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Letters to LLLI: promotion of LLLI

Donna Cookson Martin and Trudy Hartt
LLLI board of Directors
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 38 No. 4, August-September 2002 p. 85.

Dear Leaders,

We have received letters from Leaders who wanted more information about La Leche League International’s participation in the TV program “The Balancing Act.” We’d like to share more details of the project that might help answer these questions.

Initially, LLLI was introduced to the idea of producing a segment on breastfeeding for “The Balancing Act” because a donor, who wanted to specifically fund this project, approached us. We were more than willing to take advantage of the opportunity because it gives LLLI exposure in a world where breastfeeding information is sorely lacking. Working mothers may not even be aware that they can breastfeed or that it is worthwhile to do so.

The promotional material for “The Balancing Act” talks about mothers who “balance a career during the day and motherhood at night.” This raised some concerns about LLL compromising its philosophy by participating in a show oriented toward working mothers. The LLLI segment was self-contained, and it tells mothers how beneficial breastfeeding is for mothers and their babies. From the beginning, La Leche League had editorial control over this project in order to assure that our information and philosophy were accurately represented.

Another opportunity for a somewhat different kind of television exposure has also come our way. LLLI will be part of the program, “Volunteers’ Odyssey,” which will include a segment about the work being done by LLL in Guatemala to promote breastfeeding in rural and urban areas—and we hope this is just a beginning. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if pictures of happily nursing mothers and babies were everywhere, if La Leche League were one of the first places where a woman turned when she became pregnant, and if breastfeeding and mothering through breastfeeding were to become the norm?

Recently, the LLLI Board of Directors consulted with the LLL community about what the priorities should be for the coming year. A high proportion of those who responded told us our priority should be to let people everywhere know about LLL and breastfeeding. They told us we should offer information to everyone—mothers and future mothers, health care professionals, and employers—anyone who can make changes to promote breastfeeding and mothering through breastfeeding. After all, we can be available to help more mothers breastfeed only if we can find effective ways to reach them.

Through projects such as “The Balancing Act” and “Volunteers’ Odyssey,” we reach mothers who may not be aware of the wonderful opportunities for their babies that mothering through breastfeeding can offer. We are not changing; we are doing what we have always done. A mother may be working. She may be in school. She may be at home. If we can find a way to reach her, we can share with her the message of LLL.

In all our endeavors, we hope to create a welcoming place for mothers to think carefully about choices related to being mothers, encouraging people to appreciate and enjoy the experience of mothering and breastfeeding, and to integrate ideas they find helpful and beneficial. Our philosophy, as summarized in the 10 concepts, is the core of La Leche League. Mothers and babies breastfeeding, and everything good that comes from that, is at the center of our purpose, our mission statement, and our vision for the future.

Donna Cookson Martin and Trudy Hartt
LLLI Board of Directors
Editors Note: The Balancing Act segment on breastfeeding can be viewed on the LLLI Web site at

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