My breastfeeding relationship with my children has long ended, but when I see a Breastfeeding Carnival I still feel the need to contribute. Breastfeeding was near and dear to my heart.
I was breastfed as a child. My sister and I both were. I remember my mom saying that the “norm” at that time was Bottle Feeding. It was all the rage, and if you could afford to do it you needed to. Her impression was that the people who couldn’t afford to formula feed had no choice but to breastfeed, but despite the bad stigma at the time she decided to breastfeed. I’m not really sure what her reasons were. Herself and her twin sister weren’t breastfed. They were preemies and required a hospital stay that separated them from their mother.
I asked my mom if she would be interested in typing out her thoughts on breastfeeding. Here’s what she wrote:
I had Heather in 1978 and back then it was more popular to do formula feeding over breastfeeding. was a stay-at-home mom and the formula was so expensive that my husband at the time and I decided that I should try. The hospital made you stay in until your milk came in, and for me it was four days. I loved it and the bonding that I had with Heather. Whenever I nursed I would go in the bedroom or another room, I kept it private, I never breastfed in front of anyone except when it was our immediate family only. There was one time I got a breast infection and the antibiotic they gave me, doctor’s warned, would turn Heather’s teeth yellow for life! So I pumped and gave her formula until the infection had passed. She hated it! It was the worst seven days of my life! Heather stopped one day at 10 months old, she may have been ready but I wasn’t. I also breastfed my second daughter for 11 months, she quit on her own as well. I still feel that this was one of the best decisions I every made for my children and me.
She told me that she was well aware that breastfeeding was better than formula feeding. She knew there were many benefits for her and the baby, maybe not specifics, but enough to know that breast is best. I don’t think many women were breastfeeding in those days and if they were many did it very discreetly or even in secret. So it’s unknown to me what the average age was to breastfeed until.
All I knew from an early age was that we were breastfed. It seemed normal to be from as early as I can remember. I never even thought for a second that I would formula feed, and I didn’t. I’m proud to say that I was breastfed and my children were all breastfed. I hope that my decision to breastfed causes my sons to become advocates for their future children and that they are able to encourage and influence their future wives to make the same amazing decision. It will always be worth the effort.