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The Importance of "In-Person" Help - The La Leche League
By Sherri Hedberg, IBCLC
"Hello. Is this La Leeeche League?"
You're pregnant and have decided to breastfeed, or you are breastfeeding, and are looking for information and support. You've heard about La Leche League (prounounced le-chay) but aren't sure if this is the place for you. What is LLL and how do they help mothers?
La Leche League is an international, non-profit organization whose purpose is to share information and support with mothers who are considering breastfeeding or are currently breastfeeding. LLL was founded in 1956 by seven mothers who had breastfed children themselves and realized that there was a need in their community for support. At first, meetings were very informal with just a few friends present. Within ten years, groups had been started in almost every state in the US and even a few overseas. Today, there are over 3000 La Leche League Leaders in sixty-six countries.
"What do LLL Leaders do?" Through their own breastfeeding experience and personal training, they offer mother-to-mother support to any mother who requests it. They are available by phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most work with a local La Leche League group which meets monthly and offers a series of 4 meetings covering the benefits of breastfeeding, preparing for breastfeeding, avoiding difficulties, and nutrition/weaning.
"What do LLL Meetings offer?" They offer the opportunity to meet other mothers who are breastfeeding (or planning to). LLL Leaders are present to guide the discussion and answer questions. Groups also have lending libraries with books on breastfeeding, childbirth, parenting, and nutrition. And they are fun! Babies are always welcome at LLL meetings.
"When should I begin attending LLL meetings?" Go when you are pregnant! Many mothers make the mistake of thinking LLL is the place to call when you are having a problem, but it is much more than that. There are things that a mother can do to prepare for breastfeeding. She will receive information at LLL meetings that will help her to be ready - and give her the opportunity to meet the LLL Leader.
Visit LLL's homepage at: http://www.lalecheleague.org/ There you will find tons of breastfeeding information and a list of groups closest you. You can also send questions to LLL Leaders who will e-mail you a response.
Today, mothers often need additional support while breastfeeding. La Leche League is an excellent place to start.
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