"Hold your baby's hand instead of a bottle"

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

We are like the momma Gorilla!

Here's one of my favorite stories in the boobie bible!

I will do my best to paraphrase most of it because it's too long to type and only quote facts / parts that I can't phrase or shorten any better:

In a zoo in Ohio, a female gorilla was born and raised in captivity, got pregnant and had a baby gorilla. "Gorillas will do one of three things after they give birth. Their first choice is to breastfeed. If they don't know how to breastfeed, the gorilla world gives them only two other options: let their offspring starve or kill them"(p 28). I think it's kinda like this in the human world too - or maybe I just felt like if my baby didn't stop screaming one of us was going to die! At any rate, this momma gorilla ended up killing her baby b/c she never saw another gorilla nurse a baby and had no idea how to feed her own.

So when she became pregnant again the gorilla's keeper called The La Leche League and had volunteer nursing moms come down to the zoo and nurse their own babies in front of the pregnant momma gorilla. At first the gorilla ignored them, but as her delivery date grew closer she became very interested. When the baby gorilla was born the momma gorilla forgot all that she'd learned and started to freak out. So the keeper called TLLL and another volunteer rushed over and slowly showed the momma gorilla what to do. "She brought her baby's chest to her chest, slowly cradled the baby's head in her left arm, held her breast with her right hand, and tickled the baby's lips with the nipple to get the baby to open his mouth. Then she pulled the open-mouthed baby toward her breast and with one rapid arm motion, got the cooperative baby quickly onto her breast. The gorilla watched, mimicking the moves step by step until, with a nearly audible sigh of relief, the gorilla looked down at her chest and saw her baby feeding happily for the first time"(p 29).

I kinda feel like many new moms are like the momma gorilla raised in captivity: uneducated, unsupported, and unable to nurse their own young (unless you grew up in a habitat full of other nursing friends and relatives). This story demonstrates why a support group is so important. To be perfectly honest, I'm more than embarassed to admit that when I got a flyer about the La Leche League at my hospital's birthing class, I read the title and knew enough about spanish to know "leche" meant milk and thought it was a nursing group for latin women and the instructor must have assumed based on my dark hair and eyes that I'd want to join such a group.

"Just because something is natural doesn't mean it doesn't require some time, effort, and practice. Walking is natural, but it still requires lots of practice (and many bumps and bruises) before you can do it well"(Introduction page x).

*Please note, this book and it's author are not compensating me for referring to and using their book in my blog - but I would be more than glad to receive free copies to pass along to my readers :) No copyright violations intended.

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