Build Your Support System

Young mothers with babies

Recently, a friend of mine said to me, “I seem to have misplaced my support system.” It’s easy to do. While you are still thinking about what you genuinely need in your life during the new year, ask if you have the support you need. For new parents, the new reality can sometimes mean you need to adjust or even rebuild as you find that you need a different kind of support than you did before children.

For me, the support system came in the form of a play group. A group of parents who had planned homebirths within a few months of one another had also taken a birth relaxation class together. We knew one another pregnant, and we continued to see one another as we gave birth to our babies over several months. When the children were tiny, they didn’t play much, but we as adults needed the time we had together. We sat around breastfeeding and talking. Occasionally, we invited others from our community to join us, and the play group turned into time for the children as well as for the parents. Now, our children are teenagers and close friends.

The kind of support system you seek should be driven by your need. Do you need breastfeeding support? La Leche League could be the support you need. Do you want to talk about diapers or parenting? Try a Real Diaper Circle or a Holistic Moms Network local chapter. Do you want someone to walk to the park with? Get together with new parents in your neighborhood.

Years ago, Mothering Magazine published an article called “Finding Your Tribe” on each of us seeking or building the support system we need as parents. They have continued to have a Finding Your Tribe section in the Mothering forums. If you don’t know of any local resources, look in the Mothering forums to find any posts by other parents in your area who are looking just as you are.

Stop long enough to ask if you have what you need. If not, you are not alone. You can find other parents so you can share support for your parenting journey. Good luck finding your tribe.

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How La Leche League Can Help You with Breastfeeding

Mothers meetingLast week, I wrote about how a breastfeeding support group, any local group that brings experienced mothers together with new mothers, can help you find success in breastfeeding.

The best-known breastfeeding support group internationally is La Leche League International (LLLI). The experience of most mothers with La Leche League is through local meetings or through contact with a local leaders. La Leche League Leaders are experienced breastfeeding mothers who have been trained to support other breastfeeding mothers.

From Local Support to International Activism

La Leche League started as a local group of seven women concerned that breastfeeding rates had dropped to just 20% in the U.S. in the mid-1950s. They provided support and expert advice. By the early 1960s, they began to establish chapters and very quickly became an international organization.

The current organization is built on a philosophy of support for the natural processes of breastfeeding and a singleness of purpose that keeps the organization focused. They have been active in building the support systems that women need for successful breastfeeding around the world.

Breastfeeding Resources

The La Leche League website offers a wide variety of online breastfeeding resources to help you succeed in breastfeeding your baby, but the heart of the organization is in the face-to-face meetings of mothers.

LLL also provides directories of local meetings in Canada, the U.S., and internationally. Through these groups you will find a carefully trained and accredited Leader, a breastfeeding mother who can support you in your choice to breastfeed. A LLL Leader offers classes, answers questions by phone and by email, distributes the latest breasfeeding information, and becomes an anchor to a local support group. You will find local LLL groups here:

Because local representatives have been trained to follow the same strict focus and up-to-date information, you are likely to find a similar experience at most LLL meetings. If you are looking for free-flowing conversation and socializing or if you are looking for a group that will support your all-around natural parenting choices, La Leche League is not that group.

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