I have three children… born in ’02, ’05 and ’09.
I have been involved with La Leche League since my first born was about 5 months. I went to a meeting to meet other moms who were breastfeeding (AKA "find my tribe") and left so happy because I felt empowered in mothering MY OWN way. I thought I'd go for a few sessions but I ended up making many life-long friends there. I love that I can take my daughter and sons to La Leche League events and that it is so family centered. It is a great way for them to see mothering-through-breastfeeding modeled in our community too.
Before children and for some time when my first was young, I was a Special Education Teacher. I have a Master’s of Science in Education and love teaching. I've also worked as a children's counselor in domestic violence situations in the past and volunteered at crisis hotlines. I've worked with children from many backgrounds as well as their families. I always wanted to work in some capacity to empower other women and LLL combines my loves of women & children and education!
It is hard to choose from the LLL concepts, but my favorite philosophy concept is probably: “Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby”. So much of the way I parent in the early years has to do with breastfeeding… nursing for food, for comfort, to heal boo-boo’s, nursing to sleep, nursing when out and about, nursing for a healthy lifestyle and so on. My husband and I are not perfect parents by any stretch but we continue to go back to that attachment that was created in the early years as our children grow.
Each Leader finds that we have more proficiency in some area over others. In my experience, much of our personal baby issues were around reflux, colic, and sensory challenges. They all can go hand and hand as well! I really enjoy educating myself and going to conferences when I can. I have listened to many amazing speakers and learned so much thanks to La Leche League conferences and education. This summer I took my whole family with me to the Tongue-Tie Summit in Orlando. I learned so much and recently worked with my coLeader, Monica on our session to bring that information to our community here in the Lowcountry.
I think my favorite meeting topic is #3…overcoming challenges. I like to think on my feet and to give information so that moms can feel empowered I did at my first meeting. I love to blow up myths and encourage moms to question what they hear and advocate for their children. I feel like having to do things like stand up for yourself or your child (such as while nursing out and about or when someone questions "still" breastfeeding) can only strengthen moms and dads when it comes to the other parenting challenges ahead.
My most disliked question is probably about sleep. To me, sleep is just something families should know about and plan for. It is awful to be exhausted and to feel like you have little control over a situation but to hear about families struggling with negative advice to force a baby who is not ready to sleep longer than they should, to ignore crying or to give less attention than is developmentally appropriate is hard for me. I wish I could toss many books on this topic right into the trash!
Favorite quote in Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th Edition? It is hard to come up with just one! I love the info on what is NORMAL in chapter 5 - Hello Baby, especially the part about trusting yourself…that is what La Leche League is all about. I also love the tips in Chapter 16 Everybody Weans… the idea of the “triple nipple” is very true! If you haven't heard of this "triple nipple" idea, I'd encourage you to read about it or ask at the next meeting you attend. (We sell it here on our blog if you are interested.)
My favorite thing about being a volunteer Leader for La Leche League is and has always been talking with moms. We have our facebook page and group, our blog, emails, and the like, but the VOICE or FACE of a mom as she goes from concerned to feeling listened to and has found some options is a feeling of satisfaction for me as a helper! The least favorite thing about being a LLL Leader would be the feelings of limitations when we hear about health practitioners or critics not helping moms on their breastfeeding journey. Other things I dislike is the wishing we could advertise or get the word out to more and more of the general population…(who is interested about breastfeeding BEFORE a baby really?) ... that and the paperwork. :)
My favorite music is Pink, other positive women singers and most jazz. My all time favorite book for moms would be What Mothers Do; Especially When it Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen. I love giving it as a gift to new moms. My favorite foods for comfort are soups or cookies. My favorite color is periwinkle blue and my favorite activity is hiking in nice weather...don't you love the fall around here? I have always loved the autumn season!
I am also currently the Professional Liaison Leader for South Carolina and have been doing this volunteer position over 5 years now. The PL provides the Group Leader with additional support or information when a mother needs information about a medically related breastfeeding situation or has a breastfeeding problem outside the scope of the Leader’s knowledge. I love this role and have utilized much of my learning in this area in working with Applicants who are now my coLeaders.
I also currently write a blog (not LLL related or sponsored) called A2Z Lactation (after my children A, S & Z) at http://a2zlactation.wordpress.com/ and though I don't update the blog as often as I like, I do love posting on the A2Z facebook page https://www.facebook.com/A2ZLactation so check that out and "like" it if you feel so inclined.