Both my mother and mother-in-law have been very supportive of my decision to breastfeed. I consider myself lucky that these two incredible women are on my side.
It's unbelievable how much things have changed, now that people know the myriad benefits of breastfeeding and there are many more outlets of support but sadly my mother and mother-in-law's mother did not receive that support that I am now so fortunate to have.
When my mother-in-law, Barbara, was born in the late 1940's, her mother, Sylvia, didn't know anything about breastfeeding because her own mother had never discussed it with her (Sylvia was the youngest child, born when her mother was in her 40's). As far as Sylvia knew, everyone used formula. Her breasts hurt when she took her newborn to the doctor, she was engorged with milk and didn't know what was going on. The doctor didn't tell her why her breasts were full. They just bound her breasts to dry up the milk.
My mother, Sheila, breastfed me for 6 weeks in the early 1970's and then had to go back to work. She didn't have access to a breast pump (she's not even sure if they existed around then) and needed to go back to work. When my younger brother was born, 3 ½ years later, she was able to stay home at little longer and breastfeed him for a larger amount of time. Our pediatrician wasn't that supportive and was dismissive of her efforts in breastfeeding – saying it didn't matter and formula was probably better.
When I had all three of my children, my mother was very supportive. Since I had trouble nursing my first child and a little more success with my second child, she knew how important nursing my newest child, Skylar, is to me. The way she's been helping me lately is coming over and tidying up, so I can concentrate on nursing the baby and spending time with my almost 3-year-old daughter.
My mother-in-law has also been incredible. Barbara breastfed all three of her children and knows how important it is to me. When my first child, Ben, was a newborn, she stayed over several nights and would come into our bedroom to actually help me get Ben to latch on. Now she supports me by watching my daughter once a week for a few hours so I can have some me time (while Skylar naps).
Both my mother and mother-in-law are thrilled that breastfeeding is going so much better with Skylar. I rely heavily on both of them and I am grateful for their support.