One of dh's good friends from college was an LLL Leader for several years. We didn't know that until we sent out our Christmas letter when Ina was about 15 months old, and mentioned in there her allergies and that she was still breastfeeding. She wrote me a little note saying how wonderful it was that we had persevered - it was a wonderful note to receive from someone I didn't know that well at all.
The next time we saw them, is when she mentioned that she was a leader herself. When we visit, it's always nice to talk with her and her dh because they also are quite AP in their parenting and I think both of us feel relieved that we don't have to tip-toe around or justify our parenting choices with each other, KWIM?
So she's really the only "face" I have for LLL since there isn't a group here. My experiences have been positive, and I would love to have (or begin) an LLL group here.
I think that several pps have mentioned that LLL seems extreme to the mainstream, just in giving out sound breastfeeding advice, and I'd say that for every negative experience with a particular LLL Leader or group, there are probably 10 misinterpreted negative experiences, where actual factual bf information is interpreted as "fascist bf propaganda." As in --
|You wouldn't believe it, the LLL Leader actually told me that giving a bottle at night would decrease my supply!
At the LLL meeting, they were talking about pacis and said that we shouldn't use them when babies are young!
The LLL group said that we shouldn't schedule our babies, how am I supposed to get anything done?
When I told the LLL Leader that I was so tired, she actually suggested moving the baby into OUR bedroom?!
The problem is that even when they are trying to keep things low-key, so much of the good, science-based breastfeeding advice runs counter to what people are used to expecting that babies (and mothers) should do in our culture. So LLL does sound weird and freaky when they give good bf advice. Especially when the HCPs don't believe/advise similarly (look how many doctors tell mothers to get their babies on a rigid feeding schedule, etc.).
I think it's sad when a LLL Leader gets in the way of the program -- can't (and don't) people try to address that with the Leader herself, or with other Leaders in the area or etc., so that she can be more effective and less abrasive?
ETA: And is part of the problem with ineffective or offensive groups/leaders, actually tied into the 'stereotypical' female communication style wherein we don't give upfront feedback (and take offense when it IS given to us)? Having been a supervisor for a long time, I'm really comfortable in situations like that; but I know many people aren't, and avoid giving feedback and/or actually take offense when it's given ... kind of a "catty woman" loop instead??
Where instead of telling the leader directly, "I felt attacked and uncomfortable, this is the research I've done, this is how I'd have preferred you approach this" or "Several women have left the group because they didn't feel included" or etc. ---- we talk about the leaders behind their backs and then wonder why she's not fixing things when she never got the feedback in the first place?
I don't remember the specifics, but I know Tannen's books talk about women in Western cultures often communicating through the 'back door' rather than directly - so if Jane has a problem with Anne, Jane tells Sally who tells Mary who tells Sue who tells Anne and then Anne has to try to fix it, KWIM?