Salt Lake City Based Photographer Timbra Wiist owns/operates Landslide Photography & Photographs the Journey of Motherhood (see bottom of page or sidebar for more info. . .depending on what this blog is choosing to do for the day).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Success is in the Eye of the Beholder

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about helping other moms succeed in their breastfeeding journeys. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!

I am a La Leche League Leader.  I have been such for the past (very nearly) 5 years now.  Since I began leading meetings, I have helped mothers through what is referred to as "email help" and has not been used much until more recently.  Taking phone calls around this house, becomes a nightmare, so I stuck to what I could do in the middle of the night, without poor reception, even on a snowy December evening, and when everyone is tucked into bed so the house is quiet for a little while.

Email help is an especially fun monster, because you can totally overload the recipient with TONS of information.  It's important to ask questions and to read between the lines of an email that a mother sends.  At first, this was hard to do, but as I've worked to help mothers with breastfeeding questions of all types, over the past five years, I've learned to read, write, read again, edit, read again, ask questions and then edit again before sending.  Many times I only have one or two emails that a mother will exchange with me, so it's important to find a balance between asking the right questions and giving enough information, but not overwhelming a mother with unnecessary information, which is why asking questions becomes very important.

I also lead meetings in person.  For me, these are sometimes informative, but many times a meeting together of the same mothers month after month with a few new voices here and there.  Some return, others never show up again.  The window for offering appropriate support to a breastfeeding mother who is struggling, is limited.  Sometimes there is pain, sometimes there is lack of support elsewhere or a recommendation to wean because of tooth decay, mother's health, baby's health, a lack of appropriate information on the part of the care provider, pressure from other family members, a sense of isolation for the new mother, a food allergy or even a physical issue that it seems like too much trouble to rectify.  A mother must already come with resolve to push through and make the changes, sacrifices or efforts to break on through to the other side, or many times, breastfeeding is lost when the answer may have been more simple than believed.  We offer one-to-one mother-to-mother breastfeeding support for all women who are interested in breastfeeding and my hope is that the support offered gets each mother to where she wants to be, for herself, not for me, not for others around her, but for she and her baby.

I hope that I've helped mothers succeed in their breastfeeding journeys.  I know that I've had friends from all parts of my life get in touch to ask questions or to let me know that my support at a time in the past was invaluable to their decision to try breastfeeding, continue breastfeeding, or seek out other options for meeting their personal goals.  This is becoming more frequent as I make a bit of a name for myself as the one to go to for breastfeeding information, and as I know have a bit of a rapport after having been an LLL Leader for 5 years.  As a newbie, it was hard to put myself out there with people I've known since high school, or family members, or even new friends.  I'm sure that some of my long-time friends (and acquaintances) never thought we'd be exchanging breastfeeding questions and answers at 30, when we were 17 and flirting with boys.  But I guess we all grow up sometime!

My goal as a La Leche League Leader is to offer moms the support they are seeking and sometimes answer for them the questions they don't know they are asking.  As I remain a Leader for longer and longer, I am learning how to do this more easily and how to support mothers in all different circumstances with all sorts of decisions to be made about their own breastfeeding journeys.  I hope that I am helping ALL of them succeed in their own eyes!

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Christine Brotchie said...

Keep up the good work, Timbra! I admire the dedication of LLL leaders. It sounds like quite an art to answer breastfeeding questions via email!

angelina said...

You sound like a very thoughtful leader, its nice to read about how you have refined your techniques to be specific for the woman you are helping. What a lovely way to be able support others with breastfeeding.