What should a grandmother do?

Helen - posted on 08/08/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My youngest daughter will need extensive surgery in a few months. Her child is only 2 months old. She would like the child breast feed. I am wondering if I should induce myself and take over the task. I breast both of my girls and this one feed until she was 8 years old. Would this be the correct thing to do. The child and mother will be moving back to my home is a couple of weeks so I can care for her and her child after the surgery. She will no longer be able to breast feed after the surgery.

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Aimee - posted on 08/09/2011

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Praying for you all. I was a wet nurse for a friend of mine. I pumped and she fed her son with a bottle. Your daughter may want to consider this. It's a great way for her to remain connected throughout her chemo.

[deleted account]

Helen, I take my hat off to you! You and your daughter are awesome mothers! Your grandchild is one lucky child!!

It's your daughter's and your decision, naturally, but if I were you, I'd go for it! And, quite frankly, I certainly wouldn't bother pumping - you've got enough on your plate without the extra unnecessary step! There's lots of info out there about inducing lactation etc, but I'm sure you've gone into it.

I am truly in awe of your dedication! My very best wishes for your daughter with her surgery.

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Lori - posted on 08/12/2011

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If your daughter is on board with it, and you wish to do it too, then I say go for it. I do sincerely hope that she is in that 10% and that you her surgery and recovery go very well.

I mentioned your post at my La Leche League meeting, and another Mommy told me about a friend of hers who has breastfed her granddaughter. Different situation - the grandma had a baby around the same time her daughter had a baby, so she was lactating anyhow. And she nurses her granddaughter when she watches/babysits her. Her daughter also returns the favor and nurses her own sister along with her baby when she watches/babysits. So my take on this is that you need to do what is right for your family, and only you and your family know what that is!

My best to you and your family!

Amanda - posted on 08/11/2011

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You are a wonderful mom and grandma! Prayers for your daughter and if she is in agreement and its possible then that is your family and you do what you think is best

Amy - posted on 08/09/2011

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I would love my mother to nurse my kids if I could. What an awesome bonding experience for all of you. Will be praying for you all through this.

Heather - posted on 08/09/2011

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Then I would just give the baby formula. You are older, and if you are taking medication or hormones, it wouldn't be healthy for the baby. There are places where you can get breastmilk that has been donated for babies who need breastmilk. Your daughter can also up her supply and pump a lot. Enough to keep her daughter with her breastmilk for up to 6 months, if it is stored right. Look into it!

Kristi - posted on 08/09/2011

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If your daughter is okay with it, absolutely! Wet nurses were the norm forever and a day, and probably should be even now for young babies in care. I think people got freaked out about stuff like that after formula entered the picture and they saw movies like Hand that Rocks the Cradle that made moms afraid of other women stealing their babies. This was a big deal in our local moms' club, and I really can't say why... I think that if you are able to do that for your granddaughter, it's a noble and loving thing to do! Your daughter is lucky that you can look past society's ridiculous taboos and provide the very best for her baby and your granddaughter. Go for it!



I just also read the post about your daughter's surgery. I sincerely hope that she is that 10% and your granddaughter will grow up to know how much both of you have loved her all along the way. My prayers are out there for your family! Hugs to you all.

Helen - posted on 08/08/2011

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My daughter and I have discussed this issue for long time and she ok with me breast feeding her child. The reason the surgery will be in 2 months has to do with a type of therapy that she will need after the surgery. And yes she will not be able to breast feed. Both or her breasts well be removed. She has a very usual type of breast cancer. Her survival rate is less than 10% so it maybe in the long run that I will raise the child. We are praying everyday for a miracle. So whether the child sees me as mom or not may not matter.

Helen - posted on 08/08/2011

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My daughter and I have discussed this issue for long time and she ok with me breast feeding her child. The reason the surgery will be in 2 months has to do with a type of therapy that she will need after the surgery. And yes she will not be able to breast feed. Both or her breasts well be removed. She has a very usual type of breast cancer. Her survival rate is less than 10% so it maybe in the long run that I will raise the child. We are praying everyday for a miracle. So whether the child sees me as mom or not may not matter. I will discuss your reply with her. Thank you for your input and the points you raised.

Lori - posted on 08/08/2011

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Wow - the fact that you'd even consider doing it shows what a dedicated loving Mom and Grandma you are.

As I'm sure you're quite aware, there are quite a few issues to consider in doing this. First and foremost, what does your daughter think about it? She's the Mommy, and ultimately she needs to make the decision. I would agree that breastmilk would be better for any baby than formula, but there are also other possible ways of getting it. You could look into milk donations, and there are sites for milk sharing. I'm not real familiar with the process as I've not done it, but I know it's an option for those who want human milk for their baby. My first thought about grandma taking over breastfeeding the baby is that the baby is gonna see you as "mom" rather than as "grandma". There is of course so much bonding that goes along with breastfeeding. This could be good for you and baby, but it may leave mom out and could create jealousy and resentment.

I'm assuming she is currently breastfeeding her 2 month old right now, and you're talking about surgery in a few months.... baby will be about 4 to 6 months old when mom goes for surgery. Since you haven't said it I'm also guessing this is a surgery that can't be put off until baby is a bit older????? And your comment that she will no longer be able to breast feed after surgery isn't based on one Dr's opinion who doesn't know much about breastfeeding, but based on more research and knowledge. Is your daughter starting to pump a bit extra now to build up a stockpile of milk before her surgery?

I'm sure you know as you've breastfed before, but if you take over that task, you become babies primary caregiver.

I sure don't know what the correct thing to do is. All I can do is offer up more questions for you and your daughter to try to answer before deciding on what to do. Good luck to you both. Do you (does she) have a Lactation Consultant that you like/trust? A good LC will be quite helpful both in answering some of these questions, and in helping you achieve your goal whatever it ends up being!

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