Recently, I gave birth to our second daughter after five years of prayers. Thankfully, things were different this time around; the pregnancy was normal and the birth was a dream come true (VBAC). But nursing brought me to the same place I was five years ago. Again, my baby had a low birthweight (just above 6 pounds), whichAs with every conflict, I searched for a resolution made me anxious about whether she was getting enough nutrition. Both daughters were also jaundiced, for which the doctors and nurses recommended giving formula. So I supplemented with formula after I breastfed but felt conflicted inside.

As with every conflict, I searched for a resolution. I researched breastfeeding and milk production. I rested. I ate healthy meals and snacks. I took fenugreek pills morning and night. But what helped me the most was reading this one line in Ellyn Satter’s book Child of Mine: “If your baby wants to eat after half an hour, feed him. You will be able to make milk because most of the milk is made when your baby asks for it.”1 After reading this, all the doubt and fear about my milk production suddenly disappeared. I stopped trying to schedule my baby’s feedings every two hours. I stopped comparing myself to my friend’s baby and started to get to know mine. When she fussed, I would try to calm her by nursing her. When she fussed again, I would check what else might be bothering her, and if she still wasn’t happy, I would nurse her again.

Some days, I feel like I am nursing her all the time, and doubt and fear creep into the back of my mind: “Maybe I don’t have enough milk?” But then I tell myself this must be a “hungry day,” and I know this is the way my body will start to produce more milk to suit her growing needs.

It takes determination to be successful at breastfeeding. It takes letting go of control and following your baby’s lead. You have to take care of yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Don’t compare yourself to other women. The frequency of feeding times while nursing is highly individual and dependent on the mother and baby.2

Nursing a baby also takes a strong will and prayer, as we learn from Channah’s supplications to G‑d that we read in the haftorah on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The verse says: “And Channah spoke upon her heart,”3 referring to her chest. The Talmud4 explains that Channah prayed to G‑d, “Master of the world, everything YouIt takes determination to be successful created in a woman has a purpose—eyes to see, nose to smell, mouth to speak, hands to make things, legs to walk and breasts to nurse . . . give me a son so I can nurse.”5 Why was her prayer heard by G‑d? Because she convinced G‑d with her claim, and her words gave G‑d great joy.6

Whether we are nursing or formula-feeding our babies, we should pray that we are nourishing our children to be healthy and to grow to their full potential.