I’ve had a couple of conversations with my grandmother’s about when they had their babies. I like hearing their stories, to learn about my history and to learn how things were when they were younger. However, I get sad at some of the things they tell me. I have a couple of stories to tell in this blog post….
My dad was born in 1958, in a military hospital in the south. When he came out, they discovered that he had a cleft palate and a hare lip. He was wisked away, without my grandmother getting to see him. She was told it was best if she didn’t see him right away. They kept him away for six days. She didn’t get to hold him, look at him, touch him, nothing for six days. On the sixth day, they performed his surgery to repair, the hare lip, and maybe the cleft palate, I don’t know if both surgeries were performed at the same time. After the surgery she finally got to see her son.
How would you feel if your baby was taken away and you were not even allowed to see him or her? I would be livid. My grandmother didn’t seem to bothered by the fact that she didn’t get to see him that first week. Maybe it is just time, that has caused her to not be upset, or maybe, because the doctors told her that she shouldn’t see him, that she just took their word.
In the 1950’s is was the norm for most mothers to formula feed their babies. If you talk to your grandparents, I would bet that most women were told that their breast milk wasn’t sufficient to feed their babies. I got to see my dad’s baby book the other day. The doctors prescribed such different food then, than they do today. I would be appaled to feed my child some of this stuff that my grandmother was told to feed my dad. She was told to feed him condensed milk, with a formula mixture. They gave him baby cereal at 6 weeks, and baby food at two months (the meat and vegetables that were pureed). Now, of course, it appears that my dad has turned out fine, he is in pretty good health, so I guess his nutrition in that first year didn’t really affect him negatively, at least form what I can see.
My other grandmother, my mom’s mom, was also told that she didn’t have enough breast milk. Why did these doctors think that they did not have enough milk. My own mother was told that she had to stop breast feeding my brother because he had “breast milk jaundice.” She didn’t have any resources to tell her that with that type of jaundice, that she could keep breast feeding. She didn’t have the internet or www.kellymom.com at her fingertips. I’m thankful that we live in the information age, so that I can do my own research and not depend on just one source to tell me how to raise my children.
I’ve had friends that their mother’s were given a shot to stop the flow of milk right after their c-sections. They didn’t even ask these women if they planned to breastfeed, they just gave them a shot. I’ve had other friends that had their breast milk tested once and told that it did not have enough fat in it to feed their baby, so they stopped breastfeeding. They didn’t know that breast milk changes throughout the day and for the needs of the baby at different times.
I’m thankful that I have the resources that I do. And for my family and friends for sharing their stories, I thank them. With the information that they had, they did the best that they can, but hopefully women today can see that they have more resources, that they have choices.