How La Leche League Philosophy Inspires and Guides My Mothering
Allyson Wessells, Columbus, Ohio
“Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.”
“From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.”
La Leche League philosophy statements, if taken in order, begin and end as one in the same for me. The middle statements, all strong as well, are held together by the first and last. The first helped me understand what I was doing when I was a new mother eight years ago. Communication, growth, food, and love were all bundled into one act. My newborn baby didn’t talk, but oh did she communicate with her eyes, hands, expressions, and cries, all initially saying feed me, understand me, be with me. My newborn baby didn’t walk, but she grew before my eyes as I nourished her and watched her develop the strength to roll, sit, crawl, stand, and run. My instinct to breastfeed was strong and helped me discover over time how to love a new baby who so drastically changed life as I had known it before becoming a mother.
La Leche League meetings became regular outings for us. They were a place I could go with my new baby, easily nurse, meet others in a similar life phase, and feel validated about the varying emotions and challenges of this new phase. Within two years, I became an LLL Leader. I am now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) as well. With each mother and baby I support, I realize that this was something that I wanted to do as much as I could for the health of new mothers, babies, families, and our planet. Meetings are still regular outings for us as I lead and facilitate discussions among mothers arriving with a glowing yet tired look that I remember so well.
I am thankful every day for how my children communicate, grow, and love. Those long nights and days of early motherhood are now quick months and years proving just how small the sliver of time is that a new baby needed me so intensely. Yet, the benefit of meeting those needs is felt for years to come, and it is great. I continue to try to help as many mothers as I can, encouraging mothering through breastfeeding to foster a foundation of loving guidance and lifelong acceptance of our children’s and our own ever changing capabilities and feelings.