Let's talk about boobs.
As a breastfeeding mom to a 9-week-old baby, I've been meaning to go to a La Leche League meeting in my neighborhood for a while now. But the more time passed, the more I wondered: What would I get out of it? I've already survived the initial headaches and booby aches, and my baby's gaining weight. But as it turns out, there's way more to learn.
Sitting in a noisy room with a dozen other women and their babies -- ranging in age from 2 weeks to a year! -- it was comforting to see that everyone had questions and concerns about breastfeeding. There was a wonderfully positive, encouraging vibe and I left feeling less like a milk machine and more like a woman who's in tune with her body and her baby. I advise anyone who can get to a meeting to strap on the carrier and take your baby on a little adventure.
Here are a few helpful takeaways:
1. Rub parsley on your boobs. Say what?! One woman swore by the "parsley trick" for working out a plugged duct. Here's how it (supposedly) works: Take a big handful of parsley -- she recommended Italian flat leaf -- put it over the area where you feel that hard duct, and place a hot compress on top for five minutes. It sounds bizarre, but I'm willing to try anything next time a plugged duct rears its ugly head.
2. Dad's doing more than you think. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing all the work because I'm feeding our baby every two hours, but there are probably half a dozen ways my husband contributes (or can contribute, hint hint) to the practice of breastfeeding. Stay tuned for a later post on this.
3. Leave the room when your baby's having a bottle. I've been trying to incorporate some breast milk bottle feeding into the routine and all I'm getting are tears. Several women were quick to share that I must be out of smelling distance for my baby to accept the bottle from my husband, dad, or whoever and not cry afterward.
4. Try facial massage. One mom demonstrated three massage tricks to improve her baby's latch. I wish I'd had these two months ago! She showed us how to massage the baby's jaw at both points under the ear, squeeze his mouth a few times, and then tap a couple times on his lower lip to get him to relax and open up.
5. Don't overthink it. This was perhaps the most valuable takeaway. Everyone had some concern about something, such as the doctor telling them their baby is only in the 25th percentile for weight or their baby rarely has a soiled diaper. The La Leche League leader has heard all of these fears and said if your baby appears healthy and is gaining weight, there's probably nothing wrong with what you're doing.
Unfortunately, I had to duck out before they got to the part about beer and breastfeeding. Next time!
What have you learned at a La Leche League meeting?
Image via USDAgov/Flickr