La Leche League’s Impact on My Life: A Father’s Perspective
Editor’s Note: Peter Jackson Larney Scherer of Los Angeles, California, recently held a birthday fundraiser for LLL USA through the LLL USA Facebook page. Peter’s initial goal was $200. He met his goal and beyond with the total amount reaching $345. In his “story” that accompanied the fundraiser, he said he chose LLL USA because the organization’s “mission means a lot to me.” We wanted to find out more about Peter’s experiences with breastfeeding — being raised in a breastfeeding friendly home and as the parent of a breastfeeding child.
New Beginnings: Why did you decide to do a birthday fundraiser for LLL USA?
Peter: I picked LLL USA for a few reasons. Back when my wife was pregnant, the lady teaching our birth class was a big fan of LLL. I have seen firsthand both how difficult and how rewarding breastfeeding can be.
NB: Tell us about your childhood memories of breastfeeding.
Peter: There’s just one. My mom was sitting in a chair and I remember climbing up into her lap. I must have been about three. I have a bunch of much older siblings, and they all tell me Mom breastfed me for a long time — or longer than most American women, I guess. It’s a warm memory.
NB: Tell us about your family today.
Peter: My wife is the breadwinner, so half of our daughter’s “breastfeeding” was actually bottle-feeding her pumped breast milk. According to my wife, pumping is a hassle. But she was very dedicated. When our daughter was about three months old, there was a moment when my wife and I seemed to notice simultaneously that our squirmy little infant had transformed into a chubby, bouncing baby by consuming only breast milk. It seemed like magic. I remember we high-fived. It felt fantastic. Our daughter weaned quite naturally at around 14 months. She is now three and delightfully, spectacularly vital.
NB: How did you support your wife in her successful breastfeeding and pumping routine?
Peter: I washed bottles and pump parts daily. We froze a lot of milk to ensure a constant supply, and I did bring our daughter to her mother’s work sometimes for nursing. There were times when my wife worried that she wasn’t pumping enough or producing enough when she pumped, so there was some emotional support that was needed. There were maybe a couple of occasions when I did a night feeding, but not many since our daughter co-slept with us for her first nine months. Also, I’m the cook, and I viewed myself as instrumental in preparing the “raw material” for milk production. And later when the kiddo started to eat solid food, I was able to shoulder some of the nutritional responsibility for her directly.
Peter’s wife, Hathanh Nguyen, adds: “It helped me a lot to have two different pumps: the one from our health insurance at work and the smaller, more portable one at home. Not having to haul anything but the bottles and parts around made it a lot less stressful. It definitely, definitely helped having (Peter) pack my lunches and/or remind me to eat. I genuinely believe that if (he) hadn’t done that, I would have stopped making milk from the stress long before 14 months.”
Peter, thank you for using your birthday to raise funds for La Leche League USA! We’re grateful for your support and wish you many more birthdays filled with joy and surrounded by family.
If you are celebrating a birthday or another special occasion and would like to raise money for LLL USA, click on the following link for more information about our Facebook fundraising opportunities: www.facebook.com/pg/LaLecheLeagueUSA/fundraisers/?ref=page_internal.
Please send your story ideas to Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.