The Role My Mother and Mother-in-law Played in Breastfeeding

Sarah Strapp

Posted By: Sarah Strapp

I am eager, anxious, nervous, and exciting to get this baby to my breast.

Though I live across the country from my parents, I was lucky to have them with me the day that Sammy came into the world. I will never forget the trip home from the hospital. In NYC, few people have cars, so we took a cab home from the hospital. My husband, Sammy and I were in one cab and my parents were in the other. When we walked into our apartment I remember having an overwhelming feeling of, "now what?" My husband's parents arrived the next day. Not that we have any idea about what we're doing now, but back then, all of three months ago, we were like polar bears in the tropics.

The one thing I knew for sure was that Sammy had to eat every couple of hours. In those first few days of Sammy's life there was little that felt comfortable, but one moment that made me feel so warm and content was when Sammy and I would retire to the master bedroom with my mother and mother-in-law. I would be propped up on the bed holding Sammy trying to get him to latch on and my two moms would be looking on with joy and pride, assisting with pillow positioning and wiping up any sprayed milk.

Some people think that all you need to do to breastfeed is put the baby to your breast and then the rest happens – they're mistaken! Breastfeeding can be hard: it takes a lot of commitment and a lot of support from the people around you. I've never been shy, never the kind of person that's afraid to express her genuine opinion, so everyone in our families knew that my ultimate goal was to breastfeed. My mother-in-law did not nurse her children and my mother only nursed my siblings and me for our first four months. You would never know it from the looks on their faces when they were in the room with me nursing Sammy.

Now, since Sammy is a bit older and our nursing relationship has really matured, one of my favorite things to do is nurse Sammy while my mother and I sit and chit chat over Skype. It means so much to me to be able to share these moments with my mother. I don't know that either of my moms influenced my decision to breastfeed, but their support has more than enhanced this experience.

The beginning of anything is hard. When you start a new job it takes at least two weeks before you start to feel like you might know what you're doing. When you move to a new city it can take at least a year before you really know your way around. Breastfeeding is no different. In the past three months since Sammy was born, we;ve developed a beautiful way of understanding each other through nursing. I have taught myself to relax and not put so much stress on myself. The time that I'm nursing Sammy is for him. Its OK if everything else has to stop. It's OK if I can't do 20 things while Sammy eats. There will probably be a day when I look back on nursing Sammy with such longing. Why detract from the experience by multitasking?

Before becoming a mother I was sure that I would be able to do this with no trouble. I've always been a tough, driven, ambitious and stubborn woman. Now that I have a three month old I realize that it takes so much more than a mother, and even more than a mother and her partner. It takes support, love, trust, and encouragement from every person in your life. I would like to say a special thank you to my mother and to my mother-in-law for always supporting and loving me...and my son.

2:36pm on Thursday December 30
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