Janie Rezner (not the Gma in this story) with her grandson
The other day I met a man who was intrigued by my company name, The New Born Baby - he wanted to know more. I talked to him about new mothers learning to breastfeed and how most need tremendous support in order to have a satisfying breastfeeding relationship. He was amazed. "I didn't know there were companies like this," he said.
He went on to say, "I just have to tell you that my wife still feels sad that she couldn't breastfeed." Looking at his white hair and beard, I figured his children must be grown. "Tell me what happened," I asked.
"Well," he continued, "the interesting part is that I wasn't married to her when she had her children 38 and 42 years ago, but she still talks about how she had wanted to breastfeed. Someone told her her she couldn't because her milk was sour. From time to time she brings up how sad she feels that she wasn't able to breastfeed. I don't know what to say to her."
Losses don't go away. They hang around and resurface from time to time, though usually less frequently as time goes on. These losses were four decades ago and yet this woman remembers them often enough that it has made an impact on her husband - he recognizes her sadness when she talks about it.
Breastfeeding is a powerful part of who we are as women, but everyday women are being deprived of the joy that comes from the natural extension of pregnancy. It's much more powerful than most people realize. When a woman doesn't breastfeed, her body thinks the baby has died, thus the emotional effect is tremendous.
Many times when a new mother comes in for a consultation, her mother accompanies her. The grandmothers often pause to look at the stunning photographs hanging in my hallway and office (thanks to Barnes Portrait Designs) of Nancy breastfeeding her five month old daughter Jamie. Tears, even soft sobs, are heard as some new grandmothers reminisce about how they had wanted to breastfeed, but "could not." They are thrilled that their daughter has found someone to help them. They are committed to doing everything they can to help her in her journey. These are healthy tears, but some women express their loss of a breastfeeding relationship with resentment and anger. The loss is real - it doesn't just vanish.
Have you ever asked your mother or mother-in-law about her decision to breastfeed or not? Did someone convince her she couldn't or wouldn't want to nurse her baby? Maybe this even happened to you, too.
For additional breastfeeding books, websites and articles, see the Breastfeeding Resources Page
Debbie Page spends her days assisting and encouraging mothers and babies as they master breastfeeding. Knowing the benefits of breastfeeding for mother, child, family and society fuels Debbie's passion to help women with their breastfeeding problems. She maintains a busy private practice as a board certified lactation consultant, consulting with women in-person as well as online.