Baby #1 was born when my parents were out of town. This was pre-cellphone days and they were on a highway trip, so we had no way to reach them to tell them their first grandchild had arrived. When they got back into town they tried phoning our house only to get no answer. They guessed the baby had come – and I don’t recall how they knew which hospital we were at, but they came straight over to meet the little guy. Seriously, they tiptoed into our hospital room still in their travelling clothes.
Mom was not a huge proponent of breastfeeding. She was in that wave of women who bottle fed. Although she attempted to nurse my oldest brother, there was no medical support, and her mom was a hundred miles away on a farm with no phone. There was no one Mom could call for help. Since she was not successful with the first baby she didn’t even attempt to nurse her other two babies.
When our Baby #1 was born in 1981, the medical world hadn’t come much further. The nursing staff at the hospital gave lip service to breastfeeding, but most of them didn’t know what they were doing – having only textbook knowledge and no personal experience of the matter. I was lucky. Baby #1 was a natural. He figured it out pretty quick, had an excellent latch, and while the learning curve was straight up for me because he was my first baby, he taught me well and we were a successful nursing couple for 15 months.
My mom, having not had success with breastfeeding, didn’t think I could do it. She wished me luck, but it sounded a little hollow. Fortunately, I not only had a son who was a talented breastfeeder, I also had friends who were breastfeeding. That peer support is so important. It took only a few months for my mom to come around to the idea that breastfeeding could work well. Funny, Mom actually starting boasting to her friends that I had nursed my baby for xxx months. I think Mom could have done it, too, if she had only had the right people around her to encourage her and help her along. Every mom should have this kind of support!
And because Son #1 and I were such a successful breastfeeding team, I went on to repeat the process with all the rest of our children, breastfeeding for up to 30 months with some of them. Lucky me. I got to enjoy so many ‘cloth diaper, skin-to-skin’ cuddles, and lots of ‘deliriously in love’ prolactin highs.
If you are or have been a breastfeeding mom, what support do you/did you have? How did that support help you?