Why should you go to La Leche meetings?

Katherine - posted on 02/10/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )

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As a breastfeeding mom to a 9-week-old baby, I've been meaning to go to a La Leche League meeting in my neighborhood for a while now. But the more time passed, the more I wondered: What would I get out of it? I've already survived the initial headaches and booby aches, and my baby's gaining weight. But as it turns out, there's way more to learn.

Sitting in a noisy room with a dozen other women and their babies -- ranging in age from 2 weeks to a year! -- it was comforting to see that everyone had questions and concerns about breastfeeding. There was a wonderfully positive, encouraging vibe and I left feeling less like a milk machine and more like a woman who's in tune with her body and her baby. I advise anyone who can get to a meeting to strap on the carrier and take your baby on a little adventure.

Here are a few helpful takeaways:

1. Rub parsley on your boobs. Say what?! One woman swore by the "parsley trick" for working out a plugged duct. Here's how it (supposedly) works: Take a big handful of parsley -- she recommended Italian flat leaf -- put it over the area where you feel that hard duct, and place a hot compress on top for five minutes. It sounds bizarre, but I'm willing to try anything next time a plugged duct rears its ugly head.

2. Dad's doing more than you think. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing all the work because I'm feeding our baby every two hours, but there are probably half a dozen ways my husband contributes (or can contribute, hint hint) to the practice of breastfeeding. Stay tuned for a later post on this.

3. Leave the room when your baby's having a bottle. I've been trying to incorporate some breast milk bottle feeding into the routine and all I'm getting are tears. Several women were quick to share that I must be out of smelling distance for my baby to accept the bottle from my husband, dad, or whoever and not cry afterward.

4. Try facial massage. One mom demonstrated three massage tricks to improve her baby's latch. I wish I'd had these two months ago! She showed us how to massage the baby's jaw at both points under the ear, squeeze his mouth a few times, and then tap a couple times on his lower lip to get him to relax and open up.

5. Don't overthink it. This was perhaps the most valuable takeaway. Everyone had some concern about something, such as the doctor telling them their baby is only in the 25th percentile for weight or their baby rarely has a soiled diaper. The La Leche League leader has heard all of these fears and said if your baby appears healthy and is gaining weight, there's probably nothing wrong with what you're doing.

Unfortunately, I had to duck out before they got to the part about beer and breastfeeding. Next time!

What have you learned at a La Leche League meeting?



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Minnie - posted on 02/12/2011

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Oooh- magnets are a great idea! I liked having a magnet with my midwife's number on the fridge. Didn't have to search for it.

Katherine - posted on 02/10/2011

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Trifolds are a great idea. Something REALLY simple. Tear offs are hard to see sometimes. Flyers are good. Magnets, ask if you can put stuff in the folders they give new moms at the hospitals.

[deleted account]

LLL meetings were the only place where I could be a rambling mess (the entire first six months) and no one even blinked an eye. Leaders would take my baby off me so I could have a chat - it was just so lovely. I think the most important think I learned was that all this is normal. And with all the bad advice that comes your way regarding breastfeeding (even if you know better), it was really reassuring to be amongst women with a similar attitude not just to breastfeeding but to parenting in general (not that I knew back than that I would develop that kind of attitude). My daughter was such a handful for the first six months (still is, but at least somewhat managable) and no one there told me that I had to get her used to xyz just because that's how babies are supposed to be. I am working now but they started informal coffee mornings on saturdays where I live so I can at least attend those. Delighted!
As far as getting the word out - in Ireland once you are breastfeeding I think it's probably mentioned to you, though generally after that you have to find the details out for yourself. I think it would be a good idea if health professionals were to encourage women to attend a meeting when they are still pregnant. I really wish I had done that, but was just too tired and miserable at the time to find out about it. Also, plenty of people had told me about those breastfeeding nazis who all breastfeed their children forever. I think that kind of perception can really overshadow the wealth of knowledge and support you receive when you attend. Don't know how to counteract that though, bar maybe telling as many people as possible how helpful you find going to meetings.
And I'm still rambling...

Minnie - posted on 02/10/2011

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I ♥ LLL meetings.

I go to be surrounded by mothers who share my parenting philosophy. Sure, we all have differences within that spectrum but breastfeeding and a desire to keep it up is what we can connect with.

We are trying so hard to make LLL more known. When I had my first it was not mentioned once to me- when I had sore nipples with blisters on them because the nurse shoved her on my breast, when my daughter wanted to nurse every hour or more often, when she was gassy, vomiting and had green poos- no one mentioned LLL. Not a doctor or the nurse self-stylized as a lactation consultant.

What do you ladies think? Ideas on how to get the word out? We're currently working on trifolds to put in those black bags at our local hospital and tear-offs for doctors offices and other public places.

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