It only takes one supporter; it’s great if they are more.
It feels like my mother in law is one of those people that clearly come into your life to teach you something specific. With her, it was my journey to learn how to build a relationship with somebody that doesn’t necessarily have the same wavelength, but you have to try. With lots of ups and downs along the way, our relationship has grown over time. I came to appreciate her commitment to help us when she could, and to be the best Nana to her grandchildren, I’ve never seen a more patient and playful granny. When she comes to visit us, she is so helpful: it feels like a 5 star hotel experience right at home! Even though we may disagree on parenting styles or limiting beliefs, through her attitude, views and experiences, my mother in law has contributed to a favourable breastfeeding culture in our family.
You see, my mother in law breastfed her two boys. Her own mum had 10 kids and breastfed them all until they started to walk. Then, they weren’t babies anymore and they were doing things around the house and play. My mother in law has very fond memories of growing up with so many siblings, there was also work to be done, but the fun was spectacular. In the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, with hundreds of hectares of forest to live from, they were considered wealthy; still, if one candy was brought into the house, it was going to be split into 10 pieces. This mum must have developed some clear and strict house rules to go by until having grandchildren.
Back to my mother in law: she breastfed her first born for 7 months, he weaned by himself; MIL thinks the milk may have changed its taste since she became pregnant again. Her youngest was breastfed for 26 months! It may have been longer if her mum didn’t intervene. To be clear, my brother in law was a fussy eater, boob was his thing, weaning was out of the equation. On a trip to his granny, she must have thought her daughter was having it too rough with a two year old “still” breastfeeding; she decided to take action by becoming the bad figure, the cold turkey type of action, she took the grandchild to sleep herself for a couple of nights. My brother in law can remember it; he hated her with a passion ever since. And so, through his own experience as a breastfed baby and his attitude, my brother in law helped the conversation.
I wouldn’t have nursed my babies in their presence, there was always another room to go to, I suppose it was a privacy thing for me, a preference. But the conversation was open, once my little one went past de 1 year mark, there were light hearted jokes about how long she is going to feed for, would she break the family record? Would she start school on the boob? Would she get married on the boob?
Five years on, my little one is likely to be boobing it to school, although I had hoped she would graduate boob school by now. I have never imagined I would breastfeed for this long, and there were plenty of detractors along the way, still, knowing I have allies in my corner of the world, enabled me to carry on with my decision, without giving much thought to other people remarks, often uninformed.
Bellow is my mother in law with her one and only granddaughter, skipping happily, on the way back from her 5th year celebration at preschool.
And now, tell me about you dear mum, who is or had been your biggest supporter, who is cheering you on?
If you would like to inform another mum's journey, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org