My Story of Support
Clifton NJ USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 6, November-December 2006, pp. 250-251
I knew a lot before I had my first child...and I didn't know anything at all! I found out I was pregnant on September 15, 2005. My husband and I had struggled with infertility, yet on our first attempt at in vitro fertilization, we were blessed with a successful pregnancy. I knew I was incredibly lucky, but I didn't know where to begin.
My due date was months away and there was still so much to learn, so much to prepare for. I didn't know if I could ever be ready in time. I immediately began reading everything I could about pregnancy, birth, and mothering. I knew I wanted a natural childbirth, and I knew I wanted to breastfeed.
As my pregnancy progressed and the childbirth classes, doula, midwives, and hospital choices all fell into place, I turned my attention to breastfeeding. I didn't know anything about breastfeeding. I was a bottle-fed baby. I didn't know if I would be one of so many women who encounter problems and give up -- I didn't want to be, but I didn't know where to go for help.
My doula pointed me to La Leche League, and I attended my first meeting when I was about five months pregnant. I was immediately welcomed with open arms. The atmosphere was an oasis of practical experience, loving advice, and heartfelt encouragement. It was amazing to sit there with experienced mothers who candidly told their stories and who breastfed their children right in front of me. I knew I was in the right place!
From then on, I attended the meeting every month. I was learning so much from these other women, whether they were pregnant like myself or had been breastfeeding for years. It was so great to be with other new mothers, even before I was one myself. As I listened to them talk and watched them breastfeed their babies, I would touch my abdomen and think, "I can't wait until my baby is born!"
Finally, on May 15, 2005, my son, Isaac Daniel Rubin, was born in a completely natural birth with no complications. I knew again that I was incredibly lucky. As soon as he was dried off, the nurses placed my beautiful, alert, brand-new baby skin-to-skin on my chest. He squirmed and rooted until he found my breast and carefully but eagerly began to introduce himself to his first meal. I had done it! I was breastfeeding my newborn son -- I had no idea what I was doing. I looked up at my doula and, armed with my La Leche League information, said, "Is he latched on right?" My doula looked back at me with an ageless smile and asked, "Does it hurt? No? Then it's right." We were off and running.
Since then I've had my share of problems with breastfeeding and mothering. There have been plenty of times when I felt I had no idea what I was doing, but the women in my La Leche League Group were there for my family and me at every turn. So far, we navigated through my son's low blood-sugar scare in the hospital (the nurse threatened to put an IV in my one-day-old son if we didn't feed him formula), poor latch-on, and painful feedings (we weren't doing it "right" after all). We made it through Isaac's digestive issues including acid reflux and food sensitivities, my returning to work part-time, introducing solid foods, and the problems of crib-sleeping, co-sleeping, and not sleeping at all! Through it all, I have breastfed my son, and I know I would not have made it this far without the support of the women of La Leche League.
Now, I sit here contemplating Isaac's first birthday. Although I cannot imagine continuing to breastfeed him as long as some mothers I know, I cannot imagine stopping just yet. I know I have given my son the very best I could offer: love and nutrition made especially for him. I know that even on my most hectic days, sitting down to breastfeed relaxes, renews, and strengthens us both. I know that the bond we share is for life.
I have no idea about how Isaac's toddler years will be. I do, however, know one thing. I am going to continue to bask in the support, knowledge, and camaraderie of the Montclair La Leche League Group. I am so grateful for those women and the entire organization of which we are all a part.