I was brought up in a family where breast feeding was the norm. I had been breast fed myself, I'd seen all my six brothers and sisters breast fed and it never occurred to me to do anything else.
Back when I had my children feeding one's child oneself was not the norm and midwives did not seem to encourage it. Nevertheless I persevered and it all went well for me. There were no problems, my little ones thrived and that thing called 'baby weight' melted away in no time.
As time passed I found out more about my own and Matty's early experiences. My mother let the odd thing drop and eventually it all became clear. She had a difficult breech birth with me and did not recover well. She felt isolated and unsure of how to deal with her first child. I was very underweight and she struggled with nursing. As her anxiety increased, she neglected to nourish herself and consequently I was starving at the breast. She told me that there were fierce District Nurses who called very often such was their concern for this baby that failed to thrive.
Then my Aunt Sarah visited. She had a son six months older than me. He was a giant baby, dark curls, the fattest chubby cheeks, a great lump of a well-fed infant. Aunt Sarah was horrified to see the scrawny thing that Matty had produced.
Give that child a bottle! Thicken it with Farex. Put sugar in it.
Matty did as her sister said and I started to thrive. Got chubby. But I never, ever forgot that early starving. All my life I have wanted more food. At times of anxiety I just want to eat and I especially want to eat starchy, sugary things. I must have adored those thickened, sweetened bottles of milk.
I've been thinking about this recently for I've gained weight. Again. I can't stop eating. And that cousin? The one who never knew hunger in his entire life? You should see him now. He's as lean as a whippet and a right handsome devil.