Successful Breastfeeding Stories: Amanda Dickey

Everyone has their own unique breastfeeding challenges, including Amanda Dickey. Amanda achieved her goal to breastfeed her son and has plans to breastfeed her daughter due later this year. And she's accomplished all this without the use of her arms or legs. Amanda is quadriplegic. This is the inspirational story of how Amanda overcame the odds to provide her children with the very best.

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Amanda Dickey

Amanda Dickey

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  • Successful Breastfeeding Stories

    We all have unique breastfeeding challenges. Overcoming those challenges and persevering can greatly empower you on your breastfeeding journey. In this series, we’ll share inspiration stories of breastfeeding women who overcame their personal hurdles.

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Episode Transcript

The Boob Group
Successful Breastfeeding Stories: Amanda Dickey


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: This episode of The Boob Group is brought to you by Rumina Nursingwear. Hands-free pumping and nursing tanks and bras to support your breastfeeding goals. Visit and save 20% with promo code BOOBGROUP20.

[Theme Music]

LEILANI WILDE: We all have our own unique breastfeeding challenges. Overcoming those challenges and persevering can greatly empower you on your breastfeeding journey. Today, we are honored to share Amanda Dickey's successful breastfeeding story. Amanda breastfed her first baby, and she plans to breastfeed her second baby due this fall. Amanda is also quadriplegic. This is The Boob Group.

[Theme Music/Intro]

LEILANI WILDE: Welcome to The Boob Group, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. The Boob Group is your weekly online on the go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I’m your host, Leilani Wilde, I’m also an IBCLC and owner of Leilani’s Lactation and Doula Services.

Thanks for tuning in today and being a loyal listener of The Boob Group. Don't forget, you can listen to our episodes through our free apps available in the Android, iTunes and Windows marketplace.

You can also subscribe to our podcast through iTunes, so new episodes are automatically downloaded for you. Now Sunny is going to tell us more about our Virtual Panelist program.

SUNNY GAULT: Yes, hey everybody! Thanks so much for listening today. If you guys aren’t here in the studio with us, we have a program called our Virtual Panelist program, and it allows us to get your feedback on some of the questions that we're talking about today in the studio.

We want to hear your breastfeeding stories as well, so I typically post some stuff to Facebook and Twitter before we start recording, and I'll be doing that today. Follow the hastag#BoobGroupVP, and the VP stands for Virtual Panelist for more information.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: All right, it's time for a brand new segment on The Boob Group. We're calling it Mama Hacks. This is what we need you guys to do: you guys have some fantastic breastfeeding and pumping hacks, tips, advice, whatever you want to call it.

Things that have made your breastfeeding and your pumping experiences much better, and we think our listeners should know a little bit more about this. You guys have shared this advice with us in the past, so we thought we'd create a segment to really feature it. So this first Mama Hack comes from Jessica of Utah.

"Hi, my name is Jessica, I'm calling from the Salt Lake City area of Utah, and I just had a trick for working moms who are pumping. I have one of the pumps that comes with a pouch, and instead of using a Ziploc back to carry my pump parts, I just carry a Tupperware that fits right into the bag and I can just pop that into the fridge or put ice coolers around it to keep it cool during the day.

I don’t have to worry about changing out pump parts or rinsing them in a sink with a bunch of other people. I just thought I'd give that tip, keep it up! Love The Boob Group, love all the New Mommy Media, Twin Talks, so thank you so much! Bye!"

SUNNY GAULT: Jessica, thank you so much for submitting your awesome Mama Hack! If you guys have great hack tips out there that you want to share with our audience, you can post them on our Facebook page, you can send us an email and you can also call our voicemail at 619-866-4775.

[Theme Music]

LEILANI WILDE: Today on The Boob Group we're starting a new series called Successful Breastfeeding Stories, where we feature inspiring stories from breastfeeding moms. Today, you'll meet Amanda Dickey who successful breastfed her now 3 year old. She also currently pregnant, due this fall and she plans to breastfeed again. Amanda is also quadriplegic. We are so honored to have you on our show today, please tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you become quadriplegic?

AMANDA DICKEY: Well I became quadriplegic in a car accident when I was 16. I was traveling abroad, I was in Argentine and I was just living with the family and our car just flipped over on a rural road. That was kind of it. I have limited movement from my shoulders down, so I can't really move my arms or my legs. I was so young that I still kept all my dreams alive and have pretty much been able to tackle all of them.

LEILANI WILDE: That’s great. Nothing gets in your way, right?

AMANDA DICKEY: Not really.

LEILANI WILDE: That’s awesome. So you have a 3 year old son, right?


LEILANI WILDE: Did you always think about wanting to become a mom and breastfeed?

AMANDA DICKEY: Yes, it was something that I wasn’t ever sure, there's really just not a lot of medical knowledge, especially about quadriplegics or even anyone with a spinal cord injury, which would include paraplegics, but there's just not a lot of knowledge out there, especially accessible knowledge like on the internet. There's just not a lot out there, so I wasn’t sure how possible it was or what it was going to be like, but me and my husband decided to give it a try and go on the adventure.

LEILANI WILDE: How did you meet your husband?


LEILANI WILDE: Nice, and how long have you been married?

AMANDA DICKEY: We've been married since 2011, so going on four years.

LEILANI WILDE: Wonderful, that’s great. You just decided you wanted to breastfeed your first son?


LEILANI WILDE: How important was it for you to succeed?

AMANDA DICKEY: It was important, I mean it was similar to even conceiving, where there wasn’t a lot of information. I spoke to lactation consultants and they said, well, some people said it's not possible because of the lack of sensation, there might not be a lot of stimulation going on or hormones traveling, but let's just see how it goes.

My sister didn't have the easiest time breastfeeding, she's not quadriplegic, she's able bodied and so there's obviously lots of challenges for everybody. I kept all of those things in mind, and it was important to me, but again it was just kind of part of the adventure. Let's see how it goes, I would love to make this happen. I really wanted to give it a shot.

LEILANI WILDE: And how did you prepare yourself for this?

AMANDA DICKEY: You know, I did some lactation consulting type stuff, just learning about latching, trying to see if my anatomy was going to be the right kind. Obviously it depends on the baby, but just trying to learn. Being a new mom and even expecting a second baby, there's just so much of the unknown, that’s a little scary, so trying to educate myself as much as possible, but it was kind of waiting until the day he came to figure it all out.

LEILANI WILDE: And see what happens from there. That’s great. What kind of support did you have?

AMANDA DICKEY: So I did have a lactation consultant, I had a baby nurse that was just there to help with the hands, then my husbands and I have assistants that are with me 24 hours a day, so a good group of people.

LEILANI WILDE: And were they there when you were learning how to latch, so that they could help you and be your hands?

AMANDA DICKEY: Yes. Pretty much with every breastfeeding session we had 3 people in the room, ready for whatever was going to happen.

LEILANI WILDE: Yeah, there's your public breastfeeding, right?

AMANDA DICKEY: Yeah, exactly. Impossible.

LEILANI WILDE: So how long did you breastfeed your son?

AMANDA DICKEY: Six months.

LEILANI WILDE: Six months. That’s great, really great.

AMANDA DICKEY: That was my goal.

LEILANI WILDE: That was your goal. And once you reached your goal, did you think, hm, I want to do it longer, or were there some limitations?

AMANDA DICKEY: Yes, it was pretty much... He had been moving on to solids or starting to move onto solids, and he had stopped latching a while before that. I was just pumping, because it was important to me to get the milk to him, so my milk supply wasn’t that great. If it would’ve been better and it would’ve been easier and kind of part of my routine, as it does get with many moms after six months, then I probably would’ve kept going, but the six months was kind of a rough goal to reach, so once I reached it, then It wasn’t so hard to stop.

LEILANI WILDE: Do you have any idea why you had some trouble and he decided he wanted to stop breastfeeding when you decided to pump?

AMANDA DICKEY: I think that what we all kind of decided was he did have some issues with his lower jaw where he couldn’t latch super easily, and then we also figured out throughout the process that there were just certain times of the day, especially in the middle of the night that my milk supply wasn’t that great, so he would get frustrated quickly and be hungry.

There'd be times when he'd be great and latch on right away, and other times that he didn't even want to try. We could coerce him to do it most of the time, but then after a while it just wasn’t enough and it wasn’t happening quickly enough, so then we would supplement with the bottle and like I said, I would at least keep pumping to give him those nutrients. My husband is a chef, so food is very important in our household, so I wanted to give him flavors if nothing else.

LEILANI WILDE: That's great.

AMANDA DICKEY: That’s why I kept pumping, it was important, also just the nutrients and the things we know about, how good it is for babies. But again, I wanted to give him as many flavors as I could.

LEILANI WILDE: That’s great, and I love that your husband is a chef. It's good to have good nutrition for your own self, right? To prepare the right amount of milk.

AMANDA DICKEY: Definitely.

LEILANI WILDE: So what surprised you the most about yourself and about being a new mom?

AMANDA DICKEY: There were lots of fears obviously, and things that I was worried about, but there's also parts to motherhood that aren’t necessarily physical. We definitely had our physical moments, we could still kind of do the skin on skin and that kind of stuff, but me not being able to pick him up was obviously hard. But even to this day, we have been able to connect in kind of a whole different level, that I would say was an amazing experience that you can only feel and not necessarily plan for.

LEILANI WILDE: Right. His adjustment to you as his mom, he knows no different.


LEILANI WILDE: So for him it's normal, natural.

AMANDA DICKEY: Exactly. And you can really tell, he doesn’t... There's nothing there that stops him from sharing our love the way we share it.

LEILANI WILDE: Right, and asking for what he wants. That’s just what kids do, right?

AMANDA DICKEY: Yep, absolutely.

LEILANI WILDE: No difference. Great. When we come back, we will discuss with Amanda the different obstacles she went through, and how they might be similar to other breastfeeding moms and babies. We will be right back.

[Theme Music]

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[Theme Music]

LEILANI WILDE: Welcome back to the show, we are sharing Amanda Dickey's personal breastfeeding story. It's all part of our new series, Successful Breastfeeding Stories. So what was the biggest challenge, Amanda, that you faced as a breastfeeding mom?

AMANDA DICKEY: I would say the milk supply, I think that something we decide later was that maybe a certain pump that I was using at the beginning kind of dropped my milk supply and it was hard for me to get it back up.

I've always had issues not drinking enough water, my nutrition was good, like you said my husband is a chef, so that part was easier, but then learning about the lactation cookies and things, certain tinctures and things that could help bring it back up. It did help some, but I never quite got it back as good as it was the first 8 weeks.

So yes, I would say that was one of the biggest hurdles. Otherwise, you know, it was sort of typical stuff where he wouldn’t latch some days, some days he would and again we kind of had to have 3 people around to try different positions and try different tricks where we might give him the bottle for two seconds and then try to switch him onto the nipple. You know, just all those things. We learned so much to try to overcome just the daily struggles of all those things.

LEILANI WILDE: You have to be creative and think on your feet, right?

AMANDA DICKEY: Yes, definitely.

LEILANI WILDE: Did he have a favorite breastfeeding position?

AMANDA DICKEY: I would say we had the most success with the football hold. It would change, but I would say yes, that was probably the most popular for him.

LEILANI WILDE: Yes, a lot of babies like that. That’s nice. Did you feel that you had enough support?

AMANDA DICKEY: Yeah, I did. Again, it was just sort of an adventure that we were all going on, and you know we all bought and read lots of books. It was funny, you probably know about it I'm sure, but there's a convention in Los Angeles, we were living in Los Angeles at the time called Boobie-Palooza., and I said to my husband "Do you want to go to this? Because I'm going to go."

And he said no, I think I'm okay and I feel like I know everything there is to know about breastfeeding. Because we had researched and researched, trying to make it a little bit easier. I would say it never got super easy, there were certain days that it was pretty easy, he would latch on and it would be easy, my milk supply was there and he knew it. On other days it just wasn’t so easy, so I never got into that groove where every day it was easy, but that was fine. So we did learn a lot together.

LEILANI WILDE: That’s good. Did you have a lactation consultant come into your home?


LEILANI WILDE: What would you say to another mom who is facing the same challenges that you have faced?

LEILANI WILDE: I would say keep trying, there's so many things to try and to keep overcoming. At the same time, don’t put too much pressure on yourself because it is obviously important to us, but the baby's health is obviously #1.

If we're not able to get enough milk or do enough, we had to make the decision to supplement formula. I didn't want to do that at the beginning, but obviously it was better for the baby to grow and get all the nutrition he needed. You know, I think it's... Stick with it, keep trying but don’t beat yourself up too much if it's not working that great.

LEILANI WILDE: Right. We do, as moms, have a tendency to do that, don’t we? We take it very personal.

AMANDA DICKEY: Yes, it's very upsetting. I remember clearly the day that I was like "This is not working as easily as I thought it was." And then you just kind of get over that and keep moving on.

LEILANI WILDE: Right, and I think almost every mom has experienced that same feeling, that we take it personally when things go wrong. We carry our babies in our bellies, we nurture them and then when it's time to bring them out into the world and we want to nurture them the same way, it's just when we hit those bumps, we do need to give ourselves some growing room.

AMANDA DICKEY: Definitely.

LEILANI WILDE: What was the best advice that was given to you?

AMANDA DICKEY: I would say that really the kind of guidance in the nutrition aspect. Like I always wanted to give him the flavors and things like that, and I knew obviously that what I was eating was going to him, but at the same time you can really boost that by eating the right things and drinking the right things, drinking enough and then adding even the little extra things that can help boost everything, make it better, make that part easier for everybody. I think that was the most valuable thing, because there were certain days that it really came in handy.

LEILANI WILDE: With the different foods that you ate, and I know that you mentioned a couple times that you wanted him to have the different flavors, have you noticed as a toddler now that he's a great eater?

AMANDA DICKEY: He is a great eater.


AMANDA DICKEY: He eats just about everything. He's starting, you know, as a toddler, he's starting to get to where "I don’t want that today." But in general, he eats everything.

LEILANI WILDE: Would you do anything different with your next one?

AMANDA DICKEY: I think with this one I will try to start that whole nutrition and fluid intake long before she comes. Now we know it's a girl. Just to prepare for it and try not to have that drop, since I had a hard time bringing it back up last time. If I can keep it up, it was great for a while.

LEILANI WILDE: Right, and you know with the second time around, oftentimes you're a better producer.

AMANDA DICKEY: There you go.

LEILANI WILDE: So good luck with you.

SUNNY GAULT: Thank you.

LEILANI WILDE: Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your incredible story with us. We are so honored to have you on our show today and your willingness to be open with us. And for our Boob Group Club members, our conversation will continue after the end of this show, as Amanda will share with us how she influenced others on her road to success. For more information about our Boob Group Club, please visit our website at .

[Theme Music]

COURTNEY MELVETH: So here's a question for one of our experts. This is from Michelle, and what she asked was "Do we have any advice for large breasted women? Even though our latch is pretty good, I feel like I need to hold my breast off my baby's nose. His chin is the first thing to hit my breast during latch, but in order for the latch to be deep enough, we will have some hangover over my baby's nostril. So any advice?"

VERONICA TINGZON: Hi, this is Veronica Tingzon, international board certified lactation consultant and private practice lactation consultant in the San Diego area. Michelle, I wanted to go ahead and answer your question about large breasted women, and you're right.

Large breasted women do need to hold their breast, in large part due to the weight of the breast and the floppiness, if you could use that word, but they are a little bit more floppy, they drape over more. As your child gets older, that won't be much of an issue. In fact he will become stronger, the ability to hold the breast will become stronger.

With regards to the breast draping over your baby, no, sometimes a little positional tweaks might help that as well. Sometimes the baby's body is curled up a little bit too much, so if you grab the baby and curl his rump down a little bit more, kind of making sure that maybe if you take like the palm of your hand and push into the area between the shoulder blade and the spine, if you do that, sometimes the baby even digs that chin in a little deeper, separating the safe and the nose from the overhang of the breast. That could help.

Another thing you can do is you can also use maybe a rolled up towel or a baby blanket, and put it under your breast to help kind of hold up the weight of the breast. Some moms will also change position itself, so instead of using a cradle hold or a crotch cradle hold, maybe using a football hold so that you can actually see the baby's nose a little bit better also. This all kind of depends on how old the baby is, so see if that works a little bit better for you. I hope that helps, and good luck with everything!

[Theme Music]

LEILANI WILDE: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with newborns, infants and toddlers
• Twin Talks, for our show with parents of multiples.

Thanks for listening to The Boob Group: “Your judgment-free breastfeeding resource.”

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series or if you’re a business or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit .

[End of Audio]

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