Breastfeeding: Basics and Beyond

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Breast is best when it comes to feeding baby. But it may take a bit of effort from both you and baby to get started. As we observed National Breastfeeding Awareness Week,lactation expert Janet Tamaro, author of "So That's What They're For!" joined us on August 4, 2005 to answer your questions about breastfeeding.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Welcome to WebMD Live, Janet. Thank you for joining us today.

Thanks for having me.

It's National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

Why are we not aware of breasts?

Unfortunately, all too often, our breasts are thought of as toys rather than wonderful unique parts of ourselves that can enable us to feed and nurture our children.

Let's be real -- if you're breastfeeding, they aren't toys. Making the transition from fashionable to functional is tricky in this culture. But once you have that cute little baby rockin' your world, in all senses of the phrase, that part of your body really does take on sacred new meaning.

For thousands of years women have breastfed their babies. Why does it seem to be presented as a challenge for modern American women?

I think it is a challenge and I think it's always been a challenge. It's the first time you are doing it. People are born, and not to be morbid, die every day, but when it's you doing the birthing or the dying, it's a hell of a lot more challenging. We have so many other demands on our time that we rarely think about something like breastfeeding until we actually have to do it.

"Babies are truly brilliant. Listen to their cues. When they're hungry, feed 'em."

So what are your top ten tips for getting started when you want to breastfeed your new baby?


  1. Start before the baby's born. And I don't mean practice with your husband.
  2. Don't make up a plan, i.e., I'm only going to do it for 24 hours to give the baby colostrum. Remember, it is a learning curve.
  3. I hate these top ten things.
  4. Line up some help. That means get somebody who's really knowledgeable, not your anxious mother-in-law.
  5. It ain't fun until about week four. And if you don't make it through those first brutal weeks, you'll never get to the good part.
  6. Go to the park and watch new mothers breastfeed. Tell them what you're doing so you don't get arrested.
  7. Get yourself some fashionable new clothes with flaps. I promise you won't have to wear them after about week six.
  8. Get your husband or partner on board. Tell him Michael Jordan was breastfed, Michael Jackson was not.
  9. Pretend you have a hearing problem when people ask you, "How long are you going to do that for?"
  10. Babies are truly brilliant. Listen to their cues. When they're hungry, feed 'em.

I'd like to add Number 11: Read Janet's best-selling book So That's What They're For!

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