Breastfeeding Medicine

Physicians blogging about breastfeeding

Celebrating the Journey

with 26 comments

“It showed me that I did and was doing something special and that is worth recognition. It also made me want to continue. “
“It was a huge congratulations for us and it made the kids excited that we’d done a good thing together. It showed others that you supported us through our struggles, which I think is HUGE to advertise, explain and share with other Moms who want to nurse.”
“For me it was a finish line. A goal to make it to. Thank you for that, cause I would have quit sooner.”
Got Breastmilk?
These are quotes from  mothers in my practice and they are talking about a t-shirt.

I give a t-shirt to breastfeeding moms and their 1 year olds at the one year well visit.  I’ve been doing it for years.  I pay for them myself and I do it because I figure that if you make it through all the obstacles that we throw in the way of successful breastfeeding, somebody should congratulate you.

The shirts represented that I had done something really important for my kids. I was thrilled to earn one for both kids. I also wanted to show others that active moms do breastfeed.

I have heard courageous stories of breastfeeding against overwhelming obstacles and am always impressed and determination of mothers to continue past those obstacles.  I have also heard the pain when mothers don’t meet their nursing goals.  So we celebrate the journey- we don’t need to devalue the breastfeeding experience or breastfeeding itself; we need to celebrate the success, and then transition to the next steps in parenting. .  I have thought about doing it at different times in the experience or giving them to celebrate special achievements prior to a year, but I fund these myself.  (Some day though I hope to expand this idea.)  Plus, I like the idea of having these shirts on 1 year olds, instead of babies, as a way of demonstrating that nursing a toddler is still normal.

” It was a great bonding experience and I loved every minute of it. It was great to know I could breastfeed for that long and not feel ashamed like some people think it is out there in the world.”

“A special ‘thank you’ to you..for keeping me motivated through the (occasional) physical pain, for the words of encouragement on those days when I just wanted my body back, and for arming me with the confidence and intellectual, fact-based fire-power to defend my decision against those, “You’re STILL breastfeeding?” people!”

We all measure success differently.  It could be that mom decided to breastfeed at all.  It could be that she achieved her own goals.  Sometimes, I think the mother just needs a cheerleader to help to her continue to meet her goals.  Who would have thought a shirt could do it?

“There were times, around 10 months, where I was ready to stop, but knowing that (my daughter) could have a t-shirt, however silly that is, was a big deal for me. Once I hit that year mark, it was easy to continue.”

That darn shirt kept me going on the days I wanted to give up.”

“I didn’t think I would make it, especially working full time, but I needed the t-shirt! Before I knew it he was 16 months and still nursing, even with a brother well on the way!”

Knowing that I had overcome a lot of obstacles and trying times to achieve something great for my child. The t-shirt, although nothing huge like a trip to Disney world, shows to everyone what you and your child have accomplished.”

I’m sure that there is a myriad of reasons why the mothers in my practice chose to continue nursing, but I’m glad that there are some women that I could help reach or exceed their breastfeeding goals with a little recognition and an acknowledgment of their journey.

To see the gallery of kids wearing their shirts:

Dr. Jennifer Thomas is a pediatrician in Wisconsin and is Chief of the America Academy of Pediatrics Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator Leadership Team. She shares her expert advice on breastfeeding and pediatric care at

Posts on this blog reflect the opinions of individual ABM members, not the organization as a whole.

Written by drjen4kids

May 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Breastfeeding

26 Responses

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  1. How I wish all doctors where like that. All mine does is whine that I still nurse her at almost 2yo.
    putting this in my Sunday Surf


    May 14, 2010 at 7:19 am

  2. Love it 🙂


    May 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm

  3. Nursing for 20 months and still going.

    @mampoekie, if your daughter whines when you nurse her, then she is probably ready to stop.

    Heather Kelly

    March 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    • Her doctor whines.


      March 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    • @Heather – I thik she meant her doctor whines, not her daughter.


      March 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      • yes, my doctor whines 🙂 My daughter, who’s now almost 3 does anything but whine when she’s nursing 🙂


        March 24, 2011 at 2:23 am

    • @Heather Kelly – me too! We are expecting #2 in September and I have no plans on stopping now. I’ll do it as long as my LO needs it.


      March 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

  4. Oh I wish I could get a shirt. My doctor was happy that I am still nursing at a year but doesn’t feel the need to celebrate it. In many ways though I guess that’s ok too, because it should be treated as totally normal and not treated as a big deal. But I still want a shirt. Maybe I’ll get one made.


    March 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  5. @ Heather – I’m pretty sure Mamapoekie was referencing her doctor whining, not her daughter.

    Still breastfeeding at 23.5 months and no plans to stop! What great encouragement you are giving your patients’ mamas!! 🙂


    March 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  6. I get the shirts here:

    Thanks for all the great feedback! Keep up all the great work!!

    Jenny Thomas (Dr. Jen)

    March 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

  7. How wonderful that you do this. I fired my first ped because he told me my I must be making skim milk and my baby is sick because he didnt fit on his formula funded growth chart. He is now 3, nursed for over a year, and is totally healthy and really smart. His brother just turned one and is still nursing like a champ. Kudos for the support you provide.


    March 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

  8. What a wonderful doctor. Our ped is supportive although I think our decision to nurse past 3 yrs. is a bit rare. But our ped did recomment Cry It Out, which was disappointing….


    March 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  9. i bfed my first til she was 23 mths and her dr, well when i would tell him that she was still nursing, well he didnt say anything. but when i had baby #2, everyone in the hosp and the pedi that was on call was amazed that i had nursed big sissy that long. so thank you for doing what others should be doing!!!


    March 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  10. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who said, “You’re still breastfeeding?” followed up with, “That’s great!” Fortunately, I get that from my doctors, nurses, lactation consultant, friends, and family. Still, those critical comments tend to linger in the back of my mind and bother me.

    I breastfed my son for 31 months and plan to continue breastfeeding my 9-month-old daughter for about the same duration. Got breastmilk? Oh yeah!

    Sara Lennertz

    March 24, 2011 at 2:04 am

  11. I am still nursing my now 24 month old. We love every minute of it. I really only hear negative comments about it, so I keep it to myself. It is nice to find a place where everyone is supportive:)

    Kelli A

    March 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

  12. This is wonderful! I wish I heard more stories like this! My daughter is 17 months old and still nursing strong 🙂 Although her pediatrician thinks it’s DISGUSTING that I nursed past 6 months which I guess is better than the last one who recommended formula from birth and blamed every possible illness on breastfeeding. My daughter has never been sick in her life. I bought my daughter a “powered by mama’s milk” t-shirt for her first birthday 🙂


    April 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm

  13. That is awesome! I breastfed my first two (now 11yo, and 9yo) until almost 3yo each…yes, I tandem fed. My third at 23 months is still breastfed….who knows how far we’ll go. I have a personality that once a person has attempted to belittle me over my parenting choices, they never do it again. Such misconceptions are based in folklore, fear and societal prudish BS. My choices are based on facts, science and LOVE. I really need to find some shirts for the family that tell it like it is. 😉


    August 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  14. love it! thank you so much so encouraging and empowering!


    February 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm

  15. 4 years for 2 kids each and working on my 3rd. I’m not in the closet! Thank you for what you do.

    Jenny Raymond (@zzwhitejd)

    February 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm

  16. 18 months and going strong

    diana simons

    May 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm

  17. I want one of these shirts! I’m nursing a 26 month old and am proud of it!

    Amy Hardy Moye

    August 24, 2012 at 8:46 pm

  18. I bf my son till 3yo. .faced many obstacles and objections.. glad I kept gg. Good read.


    August 25, 2012 at 3:08 am

  19. I just want to say I’ve been following you on FB and your website since shortly after my daughter was born in April 2011. I truly wish we could clone you or somehow make other physicians as much of an advocate of breastfeeding. I personally nursed my daughter until she was 14 months old and it was such a battle in the beginning I never thought I’d make it to 3 months, let alone a year. It took a while for her to latch (she was 3 weeks early) so I spent way too much quality time with my pump, and then she had a dairy and egg sensitivity so I had to modify my diet. Having you as an online resource was very helpful. Thank you!


    November 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

  20. That’s really nice. My son just turned one last week and is still breastfed. His pediatrician just asked if he’s drinking whole milk yet and I said he’s still breastfed and he said ok well you can switch any time. No congratulations for me!


    November 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

  21. What an awesome thing you are doing for breastfeeding moms. I’m currently tandeming my 34 month old and 6 month old and even though I nursed my oldest for 2 years, this round is tough. Giving moms something to look forward to, even if it seems silly sometimes, really helps. I set little goals and reward myself when I make it, too. It makes all the difference.


    November 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm

  22. What a wonderful idea!! I have 9 children and have not stopped nursing in almost 19 years, I tandem nursed all of them & I’m now probably nursing my last baby at 3 years old, I can’t imagine life without nursing a baby, I don’t know what I’ll do with myself!! How can I sneak in those afternoon naps with a nursing baby!! I’ve been really lucky not to have to many negative comments and only positive doctors.

    Sarah Laskowski

    April 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm

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