LLL is mother-to-mother support
As the world’s recognized leading authority on breastfeeding, LLL provides mothers with accurate, up-to-date information on breastfeeding. LLL is comprised of volunteer leaders – women who have breastfed their own children and who have undergone extensive training to operate as a mother-to-mother support system for breastfeeding. LLL exists to bridge the ever-widening gap between familial / community wisdom and the breastfeeding mother, providing monthly meetings, as well as phone, e-mail, and in-home support.
LLL respects the mother-baby dyad
I didn’t attend my first LLL meeting until my oldest was 6 months old. Prior to attending that meeting, I lived in virtual mothering isolation. Most of the mothers I knew operated from a parenting model that felt “off” to me. They recommended books that encouraged schedules and allowing my baby to cry. I decided to keep my experiences and ideas to myself and most times turned down get-togethers because it became too frustrating of an experience. Not until I attended an LLL meeting, were my intuitions of baby-centered practices affirmed. My group helped me grow in confidence as a mother and in the realization that I was the expert when it came to my children.
LLL can be a foundation for forming valuable relationships
My memories are numerous and varied, but center around a sense of oneness with women who shared my values of gentle mothering. There were meetings that involved mostly laughter, reveling in the hilarity of our children – like the time I shared the story of my constantly snacking nighttime nurser, who one night, cut off before he’d finished, bolted upright in bed and retorted, “mine, mine, MINE!!!”
Other meetings felt intensely personal. I recall listening to mothers of twins committed to exclusive breastfeeding; a mother’s journey of inducing lactation for the child she was about to adopt; women sharing their struggles with postpartum depression, difficult pregnancies, disappointing birth experiences, and stubborn breastfeeding issues.
My clearest memory from a meeting was when I was about two months pregnant with my second child. My oldest, then two and a half, was still nursing. I came to this meeting feeling deeply sad that nursing him had, due to pregnancy hormones, become skin-crawlingly uncomfortable. I was desperate for support and suggestions. Through tears that seeped from a seemingly bottomless well I shared my grief. My LLL sisters listened intently. While simultaneously tending their own children, their understanding eyes connected with mine, some of them spilling empathetic tears. One offered tissues, another pulled my toddler into her lap, and many offered support through affirmations, encouragement and suggestions. My son and I ended up weaning gently and without further tears as a result of the support from that meeting.
These stories capture only a couple of the poignant moments. I could take up pages and pages recounting help with thrush, mastitis, and latch issues. All this reminiscing is prompting me to go dig out that meeting notice that keeps getting buried…. now that I’ve got another babe, I’m itching for some LLL Love.
What has prevented you from attending a LLL meeting?
What are some of your fondest experiences with La Leche League?