Tag Archives: La Leche League

This is Normal

Two of the main things doulas help with are helping moms to be find their community of support and helping them know when things are normal. As adult women enter their childbearing year, they find more and more things to wonder about. Their uterus expands and their breasts enlarge, their sense of smell is overwhelming and new concerns seem to arise all the time.

What really helps, both before, during and after birth is knowing you are not alone and knowing that this is normal. As doulas we are always reassuring moms that things are normal and that there are other like-minded moms they can turn to. One of my favorite places to suggest is La Leche League. In breastfeeding, as your baby grows and changes, moms need new reassurance that this, too, is normal. If it is not normal, there are solutions to try. All moms want to know they are not alone and there are ways to cope with the changing circumstances. As doulas, we support them in their journeys.

Family and Breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week is the first week of August. Getting ready to celebrate, I have been thinking about how my family had affected my breastfeeding relationship. Also how breastfeeding has affected my family. As a doula I have seen how family relationships play a big part in not only helping breastfeeding to succeed but also how long breastfeeding lasts. Keep in mind that research has shown the longer a woman breastfeeds the more health benefits she receives. It is also true that breastfeeding continues to have health and other benefits for the baby. So the longer breastfeeding lasts, the better.

My family’s support was very important to my breastfeeding success. My mother breastfed me and was very supportive of my nursing her grandson. My mother-in-law had formula fed her babies but more recently she had been convinced of the health benefits of breastfeeding and she was very supportive. I also had the support of my doula friends and other friends who had breastfed. Essentially, even though this country isn’t a breastfeeding culture, I had a small enclave of breastfeeding culture to sustain me.

As I have written earlier, I had difficulties with breastfeeding in the beginning. My husband and my family’s support was crucial. When I had things to work out, their support meant they understood why I was working hard to overcome my difficulties.

I have seen mothers struggle with overcoming some breastfeeding difficulties only for their families to tell them not to bother, formula is enough. My family never wavered in their support and I appreciated their support so much.

As for how breastfeeding has affected my family, I am a La Leche League Leader and I am working on becoming a lactation consultant. My family has had to support my helping other moms. My son will grow up appreciating the importance of nursing. He will support his wife’s breastfeeding when I have grandchildren.

La Leche League’s Philosophy

Here is the official statement of La Leche League’s Philosophy.

La Leche League International was founded in 1956 by seven women who were interested in breastfeeding their babies. Today it reaches over 200,000 women in over 65 countries every month with information and mother-to-mother support. LLL is recognized as the world’s foremost authority on breastfeeding.

We in La Leche League believe

  • 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.

The ideals and principles of mothering which are the foundation of LLLI beliefs are further developed in THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, the most comprehensive handbook on breastfeeding and parenting ever published. It has provided needed answers to three generations of nursing mothers on every aspect of breastfeeding.

Strip District La Leche League

The Strip District La Leche League group is meeting at my house the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 AM. If you need directions, email me at: teresadoula@verizon.net . Our group’s goal is to help breastfeeding mothers have the mother-to-mother support that they need. Meetings are free.

Breastfeeding topics are discussed each month and questions are welcomed. Nursing mothers, pregnant moms who are interested in nursing and moms with toddlers are welcome. Mothers often call and ask if they can bring their baby with them. Of course! The easiest place to nurse in public for the first time is a La Leche League meeting. We ofter non-judgmental support. Come join us!

What You Need to Succeed with Breastfeeding

Young Mother by Dou Gerrit, 1675 Leiden.

If you are pregnant with your first baby, you wonder what you need to help you succeed with breastfeeeding. You need two things to prepare you. First, the desire to breastfeed your baby. Second, you need to line up your breastfeeding support.

The desire to breastfeed flows from your experience with watching others nurse. Knowing your own mother nursed you and you want to do the same, or she didn’t and you know how valuable it is.

Keep in mind that nursing your baby is not just about nutrition and health. Nursing a baby is about your nurturing relationship with your baby. Nursing is a direct way to soothe your baby and yourself. You relax and interact with your baby. You fall in love with this beautiful child. You grow as a mother in confidence.

Breastfeeding support is necessary because we are not yet a breastfeeding culture. So many people formula feed. So many doctors and nurses have not nursed a baby themselves and therefore only support breastfeeding in theory, not with actual helpful tips and techniques.

What do you do before birth to prepare to breastfeed? Read a book or two about breastfeeding. After your baby is born, you won’t have as much time. Then, go to a local La Leche League meeting and meet with breastfeeding mothers. Take a breastfeeding class  and take your partner  for support.

Put together a list of three phone numbers to have on your fridge (or in your cell phone) of  support people you can call if you have breastfeeding difficulties. You might include: your mom or a breastfeeding friend, your doula, a local lactation consultant, a doctor who is also a lactation consultant or your La Leche League Leader.  Then have confidence. With determination and support ready, you too can have a successful breastfeeding relationship!