The recent vilification of La Leche League NZ (LLLNZ), by New Zealand media and members of the public has been quite an eye opener. Slow news day was it NZ Herald and TV3?
This great article by Donelle Bellanger Taylor raises the most valid of points in this whole debate. Most people have absolutely no idea who LLLNZ even is. She notes:
I don't understand why people find it so hard to comprehend that hospital midwives are not La Leche League, lactation consultants are not La Leche League, Plunket nurses are not La Leche League, and random grumpy old ladies aren't La Leche League either.
La Leche League is made up of volunteers who give their own time to work with women who call them or come along to meetings. Women come to them to get support and information to help them succeed in breastfeeding."
I agree that LLLNZ has a bit of an identity problem. Many people seem to believe that it's full of hairy-legged hippies who sit around with their norks out, feeding their 7 year olds and because they are a volunteer organisation, there is not and will likely never be, any funding for a big glitzy marketing campaign to change that misconception. This means the fantastic work they do every day in our communities (providing support and information to breastfeeding mums) and the real face of LLLNZ as it is today, simply doesn't get shared.
So here they are - just some of the faces of LLLNZ members and supporters, mostly ordinary NZ mums just like you and me - hardly the horrific hairy-chinned "breast feeding nazis" they've been painted!
More images are being added all the time, but we had to start somewhere.
Please note: This video has been put together by me, through my connection with other LLL members and is therefore completely independent of LLLNZ.
Final thought: Putting aside deliberately inflammatory reporting and incorrect identifcation of LLL personnel, if even half the horror stories are true then perhaps it's time for LLLNZ to reassess training and it's level of intervention. In some situations the goals of LLL (as a breastfeeding support organisation) and parents won't match, and that's likely to be where the breakdowns are.