Most people know that if they want help with breastfeeding, they can look to La Leche League for good information and support. Considered the “world’s foremost authority on breastfeeding”, it’s the first resource many moms look to if they’re experiencing challenges.
But even if you’re not having a nursing challenge, you might enjoy attending an LLL meeting. There is a common misconception that if you’re not currently breastfeeding, or currently having some issue, that you can’t benefit.
So not true.
While LLLI is a breastfeeding organization, the women who attend meetings are an awesome collection of ladies who are a wonderful resource of all kinds of mothering and family topics. There are several things you might get from your local LLL group that may surprise you:
Hook up with a co-op – At an LLL group I attended years ago, I met a mom who coordinated a buying club. Trying to find a co-op or start your own by searching online can be frustrating. I also found a co-op for raw milk and made a friend who supplied me with kombucha and kefir grains, free of charge!
Find a homebirth midwife – I think it’s pretty safe to assume that there are a higher percentage of women who hang out around LLL who have had homebirths in comparison to the general population. If you’re trying to find a homebirth midwife, ask around before or after an LLL meeting.
Learn the art of babywearing – When I went to my first LLL meeting, it was with the sole purpose of getting help with making my baby sling work for me and my fussy, high need baby. Seeing women who actually used baby carriers was helpful, as was the hands on assistance the moms in the group gave me.
Find a good Pediatrician or Lactation Consultant – LLL leaders aren’t in the business of recommending health care providers. But if you want to find a Pediatrician who will actually be supportive and knowledgeable of breastfeeding, listen up or ask around among the moms. Surprisingly, there are plenty of Lactation Consultants out there who aren’t helpful and who disperse flat out bad advice. But good ones exist. Among the best are retired LLL leaders!
Good reads – How many times have you picked out what you thought would be a helpful parenting book from the library or store that turned out to be totally contrary to your beliefs? LLL groups keep a lending library. Some are open only to members, others to anyone. The books that make up the group library are breastfeeding and “gentle mothering” friendly and won’t lead you astray.
Learn your community – Having babies or small kids and being in a new area can be isolating and depressing. If you’ve just moved, head to an LLL meeting to find out where the good parks, consignment shops, and other cool spots for kids and moms are. Looking for the local homeschooling support group? Ask your friends at an LLL meeting.
Special assistance – While LLL leaders are trained to help moms with “garden variety” breastfeeding challenges, if you have a rare or especially difficult problem, you can also get help. Your local leader has access to a database of leaders who have personal experience with unusual issues. For instance: nursing triplets, nursing with cleft lip/palate, nursing after breast surgery, stubborn thrush, food allergies, nursing while pregnant, tandem nursing, etc. Some leaders also do hospital or home visits to help you if you can’t make it to a meeting. If you’ve just given birth, call your local leader to find one who will visit you in your home to assist you with latching baby on. (LLL leaders do this free of charge.)