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My "Hot" Date with LLL

Eve LaRochelle Faucher
Lowell MA USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 1, February-March 2005, pp. 16-17.

One Friday night, I volunteered to take calls for the LLLI HotLLLine. I anticipated a lot of calls and an emotionally and physically exhausting evening. Well, it was actually quite the opposite. It was an exhilarating and stimulating experience.

Leaders seem to talk about the HotLLLine like it is a scary realm that only the bravest of Leaders dare to enter. The commitment of an overnight shift definitely sounds overwhelming, which explains why the HotLLLine is understaffed and there aren’t enough volunteers to handle the current volume of calls. On some evenings and weekends, there isn’t even a number available for mothers to call with breastfeeding questions. The thought of mothers not getting the help they needed motivated me.

Part of the reason I became a Leader is to help women breastfeed their babies. I think if more women had support, encouragement, and information, fewer would give up breastfeeding after a few weeks. This is how I realized that the HotLLLine is an important tool for both mothers and LLL. Mothers receive immediate assistance with their breastfeeding concerns. Leaders can build confidence or fine tune their helping skills. The organization will benefit from the word of mouth that LLL provides help to mothers.

Before making any decisions, I did a bit of thinking. I estimated that, if I volunteered, my busiest call time would be between 8:30 pm and 11:30 pm. During my shift, my daughter could be tucked in for the night by my husband. I knew there was a slim chance that I would receive a midnight call from a desperate mother, but that didn’t happen.

I searched the LLL Web site for information on how to volunteer and I signed up for a night when I knew my husband would be home. I set up a comfortable place to sit—the futon in our little office. I surrounded myself with pillows and made sure the lighting was adequate. I shut the door so I would not be interrupted and spread all of my helping tools out on the bed around me.

I had the Leader Log Forms and Leader directory that had been sent to me. I had THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, and my three ring binder of tear-off sheets and pamphlets nearby. I also had my LLL files and a computer nearby, just in case I needed them.

I live in Massachusetts, USA. My phone started ringing soon after 8:30 pm, and it was very busy for about an hour and a half. By 9:30 pm I had received seven or eight calls, and my call waiting service often beeped while I was engaged in another call. I scribbled notes in my log as I gave information, asked questions, and listened. My caller identification device was flashing numbers from California to Florida. A few mothers left voice mail messages; a couple did not. By 10:15 pm, I had called back everyone I could reach. I finally hung up the phone. I felt a little drained and relieved that the calls were over.

For the most part, the mothers asked pretty straightforward questions. Two of the women just needed to find out if medications were safe while nursing. With a copy of Medications and Mothers' Milk by my side, those calls were a breeze. One mother had a question and also mentioned that she was moving soon. In addition to breastfeeding information, I gave her telephone numbers for her current and future towns from the directory I had been given.

The most difficult call was from a young mother who is human milk feeding her infant. She had many questions ranging from milk storage to maintaining her supply and pumping efficiently. Most of her questions were simple to respond to. I had recently had a call from a mother in my area who was human milk feeding so I wasn’t taken off guard by the concept. But if I had not been comfortable taking the call, I could have referred her to the phone number in the directory or called her back after some research.

All the mothers I spoke to were surprised and happy to reach an LLL Leader. They were receptive to the support and encouragement that I provided. Despite my nervousness, I had all of the information I needed to handle the HotLLLine calls just from a few months of experience being a Leader. It was a great way to get over the jitters and build confidence taking helping calls. When I got off the phone I felt smart, generous, helpful, and all around fabulous.

I enjoyed my "hot" date with LLL. If you have some evenings and weekends free but you aren’t ready for a long-term commitment, volunteer for a shift with the HotLLLine! You might get hooked.

What's the difference between
800-LALECHE and the HotLLLine?

When a mother calls 800-LALECHE for breastfeeding help on Monday through Friday between 9 am and 5 pm CST, she will receive assistance from Leaders who are a part of the LLLI paid staff in the Schaumburg, Illinois, USA office.

The Leaders answer basic breastfeeding questions, and then refer the caller to her local LLL Leader for follow-up and meeting information. Callers are referred to Leaders listed on the Leader Specialty File when it is appropriate.

The HotLLLine is an after-hours service. Mothers who call the LLLI office when it is closed hear a message asking them to leave their name and address on the answering machine to receive by postal mail the name and telephone number of their local Leader as well as free breastfeeding information. If a volunteer HotLLLine Leader is available, the message also tells callers that they can reach a Leader for immediate help by calling the number on the recording.

If you are a Leader in the USA, you can volunteer for a HotLLLine shift (3 pm to 9 am weekdays, 9 am to 3 pm and 3 pm to 9 am on weekends and holidays). Leaders in other countries can contact their support people for information on similar volunteer opportunities in their Areas. HotLLLine volunteers are expected to be home and available to receive calls during their shift and may receive 25 or more calls. Volunteers will hear only from mothers who call the LLLI office and are willing to pay the cost of a long distance call for immediate help.

You can read more about 800-LALECHE and the HotLLLine in the 2003 Leader’s Handbook (pages 192-93 and 200-01). To volunteer for the HotLLLine or for more information, contact Tina Landis at 708.423.2169 or write to CLandis941 at aol dot com (email).

Eve LaRochelle Faucher has been a Leader since January 2004. She and her two-year-old daughter and husband live in Pepperell, Massachusetts, USA. Eve is a self-proclaimed meeting junkie who leads meetings in Lowell, Andover, and Ayer, Massachusetts, USA. Eve is a new Leader who is continuing to develop great phone helping skills. She was inspired by volunteering on the hotline and is now making it a regularly scheduled part of her commitment to LLL. Brandel D. Falk is Contributing Editor for this column. Please send articles or ideas to Brandel at Pal-Yam 34, Tsameret Ha-Bira, Jerusalem, ISRAEL or ImaBDF at inter dot net dot il (email).

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