Breastfeeding, a community effort

29 Jun

I have three boys…..yes, three boys. And they were all breastfed. My breasts have nourished my boys for a total of 7 years. Breastfeeding came easy for me. My children were born and put immediately to the breast. They latched and they nursed on demand. And they weaned when they were ready. For each child this was at a different age, as each child has a different personality. This was the breastfeeding relationship that I had with my children. My first exposure to breastfeeding came from my Mother. My Mother nursed me for a short time. Only a couple weeks I believe. She was told by Army Dr’s that she didn’t have enough milk for me. I sensed the sadness. The forlorn look in her eyes. The regrets. She nursed my sister for 2 months. Then was told she couldn’t nurse while taking medication for wisdom teeth extraction. Lastly, she nursed my brother…..successfully for 3 years. She did it and she was empowered with her nursing ability. This stuck with me. First, I was going to breastfeed. Second, no-one was going to tell me different. And lastly, I was going to support other families attain triumphant nursing relationships.

     During my nursing rotation through labor and delivery, I spent a shift with an IBCLC. It was the most full-filling shift of my life. I knew in my heart this was part of my calling. I didn’t realize there was such a profession out there! Once I completed my RN, I set out to become a lactation consultant. I also birthed my 3rd son and began his epic 3.5 years of nursing. I found La Leche League when he was 2 months old. Where was this wonderful group of like-minded woman with my first two?! I couldn’t wait to go to the monthly meetings. I made some of my best friends through LLL. I also became a LLL leader. Another proud accomplishment in my life. In the 11 years that I’ve been practicing as a LC and 7 years as a LLL, I have clocked over 2500 hours of breastfeeding experience to the women in the Hudson Valley. Just when I think I have seen every problem there is, another new one comes along that requires me to think outside the box for this new Mama and baby. I love every phone call. Every house visit. Every newborn baby. And every Mama. And I love that my gift to women is helping them succeed in breastfeeding. Because isn’t it our duty to empower a Mother? She is raising our next generation.
A personal story by Melissa Lawlor

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