Exposure

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My six-year-old nephew, J, from Texas is staying the summer with my father-in-law.  We’ve been hanging out a lot with him and his older 15-year-old brother.  I had a funny, yet kind of sad conversation with J this weekend. He sees me nursing Nicholas a lot lately.  He decides to tell me, “In Texas, babies drink formula, they don’t drink breast milk.”

My response was, “There are plenty of babies in Texas that drink breast milk. You drank breast milk as a baby.” Now if you’ve ever spoken with a six-year-old, you know that they are always right.  He denied, over and over that he ever had breast milk.  Now, I know for a fact that J nursed as a baby.  My sister-in-law, G,  was one of the first people who I saw nursing in person, other than my own mother of course.  G was awesome in being a positive breastfeeding influence on me.  On Christmas morning, when J was just a few months old, I saw more of my sister-in-law’s breasts than I ever thought possible.  What was cool, is that it was so normal for her, there was nothing for her to be ashamed of.  I thank her for exposing me to the normalcy of breastfeeding. 

Another family member, my husband’s cousin, K, also was a great influence.  I was seven weeks pregnant with Liam when we went to visit them in NY.  She was nursing her second child, who was five months old.  We went touring around NYC with K.  She nursed her daughter wherever she needed to.  I still remember seeing her in the Natural History museum, nursing her daughter in the middle of the room, with all of these ancient artifacts surrounding her.  The image is stuck in my brain and showed me how breastfeeding should be. 

So for all of you breastfeeding mammas out there, remember that the breastfeeding you do, will influence those around you, probably in a very positive way.  The little bit of exposure that I had with other breastfeeding mothers before my own child was born was extremely important to Liam and Nick’s health and bonding with me.

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