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La Leche League Love and Support Across the Generations

Heather with her daughter and grandchildHeather Nicholson

I am a mother of two, a breastfeeding advocate, and a birth and postpartum doula. However, when my daughter gave birth I was at a loss as to how to support her during those first few weeks of breastfeeding. She was having such difficulty, and it was challenging to watch my own child struggle and deal with the pain of an incorrect latch. We were also in Germany at the time and, although she had a wonderful birth experience at a German hospital, navigating lactation support without understanding the German language maximized our difficulty. Mother and daughter dynamics were also probably at play.

Although I only knew Nekisha Killings, a La Leche League Leader, from an online mother’s group, I had witnessed her attentiveness and care for other mothers in the group in need of advice and support. She was always willing to accept a call and offer advice to mothers challenged by breastfeeding, pumping, and/or understanding the best way to gain support from their local communities (the group has members from all over the country). I reached out and Nekisha offered transcontinental support. She answered my questions and eased the concerns I had regarding the lactation advice we were receiving in Germany. Most importantly, she heard my concerns and helped restore my confidence in supporting my daughter during this challenging time.

Although I am not sure she is aware, Nekisha’s willingness to offer support when I most needed it eased my anxiety and helped me support my daughter as she embarked on her own journey of motherhood. It was during this time that I remembered how important La Leche League was to me when my oldest daughter was weeks old. No one in my family had breastfed and could not offer guidance through a cesarean birth and a difficult breastfeeding situation.  I lived in New York City at the time and called the La Leche League hotline. A Leader called me back and spent an hour on the phone with me, listening to me cry through my frustrations, patiently answering my questions, checking on me throughout the week, and inviting me to a meeting.

Nekisha’s breastfeeding support and advice came 22 years later. La Leche League was there for me at the beginning of my personal journey as a parent and also as we ushered in another generation. Breastfeeding support is not only about supporting the mother but supporting the family. My daughter has a 14-month-old, is still breastfeeding, and is an outspoken advocate on the importance of breastfeeding. I am so thankful for both experiences with La Leche League.

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