Our lives are weaved through stories—our parents’ stories, siblings, children, lovers, and neighbors. Yes, even our significant other’s grandmother (like this one). Grab those narratives, feel them, make them your own and then pass them along.
“No!” she yelled, reaching out for the small cup of water I brought up to my mouth. “You can’t eat or drink ANYTHING while you’re breastfeeding the baby.” I looked down at my one-day old son. He was sucking fiercely on my left breast, the one that for now seemed to be producing the most milk. Last night, he fell asleep sucking on it, causing a tear on the nipple. “Drink lots of water,” the nurse later told me, “it’ll help when your milk finally comes in.”
Yet, here was Reyna prying the cup from my hands and telling me I had to wait to drink water.
“But why,” I asked Reyna with a nervous laugh. “I’m so thirsty!
She was intimidating, several kids later and some plastic surgeries to match, no one really knew her age. She was older, hid from Trujillo during his dictatorship, and was good childhood friends with my step-father. Those were the only gaps of time we had as references to match.
“Because, it could give the baby seizures.”
There was nothing on Google that mentioned that side of things, and the nurses never brought it up either.
She said she knew of a woman, a friend of a friend, and her eyes told me that was about as much as she knew—or remembered.
I didn’t argue back, or asked further questions. I also never drank water while nursing again.
Her story was enough for me.
And it wasn’t because of this newfound belief in that—drinking or eating with baby on the boob. But the respect for it—its origins and warning and that woman she supposedly knew. Most importantly, it was a respect for those specific words of caution and how that one story traveled through time.