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More Than a Quick Fix

Joyce Whiting
Gloucester, Ontario, Canada
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 35 No. 4, August-September 1999, p. 93

Think about the job we do as LLL Leaders. Our mission statement in Canada includes "to empower women to breastfeed their babies." I am concerned that some women think that LLL only fixes breastfeeding problems. Some may have no idea of the far-reaching benefits of LLL information and support. How can we change this perception?

Eleven years ago I attended my first LLL meeting in the eighth month of my first pregnancy. I had made an extra effort to attend the meeting even though my prenatal classes had included some discussion of breastfeeding and bottle feeding. I was living in Quebec, Canada, and planned to give birth in a French hospital on Montreal's south shore. I wanted someone I could call if things got tricky and my high-school French proved inadequate. The only two women I knew who had breastfed were 3,000 miles away. I felt that the LLL membership fee would easily cost less than one long transatlantic phone call. I also thought that I could learn everything I would need to know about breastfeeding in a two hour "lesson" at the meeting.

Not all expectant mothers think of LLL as a lifeline to reach out to as I did. So how are we going to reach them? How can we give them the message that becoming informed will help them avoid most problems and make the ones that do occur less worrisome?

We need to appeal to pregnant women with messages such as,

Thinking of breastfeeding? Let LLL help you become informed.

Thinking of breastfeeding? Inform yourself now. Come to an LLL meeting.

We can let women know about what LLL has to offer through posters and pamphlets in malls, at prenatal classes, wherever pregnant women might be.

LLL is more than a fix-it phone line. That would be opposite to the message our mission statement and purpose embrace. It includes education which is empowering. We need to provide information in a way that conveys the message:

You make the decisions. You choose the information you need. With adequate resources for information and support, you can do it.

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