Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Christina Marie Perez, San Antonio, TX, USA
Lack of support
At the age of 19, I gave birth to my first son, Adrian. Though my mother, aunts, and sister-in-laws had never breastfeed, I wanted to do so. My son had difficulty latching on and the nurses recommended supplementing with formula before we’d even left the hospital. Because of a lack of support from health care providers and my family at that time, I missed the opportunity to establish breastfeeding.
Ten years later, I had my second son, Aaden, who is now two months old. I knew I would breastfeed. My husband was encouraging and suggested I check out lactation classes. I found myself still with many questions after the lecture because I’d still not seen anyone actually breastfeeding. How could I have reached 30 with a Bachelor in Science yet still feel so ignorant on the subject? I was desperate to find information. Watching breastfeeding videos on YouTube and reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding gave me confidence. But I had so many questions and worries.
Once my baby was born, he latched on right away. I was amazed, each feeding in the hospital went well, and he always seemed satisfied. I felt very accomplished. When I got home, all was still going well.
I became anxious all over again, worrying about how to assemble a breast pump. But it turned out to be quite straightforward. I had more questions: how long do I pump? When do I pump? I remembered that the hospital staff had given me tons of flyers and I had seen one for La Leche League with a Facebook logo on it. Not only did I find the La Leche League page, but I discovered there was a page for my local group. It informed me of monthly meetings and had a great discussion feed. I was able to join the group and ask any questions about breastfeeding. The moms there are so encouraging. The accredited Leaders can answer your questions and moms can share their experiences about what has worked for them. I was welcomed into the LLL community, and if I ever have a question or doubt I know the LLL moms will support me.
Feeling discouraged but not alone
When my son was four weeks, I got very discouraged and found it difficult to breastfeed, thinking I was not producing enough milk. I called the local La Leche League number and left a message. LLL Leader Tina called me, listened, and let me vent. I was able to overcome that episode of doubt with her help. Later, I noticed on the Facebook group page how common it was for other moms to be discouraged around the three to four-week mark of breastfeeding and how having this mothering community was just what they needed to help them know they were not alone in their worries and might receive encouragement to continue.
I was concerned about breastfeeding in public spaces and even at my mother’s home, but when I saw other moms post their photos of breastfeeding out and about in parks and restaurants, I felt inspired to feel powerful that I was doing the right thing by my child.
Comfortable and proud
Now, I am comfortable with breastfeeding. I’m growing powerful. Even at my mother’s house, I see that my nieces and nephews know I am breastfeeding so I can give my baby the very best nutrition. Knowing that in the future my daughters, nieces, and cousins will breastfeed because of my example and being able to encourage other moms now, too, makes me proud.