Breastfeeding Advice to Ignore

Everyone seems to have an opinion about breastfeeding, whether they want you to do it, want you to do it differently, or want you to stop doing it. Sometimes those opinions are a wealth of helpful knowledge, but other times they are the judgmental whispers in your ear that make you feel like you’re failing.

If you’re a mama who is planning to breastfeed now or in the future, here is my non-exhaustive list of some breastfeeding advice that just wasn’t helpful for me. Choosing to ignore this advice helped me be more successful, and you can feel free to ignore it, too!


breastfeeding advice to ignore

The Breastfeeding Advice You Should Just Ignore

1) “If you can get through the first two weeks, it’s all smooth sailing after that!”

So many people told me this, that I pretty much had that two-week date circled with a giant red permanent marker on the calendar in my brain. With each painful latch-on, I longed for that magical day to arrive. But when that day came and went, I felt completely hopeless. If I hadn’t been just obnoxiously determined, I would have given up, thinking that it just wasn’t going to work for me. What I didn’t know was that both of my babies had higher than normal palettes, and until they grew into their mouths, breastfeeding was just gonna hurt. For me, it took almost three months for the pain to go away. And THEN it was all smooth sailing! Whew! 

The truth is, there is never a guarantee of smooth sailing. Mastitis, thrush, illness, growth spurts, teething…there will always be obstacles that crop up and cause problems. But they CAN be overcome and conquered with plenty of support, education, and determination.

How I would edit this advice to be more helpful:

“Each week you get through is another week where your baby is reaping all the benefits of breastfeeding. Be proud!” 

2) “Don’t worry about what the books say.”

While it’s true that no baby will be exactly “by the book,” and you should never follow a book’s guidelines over listening to your baby, a good breastfeeding book can get you through almost anything. No one should embark on a challenging experience without some foundational knowledge and a plan. Find a book that can both inspire you and help you troubleshoot problems. A good breastfeeding class, like the one at the UIHC, can accomplish the same thing.

With a bit of foundational knowledge, obstacles can feel less surprising and overwhelming, expectations can be more reasonable, and you can let your baby guide you the rest of the way.

How I would edit this advice to be more helpful:

“Arm yourself with the knowledge and experience of others.”

3) “Sleeping next to your baby will make breastfeeding easier.”

It is absolutely true that safe co-sleeping or bed-sharing can make a world of difference in some mamas’ nighttime breastfeeding success. Me? As much as I wanted the ease and comfort of feeding my baby without getting out of bed, I couldn’t sleep a wink with my little grunty newborn next to me. I needed a clear separation of my sleeping area and my baby’s sleeping area in order to fully relax and rest. Getting up to nurse did require more effort than just rolling over, but the peace of mind was worth it. Putting my sweet babe in her own safe bed (nearby, but not within sigh-hearing-distance) allowed me to find that sweet-spot of sleep where I was sleeping restfully but still able to hear her when she needed me. We both slept better and fell into a solid sleeping/nursing routine.

How I would edit this advice to be more helpful:

“Find the sleeping arrangement that keeps your baby safe and secure, and you both comfortable.”

4) “Have your spouse get up in the night to feed your baby so that you can rest.”

I wanted this one to work. Sometimes I watched my slumbering husband and resented his ability to be oblivious to our babies’ nighttime shenanigans. However, any time Daddy was going to feed the baby a bottle, I wanted to get up and pump to avoid a drop in milk-supply. (If I didn’t, the engorgement probably would have woken me anyway!) And if I was going to get up and pump, I would so much rather just get up and feed my baby directly. Plus, they went back to sleep so much faster and easier if I just nursed them. I used to feel too old-fashioned for not sharing nighttime duties equally with my husband, but then I realized that breastfeeding is a powerful and sacrificial relationship, and I’m lucky to get to do it.

How I would edit this advice to be more helpful:

“Let others help you when you need it. Tell them what would be most helpful to you.”

5) “It will all come naturally to you.” 

Breastfeeding is natural, sure. But most people don’t grow up seeing mamas breastfeed openly, watching them troubleshoot, and learning the tricks of the trade. Most new moms aren’t surrounded by older, wiser women during the newborn phase to offer support and help. I wonder if we lived in a society where breastfeeding were more normal if the process would feel more natural. As it is, breastfeeding can feel very foreign and strange in a society where breasts are primarily viewed as sexual and mothers are often quite isolated during the newborn phase of childrearing.

It may not come naturally, especially at first. But eventually, it can miraculously morph from the hardest and most painful thing you’ve ever done into the easiest and most rewarding experience in your life. Kind of like childbirth. Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s easy. (Amen?)

How I would edit this advice to be more helpful:

“It will be SO worth all the effort you put into it!”

The moral of the story here is that advice can be so helpful. Sometimes a few words or hints are all you need to lift your chin up and keep on keeping on. On the other hand, if the advice from well-meaning outsiders is bringing you down, causing you to question yourself, or piling on the guilt, feel free to just ignore it. Find a friend, group, or book that backs you up and empowers you to do what’s best for you and your baby. We have a community FULL of wonderful resources.

Here are some resources that I highly recommend. 

Breastfeeding Resources

What would you add to my list? What advice did you choose to ignore? What was most helpful to you on your breastfeeding journey? What other resources would you recommend?



Lianna is a homesteading mama of three: a sparkly seven-year-old daughter, a joyful five-year-old boy, and a confident three-year-old boy. After graduating from the University of Iowa’s college of education, she started Wondergarten Early Enrichment Home, a multi-age, play-based early childhood program. A self-proclaimed Queen Dabbler, she has a long list of hobbies (from gardening and canning to sewing and painting), and doesn’t mind being only mediocre at all of them. She lives with her husband, mother, three kiddos, dog, cat, rabbits, dwarf goats, and chickens on an acreage in the country. The Cornally family spends their time talking about education, learning how to grow and preserve their own food, and romping around in their woods.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.