World Breastfeeding Week is the first week of August. Getting ready to celebrate, I have been thinking about how my family had affected my breastfeeding relationship. Also how breastfeeding has affected my family. As a doula I have seen how family relationships play a big part in not only helping breastfeeding to succeed but also how long breastfeeding lasts. Keep in mind that research has shown the longer a woman breastfeeds the more health benefits she receives. It is also true that breastfeeding continues to have health and other benefits for the baby. So the longer breastfeeding lasts, the better.
My family’s support was very important to my breastfeeding success. My mother breastfed me and was very supportive of my nursing her grandson. My mother-in-law had formula fed her babies but more recently she had been convinced of the health benefits of breastfeeding and she was very supportive. I also had the support of my doula friends and other friends who had breastfed. Essentially, even though this country isn’t a breastfeeding culture, I had a small enclave of breastfeeding culture to sustain me.
As I have written earlier, I had difficulties with breastfeeding in the beginning. My husband and my family’s support was crucial. When I had things to work out, their support meant they understood why I was working hard to overcome my difficulties.
I have seen mothers struggle with overcoming some breastfeeding difficulties only for their families to tell them not to bother, formula is enough. My family never wavered in their support and I appreciated their support so much.
As for how breastfeeding has affected my family, I am a La Leche League Leader and I am working on becoming a lactation consultant. My family has had to support my helping other moms. My son will grow up appreciating the importance of nursing. He will support his wife’s breastfeeding when I have grandchildren.