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Speakers at the LLLI 50th Anniversary Conference

Mary Hurt
LLLI Conference Team
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 1, January-February 2007, pp. 36-37

You're invited to join us at the LLLI 50th Anniversary Conference to celebrate breastfeeding and the founding of an organization that began as a neighborhood resource and grew to have a presence around the world. Plan to attend 50 Years -- Celebrating the Power of Breastfeeding on July 20-23, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois, USA to hear popular speakers talk about breastfeeding, parenting, and personal development.

Michael Brandwein will kick-off the Conference at an opening night presentation, "The Magic of La Leche League: Building a Future for Children and Families Around the World." He is a dynamic speaker and educator who has spoken on six continents and in all 50 US states. Brandwein wrote and presented three award-winning television programs and has written three best-selling books for professionals who lead youth. His varied background includes a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School, graduation from the famed Second City improvisational school, and over 25 years as a professional magician.

Dr. Nils Bergman will present the first continuing education luncheon, "Mother Baby Togetherness: The Biological Needs of the Baby for the Mother." At another time, Dr. Bergman will also present another Continuing Education Session, "Kangaroo Mother Care: Restoring the Original Paradigm for Infant Care and Breastfeeding."

Dr. Bergman introduced Kangaroo Mother Care to South Africa in 1995. Kangaroo Mother Care is a universally available method of care for all newborns, but is especially significant for premature babies. It involves maternal-infant skin-to-skin contact. It also includes early and exclusive breastfeeding, and no separation of mother and baby.

Dr. Bergman believes that separation of mother and baby causes hormones to be released that interfere with digestion and other normal functions of the baby's body. When separated from his mother, a baby is in survival mode rather than growing normally. Kangaroo Mother Care enables a baby to relax and improves heart rate and body temperature. High levels of stress hormones can have permanent effects on the brain of a baby resulting in behavior problems and lower IQ.

Dr. Bergman is a graduate of the University of Cape Town. He has worked in South Africa, Sweden, and Zimbabwe. As Medical Superintendent and District Medical Officer at Manama Mission, Zimbabwe, he and midwife Agneta Jurisoo developed and implemented Kangaroo Mother Care for premature infants. As a result, there was a five-fold improvement in survival of very low birth weight babies.

Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC, will present a continuing education luncheon titled, "Winning at Childbirth: Priorities for Childbirth and Breastfeeding." Smith develops and presents lectures, courses, and educational materials about breastfeeding management through Bright Future Lacta-tion Resources Center. She is a Lactation Consultant in private practice in Ohio. In addition to her professional expertise and experience, she is known for the novel way in which she presents evidence-based material. Her most well-known persona is "Coach Smith," which she adapted from her experience as a physical education teacher. She gave birth to a new persona, "Granny Zealot," when she became a grandmother in 1992.

Smith believes a good childbirth experience facilitates breastfeeding. She taught Lamaze childbirth classes for 20 years and has maintained her Lamaze certification as a childbirth educator. She does private tutoring in childbirth education and specializes in non-pharmaceutical pain relief for birthing women.

Dr. Peter Hartmann will present "The Latest Research on the Anatomy of the Lactating Breast and Implications for Clinical Practice." Dr. Hartmann, of the University of Western Australia, and his team have recently concluded the most original research in human milk expression since the 1950s. This cutting-edge research on the anatomy of the lactating breast may change older anatomy textbooks. Dr. Hartmann is renowned for his innovative techniques and studies in the field of lactation.

Previous research indicated that women have 15 to 20 ducts in each breast. With the use of new imaging techniques, Dr. Hartmann has discovered that women have an average of only nine ducts with some women having as few as four. These studies have implications for surgeons and women considering cosmetic surgery since losing a few ducts could impair the ability to breastfeed. The research also has dispelled previous beliefs that the breast held milk sinuses where milk would collect. Lactation specialists will benefit from a new understanding of breast anatomy as they help mothers learning to breastfeed.

Peggy O'Mara is a dynamic speaker who will share her wit and wisdom with Conference participants at a session entitled "The Way Back Home: Natural Family Living." A mother of four grown children, she is internationally known for her philosophical inspiration and practical advice, and is editor and owner of Mothering Magazine.

O'Mara is the author of Having a Baby Naturally: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting. Her latest book, A Quiet Place: Essays on Life and Family, features 36 of her award-winning editorials.

W. Bradford Wilcox, PhD, specializes in the sociology of the family. He will present "Viva la Difference: Gender Differences in Parenting" and "The Difference Dads Make" at the Conference. He has published articles on parenting, fatherhood, and religion in many professional journals. Dr. Wilcox is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and a member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University. He has received two awards from the American Sociological Association and is the author of Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands and has been featured on CBS News and numerous public broadcasting stations.

Margaret Kenda, PhD, author of the LLLI-published book WHOLE FOODS FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS, will present "From Pablum to Pad Thai: The Twisted History and Big Business of Baby Food." She will recount the fascinating history from the cereal that three Toronto pediatricians invented in 1930 to combat rickets, scurvy, and the other diseases of malnutrition they were seeing in their patients; to the full commercialization of baby food with big food corporations. She will also include recipes for pad thai and other special foods that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

At another session, "The Smartest Women in the Room: The Business History and Economic Impact of Breastfeeding," Kenda will ask attendees to consider breastfeeding as a business decision. She believes that breastfeeding mothers are truly the smartest women in the room. They have co-opted an entrenched business establishment dedicated to making money from new parents. These are the women who resist paying thousands of dollars for a special high-priced formula even though colorful and attractive advertisements tell them it will protect their children's vision and raise their IQ. The smartest women in the room have given benefits to themselves, their babies, the environment, and the global economy.

The La Leche League International 50th Anniversary Conference will be a remarkable event with distinguished speakers and over 100 fascinating topics. For more information, see the registration book included in this issue of NEW BEGINNINGS or go to

We are looking forward to seeing you this July in Chicago, Illinois, USA!

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