Mothering can be a lonely journey. Only another mother knows the exhaustion of late night feedings, the concern over an unexplained fever or rash, the heart-wrenching fears of a mother love so great that it consumes every fibre of our being.
When I think of those times in my own mothering, I realize that it was my La Leche League friends who kept me feeling secure and confident as I nurtured each new babe. How those lovely women welcomed me at my first La Leche League meeting; one small baby, one bulky carseat, one oversized diaper bag, one insecure new mother longing for encouragement.
There were mothers and babies everywhere I looked. Babies were being cuddled and rocked, breastfed and burped. Stories were being shared as I was gently encouraged by the Group Leader to share my concerns. I can honestly say I left that initial La Leche League meeting a more confident mother. I had answers to my breastfeeding questions and women to support me. I had some phone numbers to call if things got bumpy or if I needed to vent. I had a book to read as I sat nursing my baby; a book that affirmed my intuitive desire to sleep close to my little one.
I counted the days to those meetings. Twice a month we would gather. Babies grew into toddlers and new babies were born. We met in parks, at playgrounds, we walked together and talked together. These are the wise, kind, caring women who so positively shaped my mothering philosophy and this is why I love La Leche League.
All over the world, this same experience is being replicated as new mothers discover the value of La Leche League meetings and friendships. Somewhere at this very moment, a worried and concerned mother is learning that her baby can nurse as often as he/she wants; no need for schedules or clocks. Another is hearing that her sore nipples are simply a result of a poor latch and a Leader or experienced mother is helping her with her problem. Mothers are learning that babies need tender and responsive care and that breastfeeding is the best mothering tool available. They are learning that breastfeeding is economical, easy, perfectly nutritious in every way, full of immunities and so much more.
When mothers hear about La Leche League, I think they sometimes wonder what it is that makes the organization so special. I believe it is the relationships that develop as we grow into strong, confident breastfeeding women. We may briefly spend time with another breastfeeding woman, or perhaps we will remain friends for years, but either way, a moment of encouragement, an informative suggestion or a shared story can make all the difference on our mothering journey.
Thank you to all the wonderful women who have encouraged me along the way. I am forever grateful.
Written by: Lenore