I have been thinking a lot lately about all the women who influenced my thoughts on breastfeeding. I would have to say that my Aunts were a great influence as I was growing up. In adulthood, I have been influenced by friends and especially my sister-in-law.
After graduating college I returned home three months after the birth if my niece. My brother and his wife brought the first grandchild into our family. I was an aunt for the first time. They really wanted someone to watch her in the home and I gladly took the job.
I loved caring for her and watching her sleep. In many ways, those six months that I cared for her really helped to shape me as a mother. I had babysat from the age of 12 but this was different. I was in charge if her care from about 7:30am until around 3 PM. I fed her, changed her, soothed her and gave her medicine when she was sick. It was a wonderful experience for me.
My sister-in-law breastfed her until she was about a year old. She had to return to work as an elementary school music teacher when my niece was 3 months old. So, as you can imagine, they were still really in the phase of nursing quite often.
My SIL asked if I would bring the baby up to her school at lunch every day so that she could nurse her on her break. I was more than happy to oblige. Each day I would drive my niece to school, which took 30 min., to see her mama. I would really try hard to time her pumped bottles in the morning to make sure she was ready to nurse when we got there but not too hungry in the car.
Sometimes I misjudged and she would scream and cry the whole way there. That was always hard, as I would have to just keep driving while she cried in order to get there in time to see her mama. I would sing to her and talk to her but often times she could not be soothed until she saw her mama’s sweet face.
My SIL was so strong and determined to breastfeed her baby. She pumped through the day and I always had enough pumped milk to feed my niece. As soon as she came home from work she would sit in her recliner and nurse her daughter. She was amazing and I have always admired her strength. She helped shape me into the mother I am today.
So, thank you,sister, for all that you did for my niece and thank you for being such a wonderful role model for me.
I love you!