Sharing the Joy of Breastfeeding
Dorothy Ann Huffman-Parent
Oklahoma City OK USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 4, July-August 2007, pp. 162-3
I've always been a huge breastfeeding supporter even when I had to do so alone. It's so much more fun, however, when you have someone beside you with whom you can celebrate and sometimes commiserate.
The one thing I've done in my life of which I'm most proud is breastfeed my children. By the time my son, Sebastien, was born at the end of 2005, I was a breastfeeding pro. He latched on great from the start and was a very effective nurser. My experience with him was a whole new world for me. Nearly four years earlier, I had to fight so many people around me, from family to friends to nurses and doctors, in order to nurse my premie twin daughters, Lily and Ellie, and to continue to nurse in the face of a whole host of problems. My girls nursed until they self-weaned at nearly two-and-a-half. At 15 months, my son still finds comfort and milk (which I'm proud to say was his first sign and spoken word) at my breast.
When my brother and sister-in-law found they were expecting, I was thrilled for them. They were very open to information on a range of things, including breastfeeding. My sister-in-law planned on breastfeeding and I hoped and prayed that she, too, would have a wonderful nursing relationship with her baby. When Malachi Remy Parent was born, both Todd and Abigail called with breastfeeding questions. This just floored me. My big brother, who is one of my favorite people in the world and by far one of the brightest people I know, was turning to me for information. I felt connected to them on a whole new level.
By the time we were able to make the 17-hour road trip to visit them four weeks later, they had sorted through the early difficulties. Malachi was a champ at nursing and Abi took to motherhood and breastfeeding beautifully. On more than one occasion, we sat side-by-side and nursed our babies. That was something new and wonderful. Most of my family members have not breastfed. Those who had breastfed did so more than 20 years ago and they weaned their babies fairly early. I often found myself struggling with unnecessary and outdated advice and criticism from the family. So it's fantastic for me to have someone in the family who truly appreciates the benefits nursing. I already adore my sister-in-law, but being able to sit together and chat while our babies nursed gave me a new understanding of and admiration for her. You often hear about how breastfeeding helps mom and baby bond, but it also helps other breastfeeding moms bond to one another on a whole new level.
While we were visiting, I found my oldest daughter, Lily, in Malachi's nursery. She was sitting in the rocking chair where Abi often nursed Malachi. Lily had the pillows propped on her lap. She had Leafa, her favorite stuffed giraffe tucked under her shirt. After a moment, Lily looked up, grinned and announced, “I'm nursing Leafa just like Aunt Abi nurses Malachi.” I can't tell you how thrilled that made me. It was an adorable moment that gave me a giggle (and made me reach for my camera), but it was so much more. For the first time, my children were able to see in our family, another example of breastfeeding as a part of gentle parenting.
Malachi is approaching the middle of his first year. He is a gorgeous chubby little guy. Whenever I get new pictures of him, it just makes my heart melt. My very favorite photographs are those of him with his mommy and daddy. It's so obvious how much they adore him. I'm so very proud of the parents they have become and so happy that they get to know the benefits of a nursing relationship. I'm thrilled that they have their happy family. I can't thank them enough for letting us come along for the ride.