Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007Ever go someplace where you expect to be the "normal" one and walk away feeling like the "weirdo?"
Went to my first La Leche League meeting this morning. It was pretty...vanilla? I don't know, that's the best way I can think to describe it. I don't know what I was expecting...maybe I thought I'd see four year old nurslings, maybe I thought I'd see a lot of Birkenstocks, maybe I thought I'd be shunned for feeding my child Goldfish crackers, maybe I thought...I don't really know what I thought.
Talk about tame. (And I don't mean that as a slam, though it was a little disappointing.)
I arrived at 9:30am, just as the meeting was supposed to start. There were three other women there. One with a five month old, one with a two year old and an eleven month old and one (the leader) with a fivish-year old. I said hello and introduced myself and the kids, they did the same.
The leader asked me if I'd ever been to a LLL meeting before and I said no. She asked what type of help I was looking for. I said "none really, just wanted to get connected with some other breastfeeding moms." She looked at me a little funny and then launched into some basics on what LLL is all about, including handing me a multi-page brochure. I listened, thanked her for the brochure and sat down.
There were some toys there, so Nora headed off to play with them and I laid Emmitt on the floor in front of me on a blanket.
Then the meeting began. It was strange. The leader passed out slips of paper to each of us to take turns reading, it was sort of a "You know you're a breastfeeding mom when..." kinda thing, cept it wasn't really funny. Instead it was things like "you refer to expressed milk as liquid gold" and "you can eat that extra cookie because you're burning 500 extra calories a day."
Basically? Sorta felt like a big old session of preaching to the choir. After all, would any of us have really been there if we didn't think that breastfeeding was the best? (especially since they all seemed to be regulars and I was the only newbie?) They never bothered to ask what my own background was or what my own experience breastfeeding was.
Eventually it came up a bit in conversation. I think it was around the time that we talked about the calories burned and I volunteered that I used to play the fun game of "how many calories did I shoot through my breasts today." I explained that since I exclusively pumped and was a milk donor, I knew how many calories my milk had and I could simply multiply by the ounces pumped to get my total for the day. (To note, some days I topped 850 calories which is probably why I weighed about 20 pounds less than I do now.) That did start a bit of conversation about my EPing experience and that I was now EBFing Emmitt.
Overall it wasn't a bad experience but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for. I think I was really looking for a place where we could have some good discussions about life as a breastfeeding mom, could maybe share some of our personal experience and so on. Instead, it sort of felt like kindergarten for breastfeeders. Honestly? I think they were pretty tame. The oldest nursling there was 11 months old and as discreet as I am about nursing, most of them there showed even less skin than I do. (Only one nursed during the meeting, then another nursed after while we were chatting.) I actually kinda felt like they might think *I* was weird if they knew I'd done casual sharing or that what Nora was drinking from her sippy cup wasn't cow's milk, but rather breast milk.
That's not to say that I was turned off by the experience. I'm planning on going back next month, though I may also check out another group nearby that meets next week. I realize the group dynamics probably vary a lot and they obviously are going to want to work to make sure everyone feels comfortable. It just wasn't quite what I expected.
Does kinda make me think that what I REALLY want to do is find some IBCLC's to hang out with. ;) I like the clinical talk.
Hmm. Maybe I AM the "freaky, hippy breastfeeding type" that I thought I was trying to avoid.
Labels: Life as a Mom