heather, your determination and dedication to figuring out your body and how to improve your milk production is very inspirational. i’m so glad you are seeing more results. in time i believe your body will produce more than enough milk for summer. i made your coconut butter chocolate bark and am posting it soon! i love it…so good and good for you 🙂 i recently read melons are good for breast milk, mainly b/c they are 90% water. it made me think of you. all the best.

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 9:48 am

Thanks so much for the encouragement, and I’m so happy to hear you made the coconut butter chocolate bark – good stuff! Melons, huh? I do love a good cantaloupe! 😉

Melissa @ I Never Imagined December 17, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Wow! I really admire you for the effort you are putting into breastfeeding. You really, honestly have given it your best! And it is paying off, so I’m sooooo happy for you. What an amazing woman you are! xx

Kiran December 17, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Sorry for all the struggles, but am so glad your efforts are paying off! You make a remarkable mummy and Summer is so lucky and blessed. Love that cutie pie 🙂

Annie@stronghealthyfit December 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Eggs with salmon- Yum!

natalie December 17, 2010 at 9:06 pm

wow, it takes a lot of dedication to pump and nurse around the clock Heather. You are doing great and I’m glad it is getting better for you! I think the heablet might look like your husband so far. What do people think?

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 9:44 am

In the beginning, people said Summer looked more like me, but now everyone is saying CD…but then a lot of people tell Chris and I that we look alike. So who knows? 😉

Danielle (Runs on Green) December 17, 2010 at 8:13 pm

omgggg its the outfit I sent!!! Summer is adorable 🙂

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

Yes, that’s one of Summer’s favorite outfits. Thanks again! 🙂

Lauren @ Fun, Fit and Fabulous! December 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I’m so sorry you have had so much difficulty, but you deserve major kudos for sticking with it!! I know all that you are doing will pay off, and it sounds like it is already starting to! Summer is too cute!!

Natalie December 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Summer is such a little doll!! I’m so glad she is thriving, whether she is on some formula or not! GOOD job on all you are doing to up your milk supply! I dried up and was so sad, but it took everything I had with my health problems, just to do it for almost 3 mos. How exciting that your supply is slowly increasing!

HEAB December 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm

3 months is wonderful – I would be ecstatic to make it that long. I keep setting goals for myself, and once I get to them, I just keep going. I’ve worked so hard, and I don’t want to let it go. I’m going to keep at it for as long as I can. Thanks for the encouragement.

Maren December 17, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I was just thinking to ask you about that because I hadn’t heard. You are a persistent woman and I applaud you!! I also think it’s important to breast feed and it’s great that you are giving every effort possible!

Brenna Kater, the Oceanskater December 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm

As you transition from formula, remember that one of the best indicators of whether or not the baby is getting enough milk is whether or not she has 6-8 wet diapers a day. The thyroid can make a difference 🙂

HEAB December 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Brenna Kater,
Yes, I need to start keeping track again. Thx!

Shannon December 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I’m sure you’ve heard approximately 3,006 suggestions, and I know this one will be controversial, but my best friend was having the same problems with milk supply with her first daughter. She tried all sorts of things, and then her mother (who doesn’t drink a drop of alcohol… none of the family does really) told her to try drinking a beer every night. She hates beer and chokes it down, but lo and behold, it worked, and she’s been nursing her little girl ever since.

HEAB December 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Yes, I’ve heard this. That’s why I’ve been eating brewers yeast on any and everything, but I maybe I should just try an actual beer. I hear Guinness has really worked for some people. Gross…but I’d do it.

Julie December 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Hi Heather,
I am so happy to read your blog every day. I feel like we have been friends forever. I am so glad breastfeeding is getting better. I wrote you before to tell you that it was really hard for me in the beginning too so I supplemented with formula and I am so glad I did! I just want to thank you for being so dedicated to your blog because I look forward to seeing what you post every day. I have considered myself a ‘healthy” eater but you have posted some amazing creations that have really inspired me! Keep up the amazing work and go enjoy your precious baby!! Have a great weekend.

HEAB December 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Thanks so much. 🙂

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple December 17, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I’m glad things seem to be getting a little bit better. Nursing is tough for sure. I never needed formula. But I’ve known all kinds…women who nursed twins AND built up a freezer stash. Women who chose to supplement so they could sleep. One of my best friends had to do formula for 6 weeks or so, but then was able to switch to exclusive nursing after that. My other best friend has a baby that wouldn’t latch. She pumped for 9 months. Half formula, half pumped milk. Now that is some serious dedication.

You do your best and don’t beat yourself up for it. Too many women do. And too many militants say “you must not be doing it right” if you have to supplement or switch altogether. (Kinda like the whole vegan drama going around where ex-vegans talk about how sick they got. “You must not be doing it right.”)

HEAB December 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Wow – 9 months of pumping. That is dedication. Moms who stick with it really amaze me. It’s so much work, but I can understand the motivation. 🙂

Katy (The Singing Runner) December 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I say this all the time, but I seriously can not get over how adorable Summer is!

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:00 am

Thanks Katy. 🙂

Kimberly guy mason December 17, 2010 at 4:51 pm

hey heather! so proud of you for working so hard for little summer! i can’t believe you stuck it out with all of that difficulty and i am proud of you my friend! as i was reading and you were saying you weened yourself off i was thinking you meant you weaned her and i thought “i can’t blame you! good night!” the good news is that she has gotten alot even if not exclusive! my oldest was about 1/2 and 1/2 and she is healthy as a horse with the immune system of an ox! feel GREAT about what you have done for little summer! blessings my friend! and Merry CHRISTmas!!!! 🙂 love, kimberly

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:02 am

Thanks so much for the encouragement Kimberly, and I hope you and the fam have a wonderful Christmas.
Love you,

kimberly guy mason December 18, 2010 at 9:29 am

love you too friend! :), kimberly

Dorry December 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Glad to hear the nursing has gotten better! I know it’s a very important part of the experience as a new mom. Summer is getting cuter and more animated by the day. What a happy, healthy baby…just like her mama!

melissa @ the delicate place December 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm

wow it does sound exhausting! i am really impressed at your diligence in this and you will have a strong, healthy girl to prove it! hang in there 🙂

Samantha December 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I’m bookmarking this post for when friends who are trying to breastfeed and struggle ask for advice. You’ve been such a diligent trooper, so glad to hear things are improving! She’s such a precious little bundle. And it sounds like you are doing well too which is great!

LesleyG December 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Way to go, Heather! Your perseverance is inspiring!

Marina December 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm

You’re doing the best job you can, and you’re doing it awesome.
Don’t worry about the supplement, you’re still giving Summer some of your milk, and every bit is important! And she does look adorable and healthy 🙂

Shannon December 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm

sorry i don’t think i had commented before b/c i have no experience here, but it sounds like things are moving in a positive direction!! so glad, she is quite the adorable little bean 🙂

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:03 am

Thanks Shannon. 🙂

Sarah R December 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Looks at those cute cheeks on that daughter of yours! It seems like Summer is thriving and isn’t being a parent all about doing all that you can for your child? You are already such an amazing mother and an inspiration 🙂

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:03 am

Thanks Sarah. 🙂

betht December 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

My lucy has the same outfit 🙂 summer is adorable and I’m happy to hear bfing is better.

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:04 am

Thanks Beth. I’ve been thinking about you and Lucy. I hope all is well. 🙂

rebecca lustig December 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

one day, she will appreciate all yoru hard efforts gone into breast feeding– make sure she knows it! hah

have a great weekend 🙂

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:05 am

Yes, perhaps I’ll direct Summer to this post one day. 🙂

www.cottercrunch.blogspot.com December 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I am so glad to hear that things are progressing! Its amazing how our body responds to certain foods, exercises, etc. Hope it gets even better for you and the little heablet.

Lori December 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Good to hear! Your positive attitude is inspiring! All the best to you and your family!

Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm

You know I am your greatest supporter and champion and you are doing an AMAZING job…and I am thrilled to hear that you feel like you’re supplementing less and producing more milk for her…that’s wonderful news! You have done it ALL as we have talked about and it’s very…admirable. And exhausting!

I remember those days…they are hard, long, and you wonder if and when the light at the end of the tunnel is going to come. It sounds like there has been a light in the past few days tho based on this info…hurray!!!

You know you are an amazing mommy and she is so lucky to have you 🙂 You are doing a phenomenal job of trying to balance it all! When I was in the thick of it all…I wasnt running a blog and fielding a 100 blog-related emails a day…you’re a rock star 🙂

p.s. your oaties are up on my site, a few ppl have said how great they look!

jenny December 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm

heather, i forgot to say i made your Almond Flour Tahini Cookies recently, subbing sunflower seed butter for tahini and they came out soooooo good. thank you!

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:06 am

Jenny, so glad you enjoyed the cookies. I have not made them in forever…need to get on that. I don’t have any tahini, but I’ve got some chocolate sunflower seed butter. Good call. 🙂

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun December 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

You are doing an AMAZING job! Breastfeeding does not go smoothly for everyone and the fact that you have been so determined and are trying everything you can speaks volumes. That is all you can do. And you are loving that little girl with all you have. That is most important. Kudos to you for being such a fantastic mom. No matter what happens with breastfeeding, you are definitely one fantastic mom. 🙂

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:07 am

Thanks Tina. 🙂

Melissa Cline December 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

You rock, mama. You totally rock. I hope you can give up the supplementation completely if that’s your goal <3

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:08 am

Thanks Melissa – me too.

Corey @ the runners cookie December 17, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Summer looks so healthy and happy! Glad to hear that you are feeling good about her progress and feeding – it’s obvious that you are an incredibly mom doing everything possible to give your baby what she needs to grow 🙂

Christin@purplebirdblog December 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm

She looks so perfect and healthy. You are a great mama, Heather. Thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations with us! <3

Lisa Torres December 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

AWWW…she looks great…look at those chubby cheeks….. so your efforts are working!!! hang in there!! At least you will know you tried every avenue…so glad you have someone who can come to your house and help too..thats wonderful. Just think how much of an inspiration you will be to others with the same situation…and look at how much great information you have discovered!!! And you are still blogging…. I am so impressed..and Thanks…look forward everyday to all your creations!!

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:09 am

Thanks so much Lisa. 🙂

Baking 'n' Books December 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Happy to hear things are going better! Do get some rest though. Brewer’s yeast – where can you buy this and what does it taste like?! I keep expecting Summer to have light hair like you! She’s so adorable 🙂

kim @ girlevolving December 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Heather, I’m so sorry it’s been difficult for you, but I found this post so encouraging just because of your good attitude with it all. I’m sure there has been a lot of frustration and disappointment and tears, but your decision to make the best of it was just really inspiring to me.

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) December 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I am so glad that you are finally able to enjoy breastfeeding! I am glad things are getting better and you are so good to work so hard at it! Enjoy every second of your little angel! She is so sweet!

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday December 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm

If I had a baby I would probably be anti-formula too. But what I didn’t realize is that sometimes you don’t really have a choice.
That’s fantastic news that your lactation is improving!

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} December 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm

You are amazing!! So many women would have given up within the first week or so. I am in awe of your dedication. Summer is absolutely adorable. Good luck as you continue on your breastfeeding journey. Whatever happens, you know that you have done the absolute best you could for Summer.

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:10 am

Thanks Maryea. 🙂

Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) December 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Great omelet! I love mixing smoked salmon and goat cheese with chives into an omelet. Yummmmmm! (Note, though, that I’ve never had to determine the milk-producing benefits or detriments of this recipe…) 🙂

Victoria (District Chocoholic) December 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm

You are one determined woman – and also very brave to discuss this. So many people are afraid to discuss breastfeeding difficulties, but it is important that people discuss it openly so that women can help each other out.

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:11 am

I know – I had no idea it could be so difficult and figured breastfeeding just came naturally to most women. So not the case. 🙁

Felicia (a taste of health with balance) December 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Everything you just said only shows what an amazing and dedicated mother you are to Summer. I hope soon it’ll be breastfeeding only, but you have definitely given it your best and more. Have a great weekend!

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:11 am

Thanks Felicia, you too. 🙂

Erin December 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Heather! I have been out of blogging for the past …9 months?…and it seems you have brought a beeeautiful baby HEAB into the world!!!! She is so adorable. Congratulations! I know you will bring the same sunshine and positivity to motherhood that you do to everything else 🙂

HEAB December 18, 2010 at 4:12 am

Welcome back and thanks so much for the congrats. Hope all is well with you. 🙂

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