Thursday, December 18, 2014

Celebrating Paxton; A NICU, Pumping and Breastfeeding Inspirational Story!

** Guest Blog Post **
La Leche Leauge of Charleston, SC would like to thank Katie for her story of perseverance and hope!  Happy Birthday Paxton!
For support in your area, call your local La Leche League Leader too!


Celebrating Paxton; A NICU, Pumping and Breastfeeding Inspirational Story!

I had always planned on breastfeeding.  It was one of the few things that I knew for certain I wanted to do whenever I thought about having children. I found out in June 2013 that I was pregnant, and I had a rather uneventful pregnancy until December 10, 2013 when I woke up between 11:30 and midnight wet.  Great, I thought.  I peed myself!  Because the leak hasn’t like the flood that I had seen in the movies, my husband and I decided to wait to call my nurse midwife in the morning.  Little did I know that I had just experienced preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM).  I was 28 weeks pregnant.  Our son’s crib hadn’t arrived yet.
The next day, I was admitted to labor and delivery at MUSC.  Knowing that I would inevitably have a premature baby scared me.  Everyone has this vision of what the delivery of their first child will be like…cue the rainbows and butterflies and epidurals.  No one pictures isolettes, nasal cannulas, and wires. When I didn’t deliver within 24 hours of my water breaking, I was moved to a room in the antepartum unit where I would stay until I gave birth. I tried my best to keep a positive attitude and concentrated on my goal per the dry erase board in my room:  not having a baby.
Among the flurry of visiting friends, family, coworkers, residents, nurses, and doctors that I saw during my first few days in the hospital, I met with one of the lactation consultants who asked me if I planned on breastfeeding my son.  Of course I did!  She explained to me about renting a hospital grade pump so that I could pump to provide him breast milk while he was in the NICU.  It really hit me then that our birth wouldn’t be this magical time with rainbows and butterflies and baby’s breastfeeding moments after birth.  I made it a week on hospital bed rest before I gave birth to our son, Paxton, at 12:49 am on December 18th via emergency C-section.  When I was in recovery, we saw him briefly in his isolette before he was taken to the NICU.

Not too long after I arrived in my new postpartum room, I was introduced to what I would come to call my “Little Yellow Friend” aka the Medela Symphony Pump.  Pumping was definitely more difficult than I had imagined.  It was painful.  I was barely producing anything, and I wondered how I could do that for any length of time.  One of the nurses taking care of me realized that I needed larger flanges which made the whole experience so much better.  MUSC provided donor milk for my son until I was able to produce enough for him.  The day after he was born, I did kangaroo care with Paxton, and for the first time, I actually felt like his mother.  When I was discharged from the hospital, my Little Yellow Friend came home with us instead of our son.
On Christmas Eve, Paxton was moved from the NICU to the Special Care Nursery, and I was devastated because I didn’t want to leave the nurses that had become such an important part of our lives.  The good news was, however, that Paxton was getting stronger.  The Special Care Nursery was the first place that we attempted to breastfeed.  The nurses and lactation consultants were very helpful when working with us, and even though Paxton was able to latch successfully, he always fell asleep in my arms.  My husband and I continued to do kangaroo care with him almost every time that we came to see him.  
We were in the Special Care Nursery for 2 ½ weeks, Paxton was moved to the Level II Nursery in the main hospital at MUSC.  He was a feeder and grower at this point which gave us more opportunities to work on breastfeeding though he still wasn’t getting it.  Everyone told me that “something would click” when he was closer to his due date, but I was beginning to doubt it.
Pumping had become a major part of our family’s life.  I made sure that I pumped 6-8 times a day.  I kept a pumping log that I turned in when I would bring my milk in to the hospital.  Getting up in the middle of the night to pump was so hard to do, but I had to do it for Paxton.  I was on a mission since my body had failed to keep him safe inside my womb.  I didn’t feel like I had a choice.  One of my friends had warned me that pumping could be very emotional, and she was so right.  Anyone who believes that spilled milk isn’t worth crying over never pumped exclusively.  I was never a huge producer.  I got down when I compared my output to how much the pumping logs said that I should be doing.  I found an online community for exclusive pumpers on babycenter.com, and I learned things that helped me survive and increase my supply.  I participated in a middle of the night check-in where I posted with other ladies who were up, too, so I didn’t feel so alone when I was up with my Little Yellow Friend instead of a cuddly baby.
When I returned to work at the beginning of January, I visited Paxton every day and pumped by his bedside. A few weeks later, they began talking to us about his discharge.  It was such an emotional time as we waited for the big day.  We had two false alarms before that day finally came.  On January 26, 2014, Paxton came home, and I went out on maternity leave.
Once he was home, we got into a good routine:  feed him fortified breast milk and then pump while he slept.  I kept logs of how much he ate and how much milk I pumped.  We continued do kangaroo care because sleeping on my chest was his favorite place to be. We also continued to work on breastfeeding, but over time, he got more and more frustrated with it.  When we attempted to do it, he would scream and cry.  I would get upset and cry because yet again, my body was letting him down.   I started giving up on breastfeeding, and I made a decision in March that I would continue to pump until he was 6 months old.  

I returned to work in April, and the nightly feeding-pumping schedule killed me on my nights to feed him.  I was such a zombie at work that I didn’t think I would make it to 6 months.  An odd thing started happening right before I went back to work, though.  When Paxton was lying on my chest, he would root around like he was looking for my nipple.  I honestly laughed when it happened because I knew that if he actually tried to breastfeed, it would be a cry-fest.  On Easter Sunday, he was doing it, and I decided to let him try.  Much to my surprise, Paxton got it!  I was so happy I cried.  My son was breastfeeding!  I believe that having that skin to skin contact made the difference for Paxton. I am so proud of him for figuring out how to breastfeed and of myself (and my husband) for hanging in there. Paxton is my hero for everything that he has overcome in the short time that he has been alive.  Being able to breast feed my son has helped me to heal from some of the emotional trauma of our NICU experience, and for that, I am truly thankful.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

December 2014 LLL Meetings and Playgroup Events

This holiday season, we want to remind you that we are here for you between meetings by phone or email.  

Our meeting theme for December is #Nutrition and #Weaning!  We welcome any topic or question parents or parents-to-be come with as well.  Every meeting is different! 

Meetings are always free and membership is encouraged as a way to support your local Group Leader. 

La Leche League has a rich history and an established philosophy of mothering through breastfeeding. La Leche League is an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization dedicated to providing education, information, support, and encouragement to women who want to breastfeed. All women interested in breastfeeding are welcome to attend the monthly Group Meetings (DADS WELCOME IN MT P NORTH) or call a Leader for breastfeeding help.

Beth 843.469.4404
Carissa 843.654.1240, lllcarissa@gmail.com 
Hillary 843.847.1482, lll.hillaryj@gmail.com 
Kat 843.870.4618, katmartinlll@gmail.com
Kimberly 843.814.1322
Marlea 901.210.7541
Monica 843.810.8552, pelletiermonicaa@hotmail.com 
Naomi naomilllmom@gmail.com 
Scotty 864.415.3678 lll.scottybuff@gmail.com


FIRST FRIDAY December 5, 2014
Mt Pleasant, St Andrew's Church
440 Whilden St, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
10:15 am 
For support by phone or email contact:
Carissa 843.654.1240, lllcarissa@gmail.com 
Monica 843.810.8552, pelletiermonicaa@hotmail.com


SECOND TUESDAY December 9, 2014
Mt Pleasant NORTH, Roper StFrancis Mount Pleasant Hospital
3500 N Hwy 17, Mt Pleasant, SC 29466
9:30 am For support by phone or email contact:
Kat 843.870.4618, katmartinlll@gmail.comNaomi naomilllmom@gmail.com 


PLAYGROUP December 15, 2014 
Moms, dads, babies, toddlers, siblings and friends welcome. Alhambra Hall Playground 
  • 131 Middle St
  • Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
  • 10 am - 12 pm 
  • See our event on FB 
  • Kat 843.870.4618, katmartinlll@gmail.com
    Marlea 901.210.7541
    Monica 843.810.8552, pelletiermonicaa@hotmail.com 


SUMMERVILLE 
December 16, 2014 
Church of Christ, 412 Old Trolley Road 
For support by phone or information on the meeting:


THIRD FRIDAY December 19, 2014 
West Ashley, John Wesley United Methodist Church
626 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407
10:15 am 
For support by phone or email contact:
Scotty 864.415.3678 lll.scottybuff@gmail.com
Beth 843.469.4404


GOOSE CREEK December Meeting Canceled - See you in January 2015! 
For support by phone or email contact:
Hillary 843.847.1482, lll.hillaryj@gmail.com 
Marlea 901.210.7541



For more information also see http://www.llli.org/nb.html  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

In Honor of Dylan

**GUEST POST**
By Caitlin Fennell Aburrow

Trigger warning - this post contains content about sexual assault that may be difficult for some readers.
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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 lll.hillaryj@gmail.com  
** Carissa 843.654.1240 lllcarissa@gmail.com

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 pelletiermonicaa@hotmail.com
** 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 naomilllmom@gmail.com
** 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 pelletiermonicaa@hotmail.com

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 lll.hillaryj@gmail.com


Please LIKE us on Facebook 

And follow us on Twitter

For more information on La Leche League in South Carolina see http://www.llli.org/web/southcarolina.html


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 pelletiermonicaa@hotmail.com
~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
**LOCATION ROOM CHANGE FOR OCTOBER MT P NORTH MEETING**
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 naomilllmom@gmail.com
~Carissa 843.654.1240 lllcarissa@gmail.com


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 lll.hillaryj@gmail.com


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.