A Grandmother’s Role: Supporting The New Family

Cheryl with her daughter-in-law and grandson

Cheryl, Sedona, Arizona

I was a La Leche League Leader in Illinois for 20 years. Three months ago, my daughter-in-law gave birth to my first grandchild – a boy. Breastfeeding did not proceed smoothly at first. My grandson received bottles of formula in the hospital, my daughter-in-law was an anxious first-time mom, and I was the support person in the middle.

While I so wanted my grandson to be breastfed, I had to respect my daughter-in-law’s choice to exclusively pump and bottle feed.

I moved through many emotions, the primary one being sadness that my grandson and daughter-in-law would not experience the unique relationship that starts at the breast. In the early weeks, I would try to assist them with breastfeeding, but latching was challenging and my daughter-in-law felt that breastfeeding wasn’t going to work.

It was my son – her husband (breastfed for five years as a child) – who was the most effective coach. He would listen patiently to his wife’s fears and help position his son at the breast. After five weeks of attempts to breastfeed, my grandson and my daughter-in-law became a breastfeeding team.

They are now a happily breastfeeding dyad and even made it through a recent nursing strike!

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

Supporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always

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