So today was the La Leche League of Kansas area conference. For those who are unfamiliar with La Leche League, "La Leche League [LLL] is an international, non-profit, non-sectarian organization that has been supporting women and their breastfeeding choices since 1956." [taken from www.kansaslll.org] I love these conferences. I'm a member of the Newton LLL group and went to my first conference a year an half ago (they are held about every year and half alternating between spring and fall). This conference was particularly exciting because the feature speaker was Dr. Robert Sears. For those not familiar with this name, Dr. Robert Sears, along with his father Dr. William Sears and his brother Dr. James Sears, is a while known pediatrician and author. All three have a practice together in California. Dr. Robert Sears is the author of "The Vaccine Book." It was very exciting to have him at our conference. The conference is held in the Grand Prairie hotel in Hutch, so we decided to go stay the night and have a mini vacation. It was very nice. The plan was that we get to the hotel, eat dinner and I would go the the opening session with Dr. Sears while Ian and Mark swam in the indoor water park. Unfortunately Dr. Sears' flight was canceled. Mark and Ian did swim although the big slide and lazy river was under construction and close, and the small pool with kid slides was so cold Ian was shivering the moment he stepped in. They did swim in the normal pool and Mark sat in the hot tub with Ian sitting on the edge playing with the bubbles. :) Luckily for me and the conference, a Kansas LLL leader is also on the LLL international board. So she gave a presentation on how powerful breasting can be for women and stories she has gathered in her study and work with breastfeeding mothers. She had a wonderful slideshow of pictures and art of mothers nursing their children. I think the most powerful statement was that it doesn't matter whether a woman nursing for one day or for two years she remembers that experience for the rest of her life. She told a story of a woman who couldn't remember who her daughter was but could remember breastfeeding that daughter as an infant and toddler. The story touched my heart. That the experiences of breastfeeding can last so long. At the same time I am saddened by this thought. For those women who have excruciating experiences and memories of breastfeeding those experiences are carried with them for the rest of their lives. My hope is that for those women who only breastfeed for a short period, whatever the reason, realize that they can take pride in those experiences. Even a week of breastfeed a baby benefits them.
Anyway, I did get to hear Dr. Sears talk today. He caught a late flight into Wichita last night. This morning I even had breakfast with him. I didn't realize it was him until I had sat down at the table. We didn't really talk much, mostly we ate and tried to wake up :). But we did talk about how much syrup a baby get on them in their infanthood (I was wearing Cai in the sling and yes he gets lots of food on him when he is in it). My first session this morning was with Dr. Sears on vaccines. It was very informative. He explained very briefly what diseases we vaccine for and very limited information on why. He then quickly went over why some parents are wary of/ choose not to vaccinate and how we can vaccinate safely when we have more information on the vaccines and the diseases they are for. For an hour session it was very very informative. I really want to look into the information more. Dr. Sears uses an alternative schedule to vaccinate his patients that ensure they get all the vaccinations just two rather than up to four at a time. This means for the first 6 months babies get two shots month rather than the three to four every other. The benefits of the alternative schedule according to Dr. Sears is that they only get one live virus at a time and only one aluminum vaccine at a time. He explained that our bodies usually only come into contact with one virus at a time and thus giving only one live virus vaccine at a time is easier on the body. The aluminum he explained in relatively small in one vaccine. But builds up when contained in multiple vaccines. Giving only one containing aluminum limits the amount of aluminum in the body. All very interesting points. Dr. Sears ended with precautions to parents who choose to not vaccinate as well as the reminder that something like 99% of kids actually handle the current vaccine schedule. His push to use an alternative schedule is to ensure that those 1% whose immune system can't handle the current schedule can be safely vaccinated.
The rest of the conference was good. Not nearly as interesting as my first session. I went to a session on toddlers. But mostly I felt like I was more helpful to other parents than they were to me. Meaning I felt I was doing or had tried most of what we discussed. Mark said it makes him feel like we are doing something right that we are already using so much of what we heard discussed in the various sessions. All and all we had a good time. Plus is was so nice to get away, even to Hutch for awhile. :)
If you want to check out more about Dr. Robert Sears and/or more about his information on vaccines visit
or click on the title of this post