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New USA Helpline for Moms: 877-4-LALECHE

Susan Prado
Lombard IL USA
From LEAVEN, Vol 43 No. 4, October-November-December 2007, p. 87

La Leche League has been helping mothers breastfeed through mother-to-mother support for over 50 years. The need for the unique La Leche League support system continues with every new baby. The La Leche League Breastfeeding Helpline in the USA is designed to meet the needs of mothers and others who may have questions about breastfeeding. This number is easy to remember and will soon be publicized throughout the nation! Many Leaders have been voicing questions about the new Helpline. Here is additional information about 877-4-LALECHE.

I've heard about the new Helpline. What is the number?

Mothers and others with questions about breastfeeding are welcome to call 877-4-LALECHE (877-452-5324).

What about 800-LALECHE?

800-LALECHE is now being used as the main office number for LLLI.

What is the mission of the Helpline?

The Helpline fulfills the mission of La Leche League by helping mothers and babies via telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The calls are from mothers who need information and support relating to breastfeeding.

Will I still get regular helping calls from my local area? Will I get more or less local calls?

The Leaders who answer the Helpline make every effort to connect the caller with her local Leader. The Helpline volunteer also encourages moms to contact their local Leaders for follow up and support. Please make sure that your information is up-to-date in the online Leader locator so that volunteers are providing the most current information. It is our sincere hope that the Helpline serves as an initial point of contact to help mothers learn about the services available to them through La Leche League. This should mean that you will have more mothers calling you locally. A benefit of the new Helpline is that Leaders can refer mothers to it when they aren't available.

How is the new Helpline different from the old Helpline?

The new line, 877-4-LALECHE, works by allowing Leaders to login to the Internet and forward the Helpline to any number of their choosing. It has also received a "facelift" of support services. The Leader logs are available in an online format to allow the information to be shared by all the Leaders who take Helpline calls. This means that if a mother calls at noon and then again at midnight, the Leader can look up information from the first phone call and go from there—she does not have to start from the beginning. We value and respect the information that each mother provides with total confidentiality. That's why the online logging program is totally secure so that only the Leaders who are working with the mother can access her information. The online log program also offers a link to the LLLI Web site for information as well as information from Dr. Hale about medications.

How many mothers have been helped?

In the first two months of operating the new Helpline, we helped over 3,200 callers. We expect the call volume to increase as this number becomes disseminated through the nation. That means that we will need more Leaders to answer calls.

How many Leaders are currently volunteering?

We have about 60 to 70 Leaders answering the Helpline calls. This number needs to increase to be able to meet the demands of the mothers calling.

How many Leaders are needed?

Ideally, there will be at least 120 Leaders volunteering for the Helpline. This will allow the phones to be covered at all times with multiple Leaders. This keeps the job "mother-sized" so if a volunteer needs a moment to change a diaper or calm a child, moms will still be getting their questions answered.

What is the minimum requirement if I want to volunteer?

We ask volunteers to take one two-hour shift per month. Leaders can specify availability. This is a great opportunity for new Leaders to gain experience.

What are the calls like?

The calls are simply like normal helping calls that you take for your local area. The exception is that you can choose when the calls are coming so you have everything ready. Don't forget that you will also be also be logged into our online call logging center that gives you access to a myriad of resources. As usual, if a call is outside the scope of the knowledge of a local Leader, Professional Liaison support is available.

I'm interested in volunteering to answer calls. Who do I contact?

Write Laura at LLGWright at aol dot com or call 601 566 0201 for more information.

I can't help right now with calls. What else can I do?

Anyone can help support the Helpline. Make a secure online donation at www.donate2LLL.org/helpline at anytime. Without continued financial support, the Helpline will not continue to operate.

Also consider publicizing the new number. Wear a shirt, carry a tote bag, or distribute flyers (available on www.lllusa.org/helpline) that promote 877-4-LALECHE. Visit www.cafepress.com/lllbhus to purchase promotional items.

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