From The Heart

On Breastfeeding

I always wanted to be pregnant and I’ve always wanted to nurse my baby. When I found out I couldn’t become pregnant, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from my desire to breastfeed my child. When we started the adoption process I researched inducing lactation. With the help of my online research and additional resources and encouragement from Yvonne, I was able to successfully supply our newborn with my own breastmilk and have been exclusively breastfeeding him for the last 9 months.

Yvonne has taught me to trust my instincts. To listen to my heart and my son and the best thing for him, is my love. Yvonne is one of the most nurturing, companionate and motivating woman I’ve ever met. Before our son was born, we hired Yvonne to coach us through the ways of attachment parenting.

We attend the Le Leche legue meetings where Yvonne leads so many of us through the ins and out of breastfeeding. She is our go-to “person” when it comes to all things baby. I have even sent her photos of my sons dirty diaper. Even though Yvonne has 3 children, is a wife, a leader and wears many hats, she always responds to an email I’ve sent. She is an amazing soul and I am a better Mom because of her.

Jennifer

Yvonne is one of the most dedicated women I know. Her volunteer activities could take up the span of a full time job and the women and men she serves so benefit from her tireless efforts. I am one of those women. My twins were born 6 weeks premature and they could not breastfeed until their official due date and with her help and moral support I pumped and had my babies practice breastfeeding as often as we could. They are 18 months old now and we have never looked back. She was there for me when I didn’t have any community support and still remains an active resource. When I came to my first LLL meeting, she called another twin mom to offer me additional help. She truly bent over backwards to lend us a hand. I still often go to a meeting or two to be inspired by her leadership. She is a true gem — she represents selfless community support at its heart. When I think about the values that I want my children to understand — teamwork, sharing, altruism, and loving communication — Yvonne embodies them all. I deeply respect her efforts on behalf of so many. You will be in good hands in her company and under her care.

Dr. Leslie Koifman, Ph.D.

At 3 months old, our daughter, Mina was showing less and less interest in breastfeeding. I was so distraught. From the moment we learned we were pregnant, Mani and I knew we wanted to breastfeed. To me, if I could make food unlike any found on the planet and specifically designed for her needs, I was going to give it our all in the hopes she would feed as long as she wanted. Unfortunately, my mother passed away before Mina was born so I felt very vulnerable as a new Mom. I remember the first day I talked to Yvonne. I had been searching online for answers to why she wasn’t drinking any milk. THANK GOODNESS I found the La Leche League website and immediately found the number to Yvonne Toussaint, the local Leader in the San Fernando Valley. I left a message and received a return cal within the hour. Coincidentally, she was having a meeting that afternoon which she asked if I could make. I couldn’t miss it! The parents started showing up, and they were from all different backgrounds with one common vision. They all knew the importance of breastfeeding and it was really relieving to hear the mothers talk and to know we were all kind of going through the same experiences and challenges with our children! After a short time, it was time to go. The meeting sped by and I was inspired yet still puzzled. I started gathering everything up and getting Mina “ready” for her car ride home when Yvonne noticed that I gave Mina a pacifier. She asked how long I had been using it for and if there was any correlation to the drop in feeding. It was then that we realized that the pacifier was weaning my baby! I instantly threw it away. We haven’t had ANY complications with feeding since and Mina is now 2 years old! Aside from breastfeeding, I am enamoured by Yvonne’s parenting style and ability to answer questions with an open mind. She is extremely choosy in her advice to allow us as parents to develop our own, perfect, parenting style. Since my mom is not here to help, aside from spiritually, I have naturally enjoyed observing other mother’s in LLL and can say with love that Yvonne has indefinitely helped fill the void that I felt by becoming a young mom without my mom here to help along the way.

Michelle

You have been an amazing champion along this breastfeeding journey. I have learned and keep learning so much from you! Thank you so much for your continual support and encouragement.

As I navigate being a mom, LLL is one place where I feel free to put my foot down with my kids, speak my mind – successes and struggles, and where I meet moms who understand my attachment parenting, where I can confidently nurse my children in public. I don’t feel overly crunchy or like a helicopter parent.

In a sea of new mamas and with every need pressing, thank you for taking the time to respond so quickly to e-mails, addressing individual concerns, and sharing such valuable information. You are so thorough in our discussions, addressing each persons needs and questions, and yet you are still eager to learn more. Thank you for being attentive to the mamas and a strong advocate for our little ones.

My husband is my biggest advocate, and we are so grateful for you. Even after just one meeting with you, he is still very appreciative of and impressed by your thoughtful organization.

Even when there are dozens of things to address, you make me feel like my situation matters. You have reminded me to trust my instincts and to not let outside pressures dictate how I raise my babies. Watching your example of tandem nursing encouraged me to be much more confident to tandem nurse my little ones. And I’m successfully doing so!

Being surrounded by mamas who don’t hesitate to breastfeed is so empowering! You provide a safe place to do so, even as a first-timer trying to figure out the intricacies. I’m still learning to be brave, especially around friends and family. Almost every time, they offer me a blanket. I’m finally able to kindly refuse (usually) instead of feeling pressured and awkward.

Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for being an advocate for me to trust my mama instincts and reminding me that I’ve got it. I really appreciate you!

Leela

I’m a full time working mother with a 5-year old child that still enjoys nursing to sleep at night, and often times in the morning when she wakes up. Bed sharing works very well for our family since my husband and I are both away from our child so much during the day. We’ve decided to allow our daughter to self-wean when she’s ready. Since I’m not aware of many other families that have continued the nursing relationship to our child’s age, we’ve remained very private about it. Yvonne has been incredibly supportive and understanding as we go through the different challenges of nursing an older child. She’s provided resources and information about dentists that are pro-breastfeeding, as well as shared her personal experience of how it was for her to nurse her older son. Yvonne is such a champion of breastfeeding moms and dads, and it’s so comforting for me and my family. I know that when my child is ready to wean, and I have any struggles, I will get the support and guidance I need from the amazing Yvonne! Thank you!!

Sybil

Motherhood can be overwhelming at times, but the first few months of being a new Mom can be scary and frustrating too. Of course the overflowing LOVE you have for your child makes it all ok. That AND having a someone you can rely on to listen to any issues you might be having and actually provide ideas/solutions that could work. Luckily for me, that person was and still is Yvonne Toussaint.

My son just turned 2 and there have consistently been new challenges to face as a parent, but for me breastfeeding at first was the most troublesome. I had a very hard time getting my son to latch for the first few months of his life. I was determined to breastfeed and wouldn’t give up despite the pain I was going through (physically and emotionally). I had some guidance from the lactation nurses at the hospital before being discharged, and learned how to pump so that I could exclusively provide my child breast milk. When I got home from the hospital, I looked up my local La Leche League chapter and that’s when things turned around for me. Yvonne listened to my issues and responded to my late night emails when I needed someone most. She provided me with excellent references to reach out to (like a craniosacral therapist… something no one had mentioned to me before and it totally helped my son with his latching issues). After 3 months, my son latched and it has been wonderful every since. I just fully weaned him at 23 months old. It was an emotional experience for me… lots of crying, hormonal stuff, etc. Once again, Yvonne was there for me when I reached out for guidance on when/how to wean. I don’t know what I would have done over the last 2 years if I didn’t know Yvonne and know that she was available to me as an excellent resource, community leader and friend.

Candice

I will be forever grateful for meeting Yvonne and the effect she has had on my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. I truly believe that we are still breastfeeding at 15 months, and continuing, because of the nurturing atmosphere Yvonne creates and the gentle guidance she provides.

Yvonne was the first person I contacted when I felt like something wasn’t quite right in the first two days of breastfeeding my daughter while still at the hospital. I had met her at a breastfeeding workshop while I was 8 months pregnant. I had already been to a breastfeeding “class”, but my sister had invited me to Yvonne’s workshop because I felt I still had more to learn. I was expecting something like a how-to-breastfeed but she also gave us an education on the benefits of breastfeeding, which further strengthened my desire to exclusively breastfeed. I’m glad I met her before I needed help, otherwise I may not have reached out and could have settled for supplementing with formula. She had been so encouraging to call her if something hurt while breastfeeding. She was so ready to help, she gave out all her contact information to whoever wanted it. I was glad to call her from the hospital and get the help I knew she could offer. She was so encouraging when I called! She celebrated that I was attempting to breastfeed and conveyed there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I was on the right path and she was going to guide me thru the bumps in the road.

Yvonne helped me thru those first weeks of questions and concerns, and is still there for me. From day one, she suggested attending her La Leche League meetings. She knew exactly what a new breastfeeding Mom needed! To be around like-minded Moms and Dads, going through the same struggles, having the same worries, shedding the same tears, all doing their very best. The atmosphere at her meetings is comfortable. It allows everyone to speak freely and share. Her stories of her own three children, along with the other parents attending the meetings, help soothe worries about our own breastfeeding journey. There is a moment that is stuck in my memory where she has said, “You are exactly what your baby needs”. Sometimes that’s all I need to remember when having a tough moment. If I’m dealing with some baby tears or a sleepless night, hearing those words, words that came from a La Leche League meeting, it alleviates the situation. She lends books and magazines, sends online articles, responds to emails and phone calls, and researches any issue she isn’t immediately familiar with. She will do anything she can to help you! If she doesn’t have a solution, she will find one! I know I can trust what she says. She references her sources when sharing facts, giving me piece of mind that she has done her research and is sharing factual data.

I’m so inspired by Yvonne’s commitment to helping families with breastfeeding. Her commitment to the breastfeeding community is something I wish to emulate. She has shown me the beauty of breastfeeding by helping foster the confidence I needed to believe in my own body. To say I am grateful to her would be an understatement.

Stefanie & Mercy

Yvonne is a lovely woman and mother with a very kind and helpful spirit. I met her at one of the LLL meetings she led when my daughter was 6 weeks old. I’d seen a lactation consultant earlier in the week because I had a plugged duct and milk blister, and my daughter’s latch still didn’t feel right. Yvonne was kind enough to help me before the meeting started. She made me feel more confident in my baby’s technique, and commended me for my positive attitude. As moms and dads filtered into the meeting (at a park), I observed Yvonne assist parents parents with loads of various questions and concerns with ease. She is very clear and calm in her approach to all matters. I went to a different meeting when my daughter was 14 weeks old, and she helped me work through my concerns on returning to work full-time. She has a great lending library, and lent me an informative book on the subject. It really helped! I’d also like to note that Yvonne is great at returning emails when I have questions. I recently asked her some questions about introducing solid foods, and she got right back to me with several helpful suggestions! I appreciate Yvonne’s commitment to her work, and highly recommend her support to mamas seeking help with their new babies. She has three lovely children of her own; I’d say she’s doing something right!

Rachael

Where do I begin! Yvonne has been an amazing inspiration to me as a mother! I first met Yvonne pregnant with my second son attending a LLL meeting. I knew breastfeeding was the best option for my son but I experienced so much pain and no support breastfeeding my first child that I knew I needed help this time around. However, Yvonne not only provided me with amazing facts and benefits but she has supported me through all my ups and downs.

When my son was born, breastfeeding did not come easy for him and caused me to worry especially when he was less than a week old and the doctors told me to take him to the ER since he was losing weight. As I stood there in the ER at 10 at night in the waiting room filled with germs and sick people everywhere, I broke down and emailed Yvonne asking for help. Within minutes we were on the phone and she was encouraging me to trust my instincts as a mother. We left the ER knowing I was acting with the best intentions for my son. As Yvonne assured me that as a mother I would know what to do. My son was just fine and within days gained weight. He is now a healthy toddler still nursing and very happy!

Yvonne has helped me become a stronger person and has opened my eyes to all the wonderful possibilities as a mother!

Natalie

Yvonne was a literally a life saver for me and my daughter. I did not find out about the La Leche League until my daughter was 6 or 7 months old. The moment I found the group, I met Yvonne, and the rest of the gals. It was a very inviting experience. I was extremely shy and waited my turn until we were allowed to ask questions. I thought I bombarded everyone with my questions, but I was so overwhelmed, I had no other choice. She offered countless advice or ways I could increase milk supply (since this was my biggest struggle after going back to work), how to position my daughter to feed better, and encouragement throughout the week when I didn’t see her (especially when my family and friends were suggesting that I stop breastfeeding at my daughter’s first birthday). If it was not for the help of Yvonne, I would not have been able to breastfeed for 19 months while achieving my master’s degree, working full time, and being a wife and a mother. I now am a advocate for breastfeeding. I want to eventually become a La Leche League Leader and a Lactation Consultant. I would suggest going to Yvonne for any and all breastfeeding needs and support. It will be one of the best decisions you have ever made in your breastfeeding journey!

Ashlei

Fortunately I had an uncomplicated natural childbirth with no major problems with breastfeeding (BF), but when I left the hospital, I received NO detailed information from the lactation nurse. My husband and I started attending LLL while our baby girl was still a newborn, and met Yvonne, our local LLL leader, who is simply AMAZING!

We gained so much support and a WEALTH of information regarding the benefits of BF from her. She even tried to share this information with my mother who only breastfed me for less than one month. Armed with this new found knowledge, I am proud to say that I continue to successfully breastfeed my now 23 month baby even though she is eating solid food and despite others, including my mother, who has encouraged me to wean my baby off breast milk. Like Yvonne would say, “Why would you stop giving your baby the MOST natural and MOST nutritious food specifically designed for your baby?” Yvonne has helped my husband understand the importance of his support for me so that I can successfully BF. She has given us wonderful resources regarding BF and parenting. I love the bond I share with my daughter through BF. I can’t thank Yvonne enough for all her encouragement, support, and friendship!

Judeen

I can’t say enough about Yvonne. When my daughter was 6 weeks old and tiny, I was struggling with breastfeeding and post-partum depression, and I reached out to Yvonne via LLL. I wasn’t expecting much from someone who volunteers her time to tens to hundreds of moms daily. I wrote her a very long email and she responded immediately: “come to a meeting”, among many other thoughtful and supportive comments. I hadn’t left home for more than 30 minutes with my baby before (yes, I wasn’t coping well), but she told me I could use a cover and dads are welcome and I did it, I went for 2 hours with my husband and sat in a park on a blanket with my baby girl. That was exactly the push I needed, and that was the beginning of my recovery journey. She answered all my questions lovingly and re-assuringly, listened to my difficult birthing story which was a large part of my healing process, she was extremely loving to my daughter and very welcoming of my husband. Even though she talks to a ton of moms, she remembers all our names (including dads!) months later. She’s got a beautiful relaxed nature, and is extremely loving and accepting of all, including a negative whiny mom (that’s me when I started going to meetings!). She was just the support I needed to continue breastfeeding, as I had a lot of push back from family (not husband though!) for my decision.She taught me on my first meeting to remember that, both, my daughter and I went through a difficult birthing experience and that my role is just to be there for her, accepting and loving. She’s knowledgeable in her field, full of energy, full of love for others and can give support and empathy endlessly. Easy to talk to, she even makes me open up about private feelings in front of a crowd of people. Yvonne also introduced me to a group of lovely parents who I am still friends, and who helped me also be the mom I am today, happy and still breastfeeding my baby, who’s not so tiny anymore! I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my first meeting, I wouldn’t be as confident, proud and nurturing as I am today if it wasn’t for Yvonne.

Thank you Yvonne, I don’t think you’ll ever know the impact you’ve had on my family. I will try and continue to spread your message and love, cuz I got a lot of it!

Heba

Even though we’ve never met…you’ve been super supportive for my twin daughters who are breastfeeding.  The first time I got in touch with you because one of the new mommies was having difficulty with the baby “latching on.”  You gave her some sound advice which was the answer to the equation.  You are a genius!

Anita

I am truly thankful for you getting me back on my breastfeeding track! I am currently exclusively breast feeding, we got the latch going 🙂 If it wasn’t for you, I feel like I would just give up, I was losing hope, but now we are exactly where I always imagined to be, feeding wise. So, once again, thank you!

Svitlana

I just wanted to say that I have been SO blessed by Yvonne.  She took it upon herself to help me when I knew very little about being a mom or breastfeeding.  I’m pregnant with my first child right now.  I started attending the La Leche Meetings, not knowing what to expect.  I was blown away by the positivity, love, and support.  Yes, we talk about breastfeeding (at all stages – which is so very helpful for me to learn right now), but we also talk about just being a mom/parent in general!  I have referred this meeting to several people because I feel like all pregnant and nursing moms should be in it.  Yvonne is so giving of herself and also models as a really awesome mother to her kids and a great wife to her husband.  You can watch her, as an example, during the meetings, and that’s been great for me to observe as well.  Yvonne is always available and willing to help, and I feel comfy talking to her about anything!

Erika

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