In the desert of northern Namibia, there is an ethnic group called the Himba who live isolated from cities and essentially survive off the land.  Most all Himba women successfully breastfeed. Why? In part, they spend months after birth living with their own mother, learning how to nurse and care for their baby.  To us, this story is a beautiful reminder of what it takes to successfully breastfeed — guidance and support.  After all, it takes a village, right?

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, which kicks off today, we are honoring this concept by sharing breastfeeding tips and wisdom from the StrollerTraffic family.  We’ve collectively breastfed (or attempted to breastfeed) over 70 babies, and here are our thoughts on the topic:

“The first few weeks can be a struggle: latching, chapping, low milk supply and sleep deprivation all contribute to frustration – for both mom and baby! As the nurse told me at the hospital: you are just getting to know each other. Hang in there, because once you master the latch and feed, your body releases endorphins and chemicals to your brain, which stimulates a sense of euphoria you’ve never experienced before.”  – Michelle Green, Austin 

“Store your pump parts in the fridge each day – DO NOT wash them after each pumping session! Only at the end of the day. And use Milkies  they catch the drip on the non milking side and you can get up to 2 ounces each breastfeeding session!”  – Kristin Quinn, Boston 

“I tried every nursing pillow around and didn’t like any of them. The absolute best thing for me has been a toddler pillow! It’s just the right size to tuck under a little one.” – Anne Cutler, New Orleans 

“I had wanted to breastfeed my first born, but [struggled]… I felt terrible guilt — after all, everything I had read said I “had” to breastfeed my baby.  Finally, the words from a lactation consultant made me feel relief. She told me that having a sane and healthy mom was most important for my son. If breastfeeding wasn’t working for me she said it was ok — many of us were formula fed and had survived just fine. Those kind (and rational) words made me feel 100% better about where we ended up — formula fed and happy! ” – Rosalia Polizzi, NYC

“I breastfed during my daughters vaccinations. Not just after but during. It worked wonders!” – Britney Harmon, Philadelphia

“The best thing was when I quit stressing about staying covered up. Prairie would always kick off the nursing cover and I would get so embarrassed. But when she was 6 months old we were on the airplane and she wouldn’t stay covered and I just stopped caring. I even drank a glass of wine while nursing her uncovered on that flight. It was great!” – Geneva Karwoski, Joshua Tree

“See a lactation consultant if things don’t seem right — could be a total game changer!” – Erica Bowton, Nashville 

“Just before sitting down to pump or nurse I always grab a full glass or bottle of water and a granola bar or handful of nuts! As soon as the baby latches I immediately get very thirsty and hungry.   For milk supply, I drink liquid gold tea from Pink Stork.” – Jesi Verchota, Chicago 

“Remember to do what is best for you AND baby.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s not always as easy at it looks and it’s ok if things don’t go according to plan.” – Ashlee Mello, Cincinnati  

“Invest in a hand pump! The sight and sound of an electric pump gave me performance anxiety. I found the pumping process much less intimidating when I used a manual pump.  Breast is best for baby, so long as it’s also best for mom and the whole family. After struggling with debilitating hormonal migraines for four months after my son was born, I found peace with transitioning to formula. While it wasn’t my plan, I was able to begin functioning again with the help of a medication, which led me to be a more productive mom for both of my children. They needed me on my feet and not bed ridden.”  – Becky Olson, Chicago 

“My challenging component of breastfeeding has been finding the right clothing that is ‘feeding-friendly.’  My wardrobe before baby was mostly dresses so most of that clothing has been pushed to the back burner until we’re done this chapter. I’ve found myself embracing more pants and fun colorful flowy tops. I haven’t invested in super pricey breastfeeding bras overall, but I did buy one lingerie type from Heidi Klum’s line and it’s very pretty. Also, the Bravado Designs Womens’ Clip and Pump Hands-free Nursing Bra Accessory has been great for when I need to pump and still multi-task around the house.” – Olivia Patino, NYC  

“There’s warnings about nursing a baby with brand new teeth… but no one prepared me for ‘the yank’ — when baby is latched on tightly and suddenly cranes her little neck to see what’s going on behind her while still latched. Brace yourself for this new mamas! Find a quiet, distraction-free place to nurse curious babes.” – Melissa Alcorn, StrollerTraffic President

“Be kind to yourself, gentle on both you and baby, and remember that the goal is a healthy mom & baby. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others, but birth and breastfeeding are the first exercises in honoring that your journey is just that – yours. Enjoy babyhood, it’s hard but so very rewarding.” – Vanessa Wauchope, San Francisco 

“I petitioned my company for months to build a new pumping room. There was a baby boom and there were 10 ladies trying to use one room and it wasn’t working. I begged and begged everyday and they built an extra one. It was a life saver for timing at work.” – Jackie Siska, Seattle 

“With baby #2 I had very intense let-downs, physically and emotionally.   Once the milk let down, I would frequently (usually when I was tired, so pretty frequently) experience a feeling I can only compare to feeling homesick — melancholy and anxious. I nursed him for 15 months, and I didn’t tell anyone about this until the very end.  I didn’t want to be pressured to stop nursing him, so I didn’t seek help getting through it.   Once I confided in my husband and my mom about what was going on, I felt so much better.  As I researched it, I found other women had the same feelings.  If you are struggling at all, get it off your chest! It doesn’t make you a bad mom, or mean you’re not happy, or mean anything has to change.” – Lindsey Rickard, StrollerTraffic Community Manager