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My Conference Journal

Jeanine Ketch
Rochester MN USA
From LEAVEN, Vol 43 No. 4, October-November-December 2007, pp. 90-91

It's incredible how reading a copy of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING in 1985 impacted my life. What a journey! I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the seven Founders of LLLI.

Transitioning (or "reentering" as my co-Leader Beth Werven and I termed it) back to "normal" life after attending the 2007 LLLI Conference (without my family members), I find myself continuing to carry the reassuring and content rich Conference experience.

Just as I was determined to breastfeed my children, I decided in 2005 to attend the 50th Anniversary LLLI Conference. This journey began by putting very small amounts of money aside in a jar at the back of my closet. Unexpected family expenses had required our already stretched budget to tighten. Not much was being added to my savings jar, but my determination to attend the Conference remained.

I was a fortunate recipient of the Ripplewood Scholarship for the Conference registration fee, and received a second scholarship from the Minnesota/Dakotas, USA Area, which assisted with travel and lodging. Several of my co-Leaders suggested I go to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA when they learned that I had won an autographed copy (by all seven Founders!) of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING.

I didn't think things could get much better. I was wrong.

Being at the Conference with 3,000 registrants, 1,000 children, and 100 teenagers, in a city I had never been to before, seemed at times to be a bit overwhelming. Soon I was making incredibly intimate individual connections with people from all around the world. It was absolutely heartwarming and wonderful!

I found myself feeling a bit "star struck" as I saw, listened to, and spoke with a variety of authors of the books I often use as resources -- not to mention sitting in a "parlor visit" (which had a similar atmosphere as a Series Meeting) with two of the Founders! Under it all was the commonality that we each were parents, sharing our experiences and our passion for breastfeeding.

Thoughts and Quotes Paraphrased From My Conference Journal

First impressions in the International Ballroom on Opening Night
"So amazing that this sea of chairs (and this isn't even all of us!) full of strong, like-minded people passionate about mothering through breastfeeding, grew from what seven mothers started 50 years ago. Incredible and inspiring!"

Michael Brandwein
"Children will copy what we do, even when it doesn't make any sense."
"What are our options?"
"It's not that we make mistakes; it's what we do with them."

Marian Tompson, LLL Founder
"It's difficult to think of another group of people (LLLI) so out of sync with their own century, yet so influential about its future."

Kim John Payne, MeD (Master of Education)
"Our body has a wisdom."
"Treat a soul fever much like we treat a physical fever by slowing down, simplify, reentering life stream gently."
"Do we see childhood as an unfolding process or as an enrichment opportunity?"
"Parents are not unpaid party planners."
Web site:

Nils Bergman, MD, MPH, PhD
"Humanity first, add technology next."
"The mother is the baby's nature habitat."
"Importance of skin-to-skin contact for mother and baby."
"Mother and baby dyad is mutual empowerment."

Kittie Frantz RN, CPNP-PC
"Put baby skin-to-skin at birth and let the baby self-attach."

Robert Sears, MD (Dr. Bob)
"Organic is worth it."
"It's not about appearance, it's about health."

Ina May Gaskin MA, CPM
"I experienced a one-on-one absolute connection with Ina May Gaskin when she made eye contact with me during her lecture!"
"Laughing facilitates labor."
"Women teach me things all the time."
"Rearrange your mind."
"Our body works best when we praise it. Remind a woman to be mindful of how well she is made."
"We do not value women enough yet to prevent unnecessary maternal death."

"Mother and baby form an inseparable biological and social unit."
"Mother is the kitchen."
"Not a sleepy baby -- a drugged baby."
"Babies are competent and ready."
"Timing matters -- the golden first hour!"

William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN
"Discipline: giving your child the tools to succeed in life."
"A baby who feels right will act right."
"Trust the mother and the baby."
"Find a balance."
"Critical, in the first years, if baby is separated from his mother, increased cortical levels damage the brain."
"If I were my child how would I want my mother to act?"
"Our house is not perfect."
"Quirky kids think outside the box. They may someday make a better box."
"Know your own child, read your child, and write your own book."

Char Wenc
"Celebrate value rather than reward a behavior."
"Panel discussion with Faith Bedford, Kittie Frantz, Ina May Gaskin, Chele Marmet, Audrey Naylor, Barbara Nicholson and Peggy O'Mara. Each shared the theme of interconnectiveness and tendrils effect regarding the early start to LLLI."

Peter Hartmann, BrurSe, PhD
"Awesome information/photos about the anatomy of the breast."

Jack Newman MD, FRCPC
"Believe in breastfeeding."
"Suggested that LLLI is right, the need to educate professionals and to lobby government mercilessly."

Back home, I find myself pulling strength from my experience. Family always comes first; trust your instincts, listen to and follow children's cues, and honor/trust what the amazing body can do!

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