When I was expecting my first child, I was most concerned about my baby registry. Sounds silly saying that now, but it's true. I'm a person who thrives on to-do lists. I foolishly thought that if I had everything, everything would be fine. Well after a whirlwind birth and celebrating with family and friends, I suddenly found myself alone. A lot. While breastfeeding was going smoothly and my baby was doing well, I was constantly worried, stressed, and at times plain miserable. I found myself surrounded by all my wonderful baby registry items, yet nothing on my list seemed to be what I needed. What I really needed was support. I needed adult conversation and the reassurance from other breastfeeding moms. I needed to know I was not alone.
It was a long and lonely five months before I reached out to my local La Leche League group. I drove to the first meeting nervous, with my baby screaming the whole way, but I made it. This meeting was my first time being around other breastfeeding moms and also my first time nursing outside of my own home. I commiserated with moms over lack of sleep, the fact my baby seemed to be constantly nursing, and found out that other moms were going through the same stressors that kept me up at night. I left the meeting rejuvenated, relieved, and more confident in my abilities as a mom. Most importantly, I left the meeting with connections. These connections turned into friendships; friendships I still rely on every day for wisdom, hope and laughs.
Connecting with other breastfeeding moms was the one thing I left off my registry list, and it turned out to be the most important. Finding my tribe was key to my breastfeeding journey as well as maintaining my sanity. By the time I was pregnant with my second child I made a list of things I needed. It simply stated, "friends, food, and diapers." While the struggles of adjusting to being a family of four are daunting (and wonderful), knowing that I have a wonderful group of women supporting me is priceless.
Rachel is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and mom of two busy boys.