Family Friday—Gram’s Breastfeeding Query

A few months ago I had this short and sweet conversation with my grandmother. She knows I am breastfeeding but we had never really talked about it before. She lives far away and has only recently met my 11 month old son. 
She called and asked what I was up to.
I told her, “Just feeding the baby.”
“Is he still on the titty?”
I laughed to myself because I had never heard it described that way. It just sounded so cute coming out of my 78 year old Gram’s mouth.
I told her that yes I was still nursing. I cringed a little in anticipation of her response. I didn’t know if she had breastfed and have heard that many people from her generation frown on it.
She laughed and said, if he is anything like his grandfather he will be at it for awhile. “Your father just loooved it. He didn’t want to give it up. I fed him well past the time I probably should have stopped.”
“Really? I didn’t know you breastfed.”
“Yes. Your father I did, but with your aunt I just couldn’t make myself sit still long enough. I wasn’t contented to nurse her.”
My aunt was born about 15 years after my dad. Gram went on to explain that the reason she couldn’t settle herself to breastfeed was because her husband (my grandfather) had just started developing Multiple Sclerosis and could not walk well. Gram said that there were just so many other things that she needed to be doing so giving my aunt a bottle was just easier.
I didn’t ask her exactly how long she nursed my dad or if other moms were doing it too. I wish I would have. I wonder if it would be considered extended breastfeeding by today’s standards. I would love to find out more about the nursing practices of 50 years ago.
I can’t wait until our next conversation to find out more from the matriarch of our family.

How about you? Have you had discussions with your family about breastfeeding? Do you know the nursing history of the women in your family? Please share your stories here. 


  1. That was a great story! (stumbled)

  2. Stumbled

  3. Okay…sorry bout that…I hit post before I was even done! That’s what happens if I get side-tracked and that was at least a 1/2 hour ago :-(. Anyway, I haven’t heard the word ‘titty’ forever…cracked me right up. I can tell you, 27 yrs ago, when I had my son – breast feeding wasn’t all that popular. I did breast feed but only because the nurses really pushed it. And when I told other family members I was doing it….it was almost like I was doing something evil :-(.

  4. It seems there are big trends in breastfeeding. For a long time formula was considered the best thing possible for babies. Now the slogan “Breast is Best” is everywhere.

    Breastfeeding is still a hot button subject. Most people are very Pro or very Con nursing.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. I love this story! Stumbled! I know that my grandmothers (God Rest Their Souls) didn’t breastfeed. As you said, it was frowned upon 50+ years ago. Breastfeeding is something that only “poor” people did back then. My mom also didn’t breastfeed, although she really wanted to. Her mother discouraged her from trying it, citing the “poor people” reference. I’m so glad my mom is supportive of breastfeeding as all four of her grandbabies have been!

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