Pittsburgh Celebrates National Breastfeeding Week

national breastfeeding week 2018 pittsburgh

Mothers Around Pittsburgh Share Their Stories

We were thrilled to put together this stunning photo session with Mothers from the Pittsburgh area. We were both so happy for the positive response from our community and from family and friends that cheered on our Mothers. 

Every woman who signed up for our event through our online form was asked, "Why are you interested in participating?" We loved each and everyone's responses. A lot of women shared their experiences and stories with breastfeeding. They shared what breastfeeding meant to them and why it was personally important. We wanted to share a collection of their responses to our question and some of the photos we captured of that day.

* Some of the quotes are from Mother's in our group photo, some in our minis, and even some who registered but could not make the event that day. Our photos of every mother pictured does not correlate with the quotes/experiences below.  Some stories have been condensed for the blog. 

breastfeeding mother on pittsburgh bridge
toddler with mother on andy warhol bridge
nursing toddler boy in pittsburgh
Breastfeeding has become a key part of my mothering and identity as a mother over the last 3 years. I nursed my son for 2.5 years until he weaned halfway through my pregnancy with his sister. I’m thrilled to be starting another nursing journey with her, now.
— Taylor
Breastfeeding was super easy for me and my first daughter. She still nurses occasionally at nearly 2.5 years old. I expected our first daughter to be just as easy, and while she’s probably much easier than many babies she was more difficult than our first due to torticollis. I also donated over 200 oz to the milk bank with our first daughter and am still a heavy producer. I am also a birth doula and get to help mommas with their first latches, which is an incredible moment to be a part of.
— Caitlin
baby grabbing mother's hair nursing
Stunning woman feeding baby on bridge
motherhood session Northshore
I’ve been breastfeeding for the past 7 years! I am now nursing my fourth baby, and maybe I’ll end up nursing more, but this will be such an awesome thing to be apart of and look back on.
— Sharon
This is my 4th baby but first to breastfeed, We’ve made it 5 weeks of exclusively breastfeeding and our goal is 2 years, seeing my daughter look at me while she eats and knowing I’m giving her the best possible nutrition to start life feels amazing, seeing other mothers nurse in public and go through their journey has helped me tremendously and I want to do the same!
— Melina
mother kissing baby downtown pittsburgh
I managed to exclusively breastfeed twins for 6 months and still nursing at 19 months with additional foods. I love breastfeeding.
— Emily
black breastfeeding mother in pittsburgh
Toddler looking on bridge
Woman of color nursing toddler Northshore pittsburgh
This is my third child. I nursed my son for 15 months, my daughter for 28 months and my youngest daughter and I have been nursing for 26 months. I always wanted to nurse but it terrified me. All three babies had colic and nursed very frequently. I hated nursing. It was draining and exhausting and often painful. Often times I felt stuck nursing. We overcame the pain and the issues and came out on the other side. My children and I have an incredible attachment.
— Rachel
I am interested because my daughter has completely changed my life, and my outlook on it. She is my first child, and we’ve been exclusively breast feeding for the past 2 1/2 months, since the day she was born. There’s no greater feeling than being a mother. Not only did I give her life, but I am keeping her alive and healthy with my body, and it’s power of nature. I never expected to be so comfortable nursing in public, or even around friends and family, until I had her. But now it all makes sense. I have been a gift, and I couldn’t be more blessed than to share this magical bond with my daughter.
— Amy
Nursing at sunset on top of Andy Warhol bridge
kissing nursing mother
Since my daughter was born in December 2017, I have exclusively breastfed her but it has been a really rough journey. I had to fight tooth and nail for it which is why I am so, so proud of it. From the very beginning, I was in excruciating pain with the misshapen nipples, blisters, cracks, etc. I remembered from my prenatal breastfeeding class that breastfeeding should not hurt so I asked Myla’s pediatricians about it and was told she didn’t have any sort of lip or tongue tie so I just needed to see the lactation consultant on staff. It was still extremely painful - the latch, position, suction, everything was “right” but I was still hurting. We were sent away with another shield and told to “toughen up” my nipples. I really just thought breastfeeding wasn’t going to work for us. I gave myself 6 months - if I made it to 6 months, I would be proud. I reached out to The Midwife Center’s lactation consultant, Cheryl. I so desperately needed better help if I wanted to breastfeed until 6 months. Cheryl discovered Myla’s lip tie and recommended we get it revised if we wanted to make it to 6 months. Myla’s lip tie CHANGED EVERYTHING. THAT NIGHT, I was able to throw our PLETHORA of nipple shields away because my baby FINALLY had a good latch!! Instead of crying in pain like I had been, I sat on the couch crying because I was finally feeding my baby with no pain! We are now almost 7 months in and I am so proud of how far we have come. I listened to my gut and my body and kept persisting. I was a victim of bad information for a long time and had to get really good at advocating for myself and asking for help. I had to fight hard for our breastfeeding relationship but I am so happy I didn’t accept pain. I am so proud of myself for doing what was best for my daughter and myself - I am so proud to be a breastfeeding mother.
— Courtney
beautiful pittsburgh baby
I’m currently breastfeeding my 3rd and last child, Nora, and loving every second. The confidence that has come with experience feels great and I’m so happy to be able to have this time with this little blessing. My first born and I nursed exclusively for 4 months and weaned at 8 months. My second born and I nursed exclusively for 8 months and weaned at 11 months. I’m excited for this journey with our baby girl, as long as that may be. Before becoming a stay at home mom this Spring, I worked as a nurse practitioner in a midwife practice encouraging & empowering mothers everyday to feed their babies however they chose to, breast or bottle. I am also a certified breastfeeding counselor and love the opportunity to help those families navigate their feeding journey.
— Tracey
I’ve had a great experience breastfeeding my son for almost 11 months now. Initially I had no real expectations for how long I’d breastfeed or even what it would be like. Then I thought at least six months. But as time went on and the journey was so rewarding I realized there was no need to stop or even supplement when I was perfectly capable of continuing to nurse. I’m a huge supporter of women who choose to breastfeed their babies. It’s the most amazing way to bond with and nourish your baby at the same time. It has especially made me feel empowered as a mother because I’m able to sustain my child’s life with my body and no one else is able to do that but me.
— Ashley
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I look forward to being able to spread awareness of Enteral Feeding and how the tubes allow our kids to thrive nutritionally despite their medical challenges. And to support the Mothers out there who struggle with the emotions of not being able to experience a bond created by holding and feeding their baby.
— Trisha
We waited a long time before we got pregnant and so everything about our baby has been very sweet. I work full time and take care of my disabled husband, so it would’ve been very easy to think I couldn’t give the time to breastfeeding. But we’re still going strong at 18 months and I pumped a freezer full of milk for our adopted nephew. There’s nothing I love more than snuggling up with my baby and seeing how my body nourishes his. God’s design is simply amazing.
— Larissa
After a crazy, unpredictable, emergency cesarean delivery and complications that required surgery 2 weeks later, nursing my baby was the only part of my birth plan that didn’t go wrong. Seven months later, to see my healthy, happy baby thriving on my breast milk has allowed me to find peace in such a traumatic experience. I’ve never had more appreciation for my body and it’s abilities than I do now.
— Tiara
I breast fed my 3 year old for 13 mos. I have been breastfeeding Charlie for 3 weeks, now. With Miles, I was such a scared new mom. I pumped and pumped and pumped and didn’t trust my body to make enough milk to feed him. I ended up with an oversupply and was able to donate over 1,000 oz to Mid Atlantic Mother’s Milk Bank as well as much more to other individuals to help pre-mature babies and their parents. I never breastfed in public because I have a large chest and felt grotesque. I thought my giant, milk-engorged breasts seemed overtly sexual. I was embarrassed and I worked so hard. With Charlie, I’m way more confident and just started breastfeeding in public like so many moms I admire. We all have so much to celebrate by being mothers, in addition to giving our children life and providing them with nutritious, natural milk.
— Kristina
I lost my first born 4 days past my due date do to an placenta abruption in 2008. He was in the NICU for 6 whole days before joining the angels above. Everyday of his living life I pumped as if he would of been nursing. He received my milk via NG tube. There was and still is nothing more nourishing than a mother’s milk for her child. We tried for another child and in between 2008 to 2015 we had miscarried 8 times, until one stayed. I gave birth via C-section to a beautiful baby girl! I promised her and myself that I would give her the best most nourishable start to her life as long as I could as long as she wants. My milk provides some many things for her and changes as she grows! When she is sick my body recognizes what she needs from her salvia touching entering my glands/ducts as she expresses my milk. She gets my antibodies to fight off these colds and illnesses. She gets special proteins to grow and aid in her digestion. She and I get to enjoy these moments together and form and incredible bond that know one else can understand. By nursing for as long as we have my daughters courage to do things has excelled she knows mommy will always be there and has the self courage to go and spread her wings without the separation anxiety. She has the confidence to do so.
— Melissa
I always thought breastfeeding was strange and felt like some hidden mystery, but the moment my son was born, I latched him and it felt right. I knew I would sacrifice anything to do what is best for my children. We struggled at the beginning, but nursed him for 2 years. My daughter nursed for 2 years. Currently breastfeeding my 3rd baby girl Vanessa. All my children were nursed to sleep every single night until they were comfortable enough to go to sleep on their own. I wear my babies and can do all household tasks while breastfeeding with one arm. My friends never know I’m even breastfeeding! I am empowered by the women in the Bad-Ass Breast Feeders of Western PA Facebook group! I love knowing there are women in the group around at the same places I visit with my own kids.
— Alisha
Phew. Already emotional. So prior to pregnancy, I didn’t have to chance to understand what a feat breastfeeding is! As someone who had been around babies her whole life I always assumed it was just part of nature and...well, easy. And shoot I’ve been living in my skin for 30 years and thought I understood all parts of me. But pregnancy is a VERY interesting experience! As I started visualizing myself giving birth and being a mom I thought it was a good idea to start reading up on breastfeeding. I signed up for a bf class through the hospital and my husband and I were blown away! Why did it take this long and only a pregnant situation to know the power and benefits of breastfeeding! Why was this not discussed in middle school/ high school health class. Leaving that class I learned it’s a lifestyle. I remember when I was so naive and felt uncomfortable seeing women ‘do it’ in public and from the first day I held Cooper I was so moved. Why and how did he know exactly what to do? Proud doesn’t describe it enough. Proud of baby proud of me as a new mom and proud of my body. So honored to be a female and to have had this experience. And even 16 months in I still don’t have it figure out. It’s allowed me to grow and breastfeed in public and create more conversation about it.
— Kayla
15 months breastfeeding and going strong! I was so determined to make it work but in the beginning it was so hard, like it is for everyone but the hospital and Doctors almost made me quit. I knew I could do it though and I’m so proud that we made it so far. As I type this right now I’m nursing my son, the bond, the comfort, the support it gives my son and every baby is invaluable.
— Lori