September meeting: Advantages of breastfeeding

     We had a busy meeting this week, with a wide variety of ages: from an expectant mother to grandmothers; all proud to share their breastfeeding experiences together.  The babies and toddlers joined in too, some feeding, some playing trains.  Lovely!!
     After some introductions, Polly, who led this month’s series meeting, asked us to reflect on (a) when breastfeeding became natural to us and (b) how breastfeeding has enhanced our mothering.  Two very interesting questions, I thought.  I’m still trying to figure out an answer to the first question for myself: so many different breastfeeding memories seem to flow together.  The second question was easier for me: I know that from the very beginning, the many, many hours spent ‘stuck on the couch’ have given me a first lesson in patience.  And I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that patience to lovingly guide our little ones as they grow and learn is one thing we can never have too much of!
     I loved listening to everybody’s personal experiences, and no doubt as you read this, you will be considering what the answers to those questions might be for you.  Every mother’s experience is individual and unique, so there is no right or wrong answer.  At LLL meetings, we listen to every mother who wants to share her thoughts and experiences, providing a safe and supportive space for this.
 LLL Meeting 1
     We then went on to discuss the main topic of the day: the benefits of breastfeeding.  We all wrote down what we felt was an important benefit to us/our family/our baby on a piece of paper, those who wanted then shared their thoughts on this and we tied each benefit to a flower, so that at the end of the discussion, we had a beautiful bouquet of breastfeeding benefits!
LLL Meeting 2
      As always, the mothers in our group seem to have plenty of inspiration when it comes to good reasons to breastfeed.  We sure have a bunch of strong women who know what they want and why!
     Here are just a few of the many benefits that were brought up:
– an easy way to soothe our children;
– knowledge that we’re doing the best thing for our babies;
– strong bonding experience between mother and baby (that lasts into adulthood);
– financial advantage of not having to buy formula (though several mums admitted possibly spending the equivalent on chocolate, and I’m afraid I’m guilty as charged!);
– helps with night feeding and sleeping;
– good for mother’s self-confidence;
– helps you through illness of baby;
– …
     To conclude the meeting, Polly read a quote from the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (p.12):
“Many women are surprised by the passion they come to feel about breastfeeding. Not many of us felt this passionately about breastfeeding until we did it ourselves, and many of us remember it as one of the best things we do in our lives. The experience is just that powerful.”
     I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the wide range of ideas and thoughts that floated to the top.  As always, we encourage our group mums to share, listen and respect, and to take home only what they feel would work for them and leave the rest.
     So well done Polly for leading a beautiful meeting, and thank you to everyone who contributed to make it special.
Polly took the lovely bouquet we created together home to her mother, but it really goes to all the other grannies as well, and all those supporting the mums, caring for them, feeding them, sharing their ups and downs, so they can focus on what’s most important: feeding and nurturing baby!  Good job everyone 🙂
     Looking forward to our next meeting, which will be on 19 October, and which will have as topic: “The baby arrives: the family and the breastfed baby”.  Hope to see many of you there!
xx Anne

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