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Are You a Trailblazer?
~ A Message Board Archive

From Gayesy: Are you a breastfeeding trailblazer amongst your family and friends? Or are you following a family nursing tradition? How supportive have your friends and family been?

From luv2beemom: My sister breastfed before me, but I was a trailblazer in the extended breastfeeding department. I shocked many members of my family by breastfeeding my daughter until she was over 2. My MIL, though, breastfeed several of her children past 2 years.

From Gayesy: I am pretty much a trailblazer! My mother didn't breastfeed my older sister at all (the nurses in the hospital kept giving her bottles of sugar water and formula while she was in the nursery and when it was "time" for her to nurse she wouldn't - my Mum was heartbroken), nursed me for four months (I don't think exclusively) and then stopped because I was "only" putting on a pound a week instead of the two pounds per week my sister had gained, and breastfed my little brother partially for about one or two months.

DH's mother breastfed him for the longest of all three kids and that was partial breastfeeding for two months. She didn't nurse him at all during the night, even as a newborn, because her doctor told her she needed her rest!

My own sister breastfed her first child for about ten weeks when she put him on formula because he was failing to thrive (he was the scrawniest sickliest little baby I had ever seen). She discovered later that the reason he hadn't been gaining was because he hadn't been attached properly (her nipples were agony the whole time). The second baby stopped nursing at around seven weeks because he was very unsettled (she was trying to nurse on a schedule).

My SIL nursed her child for a couple of months but found it too draining.

I don't have any friends who live near me who have nursed past a few weeks. I have lots of friends on the internet who have though!

My own family has actually been quite supportive of me nursing Thomas, although I think they couldn't quite understand why I just kept on going (and going and going! ) My Mum and Dad know that I still nurse Thomas and never comment negatively about it, although I suspect my Dad thinks I am a bit whacko.

My inlaws haven't been so supportive of breastfeeding and have actually bombarded me with misinformation from day one. They tried to get me to leave Thomas to cry, to schedule feeds and do the "ten minutes per side" thing, they tried to tell me I couldn't drink lemonade because it would give him gas, you name it! I am not even sure if they know that Thomas is still nursing. We aren't deliberately keeping it a secret but nor are we shoving it in their face either.

From Ms.Dmoe: My mother nursed me for about 6 months and my sister for 9 (she refused to wean until then and still it was a challenge for my mom to give her the bottle). My MIL bottle fed DH because he was adopted, but still introduced solids at 4 weeks because he "needed more" to sleep through the night (that silly sleeping through the night thing again). I plan to wean when dd is ready and am very strict about no solids yet (I fight with dh and FIL about this all the time - have to watch and make sure they don't give her anything). The true trailblazing for me is nursing in public - Dh is fine with it, but the rest are adjusting slower.

From mom2jazzygirl: Just following in the tradition. Allow me to say they would KILL me if I didn't breastfeed!

Quick history lesson here. Maternal grandfather weaned at 4 years (and AFTER his baby brother who was 2 years younger). Don't know how long Maternal Grandmother was nursed, but she darn-tooting was. Maternal Grandmother nursed four children into toddlerhood (don't know the specs for all 4 though). Aunt nursed her first for 10 months and her twins only four months (not bad for 1983 though). Mom nursed my sister for 10 months (still regrets weaning her too). I was weaned at 19 months because mom was having pre-term labor with my brother. My brother weaned at 17 months. My niece was weaned at 16 months. My first child was weaned at 19 months. Who knows when Caleb will wean!

Now, my uncle's wife is bottlefeeding their baby, and BOY is the family upset about that one!!! It's the first biological baby in the family to EVER bottlefeed. Heck, mom was even a LLLI leader when I was a kid.

DH is a trailblazer though. MIL "attempted" to nurse for 2 weeks with each of hers, though the time gets longer each time she tells the story. DH was weaned to Isomil and then 2% milk by 2 months. His brother was on Isomil at 2 weeks. GMIL nursed her 3 kids but only until their first teeth came in (4-6 months) and hated every minute of it. She wanted to be "modern" but couldn't afford formula. My dad's mother bottlefed her 2 kids, but by the time I came along, my mom and sister had fully broken her in for me and it wasn't a big deal!

From autumred: I thought I was a trailblazer until my grandmother found out I was breastfeeding. She then informed me she breastfed 4 out of 5 kids. I don't know for how long though because during those times babies were eating solids a lot earlier. My sister and I were both bottlefed (me 1979, sis 1981). My husband and his brothers were breastfed (bro 1963, dh 1967, bro 1969). Again I don't know for how long. Also, my hubby's first wife breastfed their son until he was 4 months and developed thrush.

As far as being supportive, I think my family has done an outstanding job. My FIL today said that breast milk is the best for baby and he never minds me feeding in front of him. My mom supports me but doesn't understand me wanting to go past 6 months. Dh is WONDERFUL about the whole thing. Everyone else is pro-breastfeeding as far as I can tell.

One more person, but not family is Emily's pediatrician. She has been so helpful and great about breastfeeding. She has told me that anytime I am concerned about weight gain to drop by the office and have a nurse weigh her at NO charge.

One reason I think a lot of people are so supportive with me is because Emily was born with a part of her brain missing. Like you all know there are certain things in breast milk that aide in neurological development. Anything to help her!

From LisaJo: I would call myself a trailblazer in the extended nursing department. My mom and grandmothers did not breastfeed at all. My sister had the first grandchild and nursed him until 9 months. I nursed my son until past age 3. I had the next baby, and my sister now has a newborn. I am thrilled to hear her say that this time around she has no time limit for weaning!

From 2under2: My mom tried to breastfeed me for about 5 weeks (I was 5 lbs when I came home from the hospital) and I just wouldn't gain weight for whatever reason. She then switched to totally formula. I think she only tried with my brother for a few days. She is supportive of my breastfeeding up until they are about six months old. She then thinks they are too old, no matter how much I tell her otherwise. Now, my MIL is a totally different story. She repeatedly says she didn't breastfeed because her babies "would have starved!" Yeah right! I really think she's jealous of the bond I have with my babies. She really enjoyed feeding my niece as she was bottlefed from about 4 months. Oh well, I know what's best for MY babies and I really don't care what others think although it would be nice to get some support from those around you! I really appreciate all the support I get from you ladies!

From Shra: Everyone in both sides of my family has breastfed. My mother breastfed me for 8 months, and then weaned me at that time as I was biting her a lot, and she did not know how to take care of that. Everyone in my family is very supportive of breastfeeding. If I do any trailblazing, it will be if I continue past 1 year of breastfeeding, which I do plan on doing. I believe, everyone will support me in that as well.

From JLE: No one in my family has breastfed and boy do I hear it from them. My cousin who had a baby in February is breastfeeding, however, her doctor told her that it was OK to supplement with formula if she was going out and had to leave him with a sitter so she gives him formula quite a bit. Her son started out in the NICU like my son did and they were both introduced to both a pacifier and a bottle before the breast and luckily we have not had any nipple confusion problems at all.

From Emama: My mom was the trailblazer -- breastfed us all against opposition (though she told me recently she weaned my older sister at 9 months because the doctor told her she had to. She was really sad about that, because she didn't want to). Even at the school where I teach, all the women I know have pumped and breastfed for at least six months. And now that I think about it, all but one of my friends started off breastfeeding and only stopped if circumstances (work, stress, etc) made it too difficult for them to continue. I think even if Emmett wants to nurse for several years, I won't get resistance from family or close friends.

From SusanH: I guess I'm an extended nursing trailblazer. My mom's mother nursed her first few kids, but too many pregnancies made her get very ill after each subsequent pregnancy, and she formula fed the last four. My mom has no idea where she got "formula", but we suspect it was homemade. My mom breastfed us for about 6 months and then weaned us to a sippy cup of cow's milk. DH's cousin nursed her baby for 2 years, but I don't think any other cousins on either side nursed for more than a few weeks. I've always been viewed as the weird one on my side of the family, so this will just be one more piece of evidence!

From huntergirl: My mom couldn't breastfeed me because I was allergic to her milk. She cut out everything, was living on rice and water to hear her tell it, and I still got sick every time. But she did breastfeed both my sisters for quite a while each. My sister breastfed both her kids and my stepsister still breastfeeds her 3 year old. On DH's side, his mom was bottlefed but breastfed all five of her kids for nearly a year each. And my SIL nursed both her kids for about a year each.

I am, however, a trailblazer on the NIP issue. None of the women in my family or DH's ever dreamed of it. My stepsister actually went out to her car during our sister's wedding because she couldn't find anywhere private enough. My SIL went to the restroom at a bookstore to feed her DS. I, on the other hand, am totally comfortable with NIP (love that sling!) I have breastfed while shopping, standing in line at the post office, riding on the bus, pushing my DD on a swing at the park, etc. I try to be discrete but, if anything happens to show, I don't care. It's there to feed my child. I have had MANY discussions/arguments with members of our families who think a restaurant "isn't the proper place." Um, the rest of us are eating, why can't she? It's been 4 1/2 years and they still have their hangups so I guess I'm not going to convert any of them. Too bad!

From KGB: I could only wish for a supportive family and a family with some knowledge about breastfeeding. Thanks god I have my DH, he's the best and loves the breastfeeding part. I'm the first to breastfeed both my children on both sides of the family. I told my mom and she just couldn't believe I was going to bother when bottles were so much easier. (in who's eyes?) My older kids know this and know they never had a bottle and know that's really what the breasts are intended for. I really don't care what they think; this new little one will have all the advantages little her big sister and brother did.

From KMN: I am definitely a trailblazer! My mom bottlefed myself and my four siblings, and dh's mom bottlefed her three children. And our children were the first grandchildren on both sides, so we really were the first to even consider breastfeeding. I have been very fortunate in that both of our families have been unbelievably supportive. The minor criticism I do receive - and I have received this with each of my children - is the fact that I do not give my children bottles. Both my mom and my MIL feel that I should at least give a bottle of EBM once in a while. Other than that, though, they have been wonderful!

From Kel: I'm a trailblazer. My MIL nursed the youngest of her 3 boys for about 5 months and that's the only input I've had about breastfeeding at all. The first time I'd ever even seen anyone breastfeed was when I looked in the mirror.

From Skeeters318: I guess I'm kind of a trailblazer. My mom tried to breastfeed us 3 kids, but she said her milk dried up after 1 or 2 weeks with the older 2, so she barely even tried with me. MIL nursed all 7 of her kids except she had to switch my dh to formula because he was hospitalized with pneumonia at 3 weeks old and her mom had just died and it was all too much for her to try to pump and take care of 6 other kids. My sister tried to breastfeed, but her nipples started to bleed and she had no, I mean NO, support from any one in the medical professions. Her hospital actually told her it was better to formula feed. I don't know how long I'll breastfeed, but for now, everything is going great and I don't see an end in the foreseeable future!!

From Ramona: That depends on how you look at it. In my family, it is expected to breastfeed. My heritage demands it. But I'm the first of us younger people to breastfeed for this long. In DH's family, I'm the first to breastfeed. Both families are expecting to stop soon. Actually, they expected that a long time ago.

From Janessa: I am neither a trailblazer nor a traditionalist. There doesn't seem to be any unity in my family or my husband's about the issue. My mother once told me that she tried to breastfeed me for about 3 weeks and gave up because it seemed as though I was hungry all the time (where have we heard that song?). My MIL breastfed, but I don't know for how long. My friends have never said anything negative about it. I choose my friends carefully, I guess.

From wendycn: Out of the 5 kids in my and my husband's family (me and my sister, and him and his two brothers), I'm the only one that wasn't breastfed for an extended period. My mom tried with me for about 3 weeks. I wasn't doing well and she had no support, so I was switched to formula. Mom got it right on the second try and breastfed my sister for 18 months. My husband's older brother went at least 6 months, my husband to a year or so, and their little brother to a whopping 3 years! Furthermore, my husband and I grew up in the same town. We played together when we were little and our moms were attending the same LLL meetings circa 1978! I'm only a trailblazer in that I'm exclusively pumping--that was a new one for everybody!! But because of the family history, they were extremely supportive of my decision to do that when breastfeeding didn't work out.

From TES: I'm pretty much a trail blazer but not entirely . . . My maternal grandmother said she nursed but didn't have enough milk. The doctor told her over and over again, she just didn't have the milk for it. Now, I'm not sure if that was right away with her first child or what. I'm thinking so. But that's all I've heard of it. Never heard of her nursing the other 3, period. My 3 aunts never nursed their kids. My uncle's wife DID nurse hers. I remember her youngest nursing past 1year (don't know how long, just remember that he was walking/talking some and would come ask for it). My mother never nursed me. Then 18 years later she has my brothers, didn't nurse them either, although, now she tells me she have haved liked to but just didn't think she could do it. As far as my dad's side..I have absolutely NO idea.

Ok . . . now for dh's side: All breastfeeders as far as I know. His mother breastfed all of her 5 kids. DH being the first, not very long at all, a matter of months. Two years later, his brother came along . . . he was nursed "slightly" longer I believe. Then a big gap before the next one, who I believe nursed until 2 or so. Then Michayla weaned herself right around a year and she got pg pregnantth #5 who nursed til around 2. DH's aunt nursed #1 until becoming pregnant with #2 (right away, like 4months or so ??). The doctor told her to stop nursing. I don't know that #2 was nursed at all. But #3 certainly was. He was a 24/7 nurser!! Until at least 2 I believe.

But my family didn't quite know what to think about me nursing. Then when they got past the 1 year mark, I'm sure they all thought I was nuts. I remember hearing things about when my uncle's wife nursed #3 for so long . . . 'I think he's just too old for that. I can't believe she lets him do that' all that garbage. So, I'm SURE they couldn't understand why my kid was still nursing and if they ever heard I was planning to nurse #2 until age 2, oh boy! LOL! But..I'm a trailblazer with just about everything in my life according to my family. I'm the backwards odd ball one. They must think I'm different just for spite

From Dancer: It's kind of interesting, because I have no idea what most of my friends or extended family have done. My mom breastfed (in the 50's and early 60's, when it wasn't always the norm), but she and I never talked about it before I had my children. I guess my family and friends are kind of "do your own thing" people, because they don't ask me, and I don't ask them, and we all get along just fine, LOL!

From Alicia: My mom didn't nurse me, and the only person in our family who nursed their child was my older cousin. Actually, it was her who made me decide I wanted to nurse my son. My cousin nursed her daughter for one year, and is currently nursing her new son. I am still nursing Connor who will be 2 in a couple weeks.

From Gwendolyn: Among my friends - YES. I don't have any friends who breastfeed and only 1 co-worker. My mom nursed me. My MIL nursed all three of her children and both her daughters nursed all of their children (5 total) well over a year. My maternal grandfather and his siblings were all nursed. He says he tandem nursed until he was 5 years old. My maternal grandmother tried to nurse my mom and her 2 brothers but was told she didn't have enough milk. My friends and co-workers have not been very supportive. the only thing they seem to be concerned with is how long I'm going to nurse/pump. When i tell them at least a year, they seem shocked. My family is very supportive. My husband is the most supportive of them all!

From mom2mattnat??: My sister and I are the only women among our close cousins to nurse beyond 6 months. Only one other cousin nursed her daughter for 6 months. My mom formula fed my sister and I ('70 and '71) and then breastfed our brother ('77) and has always been very supportive of our breastfeeding and can tell us FIRST HAND that breastfeeding is easier after having done both. She even shares the story of our brother and when he was a week old. She had *very* sore nipples and our dad was standing at the door with the car keys ready to run out and get all the bottlefeeding supplies. Mom was bawling and begged him for him to just give it 3 more days. By the end of the 3 days, her nipples had adjusted and there was light at the end of the tunnel. She nursed for a year. I don't know if my maternal grandmother breastfed. My paternal grandmother breastfed all 3 of her children for one year.

My MIL, on the other hand, is a classic "You're milk's not good enough" guilt trip by her pediatrician. She also has a "Flat Pelvis" and always had cesareans. She has a very hard time relating to my births and breastfeeding. She is *extremely* jealous. It breaks my heart that she has been told these things about her body that just simply aren't true. DH's extended family is happy I breastfeed, but get mad as heck if I nurse in public or in the presence of family. I'm supposed to go and hide.

But all of them are having a hard time swallowing the idea of my tandem nursing. Fortunately, they all live on the other side of the country.

From oz's mommy: As far as I can tell, my mom wasn't even given the option to breastfeed my brother, and she "tried" with me, but I was "so stubborn" that I wouldn't. (Huh? I didn't realize brand-new babies got stubborn!) My cousin formula fed her baby, my brother and sil formula fed their ds. My MIL breastfed each of 3 briefly (good for her! and them!) My family seems to be mostly supportive, but I grew up to be sorta stubborn (after being told I was, right outta the gate) and I'm digging my heels in on this one! Breastfeeding it is!! I do wish I had more extended breastfeeding friends. (off line, I mean) You ladies here are great - it's so wonderful to read how many of you ladies are breaking with tradition and blazing those trails!!!

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