Supporting your breastfeeding daughter
Congratulations on your new grandchild! This is a wonderful time in your life and the growth of your family.
If you didn’t nurse your children, it can be a surprise to learn that your daughter or daughter-in-law intends to nurse your grandchildren.
Your reaction to this news is one of the biggest influences on her likelihood to nurse, or at least, her likelihood to feel close and comfortable around you all the months or years she is nursing your grandchildren.
Take this opportunity to learn new things and be a source of support and encouragement for your growing family!
The science now is irrefutable: babies are born to have exclusive (only) breastmilk for the first six months of their life, and then to continue to nurse as long thereafter as they and their mother mutually desire. In fact:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding a minimum of one year, and
- The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of two years.
Babies who are not exclusively breastfed the first six months have higher rates of recurrent ear infections, severe diarrhea, hospitalizations for respiratory illness, obesity, diabetes, and even death. You can read more about the benefits of breastfeeding and the health risks of not breastfeeding here.
Even though we all want what’s best for the baby, sometimes our own feelings and thoughts can be complicated. If you did not breastfeed your children, it’s okay! This can be an opportunity to support your own daughter in her parenting journey. Sometimes you might feel unsure or uncomfortable, but it will be easier for you if you can remember:
- You are and were a good mom who did the best she could with the information and support available.
- As a loving mother and grandmother, you can take this opportunity to appreciate and support the sweetness of breastfeeding.
Ways to help:
- Praise, support and encouragement go a long way to filling your daughters heart so she can in turn give her full heart to your new grandbaby.
- Build up your daughter’s confidence and withhold critical or judgmental comments.
- Educate yourself about how to know when baby is getting enough to eat. That way, you will feel comforted and not as likely to intervene with artificial formula. Giving formula can undermine not only mom’s confidence, but also interrupts her milk supply. The health benefits of breastfeeding are best realized through exclusive breastfeeding, no other water, milk or formula are needed for the first six months.
Breastfeeding is perhaps the single most important thing a mother can do for her and her baby’s health. Its worthy of your support and consideration.