Did You Ask Your Mother?

Closeup of baby nursing to sleep.Laura Schlegel-Stephenson

I was afraid of breastfeeding at first because it wasn’t something my family and friends talked about.

My baby and I struggled in the beginning. My days became consumed with pumping, feeding, and washing pump parts. Many times my husband would wake me when I had fallen asleep at the pump. Eventually my baby was exclusively drinking my milk from a bottle, and I became consumed with watching the number of ounces I pumped.

This went on for about five months until one evening, after reading some information from La Leche League, I put my baby to the breast again, and we did okay.

It took several weeks of slowly replacing bottles and pumping with nursing. We learned from each other. The day I left the house without bottles and my pump was one of the proudest moments in my breastfeeding journey.

I could never have done it without the love and support of close friends and the La Leche League community.

But I still wonder why my family didn’t talk about breastfeeding.

I didn’t know my mother breastfed my sister for 13 months.

Laura holding her baby, standing in front of a fire truck.I didn’t know she breastfed me until I self-weaned at 18 months!

I didn’t realize my sister breastfed her son until 14 months.
My sister tells me now that she doesn’t know what she would have done without LLL to help her.

I honestly did not know and never thought to start a conversation about breastfeeding while I was pregnant. There’s a breastfeeding legacy in my family!  Even my grandmother breastfed all five of her children, and I had no idea.

Breastfeeding is not always something you see in your daily news feed or hear about over dinner when you’re with friends. I think that’s a shame. I’m excited to be attending LLL meetings now where people do talk about breastfeeding.

Editor’s note: Clear and frequent communication with your partner, family members, and/or health care providers is an important component of successful breastfeeding. Whether it’s sharing your concerns, your goals, or even discovering that close family members have experienced their own breastfeeding journey (as was the case with the author), communication can lead to a better breastfeeding experience. Series meetings are one place where breastfeeding parents will find support and companionship. Locate a meeting near you at http://www.lllusa.org/locator/.

Pink flower with the words Thank You A generous donation has been made by the Herbert R and Jane A. Tuttle Charitable Fund in memory of Jane’s mother, Rita M. Johnson. Thank you to Jane and Herbert Tuttle for their donation to help continue breastfeeding support to mothers and babies today.

Red heartSupporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always

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