Posts Tagged ‘La Leche League’

Response to a Weaning “Guide”

November 13, 2009 11 comments

I was monitoring my twitter account today and kblogger posted this: “Hi Sofia, Quite a bit of misinformation in that article. ūüė¶ @ssofia: just wrote: When & How 2 Stop Breastfeeding”¬† I took a look at the article and was stunned.¬† So, I had to share my thoughts with the author.¬† I just couldn’t let this type of information go without speaking up.¬† Here is what I submitted, in case it is not approved as a comment.¬† Please share your thoughts on the article, and also here to ensure they are posted.¬† I would¬† love to hear what you think of the article and what I wrote in response.¬† Thank you all!

Submitted as a comment to on November 13, 2009 at 11:28pm EST


After reading this article I have several items to comment on.  First of all, it is unclear who wrote this.  At the top it states that it was written by Sofia S, but the bottom states that it is by Alan Murray.  What are the credentials of the person who wrote this?  I ask these questions for several reasons as stated below.

I feel that every person that writes about breastfeeding has an obligation to be informed about the facts because breastfeeding is closely tied to the health of a baby/toddler. Yes, breast milk is necessary for optimal health of toddlers too.¬† Unfortunately, your author is misinformed about the benefits and necessity of extended nursing.¬† La Leche League International, an organization that disperses widely used and valued information on breastfeeding, states “All the benefits of human milk‚ÄĒincluding nutritional and health‚ÄĒcontinue for as long as your baby receives your milk. In fact, as your baby takes less human milk, these advantages are condensed into what milk is produced. Many of the health benefits of human milk are dose related, that is, the longer the baby receives human milk, the greater are the benefits.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” The World Health Organization recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.”
You will notice that no one recommends weaning due to breast milk eventually getting ” to a point in which is does not matter whether or not the child takes breast milk or regular milk.”¬† This is a complete fallacy and goes against all scientific studies.

I also have a very big issue with any article about babies and toddlers which refer to the child as “it”.¬† These children are people and not things.¬† This shows a level of respect for the child missing in the article.

I do appreciate the attention to weaning slowly, as it IS very important for a mother to wean in a gentle and slow manner, preferable led by the child.

It is also not very helpful to encourage women to wean to a bottle, requiring them to wean yet again.¬† Since the author is talking about weaning to “regular milk” (by the way, human milk would be the “regular” milk of a human being, but I understand that in this article the author is referring to¬† cow’s milk as “regular milk”) I can assume that the author is talking about children over the age of 1 year since it is widely accepted that cow’s milk should not be introduced before the age of 1.¬† It is also recommended that bottle use be discontinued by 12-18 months of age, so this is again, poor guidance.¬† And it is also worth pointing out that many pediatricians will tell you that your toddler does not need cow’s milk at all.¬†

I believe that by providing inaccurate information regarding breast milk the author of this article is doing a great disservice to the mothers and babies he or she is reaching.¬† Inaccurate breastfeeding and breast milk information can easily equate to shorter lengths of breastfeeding and, in turn, higher risks of health issues for the child.¬† I hope that in the future the author will take their responsibility to mothers and babies personally and research thoroughly before providing advice or any type of “guide”.

Thank you.
Crystal Gold



“You Will”

November 8, 2009 11 comments

Breastfeeding M

Several years ago, while finally nursing M quietly and painlessly, I decided that I wanted to give back.  I wanted to do for other women what had been done for me.  I wanted to help other mothers overcome whatever obstacles they faced and help them develop a healthy nursing relationship.  I quickly became fascinated with the science of the female body and the evolution and natural beauty of what it does.  I started to form a path, a road map of how to do this.  I looked at the options and they seemed to include the obvious, become a lactation consultant, but that requires a lot of time and training.  So, I did what I always do and threw myself into the research to find out how to reach this goal.  My road map became this:

  1. Attend local meetings and learn all I can on my own
  2. Become a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor
  3. Become a La Leche League Leader
  4. Become a Certified Lactation Counselor
  5. Become an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)
  6. Possibly become an RN to allow me to work in a hospital setting on a maternity ward

As you can see, I formed my list of goals in an order of attainability, after all I am a realist.¬† I figured that this would allow me ample time to test this field out and see if this is really what I want to do.¬† It is a MAJOR career change for me.¬† I come from over a decade of working and learning in the field of Media and Technology!¬† I have earned a BS and an MS.¬† I don’t take anything part way, so to make an about-face now is a BIG deal.

Crystal Gold completing Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training in 2007

Crystal Gold completing Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training in 2007

In July of 2007, I completed my Breastfeeding Peer Counselor training with La Leche League in Chicago.¬† I was thrilled!¬† But I found quickly that because the organization didn’t officially sponsor this program any longer there was little support or structure.¬† The training was invaluable though and it set me up to do the work and continue learning on my own.¬† I have felt comfortable helping my friends and family because of this training and felt the call of the field stronger than ever.¬† It became very obvious that I wanted to continue on my path.

In the summer of 2008, I overheard the Leader of our Carmel LLL group talking to someone about leadership.  She knew of my passion and asked me if I would like to sign up for the Leader Applicant program.  As a believer that opportunities present themselves as you are meant to have them, I took this as a sign of it being time.  The fact that she had the confidence in me to approach me made me feel like maybe this would  be something I would be good at.  So I started my journey to my next goal.

The path was a long one, much longer than I expected since most of the learning and reading had already been done.¬† But, as is often the case, life got in the way and the process took a solid year.¬† I am very thankful for the gentle pushing I received from my Leader to keep with it as much as I could.¬† I felt, not pressured, but encouraged to do what I am meant to do… to meet a destiny.¬† Through the process I had to reflect a lot and discuss the changes I have gone through as a mother and a person.¬† I might post those items here soon.¬† It was a truly amazing experience, especially to have someone else read these thoughts and reflect back to me an outside response.¬† It was rewarding and encouraging.

So, the culmination of this work took place today.¬† The LLL of Indiana hosted a party to celebrate some pretty major organizational changes and was able to have one of the Founding Mothers of LLL attend.¬† So, let me put this in perspective for you.¬† In 1956, seven mothers joined together to support each other in breastfeeding their babies.¬† This was a time when it was looked at as dangerous compared to the ‘safety of the modern medical marvel, formula’.¬† These women were, in the words of Marian Thompson, “looked at as selfish women putting their babies’ lives in danger to make a point”.¬† They knew in their hearts that what their own bodies made for their babies had to be better than anything science could produce.¬† Their support for each other turned into support for other local women.¬† These women asked how they too could help, and so developed La Leche League, now an international organization helping millions of mothers each year.¬† Marian Thompson, now turning 80, was one of these pioneer women.¬† She cast aside the current beliefs and gave power to the knowledge within her, the natural knowledge of how to birth, raise, and feed a baby.¬† Having the opportunity to see her speak in a room of about 50 people is such an honor, but I was also, as fate would have it, sitting at a table with her the entire day.

Marian Thompson, LLL Founder, and Crystal Gold, Nov 7, 2009

Marian Thompson, LLL Founder, and Crystal Gold, Nov 7, 2009

I couldn’t help but look at her and think to myself¬† “Here sits a woman who changed the world!”¬† I was able to have a 10 minute one on one conversation with her when she asked me how La Leche League came into my life.¬† I told her of my early struggles, my mother bringing me the book “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and attending my first meeting when my son was 3 months old.¬† I told her how at first much of it seemed a bit too much for me, but as I let my heart lead me and my natural mothering instincts take over, I found myself closely aligning with the beliefs of LLL.¬† I still am a working mother who had to be away from my son, but I recognized the importance of respecting his need to be with me and made it work well for him.¬† I also told her of my dream after my miscarriage of nursing a baby and being able to physically feel that child at my breast, even though I had never nursed before.¬† I explained that I was never able to figure out how breastfeeding became the purest example of mothering to me even before ever doing it, but that it was that moment I knew I was ready to be a mother.¬† We spoke about the effect she has had on so many women, which she graciously attributed, not to herself, but to all the mothers after her.¬† And finally we spoke of my dreams and goals of being somewhat like her… helping mothers but also working to make changes in laws and science.¬† She looked at me and said “You will”.¬† Two words.¬† “You will”.

Never have two words, aside from “I do”, meant so much to me.¬† This woman is so much of what I want to be in life.¬† She has sacrificed her time to helping this cause that I feel is and will change the world.¬† She is warm, gracious, and loving.¬† She is approachable and thoughtful.¬† And here she is encouraging me with two little words.¬† I will likely never forget that moment, that look on her face, or the sound of her voice.¬† “You will”.

Crystal Gold hugging Marian Thompson at Leader Recognition Ceremony Nov 7, 2009

Crystal Gold hugging Marian Thompson at Leader Recognition Ceremony Nov 7, 2009

I officially became a La Leche League Leader today.  I joined the ranks of thousands of women who have worked tirelessly over the last 50+ years to empower women to trust themselves and do what they were created to do.  I took another step on my journey of discovery and change.  And I realized even more that this is what I am meant to do.

I want to share a quote that Marian shared today.¬† I felt as if she was speaking directly to me and my worries and fears about these changes…

“When you don’t follow your nature there is a hole in the universe where you were supposed to be” – Dane Rudhyar

“You will.”



To Facebook with Love

May 6, 2009 5 comments

My recent postings on Facebook about breastfeeding have stirred up some interesting conversations. I have been compelled to share some thoughts, but far too much for a comment on there. So here it goes.

First, I will say that I am unapologetically pro-breastfeeding. I think breastmilk is a superior infant food. However, I want to be clear that this does not mean that I judge others for choosing formula. Some of my favorite women in the world have used or will use formula. I was personally very close to not being able to breastfeed myself. It was through the grace of God and a very strong will that I ended up being able to breastfeed exclusively.

Actually, I think formula is important. There are some (very few, but some) that cannot physically breastfeed. They need to have the best possible alternative. I think that the formula companies should constantly seek to catch up to breastfeeding, although it is unlikely they ever will since it is a changing and living thing. But the children that do need formula and those whose parents choose formula, deserve to have the safest and healthiest food that can be created.

I truly do think that judgment is not the right way to reach women about breastfeeding. A new mother does not need heavy handed pressure at a time when she is so vulnerable and scared. I think that by being supportive, informative, and gentle, more women would be open to trying to breastfeed. This is why I do what I do in my online communities. I am a firm believer that many women choose to formula feed simply from lack of information about breastfeeding. Formula is what they know and they haven’t given breastfeeding a single thought. It’s these women that I hope might stumble on my stories and find a piece of information that peaks their interest. I also post my research because there are SO many misconceptions out there about breastfeeding. The more accurate information I post the more chance I have to educate someone. It truly breaks my heart to hear a woman who formula fed talk about it in a regretful or apologetic way. Sometimes they wanted to breastfeed, but felt they weren’t able to. If only they had the proper support and information, they would not have that regret. So maybe by reading an article or two, a woman can avoid that feeling in the future. I post my research to share with my fellow breastfeeding mommies because, like every mom out there, we need rejuvinated too! And reading about all the amazing things related to breastfeeding helps do that. I post my research so my friends and family can understand more about me and the lifestyle I have chosen. They can get to know me a bit better by seeing my passion for this topic.

I do feel that breastmilk is superior to formula. I don’t know any other product in the world that has to say that it is inferior in its commercials. We are lucky to live in a country where the risks associated with formula are minimized, but there are many places in the world where formula and the mentality against breastfeeding is deadly! There are countries where women are pressured to use formula but they are too poor to buy it and end up diluting it and babies die. Or the babies die from dirty water mixed with their formula. And yes, we could have a serious issue in this country if we had a contamination issue like China had. And yes, that means our babies would die. I don’t take that issue lightly.

When we choose to use formula we are at the mercy of those corporations. We have to rely solely on them to ensure the safety and health of our very young children. I am just not willing to put that amount of trust into a corporation. I posted a quote recently about formula being the worlds longest lasting uncontrolled experiment in medicine. This is so true. Formula is just that… a FORMULA… it is a man-made, man-researched, and man-flawed concoction. It has changed GREATLY over the many years it has been available. It seems to be constantly improving, which is great, but I do not want my child to be the test subject for the latest design.

I WILL NOT judge a mother for her choice to use formula. Every family has to find what works best for them. But I also will not apologize for my ardent support of breastfeeding, my passion for the science relating to it, or my desire to educate anyone willing to listen and seek information.