Your Grandchild Is Breastfed? There’s Bad News and Good News

Your Grandchild Is Breastfed? There's Bad News and Good News

Congratulations grandparents!

As any grandparent will tell you, there is nothing quite like having your own grandchildren to love and to hold… then give back at the end of the day!

If your daughter or daughter-in-law has decided to breastfeed, this may trigger some feelings and experiences for you.

So, here’s the good news and the bad news:

Bad News #1: You’ll See A Lot Of The Back Of That Baby’s Head

Breastfed newborns nurse really often. As one experienced mother said, they seem to nurse every hour on the hour… for an hour.

Good News #1: You’ll Be Able To Give An Amazing Gift Of Love

Since the new mother will spend so much time nursing at first, your cooking and cleaning will be a true gift of love – a needed gift that she will always remember.

And when you do get to hold the baby, you’ll smell only clean baby smell, even when there’s a messy nappy. Breastfed babies smell good.

Bad News #2: It May Feel Strange If You Didn’t Breastfeed

If your own children weren’t breastfed, you may find yourself wondering how to advise the mother in this strange new parenting style.
You may see her doing things that you were told were unwise, or even unsafe, like nursing the baby without clock-watching, or sleeping with the baby. Things that we now know are good for babies. We’ve learned a lot in the years since your children were born.

Good News #2: She May Be Eager To Share Her Growing Experience With You

Ask to look at her books, or go with her to an Australian Breastfeeding Association meeting (or if you’re in the US, La Leche League). Some of the things you discover may feel surprisingly right to you. One grandmother said, “I always felt there was a piece missing with my babies. I think this was it.”

Bad News #3: You May Not Have A Chance To Offer A Bottle Or Cereal

Nursing mothers usually wait at least a month to offer a bottle (or may never use one), and they wait for solids until around 6 months, when the baby can sit and feed himself.

Good News #3: This Little One Will Probably Sleep Less Than Yours Did, And Will Rarely Be Sick

An alert, healthy baby is more fun for everyone, and has more time and enthusiasm for play.

Bad News #4: Well, There Really Isn’t Any More Bad News…

Good News #4: This Will Be A Baby To Brag About!

Breastfed babies tend to be smart, stay healthy, feel solid, and look rosy. And even if your grandchild seems clingy at first, in time that clinginess will blossom into a secure sense of independence. This will be a child who loves going to Grandma’s house! But right now, he doesn’t need your help and support. His mother does. By encouraging her to enjoy her new role and helping her find the information and support she needs to make breastfeeding go smoothly, you’re making a golden investment in your grandchild’s future.

Now what could be better news than that?

A Note From BellyBelly

“When are you going to stop breastfeeding so that baby can come send the night with Grandma?”

“Count yourself lucky that you don’t constantly have to hear “when you gonna pump?”, “I wanna feed my grandson” and “maybe you aren’t producing enough you can always get formula and bottle feed…”

These are only two comments from BellyBelly fans who felt pressured by their own parents to stop breastfeeding, just so the feeding could be shared.

This article written by Diane Wiessinger (IBCLC) was written to help support families who breastfeed (requiring the mother to have lots of contact with the baby and have sole responsibility for feeding) which in some families has resulted in resentment from grandparents and mothers feeling upset.

This article was written to support and nurture the breastfeeding relationship, because no mother should feel guilty for not wanting to give their baby a bottle (or solids) just so someone else can have a ‘turn’ feeding the baby. That’s the mother’s job, for as often or as long as she wants. Even those who formula feed, BellyBelly encourages you to take care of as many feeds as you want. You can read our suggestions about how to recreate this experience with a formula fed baby in our article on bottle nursing.

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  1. It was nothing but good news for me. I was sad when my daughter stopped breastfeeding at 6 months; I nursed her for 2 years and her brother for 3.

  2. In my opinion anything natural is good. So if you can breast feed then go for it. If you can’t then only try to give the next best thing. Most important, love and nurture that cute blessed bundle of joy. Enjoy the experience of parenthood.

  3. The fact that you felt the need to post a disclaimer should indicate to you that you shouldn’t have published this article. Not only are most of the unfair stereotypes mentioned here not true, but they are also very cruel to bottle feeding mothers. Please take this offensive garbage off your site.

    1. The article is aimed at grandparents, not mothers. And every time it is posted, I get lots of replies from women so happy to see this, because their unreasonable parents think they should get a turn feeding the baby. They think it’s their right, when it’s not. Here are just two from the recent post:

      “Yup count yourself lucky that you don’t constantly have to hear “when u gonna pump” “I wanna feed my grandson” “maybe you aren’t producing enough you can always get formula and bottle feed (my son is a lil fatty, poops and pees, I have enough even tho, the cluster feeding makes it look like he doesnt)”

      “when are you going to stop breastfeeding so that baby can come send the night with Grandma.”

      So for the women it helps, this article is very needed, and written by a very well known and respected woman.

      1. Nope. Not good enough. ANYTHING that shames women for how they feed their children should not be published on a reputable site, and that includes this article.

        “There was a piece missing with my babies. I think this was it” — How is this quote acceptable? It is saying that formula-feeding mothers are “missing pieces” with their babies, whatever that means. Completely unacceptable.

        “An alert, healthy baby”; “Breastfed babies tend to be smart, walk early, stay healthy, feel solid and look rosy”; “You’ll smell only clean baby… Breastfed babies smell good.” — First off, I’d like to see some solid, peer-reviewed studies from a reputable university to back up all this nonsense. Second, formula-fed babies also have all of these traits – they are not unique to breastfed children. You are unnecessarily demonizing formula and indicating that formula-fed babies (and by extension their mothers) are ‘less-than’.

        Newsflash — NOT ALL WOMEN ARE ABLE TO BREASTFEED. By circulating this garbage, you are burdening stressed-out new mothers with unnecessary pain, and, frankly, ostracizing them and demonizing their circumstances. The author of this article may be “very well known and respected”, but she certainly has no tact or grace. Just because this article is targeted at grandparents, doesn’t mean that only grandparents will read it, and, honestly, how many grandparents come to this site anyway?

        Again, please remove this garbage from your site before it does real damage.

          1. Oh please, Spare me. There is a HUGE difference between sharing breastfeeding information (which is great, and should be readily available to all), and using shaming language (“There was a piece missing with my babies. I think this was it”) to present one side as less-than. This article is divisive and hurtful to formula-feeding mothers. I’m shocked and disgusted that you are trying so hard to defend it.

          2. It’s a quoted comment from a grandmother. What people say is simply what they say. Plenty of mothers have found this article to be helpful, and it’s aimed at grandparents, not formula feeding mothers. There is no such thing as one way to be right.

        1. Your right no mother should be shamed however when people feel they have a right to criticise breastfeeding moms yet, don’t want to offend bottle feeding moms. This post is not a dig a bottle feeding. Facts are breast is best! And I bet breastfeeding moms feel more uncomfortable and more criticised for doing what is factually best,

    2. The fact that you felt the need to attack the article tells me you have some deep regrets or resentment about breastfeeding. I’m sorry feelings got triggered, but being nasty about it doesn’t solve anything.

  4. Well, if the writer or writers of this article intended to patronize grandmother’s they certainly succeeded.

    Is this really the way for intelligent adults to communicate with one another: with bullet point headings in childish language with nice simple following explanations.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware, but breast feeding is not a recent invention; others have done if before you. The way you write about it one could be persuaded that it hasn’t been going on since the beginning of time.

    I’m guessing I am of the generation this article is aimed at: my daughter is expecting her second child in the next few months, and do you know something amazing? I actually breastfed all my children. Yes, that’s right, all three of them; the youngest until she was 3 years and 8 months. In fact, every one of my circle of friends also breastfed their babies.

    I can see from the dates on the replies that this thread is over 6 months old, however, it has only just been posted on my face book page so it’s the first time I’ve seen it. As you can probably tell, its tone has made me so angry that I felt I had to post my comments even at this late stage.

    Perhaps in future articles aimed at grandmothers you might consider holding back from patronizing other women the way this article does. Even though we might be old and redundant in your eyes, we really don’t need to be talked down to in this way and, you never know, some of us might actually have something worthwhile to offer our daughters in the way of advice and wisdom.

    Now wouldn’t that be a surprise.

    1. I agree with Susan. I suspect that many of my generation were the ones who fought to make breastfeeding acceptable again after the marketing hype by formula companies persuaded women otherwise. I too breastfed both my children – one to 12 months and the second to 26 months. I was active in a breastfeeding mothers’ support group which not only helped new mothers wishing to breastfeed, but also pushed for hospitals and doctors’ clinics to stop giving out free formula and instigated courses for medical staff so that they could be more supportive. I felt this article – insensitively worded as it is – would not even have applied to my own mother’s generation (she was born in 1920 and breastfed all four of her children). I am now very happily supporting my daughter-in-law in her breastfeeding and certainly don’t feel the need to press her to express just so that I can give my grandson a bottle! I love most of your articles (Yvette O’Dowd is particularly good) on your website, but this one is quite frankly off the mark. I suggest you take it off before you get any more flack! I can write another one for you if you like 😉 from a grandparent’s perspective – and it will include all the new things I have actually learned about breastfeeding since my own experience as a mother and breastfeeding counsellor.

  5. I LOVED this article. Grandparents who take offence, just scroll on. My mother was definitely one of the negative commenters and this does happen. If you are a supportive grandparent, then brilliant, but there are thousands who aren’t. Thousands who push formula just so they can have their “turn” Thousands who don’t help or support their daughters breastfeeding because they don’t get much time with baby. The “we all done it this way in our day” types. Who offer nothing but negativity. I for one am glad this subject has been raised in a pleasant way.

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