If you read nothing else on this page, please read
I first would like to begin by imploring every
expectant mother to do some reading and support-seeking about breastfeeding
before their babies are born. Yes, breastfeeding is what we were
biologically designed to do. (Even males are born with breasts!)
But biology isn't enough to counteract all of the misinformation, social
pressures, and modern baby care practices that new mothers are bombarded
with every day. Even the hunter-gatherers had more than biology going
for them...they had supportive community designed for baby-tending, and
a society of breastfeeding mothers' experience to draw upon. Today's
new mothers live in a society largely ignorant of how breastfeeding works.
(Most new mothers have never even seen a baby nurse before they look down
at their own babes doing it) If that wasn't enough, cultural attitudes
and societal expectations, as well as corporate interests work against
the efforts of a mother to nurse her child. (More about all of that
to follow) Mothers need to be familiar with the correct information,
breastfeeding resources, and a community of nursing mothers to steer away
from potential problems, and ultimately an unhappy, often quick, end to
A breastfeeding resource and community
Your local La Leche League group can be an excellent
place to start while pregnant or even before. Each group has a monthly
meeting in which mothers, in discussion format, talk of their experiences
and issues related to breastfeeding, childbirth, and nutrition. Any
interested woman can come to the meeting and be surrounded by nursing mothers
breastfeeding and caring for their babies/children of all ages. So
one can see how breastfeeding is done, hear first-person experiences, glean
the correct information and how-to's of brerastfeeding, and also get a
"heads up" on the misinformation to steer away from.
These meetings are led by volunteer mothers who have breastfed
their own babies, and have been acctedited by La Leche League International
for providing breastfeeding information, help and support. After
your baby is born, you have a familiar person to call for reassurance that
all is well, or to quickly correct a problem, if there is one.
You can find a group by checking your local phone
book, doctor's office staff, your midwife and doula, online at the
website, or childbirth educator. You can also find a leader/group
near you by calling 800.laleche.
Not yet ready for a public appearance? No group
in your area?
Read La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,
found in new/used bookstores everywhere, libraries, your local LLL group
library, and online at places like Amazon.com. It gives the reader
a complete foundation of information for correct breastfeeding practice,
info on some common problems, and support for responsive mothering.
You can also find the same breastfeeding information online
at La Leche League International's website:
http://www.lalecheleague.org You can also find message boards,
online leader help, and archives of New Beginnings, LLLI's bimonthly
journal for it's members. There is also a online catalog of books,
pumps, and other things.
I have some ideas of where I want to go with this page,
but I need to do some more research first. I am trying to piece out
exactly makes it so hard for women to breastfeed in the western world.
I reently took off what I had written in this regard, as my thoughts aren't
completely organized. My frustration was obviously showing through,
which isn't a bad thing, but I do want to rephrase some points.
Please check back to see the work in progress!
page created May 31, 2002
updated October 23, 2002
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