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Widening the Circle

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 3, July-August-September 2006, p. 67

By now, many of us are familiar with the variety of possibilities to raise awareness and funds through World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations (WBWC). We've organized potluck picnics. We've attended silent auctions (and bid on way too much). We may have even joined our children on a float for a parade.

While working within a Group, Chapter, or Area is often a familiar and fun way to plan an event, let's consider the advantages of working with organizations outside of La Leche League. Some of us are fortunate to have a baby friendly hospital in our town, or a hospital that has a supportive lactation consultant on staff. Others have formed a positive relationship with a local WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) office, breastfeeding coalition, childbirth educator, or governmental program for mothers and babies. By collaborating with those outside of LLL, we can reach a larger or different audience with our message and gain the advantage of having access to facilities, materials, or resources that would otherwise not be available. And we get to experience the adage, "Many hands make light work."

Angela Nooner shared her recent success story of LLL working together with the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), the Doula Association of Central Oklahoma (DACO), the Postpartum Support of Oklahoma coordinated by Cheryl Jazzar, and Miscarriage Support. They hosted a women's health fair complete with booths and speakers on women's health. Each attendee received a water bottle and a gift bag paid for by sponsors, including Dr. Victor Wilson, a pediatrician, Integris Health, Tan and Tone America, Medela, Inc., A Mother's Touch (a certified massage therapist who does pregnancy massages), and realtors Bob Linn and Associates. The gift bags contained items donated by some of the national WBWC sponsors, such as Pamela's Products and Medela, Inc. Motherlove Herbal Company donated an item for the auction.

Each organization and business paid a fee to have their information in the gift bag. These included Oklahoma Postpartum and Miscarriage Support. In addition, one of the Oklahoma Postpartum Support officers is a consultant with a popular cosmetic company and kindly donated a basket to the WBWC eBay auction.

OBI held a blood drive during the health fair. In exchange, they provided some free health screenings to attendees and also checked temperatures and blood pressures. The American Heart Association donated brochures to inform people how high blood pressure is an indicator of risk for stroke. DACO purchased booth space where they handed out information about becoming a doula, how to find a doula, and a doula's role in childbirth.

Michele Cherry is excited about the hard work of the Leaders of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA area. They have been collaborating with Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas hoping to help the hospital become more breastfeeding friendly. Parkland delivers 16,000 babies each year. The breastfeeding information table for patients and staff was a success. The hospital staff has since been approached with the idea of having a walk at the hospital.

Nancy Graves of Corpus Christi, Texas shared her story about an event held at Del Mar College Morris L. Lichtenstein Center for Early Learning. The Corpus Christi AM and PM Groups held a baby fair that included speakers, exhibitors, children's activities, food, a silent auction, a raffle, and lots of fun. The event, which was attended by 146 people, received four types of media coverage. The profit from the celebration is being used to pay for Group Library books, pamphlets, conference training, phone line, and other basic costs.

In another part of Texas, Rachel Hillman explained how the LLL of Arlington AM2 Group worked with LLL of Fort Worth and LLL of Bedford as well as Arlington Memorial Hospital and Medical City Hospital. They had a successful family day at a local pool plus a silent auction.

Michelle Helm of LLL in Bristol, Tennessee, USA worked with the local YWCA to host a baby fair. With an attendance of over 600, they were encouraged that there were no formula representatives among the exhibitors. Comments on evaluation forms gave the LLL table very high ratings and positive remarks.

Let us know how your Group, Chapter, or Area has celebrated WBW so we can share the ideas with others. When you plan future events, think about trying something different. Let's continue to widen the circle of breastfeeding supporters.

The WBWC Team is made up of Leaders from across the USA. Anyone with a passion for breastfeeding awareness and fundraising is welcome to join. Visit for more information.

Website note: URL updated from print version

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