Wednesday, November 5, 2014

In Honor of Dylan

By Caitlin Fennell Aburrow

Trigger warning - this post contains content about sexual assault that may be difficult for some readers.

Today my baby is one. One year in this world. A mere 365 days. It seems like no time at all, yet in that short span, my baby has accomplished feats one would think impossible for a babbling, chubby, two-toothed wonder. 

In her first year, my baby has made me complete, fixed something in my soul that I didn’t know was broken, and made me a better woman, a better mother. So for her first birthday, and in her honor, I want to share with you our breastfeeding journey, so that I may pass along the precious gift my daughter has given me.  

When Dylan was born it was immediately clear: this girl was a born nursling. She latched on with skill and strength, the most beautiful, textbook latch. Dylan gently sucked, tongue-flicking, nipple-pulling, perfectly drawing milk. We happily nursed, she and I, in calm comfort, the perfect dyad. 

But it was too perfect, she was too good at this, it was too painless. I should have been enjoying how wonderful it felt to nurse. Instead I began cringing every time she rooted, fidgeting and counting the minutes until I could take her off. I began to hate nursing. I hated the thought of nursing. I hated that gentle tugging. I hated that closeness. And worst of all, I hated that I hated it. 

One day I sat on my couch, settling in to yet another torturous 10 minutes per side of anguish. As I nursed Dylan my mind tried hard to wander far, far away, but it couldn’t escape. With one little tongue flick and one little squirm, the truth of my pain became all too clear. In that split second, I remembered what had evaded my mind for years: my aunt used to stroke my nipples when I was young. 

Panic. My heart raced, my head spun, my eyes watered, my body grew weak and I felt the contents of my stomach rising up my throat. The sexual abuse in my family’s past was no secret, we had brought it to the light from the deepest, darkest depths of our minds years ago, but this detail never made it to the surface. This new detail was something I feared I couldn’t face. I unlatched Dylan and swore off breastfeeding. I was done. Forever. 

But then I looked at Dylan, this perfect little child, full of innocence. 

The monsters from my past tried to ruin me, they took things from me that I’ll never get back. But I won. I’m an adult now, more importantly I’m a mom, and they will never get to take anything from my daughter. 

I made the decision in that moment of clarity that we would breastfeed for as long as we damn-well pleased. 

I’m not going to tell you it was easy. For months I struggled. Every gentle suckle, every errant little hand running across the opposite nipple, every playful tongue flick, drained me of every last ounce of mental strength I could find. 

But Dylan got me through it. Her smell, her skin, her eyes pulled me back when my mind started going to dark places. Her tiny hands held mine through the hardest moments, her soul taught mine to trust again. 

And now, Dylan and I are celebrating one year of nursing. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t think we’d make it. But here we are. And I’ve emerged from this year a more complete, more powerful woman, and it’s thanks to Dylan. 

I share this with you because sadly, I am not alone. 1 in 6 American women is the target of sexual assault in her lifetime. 1 in 6. But still, this isn’t something we talk about. For these women, the idea of breastfeeding can be terrifying. Instead, let’s show our friends, our sisters, our daughters how empowering breastfeeding can be. Let’s make it clear that we support them. Let’s bring this into the light. Let’s have a conversation about this. 

I’m starting it now, in honor of Dylan. 

La Leche League Leader's note - please see these links for more support or information:

Breastfeeding After Sexual Abuse 

Best for Babes - How a history of sexual abuse affects breastfeeding 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FAQ on meetings? November 2014 gatherings

NOVEMBER – Our Theme for the month is SLEEP. 
Many of the meetings this month will be based on the book SWEET SLEEP.  Bring your copy!!
You can buy it on line or in a local bookstore. You can come to the meeting without the book and follow along with others too!!

Some concerns or questions on meetings?

·      Meetings are always free.
·      We appreciate memberships but they are not required to attend.
·      Babies are always welcome as well as siblings – it really helps to keep them close and nurse while in attendance.
·      Partners are welcome at specified location and special events.
·      We welcome anyone wanting to learn about breastfeeding – that includes breastfeeding parents, pumping or formula bottle feeding parents, parents-to-be, grandmothers and even nursing/midwife/doula students (if you are a student please let a Leader know ahead why you are attending).
·      We love when moms-to-be join us (pregnant or adopting or coming into parenthood).
·      Meetings are casual and not a “class”.
·      Meetings are led by an accredited LLL Leader. She is a mother who has breastfed her baby and has completed La Leche League's comprehensive training program.
·      Topics rotate from month-to-month and location-to-location. 
·      LLL meetings can be viewed as a buffet of ideas. Each mother/parent is welcome to select only those that appeal to her and her family.

Nov 4, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Tuesday
Election Day – Vote and then join us at Wanamaker for a family PLAYDATE with La Leche League group - Families - siblings, partners, friends welcome.
8888 University Boulevard
North Charleston, SC 29406
There is a fee to enter this park.  They do have restrooms and water fountains. Meet at the playground but know that we may scatter as the kids want to wander. Bring your lunch or snacks and water if you want.
** Hillary 843.847.1482  
** Carissa 843.654.1240

Nov 7, 10:15 am to 11:45 am
Mt Pleasant - St. Andrew's Church, 440 Whilden St. (Parking on Venning)
First room downstairs.   It is easier to wear your baby in for the meeting but you can take the elevator if you have a need as well.
** Monica 843.810.8552
** Beth 843.469.4404

Nov 11, 9:30 am to 11 am 
North Mt Pleasant - Mt Pleasant Hospital, 3500 N Highway 17
Classroom #3 on office side of the buildings
Partners, dads, friends all welcome at this location.
** Naomi 843.388.5895
** Beth 843.469.4404

Nov 18, 7 pm to 8:30 pm Summerville Evening
La Leche League of Summerville, SC
Summerville Church of Christ, 413 Old Trolley Rd
Meeting Located in the Brick house on the Left.
** Kimberly 843.814.1322

Nov 21, 10:15 am to 11:45 am
West Ashley - John Wesley United Methodist Church, 626 Savannah Highway
Through doors past the office and we meet in the room next to  the gymnasium
** Scotty 864.4153678
** Monica 843.810.8552

Nov 25, 5:30 pm to 7 pm Goose Creek Evening
Otranto Road Regional Library
2261 Otranto Road, North Charleston, SC
(This will be the last meeting in 2014 – the December meeting will be canceled)
** Marlea 901.210.7541
** Hillary 843.847.1482

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For more information on La Leche League in South Carolina see

Monday, October 13, 2014

THANK YOU & Ways you can support your group without $$

We want to aLLL give a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our La Leche League September Nurseiversary Fun-drive.  A thank you goes especially to Meredith C. for your gracious donation and the idea to do a matching drive! 

We are always appreciative of your membership and donations which go directly to your Local Group when bought through your Local Group. 

Not everyone can afford membership and that is why attending meetings is and always will remain FREE. You have asked how you can take ownership of your Group and help out in different ways. 

You can still be a tremendous support by being active in your La Leche League Group perhaps by:
       Taking on a Group job, such as Librarian or Treasurer.
       Attending LLL Series Meetings and offering your experience are of enormous help to a new mother.
       Offering to host a Series Meeting or other meetings or playgroups.
       Helping to publicize your Group, distributing meeting notices to clinics, health offices, playgroups and local places that cater to new parents. 
       Helping to raise funds for your Group could help provide more leaflets, information sheets and books for your Group Library.
       Asking others to donate to your Local Group in honor of your child.
       Coordinating healthy snacks or drinks (at some locations).
       Word of mouth in our community to let other families know we are here for them as well.
       Donating your gently used copies of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or other La Leche League books to your Group so that they can be borrowed from your Group’s library.
       Talking to your health care team about the information and support you are discussing as a part of La Leche League.
       Send media outlets via email to have our meeting added in the 
'community calendar'.
       Greet Moms at meetings (or Dads at some locations) so that newcomers feel welcome too!
       Reach out to other moms and moms-to-be in our facebook group to encourage each other.
       What would you add??

Thanks again!! See you (and your little) at the next LLL meeting near you!!

Beth, Brittan, Carissa, Hillary, Kimberly, Marlea, Monica, Naomi & Scotty

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October 2014 Meetings and Fun

OCTOBER La Leche League Meetings and Fun
Happy Fall Ya’ll!!

Charleston meeting theme for October is adjusting to life with a new baby. This meeting focuses on the first six weeks and offers tips to make the transition into being a family as smooth as possible. Getting MILK SUPPLY off to a great start too! Come pregnant or nursing or pumping!!  Of course, as always, we talk about all concerns and discussion topics brought to the Group.

Why LLL meetings? In generations past, many mothers had plenty of support for breastfeeding their babies because their mothers, grandmothers and sisters had breastfed. Now many of us live far away from our families and most likely, they didn't breastfed. Breastfeeding is natural, but it is a learned art. Attending an LLL meeting and seeing other mothers breastfeed their babies helps new and expectant mothers learn how to nurture their babies too.

Please like and share on facebook @

 Join LLL of Charleston, SC on Facebook as well.

10/3/14 Mt Pleasant
FIRST Friday of each month at 10:15 AM
St. Andrew's Church at 440 Whilden Street
~Monica 843.810.8552
~Beth 843.469.4404

10/14/14 Mt Pleasant North
**MOMS AND DADS WELCOME at this location**
SECOND Tuesday of the month at 9:30 AM
Take the elevators in the Medical Office Building to the 2nd floor, the administration offices are directly across the hall once the elevators open. Just go into this area, and the boardroom is the large room facing you once you open the doors to the administration suites.
Mount Pleasant Hospital, 3500 North Highway 17
~Naomi 843.388.5895
~Carissa 843.654.1240

10/17/14 SC Breastfeeding Coalition Conference 

10/17/14 West Ashley
THIRD Friday of the month at 10:15 AM
John Wesley United Methodist Church, 626 Savannah Highway (US17)
~Beth 843.469.4404
~Kimberly 843.814.1322

10/21/14 Summmerville Meeting
THIRD Tuesday Evening of the month
7:00 PM, Summerville Church of Christ, 413 Old Trolley Rd
Meeting Located in the Brick house on the Left.
~ Kimberly 843.814.1322

10/28/14 Goose Creek  
FOURTH Tuesday Evening – Goose Creek/N. Charleston, SC
5:30 PM, Otranto Road Regional Library
2261 Otranto Road, North Charleston, SC
~Marlea 901.210.7541
~Hillary 843.847.1482

We look forward to meeting you in person soon!!
Meetings are always free.  We do have topics planned but we also answer any concerns brought up in the meetings. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Celebrate your baby's "NURSEIVERSARY" with a donation to your Local La Leche League Group!


La Leche League of Charleston, SC recently received an offer of a donation in honor of a sweet baby and mommy who have made it to their ONE YEAR nurseiversary and are going strong!  They are part of our on-line community Facebook group which has been a fun extension of our in-person meetings and gatherings.  She challenged US to raise $1,000 by asking families who have been supported by La Leche League of Charleston to donate in their child's honor and she will match up to $1,000!  She will proudly give her tax deductible donation in the sum of $1,000!!!!  We can't begin to thank her (and hopefully you too) enough!!   With the funds, we plan to work on updating our meetings, buy new hand outs, update Leader education and more!!  We have a large wish list and we would like to start working on these but we can't  do it without our communities support.  


Have you wondered how you can pay it forward and support your local La Leche League group?  You may have attended a Series Meeting.  You may be a part of a local Facebook support group as well.

La Leche League depends on the financial support of mothers who attend our meetings. Membership is expected after a mother has had a chance to decide if she wants to take advantage of what we have to offer.

Mothers who have paid $40 membership (or any amount you can) in the past have made it possible for La Leche League to be here for you. Please help La Leche League be there for the next mother.

Here are some things to consider:
  •   Unlike many other groups, La Leche League does not exist in order to raise money. We raise money in order to exist. 
  • LLL membership is a worthwhile investment! When you become a La Leche League member you join an organization that has supported breastfeeding mothers for more than almost 60 years!
  • You attend monthly meetings (in person and on-line) and enjoy the companionship of mothers with a similar mothering philosophy.
  • You receive a 10% discount on most items offered through the LLLI Catalogue.
  • We receive no outside funds. Leaders are volunteers; in fact, we also pay $75 yearly in dues. Your dues not only help our Group but also help La Leche League USA and LLL International reach out to families all over the world.
  • Think of membership as a $3.33 a month outing with your baby in an environment of supportive breastfeeding mothers where you receive the latest breastfeeding information and have access to great parenting and breastfeeding resources.
  • We think parents are more important than their money, although we need money in order to continue helping mothers. Financial alternatives to our one-year membership fee are available.  We love our volunteers who can help out in any way in person or on-line! Let us know how you’d like to help.
  • La Leche League, like water, is free. However it costs money to get it piped to you. We're here on a 24-hour-a-day basis piping breastfeeding information and support.
  • Become a member of La Leche League, one of the oldest women's self-help groups. Your membership brings two informative publications (NEW BEGINNINGS & BREASTFEEDING TODAY) into your home via email and ensures the continuance of LLL's work around the world, in South Carolina, and in our own Charleston County and Lowcountry area.

You may wonder why we ask for donations (tax deductible) and where the money will go? Our Leader "WISH LIST" includes all things used for the Group or given back to the families.  

·      Information hand outs (solids, weaning, sleep, pumping, milk storage) $6.95 per set for about 12 sets 
·      Information pamphlets (is baby getting enough, choosing breast pumps)
    Updated flyers and business cards to give to parents and doctors
·      Hands on models for use in meetings
    Diaper logs to pass out at meetings 
·      New books (for our LLL library and the community) *Sweet Sleep is $15 and WAB is $16 each and we need about 8-10 of them
·      Training courses for Leader education  (iLactatioin is $195)
·      Conferences to keep Leaders up to date and informed so they can inform you  (South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition this October)
·      Leader membership dues (Leaders typically pay $75 each but this can be cut down with your help when possible - for 9 that is $675 per year)
   Library book storage carts and caddy.  (we need 3-4 at $25 each)
   Maybe even advertising - we have never had the funds to put an add in the paper.  We would love to get the word out that we are here giving free support! 
·      *More ideas and of course big ones we’d like to do if we had the funds!!
The best way is to join through a local Group, so that funds will be available in YOUR vicinity to help mothers and babies.  With your membership, your local group can receive a small portion of the funds to be able to purchase new pamphlets, books and other resources for your Group. 

To join your local Group, sign up with a Leader at your next meeting.  If you can’t make another meeting soon, but are still interested you can simply email or call your local Leader.

$40 Regular Membership
$100 Sustaining Membership
All Membership levels includes a 10% discount in the LLLI Online Store

Scroll down on the right hand side and click the “buy now” or “donate” buttons…

 Thanks so much for your support!

 The Leaders of La Leche League of Charleston, SC
Beth, Brittan, Carissa, Hillary, Kimberly, Mandy, Marlea, Monica, Naomi & Scotty