A New Tradition
By Jeanette Lundgren
Worcester, MA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 5, September-October 2002, p. 171
I am the first woman to breastfeed in my family in three generations. My grandmother's doctor told her that her milk was no good. When my mother was born she had an allergic reaction to formula and was fed raw cow's milk from the family cow. My mother had me in the 1970s and I don't think it even crossed her mind to breastfeed. I was given formula for the first month, and then switched to whole cow's milk. It is a very good thing there is no history of dairy allergies in my family.
When I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I read everything I could get my hands on. I happened to pick up THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING and Dr. Sears' The Baby Book at a secondhand store. Those books really changed my thinking! After reading about all the benefits of breastfeeding, I decided that was how I wanted to feed my baby.
My mother was not exactly supportive of my decision. She told me not to beat myself up if it didn't work out. She stocked me up with formula "just in case" and told me, "If you can't feed that baby, I can." I decided that I needed some support. I found information online about my local LLL Group and contacted the Group Leader. I started attending meetings while I was pregnant, building a support network and learning all I could from the other mothers and their breastfeeding infants.
Jack was born at the end of October. He latched on beautifully and sucked for over an hour. We learned a lot about each other those first few months and I was blessed with a proficient nurser. I knew that I was very lucky!
Even though breastfeeding was going well, I didn't know how my family would handle me breastfeeding the baby in front of them. Jack was one month old at Thanksgiving and two months at Christmas. I figured if I was comfortable breastfeeding during the holidays, it would put my family at ease as well.
My family has come to accept how I feed my child. After the holidays, I went to visit my sister at her new home and my niece greeted me at the door with, "Hi, Auntie. You can breastfeed Jack anywhere you want to." My brother-in-law remarked that he had thought it would be uncomfortable for him to see me nursing my baby, but he found that it really was "no big deal."
I have a wonderful network of LLL friends and neighbors that I can go to when I need support or have questions. We've had a couple of challenges along the way and I've used my "lifeline," my LLL Leader's number, a few times. It was a huge comfort knowing she was there for me on the other end of the line!
Jack is now five months old and we are fast approaching the time for solid foods. I know as our nursing relationship continues, I will meet resistance and pressure from my family to wean my baby. My husband and I have decided to wait until Jack is ready for weaning. I know no matter what that I have a group of like-minded women who will support me. I have learned so much from them already.
I absolutely love nursing my son. There is something incredibly precious about nursing a baby to sleep in your arms. The first time he looked up at me and smiled while breastfeeding, I just melted.