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Introductions and NEW BEGINNINGS

Karen Shaw
Falls, Pennsylvania, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 33 No. 5, October-November 1997, p. 118

At a recent Series Meeting I asked a rather complex introductory question of the 15 or so mothers attending, hopeful of catching a glimpse of the image we, as a Group, project. The question had two parts:

A. What, if anything, made you hesitate to attend a La Leche League meeting?

B. If you initially hesitated, why then did you finally attend?

The answers to Part A will not surprise you:

  • The ideas are radical: nursing older children; mother stays home and breastfeeds.
  • My baby at eight weeks is too old for those meetings.
  • Watch out, they are hard core.
  • They are judgmental regarding issues of total breastfeeding.
  • They are a cult.
  • Fear of hearing/making comments which would stir feelings of failure.
  • I don't need support.
  • I can't go alone.
These thoughts grew from opinions other people shared with these mothers; some of them were made by members of the health care community.

Part B answers may also not surprise you:

  • I had breastfeeding difficulties; I needed specific information.
  • I wanted to identify with people who shared my parenting style and philosophy.
  • I took the risk.
  • Once there, the people seemed OK.
  • I needed a social connection.
  • Once there, I found acceptance. Nursing two days or two years, it's all great and the baby is given back to the mother.
  • Someone I trusted recommended it.
  • I read some articles in NEW BEGINNINGS and was impressed with La Leche League.
Our Group has made some marketing changes based on these answers. When possible, we stress in our meeting notices the advantages of any amount of breastfeeding. We indicate social comradeship (annual picnic). We invite the grandmother of the breastfed baby to attend the May meeting with her daughter or daughter-in-law and grandchild (a companion). We stress that each mother-baby pair creates their own definition of success.

I believe, however, our best marketing tool is NEW BEGINNINGS. Our Group buys cases of back issues and distributes them in every community venue we can. The magazine portrays the philosophy; it conveys the acceptance; it makes all of us look credible. Including a flyer or postcard in NEW BEGINNINGS might help increase memberships. No need to reinvent the wheel. In NEW BEGINNINGS we have a great product that effectively promotes LLL.

Ed. Note: Back issues of NEW BEGINNINGS are available from the LLLI Order Department for the cost of shipping only. Call for information.

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