From the Breastfeeding Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Feb. 2005 revision:

"Human milk is species-specific, and all substitute feeding preparations differ markedly from it, making human milk uniquely superior for infant feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short- and long-term outcomes. In addition, human milk-fed premature infants receive significant benefits with respect to host protection and improved developmental outcomes compared with formula-fed premature infants… Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child."

Breastfeeding ROCKS. Much more than just a feeding method, it is a means of comfort, an illness protector, and a parenting tool. All babies deserve to breastfeed and all mothers deserve the education, assistance, and support needed to initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

I'm not here to criticize or judge mothers who feed their babies formula. The "debate" over feeding methods is highly emotional for many mothers on either side of the issue. What I DO want to do is help share information that may not be readily presented to pregnant women or new mothers who are having challenges establishing breastfeeding. It has been my experience that many, MANY women who are in that situation are given outdated or incorrect information (by their health care providers or their babies' pediatricians who are not current or adequate in their breastfeeding training OR by well-meaning family members who inadvertently give "advice" that hinders breastfeeding further) and I truly feel that empowering ones self with information can be an enormous help in successfully establishing breastfeeding.

With that being said, I also have to say that while reading information on a website is great for some people, for MOST new mothers who are having trouble, there are other better resources for help! While it is SO hard for many of us to ask for help in addition to the pressure to be a "perfect mother" that we put upon ourselves, there is NO shame in asking for breastfeeding help. Yes, it is "natural", but it is also a skill that both you and your baby have to learn. If you birthed in a hospital, there may be a Lactation Consultant on staff who you can call. La Leche League is an all volunteer, FREE support network where you can attend meetings as well as talk to a trained Leader by phone. Lactation Consultants also work independently of hospitals and are the true breastfeeding medical professionals. This is one site for finding one, as is this and this. Lactation Consultants do charge a fee for their professional assessment and services, so discuss your payment options when you call - many insurance policies will cover or reimburse you for LC services.

There are a lot of amazing, information-packed websites available to help with whatever breastfeeding issue you might encounter, and there is nearly NO breastfeeding issue which can't be worked through without having to resort to using artificial milk/formula. This collection of links below are my favorites I have collected in over six years of breastfeeding.

General Information - Excellent, well-researched site for breastfeeding issues and attachment parenting created and maintained by an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). Use the Search feature to find info on ANYTHING about breastfeeding.

La Leche League - Mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and information. Find a local FREE meeting and/or the phone number of a LLL Leader near you for a free phone consultation. Many archived articles, and new forums where you can post questions and connect with other breastfeeding mothers.

Common Sense Breastfeeding - this page from another lactation consultant (IBCLC) has a lot of great general info links all on one page.

Breastfeeding Matters - The most extensive collection of BF links I've found on the web. Click on "Websites and Informative Links".

this sectionof Kellymom (see above) is invaluable for the first weeks of breastfeeding. The first link in particular is excellent. A MUST read for the first-time mother for a true picture of what normal newborn nursing is like.

LLL's newborn weeks section has lots of short concise articles linked here.

Is baby getting enough? - find out here at BF essentials.

Breastfeeding myths debunked - including published research references.

Troubleshooting: Positioning and Latch video archive - if you can't get in-person help (please try to do so first!) then these videos may be helpful for correct latching techniques, good positioning, hunger cues and more.

Latch videos - these GREAT videos from Dr. Jack Newman are fabulous. His articles are also superb.

Latch video - from The Pump Station, these are more great videos.

Kellymom's latch resources

Troubleshooting: Plugged Ducts and Mastitis

Kellymom outlines the difference between, and treatments of plugged ducts and mastitis. There's even a printable pdf for quick reference.

La Leche League info on plugged ducts

Dr. Sears' info

Troubleshooting: Thrush features a great description of symptoms and treatment options.

Dr. Jay Gordon's site is great for identifying and treating thrush; great info here on treating thrush with GSE (grapefruit seed extract).

Kellymom provides an excellent and thorough list of references and informative links.

This site only provides a short description of thrush, but it does provide in-depth treatment descriptions, including Newman's Gentian Violet protocol.

BF essentials discusses ductal thrush (ouch!) and suggests that treating for thrush is ok even if you're unsure of the diagnosis… GREAT advice!

Troubleshooting: Supply Issues

Kellymom again has excellent info here regarding suspected LOW supply and what to do about it.

the myth of low supply -- a must read if you've been told or suspect your milk supply is low.

BF essentials has a good article here, which includes some natural suggestions to help increase supply.

LLL has a good bulleted list of symptoms of OVERsupply that would be seen in the mom and baby.

Kellymom's excellent info on OVERsupply and fast/overactive letdown. has a very interesting and informational read from a lactation consultant for moms with OVERsupply issues.

Troubleshooting: Nipple Pain

Kellymom's great tips for healing cracked nipples.

BF essentials has suggestions for treatment of sore, cracked, or bleeding nipples.

PediatricWeb article which suggests checking for tongue-tie, plus great specific positioning tips for sore nipples.

LLL's info on prevention of sore nipples; links to healing, thrush, and positioning info.

Kellymom with info on milk blisters and nipple blebs.

Troubleshooting: Growth Spurts, Frequent Nursing has great info here, and addresses the common "not enough milk" myth.

Kellymom explains when common times for growth spurts are, how long they last, and what to do.

Lactation connectionKellymom talks about cluster feeding, how this is normal, and provides tips for dealing with a fussy baby (particularly in the evenings!)

Troubleshooting: Increasing Weight Gain in Baby

Kellymom gives quite a few suggestions on how to increase babies weight gain.

Newman (Dr. Jack) provides a very good article on how to increase babies milk intake at the breast.

Troubleshooting: Distractible Nursling and Nursing Strikes

BF essentials has straightforward tips to survive a nursing strike from an LC.

Anne Smith, IBCLC provides excellent info and tips on nursing strikes.