Since starting to breastfeed, I’ve learned and discovered more about my breasts than I ever thought I could. What they’re capable of; what they’re designed for; what it’s like to have someone else hungry for them at three in the morning. Who better to connect with about these topics than the person who breastfed me three decades ago, right? If anything, in my experience, breastfeeding can make your relationship with your own mom stronger. My mother and I can talk about it in gross detail and we can share stories and we can lament without someone judging or assuming we absolutely hate breastfeeding. She’s (now) seen more of my breasts than she ever had before, so there’s that special bond, too, which I share with pretty much everyone in my immediate family (and people who happened to walk by when my baby was hungry during errands).
While it’s true that becoming a mom can bring you a whole new perspective on your own mom (regardless of the kind of relationship you may or may not have with her), breastfeeding is one specific act that has a number of extra layers to consider. I know that not every breastfeeding mother is able or wants to reach out to their own mother for support or guidance or support, but my own breastfeeding experience included my mom's help and support, so I want to make sure moms who share that know they're not alone, too.
Honestly, it's just another example of how the act of breastfeeding can bond you with more people than just your baby. You can feel closer to your partner if you choose to breastfeed; you can feel closer to other breastfeeding women who may share your experience; you most certainly can feel closer to your own mother. Here are just a few reasons why:
You Can Empathize With Whether Or Not She Breastfed You
My mom's own breastfeeding story is hers to tell, but I am glad to know we have had a shared experience. Not until I held my own tiny person and realized that I was responsible for nourishing him, did I really understand what she did for me all those years ago.
You Appreciate Whatever Choice She Made, Or Option She Had
Hey mom, have I mentioned that I'm thankful for all those hours you spent feeding me? Because I am. I SO AM.
You Accept Her Support
Even the most self-sufficient of us might need to ask for help during the newborn phase. My mom was super-present and supportive (despite living 300 miles away), and while (at times) it was hard not to feel weird about accepting extra help with household tasks when she visited, I did totally appreciate it.
You're More Vulnerable
Pretty sure my mother has never seen me cry as much as I cried after I had a baby and was starting my breastfeeding journey. I'm not just talking about being open with feelings; there were also plenty of times she saw me with an open shirt, too, completely downtrodden and exhausted that breastfeeding wasn't going the way I had envisioned it would.
You Understand More About The Work She Put Into Raising You
It's certainly not as if breastfeeding is the only potential challenge that new parents can encounter. It's one of many, many factors in the delicate ecosystem of child-rearing. However, if you end up having a hard time breastfeeding, those struggles can only add to the overwhelming responsibilities associated with new motherhood. I don't have a recollection of how my mom juggled it all, but now that I'm going through it, I like knowing I have so much I can still learn from her.
You Accept Her Cheerleading And Encouragement
And it some cases, her frank, tough love. Regardless, it was what I needed.
You Have Something New In Common
When she talks about staring so hard at her baby when breastfeeding that her neck hurt, now I get it. And, now, I watch my posture. Thanks, mom.