Seasonal Greetings! Using the changing seasons as inspiration for meetings

Anna Burbidge, Market Harborough, Great Britain

After months of COVID restrictions and Zoom meetings, Leaders in some Areas are starting to resume face-to-face meetings and once again enjoy the pleasure of being in the company of other women. Zoom has been invaluable for many attendees during the last months, but some Leaders have found it difficult to stick to our usual series topics as so many women had challenges and questions they wanted to discuss. “Burning Issues” came to dominant many Zoom meetings, with Leaders finding they couldn’t get a topic to flow. Restarting Group meetings seems like a good time to revisit our Series Meetings titles and enjoy thinking of some new ones.

Adding variation

The original titles of our four Series Meetings were 

  1. The Advantages (now Importance) of Breastfeeding 
  2. The Baby Arrives; The Family and the Breastfed Baby
  3. The Art of Breastfeeding and Overcoming Difficulties
  4. Nutrition and Weaning.

In 1984 it was decided to offer the option of using a yearly plan with twelve separate titles that could more accurately reflect the variety of topics that are discussed at meetings. While the content of the meetings wouldn’t change, having a new title might also add variety for regular Group mothers instead of a repeat of the same four titles. 

For Leaders who have decided to continue with Zoom meetings for now and, for a Group with mothers who have been attending for over a year, keeping the discussions varied, while meeting the needs of new parents, is even more of a challenge without the face-to-face Group contact.

Sharing Ideas

The new Leader Handbook, available online in the Leader section of the LLLI website, has some good suggestions for different title options and Leaders often have their own ideas that are fun to try.

Leaders in Great Britain (GB) recently shared ideas about using the months of the year as inspiration, and here are a few of their suggestions. Some can be used as one-off meetings or developed into a theme for all four Series Meetings. When in the year they are used will of course depend on where you live!


(March/April/May in northern hemisphere)

With spring hopefully in the air, a flower theme is a possibility. For one series I drew a flower each meeting, with large petals and stem with leaves, and used it to fill in ideas from the Group in response to questions and statements. The petals and leaves can represent different family members or different situations.

GB Leader Deborah devised a meeting called “Breastfeeding Is Blooming Marvellous” which could be used in spring or summer. She asked for other words to describe blooming and then used them in her discussion asking, for instance, what mothers appreciated about the healthy aspect of breastfeeding, what mothers found attractive about life as a breastfeeding mother, how had breastfeeding helped their mothering to blossom. To end the meeting she asked the group for a special spring or summer memory they would treasure about breastfeeding.

The information about babies as orchids or sparklers might fit into this series (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 8th Edition, page 142).


(June/July/August in northern hemisphere)

The summer months can be a time when families travel, go on holiday or meet up with relatives. Topics can include travelling with babies, holiday weaning, alcohol intake, protection against illness and whether certain foods need to be avoided.

Holidays, Celebrations and Breastfeeding is a useful article and can also be used in the winter months when families may be attending more festivities. 


(September/October/November in northern hemisphere)

The autumn has various festivities that might make catchy series titles.

GB Leader Rebecca used the title “Harvest for a meeting: food for our babies provided by us.” This has potential for a whole series: sowing seeds, having to put in some work, watching our “seeds” grow and change, reaping the rewards of our efforts and enjoying the results. Thanksgiving could be a similar theme.

GB Leader Deborah continued the theme of using cultural days in her regular series meetings by compiling a great meeting entitled Halloween—have you ever found breastfeeding scary?

Deborah prepared questions asking what the group thought might be scary about breastfeeding; what mothers had heard in the past that worried/haunted them; had they had a breastfeeding experience which gave them a fright; what was fun about breastfeeding or helped if they got fearful.  She ended asking the mothers to share a breastfeeding “trick” or a “treat” they enjoyed.

Scary Myths could form a part of this meeting such as: “Your baby will nurse until college if you let them”, “You get less sleep if you breastfeed”, “You won’t be able to leave the house” and “Partners can’t bond with a baby if you breastfeed”.

I tried this meeting myself and had great fun with it. The Group mothers entered the spirit (!) by asking lots of questions about teeth!

Deborah’s November meeting was entitled Fireworks to coincide with a British tradition of remembering Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot by letting off fireworks. This is ideal for Meeting 4 “when your toddler makes sparks fly.” Deborah asked what type of firework the toddlers most resembled and what name the mothers would call them.  She talked about igniting a firework and what might trigger a child to “explode” (either who, what or when). 

Deborah went on to discuss extinguishing the sparks, calming a child who can’t manage their own emotions. Her next topic was prevention, what we might do to prevent our little one “going off” unexpectedly.  This was followed by “after dark”—what causes sparks to fly after dark in a family’s house. Deborah ended by asking mothers about their child’s “fabulous display”—what they found exciting and gave them joy watching their little one.


(December/January/February in northern hemisphere) 


Deborah’s December meeting is entitled Breastfeeding in the Festive Season. She starts by asking about a happy childhood memory of a festive celebration. Then she addresses some issues which can occur during family visits: relatives trying to give children chocolate or fizzy/sugary drinks; routines which don’t fit the baby; expectations of when the baby will sleep; relatives who don’t understand sleeping arrangements, whether to drink alcohol.

If in your own home, how do you cope with visitors and ask for help with chores rather than the baby? Deborah ends this discussion by talking about something the attendees are looking forward to.

I have found in my Group that coping with criticism and feeling the need to defend parenting ideas has loomed large this year.  Parents are worried that families they haven’t seen for months won’t understand their way of doing things. Giving parents a few handy responses such as “This seems to be working for us at the moment” or “That worked for you but it doesn’t seem quite right for me just now” or just “Isn’t it great, we are really enjoying the way things are right now, aren’t we lucky?”, may all help avert tense discussions.

The “Holidays, Celebrations and Breastfeeding” article mentioned earlier gives some ideas on dealing with criticism.


An idea in the Leader’s Handbook might be ideal for the beginning of the year—“Expectations,” starting with “Great Expectations” before birth, followed by “Realistic Expectations” with a new baby, “What to Expect” as breastfeeding continues, and “I Wasn’t Expecting That!” as baby grows.

Another idea for the first few months of a year might be Parenting Today—asking mothers how the things they do now might differ from previous generations, how we adapt in today’s society, and what might still be valuable from the past.


If you celebrate Valentine’s Day it can provide a great opportunity for talking about feelings. Great Britain Leader Lizzie shared how she uses a Valentine’s Day theme to talk about relationships in the family, and this could include partners, other children, relatives and friends. In the Leader’s Handbook, Themes for Series Meetings, it suggests an alternative title for Meeting Four, Four Chambers of the Heart, in which a drawing of a large heart is divided into four sections. This would adapt well to talking about relationships.

GB Leader Lucy devised a meeting called Valentines: Women as Mothers and Lovers in which she asked what being a mother is/involves and how it might differ to being a lover. She suggested possible scenarios and talked about why mothers needed taking care of too. GB Leader Deborah also used Valentine’s as a way to talk about relationships and asked for creative solutions that could help to keep romance alive.

Helen G, also a Leader in GB, got creative and made cards decorated with hearts, adding a rhyme to each of them. The rhymes all started Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, then continued with useful comments, such as “Breastfeeding is handy and economical too, Love Baby. Happy Valentine’s Day Mum.” 

Some of these ideas work as a one-off February meeting, but some could be expanded for the whole series, perhaps discussing how important support can be and how relationships within families can change or be strengthened during pregnancy, the early months and as a baby grows. It might also include our relationship with our baby and how to deal with difficult days.

Further ideas

Helen B, another Leader in Great Britain once managed to use songs from musicals as subtitles for a whole year’s meetings. These included My Favourite Things, Food Glorious Food and How Do You Solve a Problem (like Maria). There are some great possibilities here and this idea could be adapted in many ways using any songs, films, or books.

For an absolutely amazing collection of meeting ideas, here is a great resource from LLL Canada:  LLL Canada’s Best Series Meetings Ever booklet

With thanks to Leaders Lizzie Hall, Lucy McGilchrist, Helen Gray, Helen Butler, Rebecca Cluett and especially to Deborah Robertson for generously sharing their meeting ideas with us. Further thanks to LLL Canada for sharing their series meetings resource.

Anna Burbidge went to her first LLL meeting in 1975 as a young mother expecting her second baby, not realising that one evening would change her life. She went on to have six children and now has four wonderful grandchildren. She has remained active in LLL for 45 years, both locally and nationally. She remains passionate about supporting parents who want to breastfeed.

Artwork: Courtesy Ken Tackett