For this week’s post I’m going to be pulling out my mommy card and talk about breastfeeding. Now I’d like to preface this whole post by saying that I’m just sharing my experience. Each mom has to do what’s best for them and their family. I believe that ultimately, us moms need to stick together and support one another in whatever ways we decide to parent. My only goal for this post is to share about a local resource that is very dear to my heart. So here goes…..
Breastfeeding can be a touchy subject at times. Cover up, don’t cover up? Nurse in public, don’t nurse in public? Pump, don’t pump? Supplement, don’t supplement? I mean really, what’s a mother to do?!
Well, I don’t have the answer for you, other than to say that you have to do what’s right for you. Personally, I was the don’t cover, nurse in public kind of gal. I also pumped because I worked and went to school when my first child was born. I had the best nursing experience with my daughter. It went so well that I didn’t understand how others had problems with nursing. I thought, “This is so easy!”
Then I got pregnant with my second child.
There is a six year age difference between my two children. During the time I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t even think about doing any research on breastfeeding. I figured that it went so well with my daughter that I was already an expert on the subject. Plus, babies have been nursing for years and years, so we’d both know what to do.
I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
When my son was born, I had the absolute worst breastfeeding experience I could imagine. I will save you all from the graphic details, but I will say that there were a lot of tears. I had never imagined that breastfeeding could be so difficult. I had it down pat with my daughter. What was I doing wrong with my son? It was so horrible that I actually resorted to giving him formula. (Gasp!) I had the worst guilt as a mother. At the time I felt that I was hearing society tell moms that we have to do the absolute best for our children, and that includes breastfeeding. If we don’t breastfeed then we have failed as a mother. When we formula feed, then we are not giving our children the absolute best start in life. That may not have been the true message, but it certainly fed into my guilt.
I felt horrible and alone.
It was right about this time that I reached out to everyone for help. I asked friends. People from church. The lactation consultant at an office I visited often. People who came to visit me. Everyone. Thankfully I had friends who were involved in La Leche League (LLL), so I knew of this resource. It was with the help from the people at LLL that I was able to successfully restore the breastfeeding relationship between me and my son.
La Leche League is a mother to mother support group. They hold monthly meetings open to all moms, as well as mommies to be. I’ve actually been to meetings where a pregnant mom was there to get information before having her baby. What a way to prepare! I should have done that when I was pregnant with my son! Going to meetings may seem odd at first, but let me share a little about what goes on, to take away the mystery. It’s pretty straight forward. Moms meet to discuss breastfeeding issues. Some have questions, other have answers. That’s the beauty of it. Those who attend have something unique to offer. I may be in a different breastfeeding stage than a new mom with an infant. Or, I may have just the answer for that new mom. I loved going to meetings. It was an opportunity to 1) get out of the house, 2) talk to other women, 3) let my children play with other children. During the time I was having difficulties with my son, the other moms helped me figure out some tricks to getting my son to latch on properly. They were the experts because they had been there. They knew what I was going through.
Aside from their monthly meetings, LLL leaders are also available over the phone. I’ve utilized this, as well as some of my friends. I first called a LLL leader when I was nursing my daughter 12 years ago. I remember being embarrassed to talk to someone over the phone over such an issue, but honestly, truly, that’s what they’re there for. They WANT to help. I promise. If you have any questions, please call them at 559-265-3301.
If you would like to attend a meeting, they are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. They meet at 9:30am. The meeting places change each month, but they are usually held at a leader’s house, or at one of our local libraries. You can check the Fresno website to find out where it will be. You can also find them on Facebook, to get updates and information on local events.
Which leads me to an event happening on Saturday. (Not related to LLL, but related to breastfeeding.) There will be a breastfeeding walk at Woodward Park, Mountain View Shelter, starting at 9:30am. (Registration begins at 8:30am.) I attended the very first one years ago. It’s a great event with lots of booths for other resources available here in Fresno. This event kicks off World Breastfeeding Week (August 1st-7th.) There will also be a worldwide “Big Latch On” starting at 10:30am. The walk is free, you just have to pay $5.00 to get into the park.
This post may have been too personal for some of you, but I thank you for allowing me to share. I mostly wanted you to know of this local resource. You may have a mom, wife, sister, friend, co-worker who is struggling with breastfeeding. Know that this is a resource for them. La Leche League is an international organization, but it’s also right here in our wonderful city. A brief history of La Leche League… It was founded by 7 women in 1956. Their initial meetings were to provide support and encouragement to the new mother, as well as provide them with researched based information. Over the years La Leche League has expanded to many countries all over the world. I am thankful for the vision of the founding women of LLL. It is because of them that I was able to find the local support that I needed.