Heard Comments This Week from Grandmothers

I went to a musical on Sunday. Sat next to a woman who commented she had kept her grandkids for a week that previous week. The youngest was six months old. I commented that I would not have been able to feed my six month old grandkids. She then proceeded to tell me that her six month old granddaughter is fine if fed on her schedule that the mom had provided. Seems at five months she was weaned from being breastfed since the mom was starving her baby according to the grandmother. She wanted to eat all the time and was not sleeping through the night. So this grandmother had encouraged her to wean her to a bottle. She then proceeded to tell me how this six month old was 20 pounds- would get a bottle every three hours, would eat also- so I guessing that means solids – then told me she would get cereal at 6pm, a bottle at 6:30pm and would then proceed to sleep for twelve hours straight! I just wondered if the grandmother knew the harm she was doing in encouraging her daughter to wean this baby so young. I wondered if she understood how a little bit of support could have gone a long way. It makes me sad when the very women who need to be supporting and encouraging their daughters are sabotaging a breastfeeding relationship. I just kept my mouth shut and was happy the musical was about to start. People don’t know what they do not know.

Then for some reason I stopped on the Baby’s First Day television show today. There was a mom with her first who had decided to go natural. She was ten days postdates and her midwife was fine with that. But induction was planned for that day. Does anyone see that as an antithesis? Anyway the mom was already five centimeters. After a few hours of not feeling anything really from the induction on Pitocin, the midwife decided to break her water. This mom did not want intervention.  Her aunt on webcam asked, “are you still not going to do an epidural?” And the mom said no she was still hoping for a “painless delivery.” But once her water was broken she wanted to be in the tub but no touching and no talking. The camera person interviewed her mom in the hallway stating, “I thought she may not want her husband touching her or talking, but not me, the mom. I can’t speak around her!” She seemed quite put off that she could not do what she suspected she could do. Previously she topped off her comments by saying that she was concerned when the “real pain comes” she will panic and not know what to do.” This laboring mom stood, swayed a bit, got in the tub (the Pitocin was unhooked) , demanded the nurse to not monitor her during a contraction once- really seemed to believe in the process. Then the fear arose within the mom. I wondered if this statement of fear she would repeat several times was something she had heard. “I am exhausted and nervous about the fact that now I have to put in work.” The midwife then says that usually a first time mom even non-medicated pushes for about an hour. I thought, what? Only an hour?  We hear nurses and docs say all the time, “Get the epidural because you could be pushing for hours and will need the rest before pushing.” And I wonder how all the other women in the world seem to get the energy to do this.  13 hours into lab, or and only one hour of pushing, the mom says she is afraid of the energy it will take to push. She then pushes out a 9# 14 ounce baby girl. Although in the bed for the pushing, she did give birth on her side. I hope her mom saw her in a different light when this was done. I hope she will see her daughter did know what to do when “the real pain” came!

I just wish grandmothers to the baby would consider their words carefully. Birth and breastfeeding can be sabotaged so easily by those words. My daughters grew up believing in birth and understanding the wonderful aspects of breastfeeding. Don’t speak about that which you have no knowledge. Realize your daughters need your support not your doubts. The mom who birthed said she now knows “she can do it! ” I think this is great since her mom had her misgivings. Grandmothers, Mothers- support your daughters in the decisions that they find are right for them. Believe in them!