Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

The Royal Babies

on July 22, 2013

Congratulations to William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, U.K., on the birth of their precious 8 lb. 6 oz. baby boy on Monday, July 22, 2013!  In celebration of this joyous event, we present this post about a young girl’s love of Queen Elizabeth, who breastfed her babies:

                                                        Thank You, Queen Elizabeth

Future Queen Elizabeth with Baby Charles 1949

Future Queen Elizabeth with Baby Charles 1949 *

Mum and I were alone that bone-chilling December evening, curled up on a lumpy, pull-down couch in a strange hotel room in New York City. I was eight years old, and it was my first time in New York, and Mum’s first time, too. In fact it was the first time either of us had ever been out of Alberta, the first time we’d been on a plane. We’d left behind Dad, Grannie, my two-month-old baby sister and everyone we knew and loved. We couldn’t even use the phone on the desk beside us to call them because there was no telephone at home on the farm.

Mum and I were here in New York to spend a week consulting with a renowned optometrist who, we hoped, might be able to give me glasses that would help me deal with my blindness. Every day we walked from the hotel to his office and then we walked back again. We were terrified to go out at night.

That afternoon, on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a toy store to watch an enormous electric train race around its tracks up hills, across bridges and through tunnels. We had no electricity at home on the farm to run such a thing, and I was transfixed. When Mum could coax me away from the train, we went to look at the shelves of books. Like everything in New York, they seemed endless. But it didn’t take long for Mum to find a book that she knew I’d love – a biography of Queen Elizabeth II for young readers. My friends back home were papering their bedroom walls with movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds. But the “star” I worshipped was the Queen. The coronation had taken place in London that summer, and I had listened to every magnificent minute of it on the radio at Grannie’s house. I thought Queen Elizabeth was the most beautiful and fascinating woman in the world. Besides, she had two darling children, Charles and Anne, just a little bit younger than me.

Union JackMy love for the Queen came directly from my beloved Grannie, who lived just up the path from us and whom I visited every day at teatime. When she came from England as a girl, she brought with her a love of all things royal that would last her lifetime. She built a collection of yellowed newspaper articles, photos and memorabilia that would last my lifetime, too.

Now I could hardly wait to get back to the hotel to start reading my very own hard-cover book about the Queen. No little-kids’ book, this one. It even had chapters. I was sure it would tell me everything about the Queen and her family, even grown-up things

And so we were cuddled on this strange couch, and Mum was reading aloud to me about the birth of Prince Charles at 9:25 on the evening of November 14, 1948 in a specially outfitted operating room at Buckingham Palace with three doctors, three nurses and, yes, a midwife, in attendance. I was enthralled.

And then Mum read, “Elizabeth nursed her baby for three months.”

The Queen nursed her baby! For three months the Queen nursed her baby! In my family if nursing was attempted at all, it was done behind a closed bedroom door and it wasn’t done for long. Mum had tried to nurse my baby sister and had been put back in hospital with a terrible abscess. But if the Queen could nurse, then I would nurse, too.

Over the years the cover fell off my precious book. Twenty-two years after that first visit to New York, I returned, this time with my new husband. In another hotel room not far from Grand Central Station, we conceived our first child. There was no doubt in my mind that, like Queen Elizabeth`s first child, she would be nursed or, as we were now putting it, she would be breastfed.

Today Queen Elizabeth II marks sixty years on the throne. Time has changed the colour of the Queen’s hair and mine, and has added strategic wrinkles to both our faces. We have spent our lives in very different worlds. Yet even though she will never know, we share a matchless and priceless bond. We both breastfed our babies.

by Donna Cookson Martin, La Leche League Leader


It's a boy!

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking  or  Internationally



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