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Judgment-free alternatives to "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding?"


Mergath
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Seconding the idea that anyone can call themselves an LC; an IBCLC will have good training and experience.

 

LLL was started back in the day by some fairly conservative women.  If you don't like the 2010 version of WAB, you'd really hate the original!  Either way, the title alone gave me pause when I picked up the book before having my first kid.  But don't judge the organization by the book.  Most LLL Leaders I've known are not rabidly anti-formula.  They know that feeding the baby is the important thing.  There are lots of complications that can get in the way, both natural (tongue-tie, supply issues due to thyroid problems, etc. etc.) and not-so-much (breastfeeding-unfriendly hospital practices). So I second the idea that it could be helpful to go to an LLL meeting well before you have the baby.  If you click with your local group, you've got a free resource you can draw on if you run into problems along the way.  (You can of course call even if you haven't been to a meeting, but as a PP pointed out, it's easier to pick up the phone if you already have a connection with someone.)  They will also know about any good LCs in your area, as well as other resources.  Back in the day, only around 10% of women breastfed.  LLL was formed by a bunch of women who basically wanted new moms to have a friend who had breastfed who they could use as a mother-to-mother resource if they ran into problems.  With that in mind, treat it like you'd treat info from any other friend - take what works for you and your baby and your family and your situation, and leave the rest.  

 

LLL meetings generally go in a 4-topic cycle - something like preparing for baby, early days, common issues, and I can't remember the fourth one.  But good leaders vary the topic and lead the discussion based on who is at the meeting and what their needs seem to be.  So don't worry if the specific meeting topic isn't super-relevant to you - the idea is just to go, meet the people, see if you click.  Be up-front that you had a bad experience with your first (no need for details), and that you're interested in bfing the new babe but also concerned that it may not work out that way.  

 

If you encounter it, don't take the political breastfeeding stuff personally.  There is a lot of money to be made through selling formula, and the manufacturers have not always been on the up-and-up in promoting their product, even to the extent of promoting it to women who clearly don't have the resources to formula-feed appropriately (money to buy enough without having to water it down, clean water to mix it with, etc.).  The political stuff is pushing back against that, not aimed at individual moms who have made the choice to ff (or been forced to due to one circumstance or another).  Every good LC, IBCLC, or LLL Leader knows that the first order of business is to get the baby fed, and that different moms/babys will find different approaches to fit their circumstances.

Hugs.  Good for you for doing your research up-front.  But however it plays out, you know you've successfully fed one baby, so you can have the confidence that you will have success, one way or another, with this one too.

 

 
Edited by justasque
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Hormones, and also nipples needing to toughen up in the first few weeks. My nipples get sore if I am nursing during pregnancy, and also get sore during the first few weeks after birth --unless-- I nursed clear through the pregnancy.

 

With my oldest we did have latch problems and my nipples ended up cracked and bleeding--that was a whole 'nother level of pain.

I'm convinced that people who say "it doesn't hurt if you do it right" do NOT understand how very sensitive that area is for some women.

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:grouphug:

 

No recommendation, just a short story to share: We had friends who adopted, she is normally the sweetest thing but she got so annoyed with the breast feeding shaming that she got snarky with her answers, I forget her exact reply but, sadly, she had a pat snarky answer by the end.

 

Good luck! It was harder than I thought, too, it seems like it should be natural and easy but I had problems with my first and needed help and hints from friends.

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I was a LLL leader in my former life, and let me just say that the bulk of the leaders are there to help, no matter what you are doing or decide to do. I know we were told that if people called asking about how to wean their 6-week old, we needed to help them do that. Now, a lot of times they were asking about things like that due to misinformation (such as going back to work without good pumping options and not realizing they could FF during the day and still BF at night), so we might try and offer alternatives if it didn't seem like they wanted to totally give up BF, but never judgment, and as far as help and advice, they really do have some fantastic support people.

 

SO, even if you don't want to read their book, you may see if you have a non-judgy leader in your area who could answer questions and give you some good advice. We have some ladies that attend the local groups here who sell lactation cookies by the dozen and you may be able to come across that type thing just through connecting with the group. FWIW the last LLL meeting I attended with dd a couple years ago had pumping only moms, moms who FF and BF, and a mom who had tried to nurse for months (with supplementing due to a supply issue) and subsequently stopped, and they were very supportive and inclusive with all of them.

 

I will say this; if you really want to do it, just be sure someone can check your latch in the beginning and then let the baby nurse often, with no supplements or pacifiers for at least 6 weeks (obviously unless there is a real supply issue and you pump or supplement after nursing, then preferably feed with a dropper so you won't have nipple confusion issues). I think the majority of problems I've seen with getting supply established early on is due to pacifiers too soon, baby not nursing enough (due to pacifiers satisfying sucking urges) to get a supply established, limiting nursing time (let baby nurse as long as it wants as long as the latch is correct), and supplementing too soon due to supply concerns (automatically starts to lower supply because you're lowering demand).

 

It does take a little time and effort early on to get it all established, but it's so worth it in the long run.

Edited by StaceyinLA
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I'm sorry. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:  I ended up not being able to bf my older dd for more than a few weeks because of a list of medical issues, and I think I'd have been completely and utterly demoralized if someone had given me a copy of this book back then. It's horrible. And it's definitely getting added to my list (along with "What to Expect When You're Expecting") of Books Never to Recommend to Anyone Ever.

 

 

I was barely able to breastfeed our oldest dd and stopped completely within 3 months.  Went so much better with youngest, my dear Aunt came and helped for a month and her loving, gentle help made all the difference for me.

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I think the only resource I ever used was kellymom. Except for baby #5 I did see an LC. Because even successfully breastfeeding 4 other babies doesn't mean you won't run into brand new bumps and hurdles that you can't figure out on your own. But I think the key there is finding a really awesome LC because not all are created equal. Ask for recommendations if possible.

 

Also, I think for your average woman without any medical issues for mom or baby, a healthy dose of grit and determination is necessary. Because even when it's easy, it's still hard. "Easy" still means sore nipples, leaky boobs, wretched uterine cramps, worry over if you're baby is getting enough and sometimes thrush and mastitis for good measure.

 

Good luck and congratulations!

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