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The Year of the LLL Group

Nancy Spahr
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 4, July-August 2004, p. 139

Thirty-one years ago I gave birth to my first baby. Both my husband and I had been fortunate enough to be breastfed in an era when breastfeeding rates were at an all-time low.

We knew breastfeeding was best for our baby, and it made plenty of sense for us financially, as my husband was a law student at the time.

Tim was born healthy and with a strong suck. Soon I had sore nipples. After some mismanagement, I finally solved the problem with the help of my pediatrician and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. My family was nearby and supportive, and I didn't feel the need to contact a Leader or attend an LLL meeting.

Three years later I was pregnant again. We were living in a small town of 2,800 where I had few friends, and none of them were breastfeeding their babies. Then I read in our weekly newspaper that an LLL Group was forming. That sounded like the perfect opportunity to meet some nursing mothers and find the support I was looking for.

At the meeting, I was surprised to discover that there were so many breastfeeding mothers in the area and that the local Leader was nursing a toddler! All the mothers were so friendly and welcoming. Soon, I felt right at home and was prepared for the upcoming birth with lots of information, encouragement, and support. The birth went well, and I was thrilled to be able to attend the next meeting with my newborn in arms, tell her birth story, and receive all the congratulations.

I continued to attend meetings, for at that Group I found much more than breastfeeding information and support. I discovered a philosophy of breastfeeding and parenting that felt so "right" and like-minded mothers who helped me in many ways through the mothering maze.

I became an LLL Leader in 1976 and have found a variety of ways to say "thank you" to the organization that has been a mainstay for my parenting journey. As I reflect on all these years, I realize that it was my experience in the LLL Group that helped me make choices and decisions I still feel happy with now.

Today my LLL work brings me in contact with people from all over the world. I find that many mothers have had experiences similar to mine.

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