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Announcing a New Resource!
Childbirth and Breastfeeding: Background Information for Leader Applicants and Supporting Leaders

Karin Gausman and Alison Parkes
Directors, LLLI Leader Accreditation Department
From: Leaven, Vol. 45 No. 2-3, 2009, pp. 4-14

One requirement Leader Applicants need to meet before accreditation involves background reading/learning. This includes The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and the Leader's Handbook (if those books are available in the Applicant's language). This requirement also includes childbirth reading/learning. In the past, this could be met only by reading a "comprehensive" childbirth book (one that covers many delivery methods and the effect of each on the start of breastfeeding) from an LLL Bibliography. This knowledge enables a Leader to be prepared to help mothers who have experienced many kinds of deliveries and to better understand the reasons behind the LLL concept statement: "Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start."

However, we realized that childbirth knowledge could be acquired in different ways, and that some Applicants might already have that information before applying for leadership. In 2007, we revised that requirement to focus on the knowledge itself, rather than directing the method used to acquire it:

We encouraged Applicants who did not want to read a lengthy childbirth book, or who did not have access to an appropriate book in their language, to meet this requirement through discussions with a Leader or through attendance at appropriate conference or workshop sessions.

We are happy to announce the availability of another option an Applicant might use to meet this requirement. The Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) now offers a booklet which covers the impact of childbirth on breastfeeding: Childbirth and Breastfeeding: Background Information for Leader Applicants and Supporting Leaders. This resource is designed to give an Applicant the necessary knowledge in a concise, yet thorough, format. Ask your local LAD representative for a copy or access it online at (rich text format) or (Adobe Acrobat document).

An Applicant may still choose to meet this requirement by reading a comprehensive childbirth book, as before. Such reading has the added advantage of giving her insight into which books to recommend to mothers. If she chooses to read the LAD childbirth booklet instead, we encourage her to become familiar with which childbirth books are available to mothers in her Group, so that she can help a mother find a book that most effectively meets her needs.

This booklet is phrased in a terse way to condense the information for a busy Applicant. It does not attempt to convey the information in the way a Leader would communicate with a mother, taking account of her particular situation. For that reason, this booklet is not intended to be given to mothers.

We are hoping that the length of our childbirth booklet -- about ten pages -- will facilitate translation. Applicants discussing this topic with their Leaders may want to use the booklet as a starting point for finding out what is common practice where they live.

We received input from a number of Leader Applicants and supporting Leaders in various LLL entities. They offered their suggestions and told us if they thought the booklet would accomplish its purpose. Their input helped us improve the booklet.

This booklet will be available primarily online or from LAD, as requested. Since we won't have paid for bulk copies from a printer, it will be easy to make changes later, as our information changes, or as it needs to be modified to be applicable to a specific entity in LLL. Please let us (or your local LAD representative) know if you have suggestions for future versions of this LAD resource.

Thank you to the following people who answered a general request to help us with input and editing for this project:

* Kelley Baer, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA, Leader since 1993, US Western Council PL Resource, has attended five births in addition to her own, and is the mother of three children.

* Toshi Jolliffe, Heisdorf, Luxembourg, Leader since 1996, Regional Administrator of Leader Accreditation for Africa/Asia/Middle East, Leaven Editorial Review Board, and mother of three children.

* Rachel O'Leary, Burwell, Great Britain, Leader since 1980, Group Leader helping mothers in her local maternity hospital to breastfeed, IBCLC, and mother of three children.

* Penny Piercy, Magnolia, Texas, USA, Leader since 1995, Coordinator of Leader Accreditation Texas, Group Leader, Contributing Editor for the Leaven "Preparing for Leadership" column, and mother of four children.

* Michelle Roth, Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA, Leader since 2002, CLA Pennsylvania-West, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Certified Massage Instructor, and mother of four children.

* Melissa Vickers, Huntingdon, Tennessee, USA, Leader since 1990, Eastern US Professional Liaison Department Administrator, review committee for LLLI written material revisions, IBCLC, writer and editor specializing in child and family well-being, and mother of two children.

* Juanita Watt, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA, Leader since 1977, LLL New Mexico Treasurer, Leaven Editorial Review Board, and mother of two children.

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