Welcome to Marvelous Mammary Memories! These stories are shared by breastfeeding moms, who like myself wish to spread the word to new moms that breastfeeding can have its challenges, but it is worth practicing, seeking help, asking for support and looking for answers.We all know the benefits of breastfeeding, but we do not instinctively know how to successfully breastfeed. We need help, advice, support and guidance – even if it is our second, third or fourth baby.
I would love to share with you my mom’s breastfeeding story from the 70s. It is interesting to see the progress that has been made over the past 40 (yikes) years. When you have read this article, please comment if you were you breastfed or formula fed as a child. Would you have breastfed under in the 70s, based on my mom’s experiences?
Your blog has inspired me to share with you some of my experiences with breastfeeding back in the 70’s in the USA when you and your sister were born.
Your sister Sonja was born in August 1970 at the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. As you can imagine your father and I were very excited, anticipating the birth of our first child. Being Danish I never even considered whether to breastfeed or not, it was just second nature to any Danish woman at that time.
Back then, in the USA you were not allowed to have your baby with you in your hospital room. All the babies were in the nursery in their little basinets. There were 22 babies in the nursery when Sonja was born, and they were all on formula. The nurses did not even ask whether you wanted to breastfeed or not. I am sure you can imagine how I completely upset their daily routine by asking to breastfeed my baby, and even to have her brought to my room during the night, so I could feed her. The nurses had to confer with the doctors whether this was possible, and in the end they gave in – or rather I did not give up.
I was very lucky that Sonja was a good eater, because I only had her for about 20 minutes at each feeding, and I had no guidance at all from anybody. Being she was our first baby, I was in the hospital for almost a week, so the odds were not very good, but we made it. You can imagine how many hours I spent staring at her through the window to the nursery.
When we got home from the hospital, it all started all over again. My in-laws were appalled that I even considered breastfeeding, it was so OLD-COUNTRY, and mostly in their view it was indecent. Therefore, every time we were invited to their house, when breastfeeding I had to sit in a bedroom by myself with the curtains drawn, out of sight. At our house though, our rules applied. I breastfed discreetly in front of whoever was present. I breastfed Sonja until she was two years old, at which time she was ready to move on.
In January 1974 you came along and it started all over. You were born at the Oakland County Hospital in Warren, Michigan. Nothing much had changed by then, except I was even more assertive in my demands to breastfeed my child and also to have you brought to me at night. Once we got home from the hospital, nothing had changed; at our house we did what was right for us and our family. At my in-law’s they still set the rules. I never breastfed in public in America, only when I visited Denmark.
You nursed until you were approx. 10 mos., at which time I had a severe kidney infection and the antibiotics ruined you digestive system, so I had to stop – I was devastated, but luckily you seemed to thrive nonetheless, for which I was grateful.
I am so proud of you and Sonja both of you having breastfed your children seemingly without any problems. Sonja had an easier time back in Denmark, I do not think she encountered any social issues, but it seems to me that you have had your challenges in the USA. Breastfeeding in the USA has come a long ways since 1970, but there is still a ways to go before breastfeeding your child wherever and whenever is considered natural by all. You are setting a good example and being a super role model for your contemporaries.
However, to my dismay, voices are popping up here in Denmark, demanding that breastfeeding in restaurants and cafés is banned. Below is an article from a Danish newspaper regarding an incident at a Danish café and a protest staged to promote breastfeeding.
Your blog made me reminisce and inspired me to share my thoughts and memories with you and Sonja. Mostly I wanted to let you know how proud I am of both of you.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Hundreds of Danish mothers have held a breastfeeding protest outside Copenhagen’s City Hall after customers at a cafe told a woman suckling her baby in public that it was disgusting. Monday’s protest was organized to promote public breastfeeding by mother Trine Maria Larsen, who says she was approached by customers at the cafe. She told the Politiken daily that some had likened public breastfeeding to “going to the toilet while eating.” Public breastfeeding in Nordic countries is common, but Larsen, a Danish blogger, says there have been growing complaints about breastfeeding at restaurants and cafes, and she organized the event to urge them not to ban it on their premises. Danish medical officials recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies for at least six months.