Yes, breastfeeding is beautiful and natural and infinitely good for you and your baby. Sometimes it can also be frustrating and difficult. To avoid problems, come to a couple of La Leche League meetings BEFORE your baby is born. Meetings are always free and open to all interested women. (You can bring your mom, sister, or friend so you'll have extra support once you go home!)
Meetings are always welcoming, supportive, and warm; never judgmental. LLL helps you do what you want: You want to wean? Fine, we'll be glad to help! You want to nurse? We'll be glad to help! Need info for pumping? Storing milk? Tongue ties? Weaning? LLL's the place!
La Leche League's Mission is to help mothers worldwide to
breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.
La Leche League began in 1956 and is the oldest, most respected breastfeeding support organization in the world. Mother to mother sharing, with the expertise of a LLL Leader, supports you!
The basic philosophy of La Leche League is summarized in the following statements:
- Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
- Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.
- In the early years the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.
- Breast milk is the superior infant food.
- For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.
- Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.
- Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
- Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby’s father. A father’s unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child’s development from early infancy.
- Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
- From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.
The ideals and principles of mothering which are the foundation of LLLI beliefs are further developed in THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, the most comprehensive handbook on breastfeeding and parenting ever published. It has provided needed answers to three generations of nursing mothers on every aspect of breastfeeding.
For more on La Leche League, see www.llli.org
Breastmilk Storage Guidelines
Here are general guidelines on human milk storage; the guidelines may change over time. Don't get too upset about slight variations, either in your milk or the recommendations. If the milk smells and tastes fine to you, it's probably fine for your baby.
Here's a link for the RI Breastfeeding Coalition's advice on storage: http://www.ribreastfeeding.org/pumping--storing-breastmilk.html
Here's the one for the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm
Here's what the most recent edition (8th) of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League's main book) states: (This is for a healthy full-term infant.)
Where (Temperature) Time
Room Temp (66-78F, 19-26C) 4-8 hours
Insulated Cooler Bag (5-39F, -15-4C) 24 hours
Refrigerator (39F, 4C) 3-8 days
Freezer compartment of refrig. (5F, -15C) 2 weeks
Freezer comp. of fridge w/sep. doors (0F, -18C) 3-6 months
Deep freezer (-4F, -20C) 6-12 months
Some more info on storing milk: as with any other food, don't mix temperatures. So, you should NOT add warm milk to cold milk or any liquid milk to frozen.
IF you've determined that some milk you've stored is too old for your little one to drink, don't throw it out. Use it for first aid: on a scrape or cut, on an earache, pinkeye, athlete's foot fungus, etc. It is antibacterial and can speed healing.
If anyone is going to give a baby a bottle, they should use a method called "paced feeding." It just means that the baby is getting it gradually, with the ability to turn away or refuse it if he's full. Paced feeding means also that the baby isn't laying down -- in what I call the "drink or drown" position -- he's mostly sitting up. Whether a bottle has breastmilk, formula or anything else in it, it's better for the baby to be practically upright when drinking. Think how awkward it is for you to drink semi-reclined!
By the way....in no particular order...
wash your hands before expressing or handling milk;
any clean container works;
put the date on the bag or bottle before you fill it;
if milk separates into cream and milk, swirl it gently to recombine; don't store milk on fridge or freezer doors (there's too much temperature variation)
it's best to store milk towards the back of the refrigerator or freezer
Follow the basic food storage rule of FIFO, "first in, first out." NEVER microwave breastmilk to re-heat.
More questions? Come to a LLL meeting!