Deborah Robertson, Rochester, United Kingdom
LLL Kent is a busy Group in the United Kingdom with 14 active co-Leaders. Over the last 22 years, LLL Kent has seen 22 Leader Applicants become accredited LLL Leaders. There are currently six Applicants in LLL Kent attending monthly Applicant Workshops. The Leaders in LLL Kent have collected various visual aids to use when helping mothers and as a result of this they have developed a collection of fabulous resources to give to each Leader Applicant. They call it the Leader Applicant Kit.
Instead of providing Leader supplies or sharing existing Group resources with Applicants during their application, more recently LLL Kent has provided them with a comprehensive Leader Applicant Kit at the beginning of their journey. We have found that providing Applicants with these useful resources has helped them to become successful, skillful, knowledgeable, and confident Leaders.
The kit contains most things that a new Leader might need, from a knitted breast and a baby doll to demonstrate positioning, to a Leader Log pad and other useful forms. LLL Kent funds this through dedicated Group fundraising. With the help of careful bargain hunting and a little home printing, the kit is provided at the cost of about £35, €45 or US$50 per Applicant. See Group Fundraising Ideas (Leader Today 2016-January) on this website.
If an Applicant withdraws or discontinues the application, there is an understanding that the kit is to be returned. This rarely happens however, as the pre-application dialogue is very thorough. Withdrawals usually happen long before mothers reach the stage of becoming an Applicant and receiving the kit.
Supplying the Leader Applicant Kit at the start allows our Group’s Applicants to practice using the forms and tools while working on Leader skills during the application period and helps the Applicants feel that they are a valued part of La Leche League. Once accredited, a new Leader also receives the Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple, Pocket Edition.
What is in the Leader Applicant Kit?
The Leader Applicant Kit comprises:
- A good quality cotton bag printed with the LLL logo from La Leche League Great Britain (LLLGB). http://www.lllgbbooks.co.uk/store/p119/Cotton_Bag_with_gusset.html
- A Leader Log pad from La Leche League Great Britain (LLLGB) which is available online at http://www.lllgbbooks.co.uk/store/p111/Leader_Log.html along with a zipped folder or binder with many pockets and pouches from an office supply or stationery store.
In LLLGB we regularly mail our excellent printed information sheets to mothers after speaking to them on our Helpline. The kit includes:
- Compliments slips (a thank you note printed with LLLGB’s name, address and logo).
- LLL business cards
- Postage stamps
- Pen and pencil
- Ground rules—a sheet outlining LLL Kent’s Series Meeting guidelines.
- Venue risk assessment form—a form provided by LLLGB to check the safety aspects of a meeting venue.
- Helping conversation articles—tailored collection of communication skills collected by Group co-Leaders.
Phrase lists—commonly used phrases in LLL (e.g. see Writing With Respect on this website).
- Evaluation tool—developed by LLL Kent as a way to assess meetings (see Chapter 4 of the Leader’s Handbook).
- Knitted breast
A useful tool to demonstrate latch and hand expression. Pattern available here http://www.lcgb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Knitted-Breast-LCGB.pdf
- Knitted Knappy or diaper
The Knitted Knappy gives a very powerful message that antenatal women really remember. I explain “If you do not see transitional poo by day three, then it is important to contact an LLL Leader or other breastfeeding specialist for suggestions to increase baby’s breast milk intake. It is too late to wait for day five and then discover there isn’t any yellow poo yet.”
- Belly or tummy balls
These are little balls in different sizes to correspond with a baby’s stomach capacity at one-day, three-days, and five-days of age. We make our own but you can buy them from various sources (search belly balls online).
- Soft-bodied baby doll with a moveable neck
Co-Leaders and mothers in the Group search for these dolls second hand in charity shops/thrift shops or at car boot (garage) sales. Smaller ones work as well as life-size and are more compact for carrying to meetings!
- Shoelace timeline
An 80-centimeter shoelace represents 80 years of life. One centimeter sections are coloured with a pen to signify the one year in a mother’s life for every baby she has at the age she has them. The shoelace timeline is a valuable Leader tool, illustrating to a tired, discouraged mother that although this intense time may seem overwhelming, it is but a short period of her life in the whole scheme of things.
Deborah Robertson was accredited as a Leader in 1993 and began a new Group as a lone Leader. She currently co-leads with 14 other active Leaders with meetings in seven towns in Kent. Keen to spread LLL throughout her county, she has been creative in recent years in using both the LLLGB (12 module) Leader Applicant Handbook and also Facebook as tools for distance learning to help Applicants and add new LLL meetings throughout local communities. Deborah is an experienced graduate teacher and an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), and has her own business providing a LEAARC (Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee), an approved course of breastfeeding education for health care providers.