The greatest gift…

Not too long ago, I celebrated a milestone that, at one time, seemed daunting and out of reach – one full year of breastfeeding. There was never really any question in my mind that I would try to nurse my baby, and I say “try” because that was the word everyone used around me during my pregnancy, and it was the word I used before I knew better. The common question was “Are you going to breastfeed?” and, after the skeptical look I always received, my answer was, “Yes! Well, I’m going to try, at least…” Nearly everyone had a story about why it probably wouldn’t work.

Now, I realize how dangerous that skeptical attitude can be when beginning a breastfeeding relationship with your newborn. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the positive effects of those who do support a new mother on her breastfeeding journey.

My parents are avid flea marketers, and one day my mom called and said, “Your dad bought you a present today. I’m not sure you’ll like it, but will you please tell him you do?”

Oh no, I thought. What on Earth could it be…

When I showed up at their house the day of my son’s first birthday dinner, she called me into the kitchen. “Here’s the present your dad got you at the flea market…”

It was a ceramic plate. THIS ceramic plate…

As my mom tells it, they were walking through the flea market, browsing tables, and my dad noticed a few older “gentlemen” noticing the plate. Apparently, they thought it was very funny, and they were laughing at it and making rude comments about it. (She didn’t elaborate, but it’s not hard to picture the scene.)

Well, don’t you know my dad walked right up between them and proclaimed, “Excuse me. I’d like to buy that.”

Of course, he was met with awkward looks.

“My daughter is celebrating her one year anniversary of breastfeeding her son, and I’m very proud of her. I think it will make a nice gift.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that was the jist of it.)

My mom said he handed the man two dollars, and walked away, quite proud of himself.

But not half as proud as I am of him.

My parents watch my son while I work, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of their support, or so I thought. This act of thoughfulness was on a whole new level. It was unnecessary, and I have no doubt that it pushed my dad a bit out of his comfort zone. But he did it. For me.

I don’t know if my dad has even known another breastfeeding mother before. It was a pretty foreign concept to all of us when I decided to do it, but he never skipped a beat in conveying his approval.

I’m not sure about the value of the plate, but it doesn’t matter because I’ll never part with it. To me, it’s the best two bucks anyone has ever spent on me

Not only did my dad give me a very precious keepsake, but along with it an example of the unconditional love and support that come with good parenting. If I end up being any good at this whole parenting thing, I know who I have to thank.

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Comments

  1. Congrats on your one year anniversary! Your dad is so sweet to recognize it, too.

    I totally understand the ‘going to try’ thing – I’ve said it myself countless times. 3.5 months now & still going strong.

  2. Congrats! That was so sweet of your father to think of you. My first son was in the NICU for 9 days and was originally tube-fed. When they got him to take a bottle, that was all he wanted, and I used to cry thinking he wouldn’t breast feed. Lucky for me, once he came home and we worked at it, he decided it was for him! Then he refused the bottle and was strictly breast fed until right after he turned one. My second son will be one in less than a month and he is strictly breast fed as well. Although there are rough moments, I am so happy I was able to do this for my children. It has created a bond that I love!

    • Good for you for sticking with it! It can be SO, SO hard at times, but all that work is definitely worth it, and there’s really no other gift in the world quite like it for your baby. Your perseverance will also serve as a wonderful, valuable lesson for your son in other areas, too. Go, mama! :)

  3. That. is. AWESOME! I can only dream of having that kind of support from my dad!

  4. That is a beautiful plate and a beautiful tribute from your dad in so many ways. Congratulations!

  5. What an awes0me gesture! Congrats on making it to 1 year and congrats for having such a wonderful & supportive dad!

  6. First congratulations on your milestone! I remember when I passed that 12 month mark with my youngest. Proud proud day!

    Secondly that plate is beautiful and amazing. If any artist today tried to sell that he’d get sued for something. I love that your dad stood up for you even though you weren’t there and he really didn’t have to. Hugs to your dad!

  7. What a beautiful story and wonderful gesture! That is an amazing feeling to know that a parent is proud of you doing something as a parent. Congratulations to you for one year!

  8. As a dietitian that works with pregnant and post postpartum women, I am always trying to convince them of the benefits of breastfeeding and how natural it is! MOST turn their noses up saying it is “weird.” It’s a shame that in THIS country it is considered taboo, although I think we are getting a little better. There are just too many doctors that say formula is just as good as breastmilk or husbands/boyfriends that just don’t get it and I can’t help but cringe. How could they ever say that? When I finally get pregnant with my first, there is no, “I’m going to try.” I AM going to breastfeed and I think it’s amazing that you made it to one year! Such an inspiriing post! You rock momma!

  9. I followed your blog over from the Breastfeeding Blog Hop and this is AMAZING. Your dad sounds so sweet and that dish is absolutely gorgeous!

  10. TOni George says:
  11. Great post, mama. I LOVE this. <3

    I found you through the blog hop!! HORAAY! ;)

  12. Thanks for sharing this heartwarming story. You are lucky to have such a supportive dad. I always believed that the best gift I can give you can give a child is breast feeding, and that’s why I’m just now starting to wean my daughter, and she’s almost two.

  13. This is absolutely gorgeous – the story, the plate, your accomplishment! You are wonderful! I’m a nursing mama as well, and I love hearing stories like this. And seriously, I want that plate. ;)

    I found you via the Kellymom Facebook page. Best wishes!

  14. Kristina Pasquale says:

    When I saw the image of the plate I almost cried! My mom had that plate hanging in our kitchen my entire childhood! It was part of a series of mothers across cultures nursing their babies. I will have to ask her if she still has them somewhere. Thank you for the memory. I am so proud of you dad for sticking up for mothers everywhere by expressing his pride in your accomplishment. Give him a hug for all of us!

  15. I am about to start month 7 of breastfeeding my first child, and I must say… not only am I touched by the story of your dad’s kind actions, I am reminded that I shouldn’t use the words “try” and “hoping” when I’m talking about breastfeeding for a year. I WILL breastfeed my daughter for at least a year! Thank you for the reminder :)

  16. I just celebrated my one year too! He actually takes cow milk now that he discovered you can still snuggle even if you are not on the breast. Once he discovered that he was ready. (great for me because he was a BIG biter!) I love it when people are able to make that milestone.

  17. Aww! I passed the 1 year mark yesterday with my 2nd child. Just today my Dad told me I need to “hurry up and wean” because my baby is “so attached”. I breastfed my 1st born for 12.5 months. My support is slim to none from most people, except my Mom. I’m an RN and even my co-workers think its wierd to nurse this long! I want a plate, too!! :)

  18. Stephanie Soderblom says:

    I had that exact same plate!! I had it hanging on the wall in my family room for many many years…..until the day that one of my young children accidently broke it. I cried…he cried….and I have searched for another every since. Congratulations on your find (and for having such a supportive and awesome father!)

  19. I love your dad….

    Nursing still at 18 months here and no signs of slowing down! It gets better all the time.

  20. WOW! I am actually in tears! This was absolutely beautiful. Congrats to you on making the year and HUGE hugs to your very special Daddy!

  21. How sweet… I cried!!!!

  22. What a beautiful story. 4 months strong here and planning on making it to a year!

  23. I followed a link on FaceBook to here. Congrats on your bf’ing milestone and beautiful gift! Your little one is so lucky to have such a caring and supportive family!

  24. Made me cry. So sweet. I have bf my 2 sons- both preemies- both a struggle in the beginning. My oldest made it to 14 months and then stopped I think because I was pregnant with the second one. The younger one is 9 months and going strong. Give your dad a big hugs from all of us and say thanks for the support!! We need more men like that in the world.

  25. What a wonderful, sweet gift! That just made me cry!! My son turned one on 11/19/10 and we just celebrated 14 months of breastfeeding this past week. It has been an interesting journey and one that I wouldn’t trade for the world. My parents have been very supportive, too, and it sure helps that they’re only 3 blocks away. Great blog, btw, I’ll visit more often now that I’ve found it.

  26. That was an awesome story!! I’m proud of your dad *for* you, and I don’t even know you. Congratulations on your one year, we just celebrated the same. A dairy allergy presented itself at 3 months. I thought I was going to have to quit, it was awful. But we were able to control things through my diet, and here we are at 12 months and 3 days :)

  27. Sally Mae says:

    This was a great story, I only wish, mine was the same. I was told by everyone except my own mother that I could never breastfeed. I was hurting my baby and I needed to stop for the whole two years. I always listened to what my daughter wanted. As long as she wanted I gave her every part of me. If only the world understood breastfeeding is believeing in faith. Something you cant control, is beyond science. I love my daughter, its only a wish for her to be the best in life.

  28. I got all teary-eyed reading this. What a great guy your dad is — he put those “gentlemen” in their place and did something so thoughtful for you at the same time!

    And yes, I think the best part about my daughter’s first birthday was that it meant a year of breastfeeding! I was quite proud of myself — people really should have been bringing presents for *me*. :-)

  29. what a fabulous story! I’m proud of your dad!! to know that he went out of his way to defend your breastfeeding relationship even when you weren’t there is touching! if only all men in our lives (and women!) could be so supportive!

    congrats on making it to 1yr! i’m on my way, 7m w/ #2.

  30. My step-dad is probably the most supportive of my breast feeding decision of anyone in my family. I think men see women struggle differently than women see women struggle. And I think for many men, they feel responsible to make it right. 2 thumbs up for good dads!

  31. Liane Varnes says:

    Cool! Plus, looks like your dad made a good buy, too! I think it’s worth about $85!

  32. Just found this post through Kellymom on FB, just want to say that put a little tear in my eye. How lovely!

    I am currently tandem feeding my 26 month old alongside his 4 month old baby brother. My first son and I had a brief SCBU stay, insistent formula feeding (by cup at my request) while we were there, followed by PND issues once we were home, but we made it. I too removed “try” from my vocabulary!

  33. Kudos to your dad! It’s so great to have support and encouragement from your family and loved ones. I’m at the 22 months mark at the moment, and also nursing while being pregnant for 6 weeks now! :)

    Keep it up, OK!

  34. Reading your post about your dad brought tears to my eyes (that doesn’t happen too often ) :) Thank you for sharing this, it made my day and reminded me of how grateful I am for the support I have as well :)

  35. Oh, my goodness, that’s beautiful! What a brave and generous heart your dad has.

    Visiting from the blog hop, where I signed up on the very last day!

  36. What a BEAUTIFUL gesture! That made me well up a little bit!
    And I love the plate too, but honestly, that is the most amazing thing your dad did :)

  37. Tears in my eyes here too! So sweet of your dad.
    Congratulations on making it to a year too! :)

  38. That is so beautiful. I breastfed Taylor for 5 months till she began to refuse it. I don’t know if it is because I didn’t drink enough water or because there is a stigma in my family around it. When my younger (she’s 26) sister stopped by to see the new baby she responded with “EW” when I needed to nurse. My next is due in 6 weeks and I am even more committed to a successful breastfeeding relationship. I have been SO MOVED lately by beautiful breastfeeding images. That plate is priceless…

    • Hi Laura,
      I’m so sorry you didn’t have the support you wanted. I wish you the best in your new breastfeeding relationship…it sounds like you are confident and dedicated, and that’s half the battle, right? I assume your sister doesn’t have children…maybe your example will change her mind and help her to realize how beautiful breastfeeding is!

      Thanks for commenting :)

  39. Kirsty Bowes says:

    That is such a sweet story, I actually welled up! Go your Dad and go you!

  40. Congratulations and good for you! I nursed each of my sons for 2 1/2 years and my daughter just turned 2 on Thurs and I plan to keep going w/ her for at least another 6 months as well. All I get is weird looks, eye rolls and misguided advice, nary a fancy plate in sight! So nice to read your story!

  41. I came across your blog after pointing and clicking my way thru the interweb of breastfeeding blogs. And while this comment is months late, I just needed to leave some appreciation. My eyes welled with tears when I saw the image of the plate your father gave you. I also have very little IRL breastfeeding peers, but my father is one of my biggest supporters. My DD and I are entering our 8th month of breastfeeding and, while we still have our challenges (little miss is easily distracted and most of my “friends” are obnoxiously open about their discomfort of boobies) I find comfort in knowing I have people in my corner.

    Your post has reminded me to thank my dad. His support means more to me than he’ll ever know.

    • Congrats on 8 months! What a great achievement! I’m sorry your friends aren’t more supportive, but it’s fantastic that your dad is there for you. I’m glad you stopped by! :)

  42. This is so wonderful! Seriously, I teared up reading it :o)

  43. I have to say, I’m jealous of the support you receive, but bless you and your dad for it! Breastfeeding is such a beautiful, wonderful journey and it hurts my heart that more moms and babies don’t get to experience that joy because of the “try” (and ultimately, “fail”) attitude. It saddens me that, in our society, there is such little support (both personal and professional) out there that breastfeeding often becomes a negative, stressful experience for new moms rather than the beautiful, loving and nurturing act that it should be.

  44. That’s a truly touching story.. I loved reading it. Congratulations on your one year! (even if I’m a year late).

    My LO didn’t quite make it to a year because she started to self-wean at about 8-9 months, it was disappointing but I am proud of myself for making it that far.

    • Thank you, Shirley! Yes, this is an older post – we’re now at 33 months, with another little one on the way! You should absolutely be proud of the 9 months you spent nursing. That’s a great accomplishment!

      So glad you stopped by :)

  45. I have been breastfeeding for 82 days. I’ve been telling everyone since before I was pregnant that my goal was a year. The first week was painful and the second I was wondering if I foul make it for fifty more. Now I cant even imagine somebody else feeding her. Congratulations for breastfeeding for a year. I cant wait to feel that accomplishment. You have a really sweet dad :)

  46. Megan Hall says:

    This brought a tear to my eye!! How sweet of your Dad! I would treasure that gift forever, as I’m sure you will! I just can’t get over how wonderful this post is!

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  1. [...] The Greatest Gift… - A wonderful post about a father’s gift to celebrate his grown daughter’s breastfeeding milestone [...]

  2. [...] so much time with my son. Your influence will undoubtedly make him a better man. Your support (especially since I’ve become a mother) means the world to me, and you couldn’t be more of a superhero if you had an actual cape. The [...]

  3. [...] that network, I would have nowhere to share the stories that meant the world to me (because you know nobody in real life cares a whole [...]

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