Annette Green, Modi’in, Israel
Annette shares ideas for meeting formats that can be adapted for different topics in Group meetings.
Identifying Support Systems
A huge part of what we do in La Leche League is provide support for breastfeeding mothers. The emotional support is no less important than information and strategies we may share with mothers. This meeting idea deals with helping mothers identify the support they have and may need for themselves. Introductory question for mothers to answer when introducing themselves:
What are your sources of support as a breastfeeding mother?
Do you have support? What type of support you are seeking?
After introductions, each mother receives a pen and paper. She is asked to imagine a breastfeeding mother she knows, and write her an empowering and supportive sentence. The meeting continues as normal, discussing various breastfeeding questions that mothers/participants raise. At the end of the meeting, the Leader asks the mothers to take a moment, close their eyes while they read out the supportive sentences, and allow each of them to receive the message and support for themselves.
You could even email the sentences to the attendees after the meeting so they can continue to read them for themselves at home.
Returning to work
This topic comes up often at meetings, and like many hot topics, it has both a practical and emotional component. Introductory question for mothers to answer when introducing themselves:
If you’re returning to work, how do you feel about it?
Be prepared for mothers to share their fears about returning to work, separation from their baby, and fears about their babies not eating when separated. After the mothers have shared their feelings, you can also discuss practical aspects of returning to work:
- Expressing milk
- Milk storage
- Transporting expressed milk
- Educating your baby’s caregiver about human milk
- Continuing to breastfeed at home
- Myths about breastfeeding and returning to work
- Getting baby to take a bottle.
To conclude the meeting, ask mothers to share how they are now feeling about returning to work. Hopefully, after discussing their concerns during the meeting and receiving practical strategies and emotional support, they will be feeling more positive.
Adapting the plans
What I like about each of these plans is that they can be adapted for a number of topics. Instead of support, you could discuss mothers’ birth experiences, body acceptance postpartum—and how breastfeeding can enhance it—self-care as a new mother, and more. Instead of returning to work, the meeting plan could be adapted to traveling with a breastfeeding baby, adapting to a new baby at home, breastfeeding during pregnancy, etc.
The meeting ideas shared above are from Group meeting summaries shared by Coral Weissbrod, Carmiel, Israel and Shira Drucker, Haifa, Israel.
Annette Green was born and raised in Australia, but moved to Israel 20 years ago. She has two daughters and has been a Leader since 2004. Currently, she is a lone Leader of a Group in Modi’in, Israel. She is a contributing editor for Leader Today. Annette has her own holistic health clinic, helping women with fertility, pregnancy and menopause challenges.