Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Justyna Makulec, Lodz, Poland
Photo: Selina Patchett
Justyna found a listening ear in La Leche League.
My four-week-old baby girl has just fallen asleep, so I’m catching a minute to share with you the story of how Magda and LLL Polska helped us with breastfeeding. I live in Lodz, Poland, where it’s rather difficult to get good breastfeeding support, especially if you are a first time mother without experience or a contact network and your own mom was not able to breastfeed in the late 1970s because somebody told her she had no milk … I had some information from books and I attended workshops while pregnant, but the reality turned out to be very different from what I had expected.
In the hospital, after having a very good labor and birth, we ended up on the postnatal ward with a lot of people running around us. Midwives and doctors gave us their best advice, but each of them said something different after seeing us briefly and reaching their own conclusion from a five-minute observation.
“She eats too slowly.”
“Don’t let her fall asleep at your breast, it will destroy your nipples.”
“She is so fussy, looks like she’s not having enough.”
“If she doesn’t gain weight you’ll have to stay in hospital.”
“Look how she sucks on the bottle, the kid must have been starving!”
and more similar comments that made me cry, made me feel as though my huge breasts were useless and that I was definitely doing something wrong.
The whole situation was overwhelming and just slipped out of my control. By the time I got back home I had bleeding nipples, a high fever, and an infection in one breast. After my baby was crying for 12 hours without a break, I decided to give her the bottle. She fell asleep.
I started to look for help. I even met two lactation specialists, who came in, watched me for some time and said everything looked fine. I had to relax and trust my intuition, which I’d lost after being undermined.
Then I phoned LLL Leader Magda. She didn’t perform any miracle, but was the first person to give me time, attention, and space to let my worries out. She listened. She visited me and we talked for an hour and a half. She’s a person with a lot of knowledge and experience, but what touched me most was the fact that she really kept in contact with me, calling me back if she could not pick up the phone, asking the next day how we were and if what we had tried had worked. And all of this for free!
Today we are doing fine. My little girl breastfeeds really well. And I know I can always contact LLL Polska for friendly help.
Motherhood is anything but easy; good friends are priceless during such times. Thank you Magda!