I mentioned the other day (or maybe a bit longer ago than that) that now that I’m a mother I’ve learned so much more about my grandmothers and their mothers.
I was over at my grandmother’s house and I was laughing at how every time I have a gas bubble or a twitch in my gut my first thought is that it’s a baby kicking. I’m not pregnant, but such a lot of energy and thought was focused on my stomach area for such a long time that sometimes I surprise myself by forgetting that I’m not pregnant anymore.
Grandma vaguely remembered the feeling, and reminded me that breastfeeding isn’t foolproof against conceiving. Apparently a distant relative of mine had twins in January and another (single) baby in December. Three in a year! Eek! However, she also said that her mother nursed each of her children until they were at least two, and she figures that’s probably why she and all of her siblings are about two to three years apart in age.
Nursing until two? That’s not so new afterall!
I’ve been finding the ‘controversy’ around breastfeeding versus bottle feeding interesting. I can see needing to defend bottle feeding, it’s not the natural way of doing things and uses supplements instead of the real deal, etc. etc. But having to defend nursing? How else have babies been fed for thousands of years? It’s not like this is a new concept. Jeez. Also, as Grandma pointed out, it was one of the very few contraceptive methods available.
While I was pregnant my husband prepped me for a possible argument with his family. Namely, his grandmother and his mother. Apparently the fights they used to have were very heated and caused a lot of frustration and hurt feelings. I have a feeling that it didn’t help that it’s a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. His grandmother was firmly in the formula only camp, and his mother was firmly in the breast milk only camp. (Heaven forbid that either could let the other make their own choices, but I shouldn’t talk since my mother-in-law and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things either…)
Personally, we nurse and bottle feed. When I’m around Max nurses. When I’m not he gets a bottle. I’m not sure how long I’ll nurse him for, I figure we’ll play that by ear. (He tends to be a nipple biter so I have a feeling when his teeth come in he’ll have to say bye-bye to the boob.) I don’t have anything against bottle feeding, though I do prefer nursing for the immunity boost, that it’s perfectly formulated just for him, and frankly it’s easier and faster to whip one out than it is to prep a bottle. Max is not a patient baby, so every second counts.
And you know what else hasn’t changed? That everyone has their own opinions on how a baby should be fed. Grandma, after telling me for months that Max should drink cow’s milk and not really understanding the whole dairy-makes-him-gassy thing (how can a child from a long line of farmers not be able to drink milk?), admitted that her mother and every female relative had a very strong opinion on how she should feed her children - and that it drove her nuts. So she ignored them and did what worked best for her and her kids. And they turned out just fine after all.