I find it interesting when I hear other people talk about the first time they saw someone breastfeeding. At La Leche League meetings, the question comes up quite a bit. Most of the mamas there share their stories about how they had seen their moms nursing their younger siblings, a handful will share that it was much later in life that they first witnessed a mother nursing her little one. I spoke on behalf of La Leche League several times at the local hospital during a section in their breastfeeding training about community breastfeeding support. I always asked this question of the nurses attending. Sadly, many of the labor and delivery nurses shared that they had never seen a mother breastfeeding until they worked with postpartum mothers at the hospital. But, even as I look around my town, I have yet to see a mom nursing in public, so I completely understand that if you don’t have someone in your family or close group of friends that breastfed, you more than likely have never seen it done.
The first time I ever saw someone breastfeeding was when I was eight years old. My aunt through marriage was nursing her firstborn son. I remember it being the ‘talk’ of the family. My grandmother never nursed any of her seven children and my mom never breastfed us so breastfeeding was never anything that I had even heard in conversation. My entire collection of baby dolls had all been bottle fed; I don’t even think I was aware of breasts at all at that time. Suddenly all of that changed.
“Why is she doing that?!” I remember asking my mom.
“Hush!” she warned me with stern eyes.
I couldn’t even ask about it?
My aunt caught on to my curiosity, and asked me to come over to where she was sitting. She explained that this is how mothers made milk and fed their babies. She also explained that there was no need for bottles as if she was reading my mind, because that was going to be my next question. I felt I understood it; after all, we had cats that had kittens all the time at home. I saw how they fed them, and now I was seeing a mommy feeding her baby that way. My dolls all became breastfed that night when I went home.
When was the first time you witnessed a mama nursing her little one?