Lisa Van Zyl, South Africa

March 2018 marked our Groups’ first birthday in Alberton in the South of Johannesburg. To mark our birthday, a photographer from the local newspaper arrived at the end of the meeting to give us some local publicity.

My co-Leader, myself and our children cut out printed coloured paper circles or heart shapes, each featuring a breastfeeding obstacle. I packed these “medals” in an empty egg container (they fit perfectly).

I introduced the topic by mentioning that some mothers stop breastfeeding due to a lack of support or information or due to misinformation. However, I stated that everyone present at the meeting had persevered through their challenges and deserved a medal for each accomplishment.

At the meeting we took turns to ask questions such as:

  • “Who continued to breastfeed despite having had sore nipples?”
  • “Who breastfed through mastitis?”
  • “Who has breastfed for days/months/years?”

Every mother who had overcome a breastfeeding difficulty was awarded an appropriate medal which was stapled to a sash made of florist ribbon. The ends of the sash were held together with stickers that doubled as our name tags for the meeting.

I also had plenty of blank hearts and circles. Mothers thought of their own challenges; we wrote those down and stapled them onto the sash too.

For new pregnant mothers attending, medals could include: getting support, informing myself, making connections and more. The mothers were very proud of their medals and it made an eye-catching photograph for the local newspaper.

Lisa Van Zyl has been a Leader since August 2014.  Married for 14 years to her best friend Johan, they have three children, Savannah 7.5 years, Belle 4.5 years and Rocco who is 1.5 years.