Friday, July 26, 2013

Helping others


Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

 DAY 5 : Helping other's with breastfeeding

  This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is helping others on their breastfeeding journeys. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!  

I had a strong inclination to help other women after I became a mother. The paths I choose were unusual and I felt compelled to spread the word. The profound truth I found in what is often termed (though I didn't know it at the time) attachment parenting. Unfortunately none of my friends were parents or expecting children at the time so my enthusiasm wasn't received the way I had hoped. I soon learned to only offer my advice to those that inquired for it and to temper my expectations and disappointments with other mothers choices. After all it wasn't really any of my business, and everyone has their own paths to follow.

Once I learned this lesson it became easier to actually help people because I spent my energy working with people who wanted my help.

Though maybe not as often as my nature would like I have been able to offer help to a few others along their own breastfeeding journeys'.

By donating my own milk:

I have an ample supply so when the idea occurred to me to offer my milk to local families in need. I was able to help several woman by donating my breastmilk to them and on occasion nursing their babies myself.

One of the first woman I donated to had lost her supply because of misinformation and lack of support early on. I gave my milk to her daughter while she was pregnant with her second child and encouraged her to seek competent breastfeeding support for this next child. She was determined to make it work and I was very happy to hear from her after her birth that breastfeeding was 'going marvelously this time around'.

By relaying info:

Another small thing I've done was help a neighbor of mine. It was actually very little effort on my part, but when she came to me I was kind of thrilled. *I really love to help people*

She came into a casual conversation I was having with a friend of mine while I was outside with my young baby. When I began to breastfeed him she asked me how I knew my son was getting milk. I looked down at my breast and my child. It took me a moment to think about it.

"what do you mean?"

She explained to me that her baby was fussy a lot and she wasn't sure she was getting enough milk and so she had started supplementing with formula.

Although with my children I had not had this experience I had heard enough tales from the other mother's in La Leche League meetings to know that this was a red flag.  Before I could respond my friend and our mutual neighbor spoke up with her opinion and experiences. She explained that with both her kids she tried to breastfeed but she never had enough milk, that some women just don't make enough milk so supplementing with formula is just fine, and not to feel bad about it.

I could see the disappointment and struggle on the woman's face when she turned back to me, it seemed clear to me that she wanted to breastfeed. I tried to show her how my baby was latched on and how he was swallowing but it seemed she needed more information. I told her about how I've been to La leche league meetings and how much great info they had, and how they can help her get more information to make her decisions with. I gave her the number to our local chapter and told her to call. I saw her a few days later and encouraged to call again, when she said she hadn't had a chance yet. We didn't see much of each other for a long while after that.  It got cold and we weren't in the out of doors meeting areas. I actually wondered if she had moved away.

Then the next spring I saw her and her not so little daughter outside, she came up to me happily, and smiling told me she was still breastfeeding. I congratulated her and she told me how helpful LLL had been for her.

*Happy dance*

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

1 comment:

Timbra said...

sometimes the best support is just to lead people to others who can support them, when we are too close ourselves, it's hard to do and say things objectively, but it sounds like you're also learning how to wait for the opportunity to help those who are really looking for it. What a great friend and neighbor you are!