11 January, 2011

My First La Leche League Experience

For those of you who don't know, La Leche League is an organization that is all about breastfeeding. Feeding your child the best food that you can give them and do what is best for your baby.
This is their philosophy:

  • Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.

  • Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.

  • In the early years the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.

  • Breast milk is the superior infant food.

  • For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.

  • Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.

  • Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.

  • Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby's father. A father's unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child's development from early infancy.

  • Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.

  • From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.
    They have groups all over the country, and the world, to help mom's and dad's have a successful breastfeeding and parent relationship with their child. 
    international breastfeeding logo
    So yesterday, January 10th, my friend Jamie and I went to a LLL meeting here in Hawaii. The awesome thing about LLL meetings, besides the support, is that kids are welcome. Even Reilly came, fully prepared with a bag with books, her iPod and DS and a pillow pet to keep her entertained. 
    At every meeting, something is different. You have "class time", where they discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, and other breastfeeding related topics. Yesterday, we passed around "goodie bags" filled with things that have to do with breastfeeding, or having a good breastfeeding relationship, especially the first couple of weeks. We all talked about our personal experiences, and textbook information, all of which was very helpful. There was time for a Q&A afterward. They also have a lending library, where you can "check out" books from them and read them over for the next month, and then return them. Makes it easy to get the books that you want and are beneficial to you, without having to search out in a public library, spend time looking at a bookstore, or ordering online. 
    The only negative that came out of the meeting was the fact that during the entire thing, there were side conversations going on. I have to admit, I was guilty of carrying on a side conversation or two, but in general, it was a little irritating to listen to about 4 conversations all at the same time. It was hard enough that there were older kids running around, that the conversations were just a little much. I'm not sure how that would be in meetings elsewhere, and I'm not sure it's always like that, but that was probably the only negative. 
    I encourage all my breastfeeding or pregnant mama's to give it a shot. At least one meeting. On their website (linked above) you can find meetings in your area. They generally meet once a month and the LLL leaders are available via phone or email in between. They are a great wealth of information. 
    (Please note: Not all members or leaders are going to be amazing. As with any group, there will be women who you won't agree with. That isn't to say that it still isn't a good idea, just be aware that you may not get along with everyone.)

  • 1 comment:

    Maya said...

    I nursed my daughter until she was nearly 3 and SHE nursed HER daughter for 2 and a half years and there's truly nothing better for the baby. The list of benefits are truly astounding :) What bugs me is that there are STILL doctors who seem neither to understand it nor to properly support it. All mammals are designed to nurse--it's RARE when a woman cannot and yet I hear all the time "Oh, I couldn't nurse so my doctor recommended blah blah formula." La Leche League really is the best source of support and expert--good on you for going!!! :)