Here I am, happily expecting, in a "maternity top" which I had sewn, and our new puppy. (Had to have something to occupy my time while I was waiting.) At the time I lived far from my mom, and I had no one giving me advice or telling me what to do when I delivered. I certainly didn't have a super model like Gisele Bundchen trying to force me to breastfeed. I really think that the main reason I decided to breastfeed was because my mom had fed me that way for 6 months when I was a baby, and the second reason was because it was the cheapest way to make sure my baby was fed.
Yes, it was a boy. I was pretty young and didn't know too much about taking care of babies. I bought a used book which I still have somewhere, which I believe was called "How to Breastfeed Your Baby", and it was published in the 1950s by the La Leche League. La Leche is "the milk" in Spanish. It was all I had for information.
I had a C Section and actually was not allowed to hold my baby until he was a week old. I used an old fashioned plastic hand powered breast pump to expel my milk and someone else fed my baby, in a nursery in the hospital. I was told it was because I was running a fever. Then one day, and still with the fever, I was given my baby and allowed to go home.
I took my baby home and just started breastfeeding. I wasn't told it wouldn't work because he would be too used to the bottle by then, or that my milk wouldn't come in, or that I would get sore, or anything like that. I just did it. My baby was a great eater. He got where he would take giant gulps and milk ran out of the corners of his mouth. He would gulp, look at me, laugh, and go back to gobbling. Gosh, I thought he would drown himself! It was great fun, and it was relaxing for me. We had no schedule, I was still recuperating so I wasn't going anywhere anyway. I just fed him when he wanted it. He didn't get spoiled and I didn't get sore.
For the first six months my baby ate nothing but breast milk. The book I had said to start giving your baby solid food when he could help feed himself, and that is how I did it. He turned into a little Buddha baby. Chubby, happy, healthy. People would say "What are you feeding that kid?" and I would just grin. I followed the instructions in the book and continued breast feeding until he was almost two years old. Occasionally that caused some problems, like the time in Raley's Supermarket when he decided it was time to eat and just yanked up my top and got ready to start in right there in the check out line.
I always tried to be a polite breastfeeding mom and I covered myself and the baby with a shawl or diaper or blanket while feeding in a public place. But I didn't go hide in the ladies room or car while I did it. Some people looked askance, others would smile, but it caused no problems that I recall. At home, or at my parents' or friends homes, I fed him when I needed to and covered up when I needed to. It seemed like the most natural and easy thing in the world.
The funniest story I have about breastfeeding is when my husband and baby and I were moving. We were on Interstate 5 on the Ridge Route in a VW bug towing a small trailer. That was back in the old days when you could hold your baby in the passenger seat as you traveled, and my baby was hungry (he was about 3 months old) and so I was feeding him. As we traveled up the steep highway, we passed a big-rig. As we went by, I happened to glance up at the driver, and he glanced down. I have to say I think he nearly ran off the road when he saw me breastfeeding. After that, he tried really hard to catch up with us to get another look, but we were faster, even in our little car with its load.
This photo shows my well fed baby and I at Thanksgiving 1971 when he was almost six months old. As you can see, he wasn't suffering from malnutrition. By the New Year he was eating cereal and fruit and other solid foods.
I am definitely for breast feeding your baby, I did it and I think it is the best way. I am not for forcing anyone to breast feed! I think Ms. Bundchen meant well, and I am glad she has a healthy baby. I know breast feeding does not work out for some moms, and they are just as happy and their babies are just as happy and healthy as mine was. And like I said in the beginning of this blog, that is what we want, a happy, healthy baby.