The Power of Breastfeeding Role Models

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 mother breastfeeding my younger brother.