So, the day I downloaded the registration booklet for the conference, I cried! I was overwhelmed with several emotions: excitement that I am actually going, incredible enthusiasm for what I am going to have the chance to learn there, and...a giant sense of being overwhelmed. How on earth was I supposed to choose only ONE session in each time slot?
I had a really hard time deciding. So many sessions jumped out at me, but I had to choose the ones I thought I might get the most from. Having been to a few conferences already (not LLLI conferences, but LLL NY-E conferences and local lactation consortia conferences), I felt like I had already heard a lot of what the "big names" on the roster had to say. I'm also an avid reader of LACTNET, so I feel like I could really ask a lot of very wise, knowledgable people any question I ever have right there online. So, I would need to choose the sessions that might benefit me in my LLL work right now, and in my quest to become an IBCLC in the future, as well as a few that might feel personally applicable to me in my own parenting journey.
I'll be discussing the unique needs of military mothers in a pre-conference session (as a military mother on active duty myself, I expect to have plenty to contribute to the discussion!) on Friday. Saturday, I will enjoy hearing about how to evaulate and solve difficult breastfeeding problems, and the anatomy of the nipple. I'll start my Sunday morning with a session on the vital role of nutrition in a variety of medical situations (I just had to go to something by a Sears!), followed by the philosophy of advertising and the brain development of children (I'm looking for more defenses from skeptical family members and friends who think we not only feed our kids "too well," but are sheltering them by not allowing TV or videos in huge amounts), and a session on jaundice in the breastfed baby. Having had two severely jaundiced (ABO incompatibility) newborns, I would love to get some information to bring back to my pediatricians on this issue. My experience so far has been that I know more than they do about this complex subject, and that's a little bit upsetting to me. On Monday, I signed up for Karen Gromada's mothering multiples session. I should mention that I did this knowing that I would be pregnant at the conference, and having a certain strange feeling that I might be carrying twins (in fact, I am currently presenting very large for dates and have an OB appointment scheduled tomorrow...). Even if I am not, there are more and more mothers of twins showing up at my meetings and I feel at a loss sometimes when they discuss their unique situations. My Monday luncheon will be a learning experience as well, as I hear about new research on the anatomy of the lactating breast. I know there is a lot of controversy over exactly how the breast works and makes milk, and I want to hear the latest information. I'm especially excited to attend Sheila Kippley's session on the seven standards of ecological breastfeeding. An avid (and successful) user of the Natural Family Planning method, I find that the more I know about all of it the more I want to know. My husband and I are considering becoming our parish's teaching couple for the NFP method, and I already get a lot of questions about breastfeeding and NFP.
Of course, there are lots of general sessions to attend. Admittedly, I'm going to be craving a little downtime beyond the hour each afternoon and dinnertime. I'm something of an introvert and I know I'll want to take a walk or go for a swim or take a nap at some point (and not at 6 a.m., thank you very much! I'll definitely still be "rejuvenating" myself by looking at the backs of my eyelids at that hours...). I'll have to see how I do with that.
Because I am a scholarship recipient, I am going to be on the lookout for ways I can transfer the knowledge I gain at this conference into a more universal learning experience for many. A LEAVEN article might be nice, a series of inservices I could present at my local community hospital for the nurses is something else I've been thinking about (even though many of the nurses see me coming and duck for cover...I'll have to tell you the stories of my jaundiced newborns someday). I'm open to suggestions, so if anyone's got 'em, I'm listening!