SHERIDAN — For the first time, Sheridan County has an active chapter of La Leche League, the international organization that aims to inform women throughout the world about the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby.
The new group is led by Dayton resident Erin Standage. Standage, her husband and two children recently moved to the area from Littleton, Colo., where she was actively involved in LLL.
“I was actually a leader in Littleton prior to moving up here, so when I moved up here and found out there wasn’t a group I knew I had to get one started,” Standage said.
“My goal is to help women of the community meet their breastfeeding goals,” she added. “Whether you want to breastfeed for three months or three years, as a leader, I am here to help you reach those goals.”
Standage started the group via a Facebook page, which now numbers close to 50 followers.
“I was surprised that there was this much interest in the group, but I am not all that surprised that there is a need for the group so to speak,” Standage said. “While there is support in the town of Sheridan and in this area, there really isn’t a group. There is medical support but there isn’t really mother-to-mother support.”
The group meets at the Inner Circle Room of Sheridan Fulmer Library on the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon.
“We talk about what’s normal, what’s not normal and offer support if they don’t have a lot of family support,” Standage explained. “We help troubleshoot if they are having any breastfeeding issues and help them work through that.”
For people interested in learning more, but can’t attend the meetings, Standage keeps an large library of books on childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting and other related topics that are available for loan at any time.
Standage went through extensive training, involving reading, writing and research, before becoming certified as a leader. Her passion for educating others about the benefits of breastfeeding comes from her own personal experience.
“My son was a preemie, he was born at 35 weeks and from the very beginning we had weight gain problems, problems with reflux and a lot of health concerns with him,” Standage said. “Because of some poor medical advice I received, I ended up weaning him much sooner that I would have liked. It was heart wrenching for me. I loved breastfeeding him and I loved the bond I had with him because of breastfeeding. Feeling that I had failed was something very difficult to go through as a mom.
“Breastfeeding is a very personal thing and it is hard, but it is also very, very rewarding and I just want to make sure other women have the support, the knowledge and the information that I didn’t,” she continued. “I’ll do home visits, hospital visits or phone calls. Whatever you need, I am there.”