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A Chat with My Mother and Mother-in-law About Breastfeeding

I had little chats with both my mother and mother-in-law today and it seems that Baby Picon will be the first branch on our family tree to be breastfed. I see this as an important event for our family as a whole and I'm excited that the scientific information about breastfeeding that is available to a new generation of mothers is making a difference in our family.

My mom had her first child (my brother) when she was 20 years old and she admits that she simply wasn't informed about the benefits of breastfeeding. She had heard that it was very painful for a woman and after experiencing a difficult delivery and a pretty bad perineal tear on top of it, she decided that it would just be too much to try to breastfeed. When she had me almost nine years later, she was working in a factory and had just separated from my father. Her place of employment would not be supportive had she chosen to breastfeed and since her first child responded well to formula; she decided to do the same with her second.

Now I just need to make it clear that I think my mother is superwoman and it didn't change my opinion of her when I learned she did not choose to breastfeed. Her opinions about breastfeeding were certainly beneficial for me to hear and I gained so much from this conversation with her. She told me that if she could go back in time, she would definitely give it a try which made me feel better about my decision. She doesn't believe that breastfeeding has any health benefits, but she told me, "it is such a beautiful and natural experience for both the mother and baby and so important for bonding."

My mother-in-law offered very similar advice via email. She did not breastfeed my husband or any of her three kids and simply said that she did not think it would make a big difference in their well-being. She was not breastfed either and one reservation she had about it was the awkwardness surrounding it. Unlike my mother, my mother-in-law was a stay-at-home mom. But since she pretty much had her three kids about a year apart I can imagine that it would be challenging to nurse. Like my mom, she said that she was not informed about breastfeeding at that time but would give it a try if she could go back. She confided, "I wish that I would have at least tried I. I do honestly believe that it is better for the baby and I commend all mothers who breastfeed."

So now I am thinking: "will it REALLY be painful and what will it do to my boobs?" and "how awkward is it going to be nursing in church even with my new, fashionable nursing cover?" I also wonder about breastfeeding a boy. How much will this matter to him when he's older? Will he say something like "Ma, you did what?!" or "Ewww! Gross! I don't wanna hear that"? I'll write all about that soon here on my blog but for now it was very comforting and wonderful to hear these supportive words from my mother and mother-in-law. I know that I will have their support as I embark on this maybe painful, probably messy, definitely wet, and hopefully amazing journey of nursing my baby!