The Next Generation of Moms: When Breastfeeding Comes Full-Circle

This Mother’s Day is dedicated to our mothers and grandmothers and the world of women who encircle, influence, love and guide us– whether they breastfed us or they didn’t. This is the third post in our Rebuilding the Circle series for Mother’s Day.

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As a sixteen year old, you might be under the impression that a lot of the choices I make are influenced by rebellion or a desire to be different than my parents.  As I’m searching to define my own values, that might sometimes be true. One of the decisions that I probably won’t be rebelling against any time in my life is following in the footsteps of my mother in my understanding that breastfeeding is normal and the optimal way to feed human babies. I’ve even had a hard time deciding on what to write about it because it’s not something we examine very closely in our house, like breathing, or brushing our teeth in the morning, breastfeeding is a part of our everyday lives.

Ella and her mom, Justine.

Not only were my older brother and I breastfed, but I’ve also experienced the births of my three younger siblings and observed their breastfeeding relationships. My mom is even tandem nursing my three-year-old sister and 18-month-old brother, which certainly has given me a perspective on breastfeeding that may be unique for many people in our culture. My feelings about breastfeeding aren’t simply shaped by hazy memories or soft-focused photographs from the nineties with my mom sporting feathered hair and shoulder pads (although those photos exist and are hilarious).  I’m currently immersed in the realities of breastfeeding, including the struggles and the conveniences of what a real life breastfeeding mother juggles on a daily basis.

An issue that has come up frequently in our family is the fact my mom was not breastfed by her mother, nor was my grandmother breastfed by my great grandmother. Fortunately, both of these women have always been fully supportive of my mom’s choice and have never seen breastfeeding as a commentary on the choices that they made years ago. My great-grandmother even said (quoting Maya Angelou), “When we know better, we do better,” and that’s why this is never going to be a choice for me. I know better. I can’t un-know the benefits of breastfeeding.

I enjoy having a close relationship with my mother, as do my siblings, because of her dedication to breastfeeding– even though it wasn’t easy 22 years ago when she began her parenting journey. She lacked many of the things I will be able to take for granted; I won’t have to learn these things on my own–I already have experienced role models, outstanding support, and plenty of resources.

Donate $10 to Best for Babes today in honor of a woman who’s touched your breastfeeding journey:


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23 Comments | Last revised on 05/04/2011

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