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Dollar$ and Cents

Candace Moore Hill
Evanston IL USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 3, July-August-September 2006, p. 66

Let's speak plainly: World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations (WBWC) are all about the money. The goal of hosting an event, such as a walk, party, or picnic, is to give Group members, their families, and their friends an opportunity to financially support local, regional, and national La Leche League efforts.

That being said, why should your Group spend the time, energy, and goodwill to raise a large amount of money, of which only 50 percent stays home and the other 50 percent must be mailed away? You have every right to ask what's in it for you.

First, let's look at all the ways a Group can earn funds. In my Area, a mother's purchase of a $40 (US) membership gives our Group exactly $8.50, or a 21 percent return. If a mother purchases a book from our Group, we might be able to claim a 10 percent profit of $1.60 on a copy of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. Some Groups sell slings. Do any of them earn more than 30 percent, or $6, on each? In these examples, the only sales or contributions come from mothers already connected to your Group.

A public event, however, reaches out to mothers who may have been helped by LLL long ago. I once saw a mother throw $20 in a collection jar, saying that one phone call years ago helped her with her twins. A public event encourages us to reach out to our communities and share what we do. Leaders provide a vital service to their cities and towns, encouraging healthy lifestyles and close families. When you invite the mayor and the town health commissioner to your walk, you are showing them a success story they may be thrilled to share.

A public event allows all the breastfeeding advocates to gather and celebrate. Invite hospital lactation consultants, midwives, doulas, and pediatricians who support and encourage breastfeeding. Raffle off homemade pies and get a local coffee house to donate coffee and have a celebration in the public square. Be the force that brings people together for the benefit of babies.

A public event influences young women who are not yet mothers. Studies have shown that the more often they hear and see information about breastfeeding, the more likely they are to decide to breastfeed later on.

A public event is your opportunity to congratulate yourselves! La Leche League Leaders are the most dedicated, hardworking mothers I know. They will drop everything to help a mother with a newborn, take another Leader's children for the afternoon, answer phone calls while making dinner, write emails late into the night, scour the Internet for new information, create new and interesting presentations for meetings, use family vacation time for Area Conferences, subscribe to journals they can't afford, read every new book about breastfeeding, and still bake something healthy for the Series Meeting.

As a mother in my Group likes to say, "You are rock stars!" You deserve a party, even if you have to host it yourself. Let's speak plainly, World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations are all about you. They are about Leaders helping mothers nursing babies. If, during the course of your celebration, funds can be raised for your Group, Area, Division, or Affiliate, and LLLI, more the better. And you get to keep 100 percent of the praise, congratulations, and the joy of seeing breastfeeding mothers supported by their communities.

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