LLL Today #5 – My Experience as a Leader Applicant and New Leader with La Leche League

La Leche League (LLL) has been a big part of my breastfeeding journey from the very beginning. Like many new mothers, I had no idea what breastfeeding would really be like. My experience when my daughter was born was nothing like I imagined and LLL supported me both online and in person.

My son was born in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK, face-to-face support (in all aspects) had more-or-less paused because of legal restrictions on gatherings. Despite being unable to meet in person, I felt well supported by LLL.

It was a while later that I felt able to reflect on breastfeeding during Covid. At a local outdoor nature group, I found myself chatting with one of the LLL Leaders who had supported me. (We had never met in person due to the pandemic). I decided on that day that I would love more than anything to be able to support other mothers. I sent an email that weekend to enquire more about becoming a Leader.

At first, I felt a little daunted about completing application work. Yes, it was exciting, but initially I felt that it was an impossible feat. How would I complete it all whilst working and being a parent to two small children?

My CLA (Coordinator of Leader Accreditation) at LLL and my supporting Leader were amazing throughout my application work. My CLA doesn’t live in the UK so we have not met in person, but I felt like she was an old friend, giving me confidence and spurring me on.

My biggest challenge was juggling parenting with application work. LLL recognises the importance of family life and my family always came first throughout. There was never any pressure to complete work in a certain time frame.

There were several points in my journey when I wondered whether I should continue. I worried whether I would be ‘good enough’ to be a Leader. I was afraid that I wouldn’t know ‘everything’ by the time I completed my application. The Leaders who supported me were so knowledgeable, patient and inspiring. I wondered how long it would take to feel like that. I now realize that there is no Leader who knows everything about breastfeeding. We are all on a journey, learning from each other as we go. My learning hasn’t finished now that I am a Leader. I am committed to continuous learning.

As a new Leader I have had tremendous support from two local LLL Leaders. I also know I will have fantastic support from LLL as an organization. I can email questions at any time. I also have the Leaders’ Facebook group where I can post questions to other Leaders confidentially. 

I have felt very proud becoming an LLL Leader. I love supporting mothers and parents in person and online. It is lovely to hear when a mother shares positive experiences about her journey and I hope to continue to support local mothers and nursing parents in this way.

If you are reading this and wondering if LLL Leadership is for you, I would encourage you to have a chat with your local LLL Leader. It is one of the best things I have ever done. Attending the LLLGB National Conference online as a new Leader and listening to the talks felt very special. What a great organization to be a part of.

Editor’s note: For information on becoming an LLL Leader see: https://llli.org/get-involved/prerequisites/.

Jen Earl, LLL Great Britain