Wednesday, October 22, 2008

LLL Conference

This past Saturday, I attended the Ohio LLL conference. It's the 50th anniversary! How fun is that Claire came with of course! My mom drove both ways (yay!) so I got to doze in the backseat next to Claire. We got up early on Saturday and headed to Columbus, which is only about 2 hours away.

The morning kicked off with a Keynote Speech by Mary Ann Cahill, one of the 7 women who founded LLL. I like history, so I was very interested in what she had to say. She has a new book out about the history of LLL. I just might have to buy it at the Indiana conference that's coming up. Her speech was really inspirational. She talked about her personal history. She talked about her first birth. She tried breastfeeding her first one. The nurses would only bring the baby every 4 hours. Can you imagine? Nowadays we know the best thing to do is feed that baby 24/7!

And a few weeks later, Mary Ann Cahill brought the baby to the doctor for a rash, and he said she had to stop breastfeeding and give formula! I think it's amazing that she went on to help found LLL. She said she tried to unwrap the blanket of her first baby in the hospital and the nurse yelled at her that she wasn't allowed to. I can't imagine not being able to look at my baby or even keep the baby in the room with me whenever I wanted to! Of course there were all types of birthing and breastfeeding experiences across the board, just like there are now. It's nice that women have gone from helpless victims to active participants in birthing their babies.

So then the rest of the day was divided into 4 sessions. The first one I went to was on what to expect from a developing one to three year old as far as language and physical skills. Basically they should have 3 definite words by 18 months and be able to walk by 2. So I guess we're good to go. Yay.

The second session I went to was with Mary Ann Cahill. It was similar to a regular LLL meeting. She said she wanted to just listen to our ideas. She wanted to know what LLL could do to help more mothers initiate and continue breastfeeding. Valid points were brought up all around. Someone suggested publishing a manual on the function of the breasts, much like the pamphlets that are given out about the function of the female reproduction system. I also think it would be a great idea to publish a book on a 4-5th grade reading level on pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting. I know when I was teaching English, I had 10 kids drop out. TEN. Three of whom were preggers. All three of them had low reading levels, with the lowest being second grade reading level. She was actually labeled "mild"--to those non-teachers that's mildly retarded. You would never know it though. She was fine holding a conversation and looked normal. She just couldn't read or do math very well. Other good ideas--train OBs better as to breastfeeding and catch the women while they are pregnant. Once the baby is born it's too late.

The third session Claire and I went to was on Tandem Nursing. It was called "Everyone on My Lap." I basically went out of sheer curiosity. I know I've run across a couple people now that didn't know you could tandem nurse. I guess I am somewhat of an anomaly as I was half of what they would call a "tandem set." A tandem set would be 2 children who nursed at the same time. This doesn't actually mean that they were nursed one on each breast, at the same session, but during the same overlap of calendar months. My older brother David was only 18 months old when I was born. So my mom "tandemed" or nursed both David and I for 9 more months! It talked about common myths surrounding nursing while pregnant or tandem nursing. Basically they said that "back in the day" that people thought it would harm the fetus. Wrong. Or that the older child would get sick from the colostrum (newborn milk) which is also wrong. Colostrum is a laxative (moreso than regular breastmilk), so the older child will return to newborn runny poops for a few days until the colostrum is replaced by milk.

The last session I attended was on the "Perils of Praise" which is a bad title IMHO. Basically it just said you should use constructive praise. Instead of just saying, "Wow, You are so smart!" The parent should say WHY. "Wow, You did a great job coloring with lots of bright colors!" Basically the same goes for criticism. Instead of "You suck! You are stupid!" You should tell your child what they did wrong and how to fix it. "Your room isn't clean yet, you still have a lot of work to do."
My mom went to a session on the "Joys of Grandparenting" and got an idea for "Camp Grandma!" She also went to "Herbs and Homeopathy" and one on communication. She shared with me some of the cool stuff that was said. There were so many good sessions going on that I had a hard time picking which ones to attend. I feel like I learned A LOT in one day. It was also great to meet other moms and see all the other little babies. And Claire had a blast!

I also tried on some new slings/wraps/carriers and got 2 new free BPA-free sippy cups. Yay! I also got Claire some cool new books!

I hesitated to order them online in the past because I like to read the whole story first. But I guess you can't do that with adult books either. LOL!

I got her:

...because she likes animals and this has a ton of animals in it! Also are a lot of cool facts like Baby Elephants nurse 2-5 years and Foals nurse every 30 minutes!

2. ...because we call Claire our little Panda and Pandas are featured! Plus this one has a lot of more tropical animals like giraffes...

3. ...because the story is so cute! The pictures are slightly 70ish, but at the same time hilarious ;)

I cut myself off at three for her. But they had a gazillion children's books, several on nursing related topics since, well it was a LLL conference. I like the nursing animal books because I think it's goofy to see animals bottle-feeding their baby animals in books (like that's possible)...well I guess that they can't talk either, but that's not my point!

My point is that bottle-feeding images are too prevalent in society. Yes, they may contain breastmilk, but usually not. See the book Claire is holding above? It was from the United Way Success by 6 Campaign. It has sentences on each page like, "Babies need love." "Babies need clothes." Then it says "Babies need bottles." Josh laughed when he read it and goes, "Did this page make you bristle?" What a good word. Bristle. Yes, it did. I think I'll glue a picture of me nursing Claire over it and write "Babies need nummies."

Because it's not just about the milk. It's about the comfort and the bonding and the way of mothering. Breast is best. :) End of breast-post for today!

1 comment:

Pam said...

Great post Maria! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the conference with your mom. It sounds like it was a great event.