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.