I am a 51 year old grandmother of a 13 month old grandson. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when my daughter added me as a member to a group on Facebook called Breastfeeding Support for Indian Moms a few weeks ago. She then checked with me if I was okay being a part of the group. I was very interested in understanding what kind of support they offered to each other.
When I delivered my baby girl 27 years ago, feeding a baby at the breast or from a bottle was always a hush hush affair. The elders in our family always said an outsider should never know how much your baby drinks or eats. You don’t want them to cast an evil eye by comparing with their own little ones. This became the butt of many jokes with my dear hubby who found the entire concept hilarious.
Breastfeeding had to done in a separate corner with your breast covered which meant your baby was under that tent. The one advantage of feeding alone that I can think of in retrospect is the bonding time with the little one with no distractions for both. The logic that my mom or aunts or grannies gave was keeping away from prying eyes.
We were asked to mix cereals and formula in small quantities at a time, again quoting the reason of evil eyes. 🙂 When I was a young mom, I never questioned my mother or my mother in law. If I were to sit down today and think, I can understand the underlying reasons behind the same.
If the baby’s bottle had to be kept covered, the logical reason would be to keep it warm.
If I had to mix formula or cereals in small quantities at a time, it was to ensure there was no wastage.
When I read the posts in the young moms group every day, I find that these beautiful girls have no hang ups feeding in public or clicking a pic of themselves feeding their babies. It is so wonderful to see that they do not want to hide in the closets to do something that is probably one of the most beautiful acts of nature. Ah… The smile on the baby’s face, the touch of her/his little fingers, the smell that is unique to babies of powder, lotion, milk…. There are no words to describe the feelings.
I am impressed to see them talk about exclusive breastfeeding vs supplementing breastmilk, pumping, storing and things that we had no clue about in those days. I never knew there were umpteen positions that you could assume while feeding.
When we were told to do or not to do something, we never questioned our mom or mom in law or grand moms. I am glad my daughter questions me, educates me and thinks for herself. Our little prince has only benefitted.
A lot of it is probably due to awareness and the world that technology has opened for all of us. In my days, the only authority that we referred to was the book on baby care by Dr Benjamin Spock (don’t remember any by Indian authors).
My little girl (not so little anymore), herself a mom is a peer counsellor in that group and comes out with such wonderful suggestions and ideas… Wow!!!
Motherhood and breastfeeding are such beautiful feelings to be treasured. There is nothing to be ashamed of in feeding your little one. It is more due to the perverse attitude of most people around that we hide. But then, there will be rotten apples everywhere. Do we stand and stare when a cow feeds her calf or a goat feeds her kid? Then why stare at a woman doing the same?
On a closing note sharing a personal pic that my hubby clicked of me feeding my little one who was 11 days old and it is a cherished possession even today.