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Supporting my Non-Breastfeeding Daughter-In-Law … Part II

Why is that some of the common childhood bumps, bruises or injuries have to happen for the first time when I’M in charge of the baby?? I swear…seriously.. I was right there! Please believe me! 😕

"The perfect Grandmother keeps the infant safe at all times and goes on daily outings..."

This is a continuation of Supporting my Non-Breastfeeding Daughter-In-law Part I

Let me back up a minute. I have been going down to Dave and Sadie’s regularly for help with babysitting my grandson Tommy. I was getting good at being just a grandma and not a nurse. He was growing pretty well even though we all had to put a lot of effort into getting adequate calories into the boy! He was long and lanky. A skinny lightweight. Both his parents are very tall so it may partially be just genetics. He had outgrown some of his feeding issues as he merged into toddler-hood. Then he turned into a finicky picky eater. Through out all this time, Sadie and I were feeling really comfortable with our relationship. At least I know I felt good about it and she told me she did also. We had developed a respect for one another.  She had been relying on me to come and help out from time to time.  I was always so happy to oblige so that I could see Tommy and enjoy some time with him. I remained respectful of how she wished his day should go for example, managing nap-time, playtime outside, meals and how to handle unwanted behavior. She didn’t have a lot of rules at all…just certain things she asked me if I could do to maintain consistency. No Problem. I know she appreciated it. Sometimes my son would call me to tell me that Sadie said I had done a really good job with the baby that day etc..  🙂

Tommy started talking! He mixed some letters in the beginning and came up with my name. Instead of “Grama”… it came out “Manga”! We all loved it and it stuck. Now I am forever… Manga! It is so delightful when when you are recognized and greeted with an excited little voice! And even more delightful when that sweet little boy calls you his own special name! We played lots of different things and I was having a blast!

One day as we were march-dancing to a little song in the living room clapping toys together, I sat down on the couch, getting tired, and Tommy came running towards me, dropped his toy, immediately tripped over said toy– flying face first into the coffee table! Oouch! He hit just under his right eye! He didn’t break the skin and his eye was fine. But darn it! He got hurt 😦  This was the FIRST face bump he had! One time he had bump on the back of his head from falling over a few weeks back and I had overheard Sadie telling one of her friends about it then saying “It did NOT happen while in my care, let me assure you!” I think my son was playing with him at the time. So needless to say, I was a little anxious to let her know what had happened but of course I had to tell her right away. I called her and explained what happened, how he was and that he was letting me hold ice on it while I had a video going and he was having milk. I KNOW she was upset…. what mommy wouldn’t be when something like that happens to their baby when you are at work. She was very good about it, asked me if I could take a picture for her and send it so I did.  Everything was OK… Tommy actually got his fair share of bruises and bumps!

The next one involving me was pretty upsetting. We were at my house, Tommy was in the high chair, his parents just left for dinner. I cleaned Tommy up and got him down. He ran past the sink where my husband was making the dogs dinner (Tommy had been playing with our Chocolate Lab all day) and the dog turned and snapped at Tommy as he went by!  That sweet little angel boy just sat on the floor stunned and didn’t even cry till I picked him up~ horrified~ and left the room to examine him. He had welts of dog teeth around his tender little calf. No broken skin!    Oh.My.God. This. Did. Not. Just….Happen!! Ice, snuggles with Manga, milk, favorite video and phone call to mommy again. They were both very upset but realized it was all an accident.  It was completely gone in a few days. Still. That was beyond sucky. 😕
I think part of learning as you go…as a parent helps you to de-sensitize yourself to some issues or things that you originally thought were such a big priority. You begin to accept some things as they are and not expect that you can have control over all the little things. This may have been what happened to Sadie. I saw her relax on things about which she had previously been so firm. I didn’t tell her I saw this transformation but it was there.

Sadie got pregnant again on their first month of trying!! They told me when we were out to dinner. I saw my son get up and move a lamp above my head saying the light was in his eyes, He sat back down again and said “I don’t think we’re going to make it up for Thanksgiving this year, mom.” “Why?” …I said (That was the one holiday they ALWAYS spent with my family…..) Dave says nonchalantly: “Because- it will interfere with Sadie’s due date.” I jumped up so excited!! (glad he wisely moved that lamp) then they said… “You are the first to find out Manga… we didn’t even tell Sadie’s parents yet!” I felt so honored!!  YAY!

Because I had previously been admonished for saying things in a way which I had felt was “just being  myself” and I obviously crossed the line, I wanted to be especially careful and respectful. There was always an underlying fear for me that I would screw up. I didn’t ask or talk about anything medical. I had learned how to just be a supportive Manga. Life went on, I was babysitting frequently and Sadie was already in to the second trimester.

“I want to make sure I get breastfeeding right this time.” Sadie said to me out of the blue while I was having breakfast with her one morning. “I’ve been reading about it and I want to do a lot of things differently. I don’t want all those people in the hospital. I just want it to be me and Dave and the baby.”  (I was quiet, letting her talk)    “I was really depressed after Tommy was born and I had tried to pump but not really very much so I never had much milk… I was reading you need to pump a lot” ( I felt so bad I didn’t know she had been depressed! She hid so much from me then…I should have seen it!)    Of course I was so happy to hear her say this on her own….  😀      In order to be most supportive, I needed to find out what her wishes and goals were… so that’s what I asked.  Then Sadie replied: “I want the baby to get all breastmilk for as long as possible.. I don’t care if the baby feeds from me or if it’s pumped milk.”… she continued… “I’m kind of afraid that I might not like it….  and I might want to see how much the baby drinks every time after what we went through with Tommy. What do you think?”

I said” You are an amazing woman! Anything you’ve ever put your mind to seems to be what happens! You should be able to do things however you like. I am so sorry you were depressed last time, that must have been so very difficult! (Pause for Hug) I will help you anyway I can if you want.” Sadie said she did want some help figuring out a good book to read and some info on pumping. I was totally happy! It wasn’t so much that Sadie had expressed her interest in breastfeeding (which of course I was over the moon happy about…) but more that she wanted to talk to me about things and wanted my guidance! I felt like we had really reached a milestone!

Once I got back home I got the PERFECT book ready to send her! “Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy” by Laura Keegan. I had met Laura online and we struck up an immediate friendship. She has the best approach to showing moms how to really have a very comfortable and enjoyable breastfeeding relationship. I have used this book as a teaching aid at work to help moms really visualize what we are discussing. I find it invaluable. Sadie got the book in the mail and read it twice through! She loved it! She started asking me questions a few times a week… referring to the book and looking past her immediate goals to future issues and asking about that! For the first time, after her mother’s negative experience, her own bad experience to the point where she just gave up even trying…. She was now seeing breastfeeding in all it’s beauty! I thank Laura Keegan for this fabulous book! Helping to gently open the eyes of a young women and empower her!

After more discussion, and checking Sadie’s wish list, I decided I would also buy her a high quality pump. She had checked with her hospital to see what they had there and it made sense to stay with the same kind. I got her an Almeda Purely Yours Ultra. We had a little breastfeeding class and pumping info class on a Sunday afternoon. She had Dave set up a little pumping station in their bedroom. All the while, I really only gave her info she asked about, the basics of milk productions and the importance of skin to skin and self attachment. I went into detail on what she wanted and highlighted things that were important for good understanding and good overall management.

Sadie went into labor again at about 38 weeks. My job was to stay at the house with Tommy. I left work early and got down there just after he went to bed. There was a babysitter there who then left and I was all alone…. waiting to hear.  Finally I got a text and a photo… Another boy!! Joseph or “Joey”. The text was from Dave and said “he’s never left Sadie except to get weighed and he’s been nursing a lot already, mom!” I was so happy for them! The next day, Sadie’s dad came to stay with Tommy so I could go over to see the new little family. The plan was for a quick little visit so I didn’t interrupt their alone time. Sadie called then and asked where I was, how far away because the baby was ready to eat and she want me to see if it looked alright. (The surprises kept coming.. I was really honored once again..) I got into the room as she was preparing to feed. She seemed so confident as she positioned herself and Joey. He opened wide and self attached beautifully with a big deep mouthful of breast! Sadie looked blissfully happy, had no pain and was experiencing the positive signs of hormonal surge. Joey began to have a rhythmic deep sucking pattern with audible swallowing. I was able to point out all these positive things to both of them. Like a well rehearsed play, it was as if the perfect script had been well acted!  I would not have believed it could have gone THIS well for them if I didn’t see it myself!! I thought I was going to leave then and she asked if I could stay and help her with the pump to make sure she knew what she was doing with that in case she needed it later… She wanted to pump anytime Joey was not feeding well. He was a great nurser but she pumped anyway so she had an excellent supply!

To get to this point has been a fabulous journey of learning more about myself and learning more about how to be the best support to other moms in my care. Sadie went on to nurse Joey or feed him pumped breast milk exclusively for the first 4 months. She continued to pump and nurse after that but had started to also use formula at times. She did a fabulous job! She is very proud of herself.  One thing she said to me a few weeks ago was that she thinks having her babies, and especially nursing Joey, has really made her feel so much closer to me. *tear**

Then she thanked me for hanging in there…… again……….

Support the mother, Support the mother, Support the mother most important of all!

And the Manga… Support the Manga! Most Manga’s want to to the best for you…

Show us how!

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. That initial figuring out how to be a mom or grandma or mother-in-law is so tricky. I guess we all need grace and affirmation and respect, no matter which stage we are in.

    June 14, 2011
  2. I was really hoping this would be the outcome. I wanted that book before but now I REALLY want it.

    Beautiful story. I wish you were my babies’ Manga! ❤

    June 14, 2011
  3. Angela Johnston #

    What I would give to have you as a mother in law 🙂 You are such an amazing wonderful woman and your family is so blessed to hae you. I truly enjoyed reading parts 1 and 2 and love that Sadie was able to nurse so beautifully.

    June 14, 2011
  4. Thanks for posting these. They have given me some new perspectives as I am very pro-nursing, but I have similar difficulties with my mother-in-law regarding other parenting issues.

    June 14, 2011
  5. Lovely, just lovely!!!

    I have never heard about that book before, I will add it to my wishlist 🙂

    June 15, 2011
  6. Jayne #

    What a great story! Such a great reminder to all of us who support and advocate breastfeeding that we should always be supportive before all else! Right now I am currently still breastfeeding my 20-month-old son, and even though adulthood is far far away for him, I have often thought about how it will be for me if he some day gets married and has children of his own. The main thing I think about is how difficult it will be for me if his wife does not believe breastfeeding is as important as I do. Hopefully I will learn to do as good of a job with being foremost supportive!

    June 15, 2011
  7. What a lovely story. Well done to all of you – I’m so glad it worked out for Sadie 🙂

    June 15, 2011
  8. Wonderful wonderful! So glad that this time round she managed to nurse and that you were able to be such a support.

    Mars xx

    June 15, 2011
  9. Thank you for sharing in so much honest detail! Even as a friend to non-breastfeeding mothers, this example is invaluable! And I will have to check out that book, love to have good resources to pass along!

    June 15, 2011
  10. That was a beautiful ending – thanks for sharing. I hope I am as wise as you when I am a “Manga” 🙂

    June 15, 2011
  11. tonya #

    Thank you so much for sharing! This is a wonderful story and has really made me think about how i share the excitement I have for breastfeeding, natural childbirth and cloth diapers 🙂 I have a question, when sad came to you and started asking about breastfeeding did you let on/show that you were ecstatic or just remain positive without expressing your own emotions?

    June 15, 2011
    • StorkStories #

      Hi Thanks– When Sadie came to me that morning to talk about breastfeeding, I was mostly quiet and let her talk. She was talking about her depression at the same time so it was more appropriate to offer support on that. I know -that she knew- what she was saying made me ecstatic… She knew. I wanted to tread carefully so we talked about the depression first then I asked her what her expectations/goals were regarding breastfeeding. At some point I know I said something like that it made me happy etc.. but I didn’t want her to feel any pressure whatsoever including trying to please me. I wanted to see what was in her heart.

      June 15, 2011
  12. Hooray! I’m so glad it worked out the second time around. And I’m so glad you and Sadie have been able to establish a good relationship. You sound like an excellent Manga. 🙂

    June 15, 2011
  13. Thank you so much for sharing the whole story from a reflective, historical perspective. I can only imagine that your blog posts may have been a little different if you had been telling this story in real time :). This example of supporting women in ALL of their choices is inspiring to me as a student nurse midwife. I will definitely file it away mentally as advice for the future!

    June 15, 2011
  14. Thanks for such a heartwarming story. It brought a tear to my eye! I wish I knew why I get so emotional about nursing. I am dreading the day that I’m done!

    June 15, 2011
  15. That was a beautiful story. My children aren’t married yet but the process you describe is similar to how I felt about “letting go” and learning to respect my children’s choices.

    August 4, 2011
  16. C Bazzel #


    December 29, 2011
  17. mandapanda #

    Awww! How sweet! I’m not any kind of expert, but I’ve loved breastfeeding my son for the last 19 months and since he was born, I’ve become more interested in helping others. Its so hard listening to friends and relatives who did not breastfeed successfully because of bad advice from their doctors or relatives. I want to help them so much! But what’s done is done and telling them they had an idiot dr 20 years ago isn’t going to help anything. I hope I can learn to be as good at shutting up as you are! 🙂 PS. Can you please have a little talk with MY mother in law? Thanks!

    May 31, 2012

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