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The Ripples from the World Breastfeeding Week Celebration

Alice Martino Roddy
New York NY USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 6, December 2005-January 2006, p. 135.

Are you keeping a journal of all the things you want to do but can't because you are too busy raising a family? As a La Leche League Leader I know better than to give advice, but nevertheless you really should write them down. Some day your children will be gone and you will look around your newly quiet home and ask, "What was it that I wanted to do when I had time?"

It was in that state of mind that I saw a feature in the paper on World Breastfeeding Week, complete with photos and the details of a walk to be held. It seemed a marvelous opportunity to support something I really believed in and an opportunity to see whether any other old-timers were still around. I was warmly welcomed by young women who seemed genuinely interested in hearing about LLL of almost a generation earlier. I met Dr. Alan Cunningham and learned that breastfeeding could be considered a baby's first immunization.

When Leader Eileen Roach invited me to attend a Series Meeting, I was intrigued but doubted that young mothers would want someone of their parents' generation around. I might put a damper on candid conversation. However, curiosity got the better of discretion and I went. I was surprised how interested the other attendees were in what I had to say. Perhaps they were reassured that I didn't regret doing things that so many say will spoil a child and that children eventually do wean and even sleep in their own bed. Perhaps they liked bouncing ideas off someone their mother's age who wasn't their mother. In any case, I was invited back.

A couple of meetings later, Eileen said, "Since we have to bring our books every time, we could really use a Librarian who isn't also bringing a baby or toddler. Would you like the job?" With the Library in my home, it was only natural that I would browse through it. If I read a few books, I could better make recommendations. So when Eileen said, "You know that you could reactivate as a Leader, don't you?" I was up to date.

And it was at Eileen's kitchen table that she said, "The Area is looking for a new editor for Harvest, the Area Leaders' Letter. I think you'd be perfect for the job."

I have gone on to become a Communications Skills Instructor (CSI) for my Area. Who would have ever known that by attending a local World Breastfeeding Week Celebration (WBWC) I would have come back home to La Leche League after being away for so many years? Although I was never really "away" from LLL since what I learned as a new mother from LLL has always been in my heart. Through the inspiration of one WBWC, my passion for helping mothers and babies breastfeed was revitalized. Just imagine the mothers and babies, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, doctors and nurses, public officials, and perhaps even past LLL Leaders who will be reached with each WBWC that takes place!

By the time you read this article, your WBW Celebrations will be over. Won't you consider sharing your "ripples" with us? Send your stories to the Community Network World Breastfeeding Week Chat Library or an email to the WBW Discussion at WBWchat at community.llli.org.

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