Tuesday, March 1, 2011

OMG they're a CULT!

I probably should have started this blog, oh, 14 months ago. But you know how it is, with a newborn and keeping a clean house while entertaining an endless stream of visitors who just "want to help" while you hobble around the house tending your fresh C-section incision and dealing with the weepiness of postpartum blues and completely losing it because one of your well-meaning visitors ate your last Ferrero Roche and cluster feedings and remembering to give your diabetic cat her insulin and pediatrician appointments and OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT IN HER DIAPER and finding childcare and dropping the baby weight and finding time to go to the supermarket and cook a healthy dinner and saying "Screw it, let's order Chinese" for the 8th night in a row and remembering to call back everyone who left you a voicemail and write back everyone who sent you a Facebook message and scouring monster.com for a new job because you can't bear the thought of returning to your crappy job...

Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah. La Leche League.

I say that I should have started this blog earlier because it would have been easier to tell my whole breastfeeding saga as it happened. I'm sure I'll get to it eventually, but I wanted to explain why (for now) La Leche League is the only link over there in my little "Parenting Links Box."

It's because I credit them fully with saving my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter.

I was warned about LLL. I was told the horrors of LLL Leaders barging into hospital rooms and forcing the boobs of formula feeding mothers into their babies' faces. That if you provided them with any sort of contact information, they'd swarm upon you like locusts and steal the Enfamil from your pantry in the dark of the night.

Long story short, Baby LaLa had some allergy issues early on. Nothing crazy, but she had specks of blood in her diaper that started off minor and got pretty alarming after a couple weeks. After eliminating dairy from my diet, my pediatrician mandated me to stop breastfeeding immediately and put her on Neocate formula, despite my desperate, tearful pleas. I was willing to do whatever it took to save my breastfeeding relationship because I knew, in my heart of hearts, that it was the right path for Baby LaLa and I to take together. Nope, he said, you HAVE TO stop breastfeeding immediately and switch to Neocate.

So, after spending two hours driving through two snowy New Jersey counties stopping at every pharmacy searching for friggin' Neocate, I gave up and decided to breastfeed for the night, do some research, and decide what to do the next morning.

The next morning, I reluctantly called a La Leche League leader because I didn't know what else to do. I knew I needed to find another doctor that was more supportive of my decision to breastfeed and that would help me exhaust all the options before giving up, but I had no idea how to find that person. I was scared to death that they'd suck me in and call me every day to keep tabs, but I had no other choice.

The woman I spoke to was friendly and understanding. She sympathized with me and thanked me for reaching out to her. She recommended, "off the record," a doctor who also was a lactation consultant. She shared her experiences with me, and wished me luck.

I visited the doctor and she gave me a list of foods to cut out of my diet, one by one. It was very difficult, at one point I was off dairy, soy, fish and eggs... but we eventually discovered that eggs were the culprit. The blood in Baby LaLa's diaper vanished and never came back, and we are still nursing at 14 months.

I only spoke to the La Leche League leader one more time - when she called a couple weeks later to see how I made out with the doctor. She suggested I attend meetings if I could, but didn't pressure me. I never heard from La Leche League again.

I know that other peoples' experiences with LLL are different, but I wanted to share my story to get it out there that they're NOT ALWAYS the cult that people make them out to be.

The end.

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