Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Breastfeeding Obstacles: The Importance of a Support System

The following story was shared anonymously and really illustrates the importance of reaching out for support during your breastfeeding journey whether it be on the Internet (like this blog series), through a Lactation Consultant or through breastfeeding support groups like La Leche League. 

“It’s a Girl,” we all cry after a joyous, natural childbirth. Immediately, she is placed on my stomach and nuzzles her way up to my breast. She knows exactly what to do. I do not. Although I had taken the classes, read the books, Googled-to-the-end-of-the-‘Net, had a supportive husband, an empathetic mother staying to help… breastfeeding was not easy. I was educated, I was passionate about breastfeeding, I was committed to it, I was ready, willing and able – but it was a LOT of work (sore/bleeding nipples, engorgement, plugged ducts, breast infection/mastitis)... and this work was time-sensitive. Had I given-up, my supply would’ve given up.
Rewind 3 weeks prior - Luckily, I had waddled-in to a La Leche League meeting when I was 9-months pregnant. I met other mothers, some not first-time mothers, that were experiencing different challenges or offering solutions at a Library in Westchase on a Sunday afternoon. These women and their babies were magical. Their dedication to the world of breastfeeding was contagious. I exchanged cell numbers with some of them – some even brought me meals when I delivered and one particular angel, Elaine, a LLL Leader was soon-to-be my new breast-friend & coach! She diligently walked me through some positioning advice to make things easier for my daughter and I, looked up information, shared advice, texted me in the middle of the night, took my calls while vacationing with her family…and she’s “just” a volunteer – and her passion gives me the passion to do the same for someone else in the future, when I gain more experience and knowledge. Even when I was desperate to be breastfeeding perfectly or even just pain-free, she made me psychologically feel like I was a success at our breastfeeding journey. Without LLL& Elaine, my daughter would not have this wonderful start to life with the best nutrition, the best bonding time with mommy and a much more peaceful mommy. I know I am not a perfect mother, but I am confident I’m providing the “food of perfection” to my baby, breast milk.

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