08 September 2011

My Daughters Will Breastfeed When They Become Mamas

I know my daughters will breastfeed when they become Mamas.  There is no doubt. 

When I breastfed my first daughter, it was until she was one year old.  She remembers this five years later.

When I brought our younger daughter home from the hospital, my older daughter would sit next to us, asking about breastfeeding.  She tried several times to breastfeed a baby doll, looking over occasionally at us and readjusting the doll.  She was 3 at the time.

She asked why I breastfed them both and I told her my own personal reasons for it, "This way, Mama loses weight faster and more safely while you two grow to be stronger, healthier, and smarter.  This is why women have breasts.  Did you know that only a few years ago, if you couldn't breastfeed a baby, the only other thing you could do was hire someone else to if you could because there were no bottles or formula?"

I knew my older daughter understood that breastfeeding was a fact of life because most Mamas I knew breastfed and did so openly in our playgroups.  But I didn't realize to what extent she and my toddler would make the best advocates for breastfeeding, until...

We were at Bristol Renaissance Faire watching the very funny Maxx and Mauldron Show.  Sir Mauldron said he felt a welling in his breast.  I and the audience laughed as Sir Maxx gave him an odd look.

"Whaaat?!  That means your milk is coming in and breasts are for mommies to breastfeed their babies with!  Boys can't do that!", shouted my older daughter.

Meanwhile, my toddler started bouncing around chanting "Bah-bah!  Bah-bah!  Mommy, Bah-bah!" and cackling like crazy while clapping her hands.  I had weaned her about 6 months ago and she still remembers nursing.

I hung my head in uncontrollable laughter and embarrassment.  I've met enough people who feel extremely negatively toward breastfeeding, both men and women. 

The mom a couple seats down from me looked at us seriously and said "That is awesome.  She's right.  Good job, Mom!"

The crowd laughed.  Sir Maxx and Sir Mauldron laughed.  And you could tell by the crowd that there was an overwhelming majority of adults there who supported breastfeeding. 

While my older daughter doesn't like boys at all beyond friends, thinks kissing is gross, wants to be able to make her own money when she grows up, and is scared of labor, I know that if they choose to become Mamas, when the time comes she and her younger sister will breastfeed.  And support others who choose to as well.

Na razie...

Helpful Links: 
Le Leche League International
World Health Organization, Breastfeeding
WIC Breastfeeding (Main Page) 
American Academy of Pediatrics, Breastfeeding


Linda said...

This is what I've taught my children, also, and my daughter breastfed her son and will do so will any other children she has. Really, I can't think of reason a woman would choose not to breastfeed except for rare medical cases. My mother breastfed me and my siblings, her mother breastfed her. It's just the best thing to do for your child and yourself :)

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't know why this discussion is such a big deal over there. I mean, I see the topic all over the American Internet and I just... don't get it. Why people are fighting over this of all things?! Isn't it their own business, whether they choose to breastfeed or not? For me, it seems just as silly as fighting over whether to teach your children the second language from the day they are born. I mean, sure, everyone has their own opinion and it's fine. But with breastfeeding I've seen regular fights in comments to posts of those who chose to state their opinion on the matter on their personal blogs. And it eludes me, why people would fight so violently about that?! Maybe you could help me understand?

Alena said...

I am sure they will. :) I think a lot of this is cultural, and I was actually surprised to find out that the rates of breastfeeding in the US are not as high as I expected them to be (I was even more surprised that some people chose not to breastfeed at all, but then again, I grew up in a culture where breastfeeding is the norm).

I think another part of it is that women often go back to work when their babies are 3 months old. Nursing is one thing, and pumping is quite another (much harder). I wish maternity leave laws in this country were not so cruel to mothers and babies, but that's a topic for a different discussion I guess.

And lastly, to each their own, but sometimes I feel somewhat sorry for women who did not experience breastfeeding firsthand. Yes, it usually is very hard in the beginning, but when the process is streamlined, it is quite enjoyable and relaxing.

Unknown said...

I totally agree with Amy. In Poland breastfeeding is a norm. Here, when I first went to my OB he thrown at me bunch of questions about breasfeeding. Like: "am I planning to do it", "why", "do I know how", "how do I feel about it", "how long I am planning to do that", and the list went on and on. Geez.. I was just 3 months pregnant. How am I suppose to know how long I will breastfeed. Life will show. Right!? Anyway, almost every single time I went to a doctor, or my nurse came to me, we used to talk about my choice. After all that talk I was actually tired of the word "breasfeeding" and I was really ready to just have my daughter and stop seeing all those doctors and nurses. It was ridiculous.
I hope my daughter someday will be the same way as yours :)

Becoming Supermommy said...

Hey- I think I know you! I think your husband was in a wedding of some friends last year...

They just had a baby (Zoe)?

Am I crazy, or have we met in the real world?

...and love the story, btw. :)

kathy said...

I think breastfeeding is like politics or jazz you are on one side or other, like it or hate it and there is no way to change your opinion. Even when you are Polish. I am a twin mother that nursed my kids a long time, had to finally cut them off at 2.5 years b/c I didn't want to nurse them till they were too old, we all loved it too much and it was tough. But I did get a harsh words from my 80 year old grandma (in Poland) when there were 18months old saying, why are you still nursing them are why are they not potty trained. My friends looked and even called me strange even thought they had kids the same age (we are polish we express ourselves). So the moral of the story is when you have a child do what is in their and your best interest, you will always have people that disagree. If you choose to nurse or not, or for however long, it is your body, your sanity and your child... You know what is best.


Anonymous said...

You know I would have been definitely agreeing with you all, saying the same words and devoting my life trying to convert those women who prefer not to breastfeed...If only the problem wasn't that I was struggling with my milk supply. I had no serious medical problems, my son was perfectly healthy, he latched 3 minutes after birth. I was adamant that I'll breastfeed until he is at least 1,5. Meanwhile when I was arguing with midwifes, because they were seriously worried and insisting on giving him formula, he lost 14% of his birth weight, was continuously hungry, I had NO sleep at all for the first month and developed postnatal depression after three months of his life. I was crying when giving him first bottle of formula because it wasn't supposed to happen. I was crying when pumping late at nights instead of having a rest. We were both exhausted, hungry and angry...Life is messed up gals, you were just simply lucky....and one more thing...don't force your daughters to breastfeed to make you happy and continue family tradition because if they find themselves in a similar situation as mine (and every other fourth mum in the world) they will feel that they disappointed you and their child somehow and will persist in breastfeeding and put one of them in danger

Unknown said...

Anon, I'm sorry to hear that was your experience and you are not alone in that. Nor did you somehow "fail". I recognize that at least part of my breastfeeding success was luck, the other part was my trying and trying, of course we can't trivialize the efforts involved. I will not force my kids to breastfeed, I'll support whatever they do, even if they choose to not have kids, but I will more stand to not force formula on them. In the end, this was meant to be a funny and encouraging story. Cheers and thanks for visiting!