Thinking About La Leche League Leadership?
Leaders represent La Leche League, so it is important to
know what the organization believes and does. We hope the following frequently asked questions will aid your
What is our purpose as LLL Leaders?
The general purpose of the organization is to help the mother learn to breastfeed her baby, to
encourage good mothering through breastfeeding, and to promote a better
understanding of breastfeeding and related subjects. LLL is an international, educational,
nonsectarian, nondiscriminatory service organization with a strict policy of
not mixing causes. We have that policy
in order to offer breastfeeding help to mothers with a variety of personal
beliefs. Leaders know the importance of
one mother helping another to recognize and understand the needs of her child
and to find the best means of fulfilling those needs. Leaders provide information and support so
that each mother can make the decisions which are best for her family.
What does LLL believe?
Leaders believe that breastfeeding, with its many crucial
physical and psychological advantages, is best for mother and baby and is the
ideal way to initiate effective parent-child relationships. The ideals and principles of mothering which
are the foundation of LLL beliefs are developed in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. This book has provided answers and inspiration for the rewarding and
challenging job of parenting to several generations of mothers. Applicants for LLL leadership are required to
own and be familiar with this book (2010 edition). If you have not yet read this book, doing so
will familiarize you with the organization you might be interested in
representing. The Womanly Art of
Breastfeeding is available from the LLLI
Online Store http://store.llli.org/public, Amazon.com, or your local book store.
LLL philosophy is summarized in the following ten concepts:
breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and
satisfying the needs of the baby.
Mother and baby
need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and
an adequate milk supply.
In the early years,
the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his
need for food.
Breast milk is the
superior infant food.
For the healthy,
full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows
signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.
breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.
Alert and active
participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding
off to a good start.
enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and
companionship of the baby’s father. A
father’s unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the
child’s development from early infancy.
means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their
natural state as possible.
From infancy on,
children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities
and sensitivity to their feelings.
does a Leader do?
Most Leaders fulfill the basic responsibilities of
leadership, which are:
mothers one-to-one by telephone, email, or in person.
and leading monthly Series Meetings.
the management of the LLL Group.
up-to-date on breastfeeding information.
mothers find out about leadership and prepare to become LLL Leaders.
Leader responsibilities are shared when there is more than
one Leader in a Group. Most Leaders find
it beneficial to concentrate on the basic responsibilities for a period of time
before considering expanding or changing their service to LLL.
I want to help mothers breastfeed, but I cannot commit
to all of the basic responsibilities. Is
there still a role for me as a Leader?
The definition of an active Leader allows for many ways to
commit to leadership:
“An active LLL Leader pursues the La Leche League mission
through basic Leader responsibilities as defined in the Policies and
Standing Rules Notebook and/or other service to LLL. An active Leader's fees are current, she keeps
up to date with Leader education, and she communicates regularly with the
Are there prerequisites to applying for leadership?
Yes. They are as
Mother has breastfed her baby for at least nine months when
she applies for leadership. Baby was
nourished with mother's milk until there was a nutritional need for other foods
(i.e., about the middle of the first year for the healthy, full term baby). If baby has weaned, the baby was nursed for
about a year and the transition from breastfeeding respected the baby's needs.
Note: Special consideration may be given to a woman whose
personal breastfeeding experience is outside the realm of a normal course of
Mother values nursing at her breast as the optimal way to
nourish, nurture and comfort her baby. She
recognizes, understands and responds to baby's need for her presence as well as
for her milk. She manages any separation
from baby with sensitivity and respect for the baby's needs.
- Is a
member of LLL.
LLLI purpose and philosophy.
attended at least one series of meetings (where available) and has
demonstrated a commitment to LLL.
and is familiar with the contents of the most recent edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (if available in her language) as a primary resource for LLL Leaders.
- Has a
recommendation from an LLL Leader.
sufficient command of language to complete the application and preparation
for accreditation and to fulfill the responsibilities of LLL leadership.
- Has an
accepting and respectful attitude toward others.
warmth and empathy towards others.
or is willing to develop effective communication skills.
I’m not sure I meet those prerequisites. How can I find out?
You can talk with the Leader of your local LLL Group to see
how your own experiences and philosophy relate to the LLLI Prerequisites to
Applying for Leadership. She can also
answer any questions you have about leadership, and talk with you about what
work the leadership application involves and current fees. If there is no Group
where you are, you can contact the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD)
the Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA) in your state,
or through the Administrator of Leader Accreditation <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who
will give you contact information for your location. In the Mountain Plains (MP) Area of
Colorado/Wyoming, contact: Karin Gausman, KarinLLL@aol.com
If leadership is not a good fit for me, are there
other ways I can help breastfeeding mothers?
members are the backbone of an LLL Group. Sharing your experiences with other mothers in the Group shows a
real-life example of how breastfeeding can work. Your mother-to-mother support can inspire
other mothers to face any challenges that arise. Members often take on Group jobs, such as
Librarian, Treasurer, or Greeter. The
commitment of active members makes a crucial difference to the success of an
LLL Group. You might also be interested
in one of the following programs:
- Breastfeeding task
forces: If your town has one of
these, it will bring together many lactation supporters, from various
venues and organizations.
- Lactation consultant: This person sets up a private
practice, or is employed by a hospital, a physician, or other health care
provider. Many of these consultants are International Board
Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC). They are certified through
the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE).
For information about the IBCLC program, visit http://www.iblce.org/
What does an application for leadership
- Discussing with a Leader Accreditation
Dept. (LAD) representative (in writing, email, by telephone or in
person) your personal
experience of breastfeeding and mothering as it relates to LLL philosophy.
how to support the normal course of breastfeeding and help mothers cope
with common concerns.
how to access relevant resources to support mothers facing specific
required background reading.
leadership skills and attitudes, such as active listening and meeting
about LLL as an organization at the local level and beyond.
attending workshops and conferences where available.
How long does that take?
It can be different for each
individual, depending on factors such as one’s organizational skills, the
number and ages of the Applicant’s children, other commitments, and time
available. Many applications these days are
completed within six months. Each
individual proceeds at the pace that enables her to
effectively prepare for leadership.
LLL leadership sounds great, but how can I
fit it into my busy life?
As a mother, you have already
learned how to juggle many different responsibilities in your life. Leaders put the needs of their families first
and also give priority to LLL work. Leaders find a way to balance their commitments to both as well as to
other responsibilities they have. The
application work is designed to correlate closely with the time needed to
fulfill leadership responsibilities. In
this way, the application can provide real experience in finding ways to weave
LLL work into your life. Or, you might
decide that you want to apply for leadership in the future, when the timing is
better for you. Talking with a Leader
can help you decide.
How would I show that I’m ready to be
accredited as an LLL Leader?
Together, you, your Leader, and
the LAD representative will ensure that you have met the Criteria for
Accreditation as an LLL Leader, set by the LLLI Board of Directors. These are:
has met the LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership (as listed
has nursed her baby for about a year.
has demonstrated understanding of LLLI philosophy.
has conveyed her knowledge of basic breastfeeding management, outlined in
Breastfeeding Management Skills Criteria, Appendix 18, Policies and Standing Rules Notebook.
- She has
demonstrated leadership skills and attitudes, outlined in Leadership
Skills Criteria, Appendix 18, Policies
and Standing Rules Notebook.
has completed the LLL Leader accreditation process.
has signed the LLL Leader Statement of Commitment (SoC).
When the LAD representative adds
her signature to the SoC, the Applicant is accredited as a Leader and is
covered by LLLI liability insurance.
I think leadership is right for me. What is my next step?
Contact a Leader in your local
Group to have pre-application dialogue. For information about how to find a Group if you are not already
attending one, see:
If there is no Group where you are, you can contact the La
Leche League Leader Accreditation Department through the Administrator of
Leader Accreditation <email@example.com>, who will refer you to a LAD
representative who can help you. Or, if you
live in Colorado or Wyoming, contact the
Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA) for the Mountain Plains (MP) Area: Karin Gausman, KarinLLL.@aol.com
This site is maintained by firstname.lastname@example.org for La Leche League of Mountain Plains. Feedback is welcome.