Breastfeeding Is Good for Grandmothers, Too!
Janet S. Wilcke
Pleasureville KY USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 20 No. 2, March-April 2003, p. 54
My daughter, Ardith, is a patient woman. She recently gave birth to her third daughter and, once again, I am mesmerized by a nursing grandbaby. It's not enough that Ardie is home schooling her kindergartner and handling her two-year-old's periodic meltdowns on the living room floor, she also good-naturedly indulges my "oohing" and "aahing" as I hover over her shoulder to watch my granddaughter nurse.
Nursing is not only beneficial to mother and child, but to grandmother as well. One gaze at the nursing duo and I am transported back 30 years to a time when my daughter was the breastfeeding baby. My mind plays the "seems like yesterday trick" and, for a brief moment, my imagination places me in the rocking chair, baby at my breast. How familiar: that perfect little mouth rooting at the breast, the eager swallowing sounds that seem to say, "This is delicious," the dribble of milk at the slack corners of a sated infant's mouth.
I remember thinking years ago that life could get no better than those precious moments nursing my baby. Let me tell you that life is pretty good now watching this next generation of nursing mother and child!
Judging from past experience, my hovering will lessen as I grow used to this new grandchild. But for now, I am so grateful that my daughter welcomes my doting and takes it in stride. I like to think that gifts come full circle, that all those tender moments in my rocking chair are reaching through the years to my daughter and her child and back to me.
Editor's Note: Janet wrote about her daughter, Ardith, 30 years ago in an article on tandem nursing that still appears in THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. She is proud to say that Ardie is now happily tandem-nursing her own children.