Nine years ago today, I met my firstborn babe and breastfed for the first time in my life. After the wild ride of a three-day labor fraught with unplanned interventions, it felt surprisingly natural. Or at least once the team of nurses got my babe latched on, broke huddle, and gave us some space.
There I was, the girl who had slouched for years because she was shy about her chest, suddenly skin-to-skin with her newborn, and witnessing what breasts are all about. But how did I get there?
What or who planted the breastfeeding idea in my mind? Was it an article or book touting the benefits of breastfeeding? A favorite celebrity who breastfed her baby? The influence of my midwives? A breastfeeding-friendly workplace? No. It was mainly a handful of mothers I know – close family and friends – who made it a no-brainer for me.
I am so grateful for the women in my life who modeled breastfeeding and encouraged me, directly or indirectly, to plunge into the wonderful world of breastfeeding! Plus, their influence did not just make me think breastfeeding would be worth a try for a few days or weeks. These women breastfed their babies for at least nine months and some for years, demonstrating a longer-term commitment (and ability) to breastfeed. Thank you to:
- My mom for breastfeeding my siblings and me. I love this picture of you breastfeeding my younger brother and am sure that, because of such moments, my three-year-old mind and heart were imprinted with the awareness of how natural breastfeeding is. (And thanks for sharing with me how much your breastfeeding friend influenced you to overcome the breastfeeding-unfriendly attitude in your family.)
- My sister for breastfeeding her daughter. I was honored to be by your side as you birthed dear Avery into this world and first nursed her. I love how in tune you are with your earth-mama side. Thank you for sharing it with me during my pre-mama adult years.
- My girlfriends for discussing breastfeeding with me and nursing their sweet little ones around me while I was pregnant. Katy, Mina, and Juliet – I am eternally grateful for your sisterhood, as you prepared me for motherhood by rockin’ your roles as mothers.
And finally, thank you to my husband for being by my side every step of the way on my path to motherhood. Your support made even the rough breastfeeding times sweet. I will never forget the first week of parenthood, when you poured drops of my breastmilk into our newborn’s mouth until he could latch on properly.
This week’s Breastfeeding Blog Hoppers share why they first breastfed their little ones. It’s a fascinating question because there is so much research out there about why women choose not to breastfeed or about factors that predict breastfeeding initiation (such as level of education, socio-economic status, race/ethnicity), but precious little that I could find in the way of women voicing what influenced them to breastfeed.
Many of my fellow breastfeeding bloggers reinforce the idea that a breastfeeding-friendly world begins with one mama breastfeeding her baby, whether it was her own mother, an aunt, or friend. Some were fueled by knowledge. And you? (For first-time pregnant mamas not sure if they want to breastfeed, check out this helpful BestforBabes post.)
What or who influenced you to first breastfeed your newborn?
This post is part of the weekly Breastfeeding Blog Hop, hosted by The Slacker Mom, and co-hosted by The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined. This week’s theme is what first influenced you to breastfeed. Please visit The Slacker Mom to see the linky list and read everyone’s entries, as WordPress.com can’t show it here.