Monday, February 27, 2012

Supporting Breastfeeding as a La Leche League Leader

Nursing between family photos at 5-months old.
Ava taking a break at the LLL conference 13-months.
My favorite nursing picture taken at Butler University.

Ava is a healthy, vibrant little girl!

She says "mama hand" when she wants to hold my hand.
It's official! I was accredited as a La Leche League Leader today! It's been a year in the making. Here's a look back at my original post.

I've been a member of La Leche League Broad Ripple, one of the first groups that formed after the original founding members started the mother-to-mother support organization in the 1950's. Our group's three other co-leaders are second generation LLL leaders. Their mothers brought them to meetings as nurslings to meetings and now they're mothers and leaders in the group. My mother-in-law was a LLL leader when my husband and his sisters were growing up. It's been such an honor to get involved and carry on a Berkey tradition. I'm proud that even with working outside the home and recently starting to travel for work, Ava has never had a drop of formula or cows milk in her life. She's turning 2-years old in just a few weeks. The highly bonded relationship that we've established through breastfeeding is so rewarding. It's so special to me that I'd like to help other mothers through their breastfeeding journey!

The best thing about volunteering as a LLL leader is that I bring Ava with me. Since she's so into babies, it works out perfectly! Ava came to all conferences and events with me sitting on my lap playing or sleeping in a carrier while I learned. Ava seems to understand when she sees pregnant mommies that there's a baby growing in her tummy. My hope is that by raising Ava with the LLL philosophy of mothering through breastfeeding and being together as much as possible, that she'll pass on that tradition to her children if she becomes a mother one day.

I'm really passionate about helping mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals, especially working mothers who face some serious obstances. I've talked to many working mothers that felt defeated by the separation from their baby. But working doesn't mean you have to wean. And it doesn't mean that you can't breastfeed part-time either. As part of my new role in the group, I'm going to lead a series meeting downtown during lunchtime to help working breastfeeding mothers. Our first meeting is in a couple weeks! I'll also co-lead the evening meetings a couple times a month. Being a leader means that I'll respond to the group breastfeeding phone hotline, emails, and Facebook private group questions. Since I'm one of several other leaders, we spread duties which helps us provide more services.

My training for becoming a leader was extensive. It started with a morning kickoff meeting at the Indianapolis Museum of Art cafe with three other mothers. I went to educational conferences, read books, wrote responses to writing and exercises. And recently, I've started to take a more leadership role in our group by responding to mother's concerns and technical questions. I'm proud of myself that I accomplished this while balance my family and career responsibilities. I've learned to relax some things to get more sleep. Aaron challenges me on that all the time because there was a time that I was over extending myself. Now, I'm more rested and feeling much more balanced! I'm ready to share and listen!


  1. Thank you for your work with LLL!

  2. Thanks, Joanna! It's such a pleasure to help moms!