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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My experiences at LLLI meetings

Last Saturday I attended a meeting which was headed by Abbie Yabot. Abbie was my lactation counselor during the early days (when I had problems with latching, etc.) and she breastfed her 2 younger children (JM for about 4 years and Kyle who will be turning 3 and is still breastfeeding). It was actually my 2nd LLLI meeting but my 1st meeting in Manila.

My first meeting was in Tysons-Pimmit Library, when I was 8 months pregnant with Naima. During that meeting, there was a mom with a toddler running about and another mom who had a 3.5 year old toddler who attended the meeting because she wanted to ask about weaning tips. What was interesting was that this mom re-lactated. Her baby was adopted and she breastfed him for 3.5 years already! During this meeting, I listened mostly to other mom’s stories and asked some basic questions. Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect about breastfeeding during this time.

My 2nd meeting was with Abbie and came more than 18 months after that 1st meeting. At this time, Naima was already 18 months old and still breastfed. (In hindsight, I think it was that relactating mom with a 3.5 year old toddler that inspired me to really push through with breastfeeding Naima despite my difficulties.)

For this meeting, there were about 7-8 moms (2 were pregnant), a couple of husbands and several babies and toddlers. It was held at a church hall with couches and tables. Even if the hall was quite big, I thought the meeting was cozy. We were gathered around in a circle and mothers were freely asking Abbie about their concerns and talking about their own breastfeeding experiences especially about pumping and working. I think this was especially helpful to new and pregnant mommies since they could hear the challenges of breastfeeding in the early days and how to resolve these problems.

For a new or pregnant mom, attending the La Leche League meeting is a good way to prepare for breastfeeding. Since the meeting was in a casual set-up, moms feel comfortable sharing their questions and chatting with other moms. My only beef is that meetings are held so far away. There is currently only 1 La Leche Group meeting for Metro Manila (the other one is in Cavite). Abbie mentioned that they are looking for more leaders. Hopefully, more people join, attend the meetings and step up to become leaders - so more meetings in other areas in MM can be organized.

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