Recently I helped the daughters of two friends breastfeed their own babies. Both these women remember their mothers happily nursing their younger siblings for an extended period of time, and I wish that more young mothers shared similar experiences. Today my friend Menucha Chwat, mother of twelve, told the following story:
Her first-grade daughter Gefen has a Mesibat Siddur (party in which the children receive their first prayerbook). The teacher said that brothers and sisters may not attend. When Gefen cried that her mother couldn’t come without her two-month-old brother Eliya, the teacher said to leave him a bottle of M*(!). (Notice the implication that the baby doesn’t need a person to care for him, only a bottle of formula.) Gefen replied, “But M* is very unhealthy and we sing, ‘You should watch over your souls.'” (This verse from Deuteronomy 4:15 provides halachic justification for taking care of our health.)
In the end, Eliya will stay with his big sister and her baby, whom he knows well, and will drink the milk that Menucha expressed for him. I suggested bringing the baby anyway, but Menucha doesn’t want to embarrass her daughter.
If you know any pregnant mothers, Menucha provides private religiously oriented pregnancy/childbirth education in English or Hebrew for women or couples, in your own home, throughout the greater Jerusalem area including Bet Shemesh and Modiin. For more information call 02-9995836.
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