Breastfeeding Families: Generations of Support

Grandmother with babyNursing can be challenging without support. For parents who have generations of breastfeeding family members before them, accurate information is often easier to access. Recently, we asked followers on the New Beginnings Facebook page to share their family human milk feeding experiences with us.

Scientific knowledge and recommendations in parenting and lactation have certainly changed over the decades, but one thing remains the same: nursing families need support! There is a lot of outdated or bad breastfeeding advice out there, but we’re hoping to celebrate the positive aspects of family support with this article.

Barbara G. explained that her family’s lactation story was impacted by La Leche League. “I was so fortunate to come from a family where breastfeeding was the norm! I come from an uninterrupted line of breastfeeders. My mom became one of the first La Leche League Leaders in St. Louis in 1961. She’s 91 now and breastfed 13 children. Her first for seven months, and then for decreasing amounts of time until her sixth baby, whom she breastfed for 16 months because of La Leche League’s support.”

Sometimes family support exists even though inaccurate information may have prevented prior generations from nursing their babies. Kylie P. recalled: “My mom breastfed and was a big support to me when I breastfed my two children! She told me that in her circle not a lot of her peers breastfed or breastfed for very long. Her mom, my grandma, did not breastfeed due to outdated breastfeeding advice she was given about how nursing would pass her allergies down to her children through her breastmilk. My grandma has fascinating stories from her childbirth days, and despite the differences in recommendations, she was a big support to me nursing my own children.”

Bella D. shared a similar story, where her mom was unable to breastfeed, but nursing still continued in her family. She said, “My mum tried to nurse but ‘had no milk’. My daughter and daughter-in-law breastfed all their children for at least a year (one for three years). My sister-in-law breastfed her last child after watching me. Best thing I’ve ever done!”

Sometimes, even without older generations to look to, parents may blaze their own trail and leave a legacy of nursing babies. Stacy B. told us, “I was the first to breastfeed in my family. The only support I had was my husband. Then, both my sisters breastfed their babies. My daughter is now breastfeeding her third baby. Not only did she nurse all her babies, she also donates her breastmilk. I was inspired to become a lactation consultant, and now I get to help new parents start their breastfeeding journeys.”

Nursing your babies can be an emotional and rewarding time. When you nurse your children, you may be inspiring others around you to do the same, whether you know it or not. Many parents find they feel passionate about the strong bond created with their children through nursing and the health benefits of human milk. Sharing that emotion with their families generates a legacy of breastfeeding for generations to come.

Send your stories about breastfeeding, parenting, and more to Kylie at [email protected]

Further reading:

Supporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always

Donate now hart

Please consider donating to La Leche League USA.
Your gift helps support this blog and the website!

Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted. Thank you!

Follow us on: