Learning from Example

Aug 04, 2021

When we are children we learn and absorb everything around us. We learn from seeing, from hearing and from overhearing. They learn from us, their parents or caregivers and from each other, from other adults in the community and by themselves. Children share the values of their parents about the most important things in life. They are molded by the experiences and events that life brings. Our children are watching everything we do and are listening to the things we say on a daily basis. One of the examples of this is breastfeeding. I remember hearing about breastfeeding and seeing it through this picture (on the cover)of my aunt. I remember thinking she looked so angelic and beautiful. It was so natural and soft. Interestingly enough, my mother spoke about breastfeeding me for 1 week after birth and then stopping because it hurt too much and she did not have support. Still, I wanted to breastfeed because my instinct told me it was the best thing to do. When I had my first son, I learned about breastfeeding through classes and books. Seeing other mothers breastfeed gave me the vision and inspiration to experience the same with my baby. I have 2 boys that are 4 years apart. I breastfed both and when my second was nursing, his older brother was curious and intrigued by me breastfeeding. He would ask questions about why I was nursing and what comes out of the breast? He wanted to understand how his brother was eating and why he just didn't eat food like him. It was such a joy to see the interest and wonder in his eyes while I fed his little brother. Once his little brother was well into toddler age and still nursing, he would bring me his toys to nurse too. He would tell me , "mommy teddy wants boobie too". I would put his teddy to the breast and tell him how nice he was to share his boobie milk. Sometimes, I would see him nursing his toys and teddy because this is what he saw me do. So even though he was a boy he related to breastfeeding as caring for his toy and replicated what he saw as natural. Now even though my son will not be able to naturally breastfeed, knowing that he was old enough to watch me and understand this was to nurture him and his brother will hopefully inspire him to be an advocate and great support for breastfeeding moms, or even his partner one day. You see, learning from experience and example paves the way for future advocacy, support and understanding. Breastfeeding my children and involving them while doing so has allowed them to understand it and look at it as normal. A perfect example of how this has really made an impact is when they see mothers breastfeeding, they will often get my attention and say how great it is that the mom is nursing in public. I'm proud to say my boys have learned from my example and I'm so glad that learning about my aunts journey with breastfeeding helped pave the way for me as well. We are in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week and this is one of the values and aspects of breastfeeding that means so much to me.