I’ve been meaning to drop in to one of the local La Leche League meetings for some time, and last Wednesday, my schedule finally opened up to go to the Snohomish library and meet a few of these amazing women. I’m so glad I did; I’ve known about La Leche for nearly twenty years, but that knowing needed to turn into experience so I could decide if, or how much, to recommend them.
And I can SO recommend them! They are a warm, experienced group of women who are committed to sharing information and supporting mothers in what can be both a satisfying and challenging time of life.
Before jumping in, it’s important to know a bit of who you’re dealing with and what their beliefs are, isn’t it? I asked. Here’s what they told me they felt was most important:
- Present options and information: The leaders told me how, with how easy it is to get information, it’s possible to feel that something good might be good for everyone, but their goal is to present as many options as possible and encourage families to find what works best in their situation, for their family and their babies. More information + freedom to choose what’s personally right = strong, informed, and confident moms. I love that.
- Making sure women were truly heard: So much of the meeting is open and relatively unscheduled, because giving everyone time to voice questions, concerns, or victories is their priority. You matter. Your mothering matters. They want to support you.
- Community: It’s so easy to get online and get all the information that we think we need, or get onto a group and call it “community.” But really, nothing can replace the actual kindness and friendship of being together physically. We truly need this kind of community where we can freely share how we’re doing with others who are in similar life stages. I’m seeing more and more how this takes intentionality; and how much we can suffer if we don’t have it. Please hear me on this one–mothering is glorious, and it’s hard. We absolutely need each other, and we need each other in person. It is only in person that we can hear the quaver in someone’s voice when they’re trying to be brave, that we can SEE that that baby is actually latching on beautifully even though another mother is worrying, that we can offer–and receive–a hug when talking about how stinkin’ tired we are.
What to Expect
The meetings follow a simple, gentle, and predictable pattern that meets a lot of needs. First, everyone takes a moment to introduce themselves and their child(ren). Getting names to faces and understanding a few general life situations helps with that vital aspect of community.
After introductions around the group, there is an open time for any questions that any mother may have. They told me that the question time had typically been at the end of a meeting, but then the leaders were concerned about the possibility of a mother leaving with a question that was still unanswered. I love that they make this a priority to better care for everyone in the room!
The last portion of the meeting focuses on rotating discussion topics. There are four of these topics, and so they visit each of them three times a year. The leaders direct this portion a bit more, with their experience and information, but the goal is still to foster questions and discussion. The more people who speak up, the stronger the entire group is! Those four topics offer a wide variety of approaches and ideas, too, so I could see a whole year being incredibly varied.
- Advantages of Breastfeeding to both Mom and Baby
- The Baby Arrives; family considerations
- The Art of Breastfeeding/Avoiding Difficulties
- Nutrition and Weaning
When I asked what their most trusted resources were, they really kept it simple. They truly love The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and general information about Laid-Back Breastfeeding (see here, here, or here for starters).
There are quite a few La Leche groups in our area; to start, here is the link just for Washington State. After that, you can look specifically for Snohomish, Everett, or Marysville.
I was told that, for the Snohomish group, actually calling on a phone is really the best and quickest way to get information. They DO have a Facebook group, but this is a group run by real moms who have busy lives, and aren’t always online.
Can I encourage you to reach out and say hello to them? Mothering is SO good, and it can also be challenging, but having other mothers stand with you during this journey can make everything just that much better.