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I was at my LLL mtg last week and the leader told me she wanted to talk to me afterwards. She asked me if I wanted to be a leader! I told her that of course I'm interested, it would be the first step in my journey towards becoming an IBCLC, and I would be honored to eventually be a co-leader w/her.<br><br>
So now what? What's it like? What do leader's do? (Besides run meetings & man the LLL hot-line?)<br><br>
Although I'm totally stoked at the chance to help other mamas w/their breastfeeding journeys, I don't want it to affect my family negatively. Is that possible or is being a leader, and becoming a leader, too time consuming. In that case I'd have to say no for now.<br><br>
So dish - what's the good, the bad, the ugly? Can you become a leader w/a toddler in tow? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Yes, it is time-consuming. You can get calls anytime, not just when you are on the hotline. For me, the calls averaged 1/2 hour each. My kids invariably chose that time to have crises/screaming fits, etc. That was more stress than I could handle. I came to dread hearing the phone ring.<br><br>
I didn't mind preparing for and and leading meetings, but I found giving advice by phone quite draining. Moms were often in tears. It took so much out of me that I quit after a year. (I would have quit sooner, but I felt bad about all the time my co-leaders had put in getting me accredited.)<br><br>
Bear in mind that I am a strong introvert personality, and dealing with my own kids drains me. It's not really surprising that I wasn't cut out to be an LLL leader. If you are considering being an IBCLC, you probably aren't the same personality type. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Verity.<br><br>
Becoming accredited can take over a year, so be prepared to do a lot of reading and writing and to keep up with the leader mentoring you. I have had some of the same issues with phone calls, it is difficult to balance at times, also moms can ask you all kinds of things beyond the scope of LLL. I love leading meetings and meeting new moms. I am starting to think about "retiring" due to our homeschooling committments.
 

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I was asked to become a leader and in the end decided it wasn't for me. Why? Because I have to big of a mouth and have no issue with challenging Dr's bad advice and you cant do that as a leader. You can only tell moms what's in the handbook and cant flat out tell them there Dr is wrong or giving bad advice. I was also told I would not be able to tell moms about things like herbs or drugs to increase there milk supply. If the moms had questions the leaders would say "so and so is more familiar with that..." because it was a liability issue.
 

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I am not a leader, but I have to agree with Satori, I have found it very upsetting when my leader says "We are not her to judge" or "We cant talk about this or that" It is a great deal of info I get from my LLL leader and I love her, and I am so greatful for her support to the women in our area, however, I feel that LLL trys to not step on toes that it does some women a slight diservice. As in, when we talk about doctors that support BFing in our area, we cant give names because that is against the rules. And I want to grab a mama and say "this doc is great, stay away from this doc" but we cant. I sometimes want to just start a very natural minded parenting group that supports BFing and the AP life.
 

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Can I put a plug in for the futureLLLleaders group that a mama here started? <a href="http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/futurellleaders/" target="_blank">http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/futurellleaders/</a> It's a dead list so far, but it was started for MDC moms who were looking to become Leaders or were in the application process.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Verity</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yes, it is time-consuming. You can get calls anytime, not just when you are on the hotline. For me, the calls averaged 1/2 hour each. My kids invariably chose that time to have crises/screaming fits, etc. That was more stress than I could handle. I came to dread hearing the phone ring.</div>
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You can always let the machine get it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I know a number of LLL leaders who don't answer the phone, but take messages and get back to the person when it is a good time. One of the leaders even mentioned the timeframe she has for returning calls. Now I assume that if they are home and not busy, they answer the phone, because I know they take LLL calls. But they don't answer the phone everytime it rings.
 

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My kids (particularly my second child) were night owls and there was never a good time ("after the kids are in bed") for returning calls, so I chose to answer the phone. Also, dh was getting work-related calls (this was when he was transisitioning to working out of the house), and my oldest ds was in first grade in public school, so not answering the phone during the day wasn't an option.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Amywillo</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You can always let the machine get it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I know a number of LLL leaders who don't answer the phone, but take messages and get back to the person when it is a good time. One of the leaders even mentioned the timeframe she has for returning calls. Now I assume that if they are home and not busy, they answer the phone, because I know they take LLL calls. But they don't answer the phone everytime it rings.</div>
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I do this too. I have caller id and if things are crazy and I don't know the number I don't answer and call them back when either it's quiter or dh is home.<br><br>
Becoming a LLL is time consuming. The actual process took almost a year for me and I had done a lot of the reading before I started the process. I was asked to become a leader right before my middle dd was born and I became acredited while I was pregnant w/ my third so I haven't been a leader that long. I have found that I like taking calls and helping out new moms. I'm lucky in that my co-leader is awesome and a great support. If I have something that I'm not sure of I call her and double check.<br><br>
Oh on the topic of talking about Dr.s in the area. I know that before I became a leader I had no problem telling a mom about pro and anti breastfeeding doctor's. Leaders can not stop a mom from talking to another mom about doctors. A leader really shouldn't when she is wearing her leader hat but a mom in hte group can talk to another mom about whatever she wants as long as it's done in a respectful manner.<br><br>
Anyway back to your original question. Can it be done w/ a toddler in tow yup! But it will take some help from your dp. There were a few Saturday afternoons that dh took the girls outside to play while I worked on my leader applicant stuff. Would I do it again? Absolutly! I love helping people. I love knowing that I have helped a mom give her baby the best!<br><br>
The main thing that leaders do is lead meeting and answer phone calls but they can do community stuff to promote breastfeeding, help put together conferences and now they can be part of an on-line group.<br><br>
My one suggestion would be to try and find another leader applicant near-by or that you can talk w/ on-line. I went through the process alone, my co-leader has been a leader for over 25 years and had gone through the process in a while. We now have a group of leader applicants that are working together and I think it will be easier for them because they can bounce things off of each other.<br><br>
Good Luck and pm if you want more info.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Verity</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My kids (particularly my second child) were night owls and there was never a good time ("after the kids are in bed") for returning calls, so I chose to answer the phone. Also, dh was getting work-related calls (this was when he was transisitioning to working out of the house), and my oldest ds was in first grade in public school, so not answering the phone during the day wasn't an option.</div>
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I can see why it wouldn't work for you, but I was just trying to make the point that a leader in general does not necessarily have to answer the phone if she is not in a good place to take a help call. I actually have caller ID and I always check that before I answer my phone, so that could help.
 

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I loooooove being a leader! I enjoy running meetings, I love holding the new babes and watching them grow, I love watching mamas who thought there was no one else out there like them form a community through LLL.<br><br>
Helping calls can be time consuming. If you are working w/ a co-leader, though, you share the burden. Also, there is nothing wrong with saying "Look, I really want to talk about this with you, but right now my kids need some attention. Can I call you back at XX o clock.<br><br>
The Leader Handbook does come off as sort of a gag order on LLL leaders. Obviously, due to liability, we are not able to give medical advice, and of course, you can't slander or make libelous comments about anyone when you are speaking as a representative of an organization. However, as long as you have a reputable source for an opinion, you can share it. For example, we had the author of The Nursing Mother's Herbal as a speaker at our last LLL conference. I bought a copy of her book. If a mama asks me about a certain herb and breastfeeding, I can say, "According to XXXX, many women have found that XXXX helps in building up milk supply." Or, if a doctor says baby must have a vitamin supplement, you can't say the doctor is an idiot, but you can say, "According to The Breastfeeding Answer Book, which is sort of the breastfeeding bible and has more info on breastfeeding than you'll ever need, breastmilk alone is sufficient for newborns until solids are added."<br><br>
At our conference we had a member of LLLI Board of Directors, and I shared with her my frustration regarding the prohibition on personal opinions. She said that the Leader Handbook is full of really good *suggestions* but unless a statement is followed up with a footnote referencing official LLL rules and regs, it is only a suggestion, not law. As far as not being allowed to name docs because of it being against the "rules" this may be one particular leader's interpretation of the rules, and maybe she is trying to keep things from being too negative, but no where would official LLL policy prohibit a LLL group member discussing bad experiences with a particular doc.<br><br>
Hope this makes sense- I;ve just gotten home after 12 hours of completing my Christmas shopping!<br><br>
Annette
 

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If you really want to take or return the calls, you can find or make the time. If the calls are hard for you, there's NO good time. I am just sooooo not a phone person.<br><br>
I really, really wanted to help, but I found that it was too much pressure for me to be THE person on the phone. At a meeting, there was much less pressure--two or three co-leaders were always there to jump in with an answer when I didn't have it right away.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Verity</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If you really want to take or return the calls, you can find or make the time. If the calls are hard for you, there's NO good time. I am just sooooo not a phone person.<br><br>
I really, really wanted to help, but I found that it was too much pressure for me to be THE person on the phone. At a meeting, there was much less pressure--two or three co-leaders were always there to jump in with an answer when I didn't have it right away.</div>
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I am totally with you on this! I used to volunteer at a crisis hotline and we'd take the phones overnight at our home one night a month. I felt like my house and my time were not my own. I worked until 11 pm and had to get up and go to class at 8, so I'd try to sleep in between but would get these calls from these desperate people who would go on and on for hours. We were supposed to bring the calls to a close once they had gone over things and were rehashing the same old stuff, but people would not hang up. Or there were people who were awake and just wanted to chat at 3 am, which was maddening. I still have flashbacks to that.
 

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Oh, here is info on becoming a leader: <a href="http://www.lalecheleague.org/LAD/overview.html" target="_blank">http://www.lalecheleague.org/LAD/overview.html</a>
 

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I am in the middle of the application process and am finding it a LOT of work, much more than I had anticipated. There seems to be a certain amount of infighting among leaders in these parts, but that seems to happen a lot with groups that are largely women (not a judgment, just a sad observation!).<br><br>
Still, I'm excited about this. I may still become a doula or lay midwife someday and I think this is an excellent introduction to a helping profession (a 24/7 one at that) and whether I have it in me to work that way.
 

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Yes, if you are interested, check the link to future leaders Amy gave.<br><br>
Although the application process can take a year or more, it can also be incredibly short. I know a mama who did it in 3 months. She had been thinking about becoming a leader after her first was born. She did not officially become an LA but started doing the reading, meeting with her mentor leader. She soon found out she was pregnant and that they would be moving to a new city so her dh could attend a different university. She stopped the process, overwhelmed by life. In her new city, she was approached by a leader and asked if she would consider becoming a leader? This was after her second child was born, so she had a baby and a toddler. All she really had to do at that point was meet with the mentor leader and correspond with an ACLA (which used to have to be done via snail mail, but can now be done via email). She started in February, and boom, was accredited in May. She still loves it dearly, is grateful for her co-leader, and also leads online meetings.<br><br>
Some leaders make arrangements -- I knew two leaders who split things up this way: One was working and not always able to prepare and attend meetings, the other was sahm who liked to have evenings and weekends for family. The working leader took all phone calls -- the sahm led all the meetings.<br><br>
As far as restrictions go, many leaders find instead of being restraining, they are actually freeing. A leader always knows where she stands. Think of a leader bad-mouthing a doctor, and that getting back to the doctor. How reputable would LLL look? Or think of a mother who heard a leader bad-mouthgin a doctor -- if you did not know the leader personally, you might feel she is a judgemental lady who says bad things about everybody (that would be my thinking...in fact I did hear a leader say something about another leader once which was totally inapproppriate which made me think, if she said that in front of me, and she doesn't even know me, what kind of person is she?). So while many feel tied down by not being able to use scare tactics, personal opinions, etc., many others feel safe like a kite in the air kept from flying away by organization and rules.<br><br>
Also, galactagogues are mentioned in the Breastfeeding Answer Book, so Leaders can share that information.<br><br>
LLL is the world's foremost breastfeeding authority. LLL is the organization which saw the need for standards of practice for LC's and designed, developed, and implemented the IBLCE exam and the initials IBCLC. If they allowed Leaders to speak from the own opinions, they would lose the integrity which has kept LLL pure and focused since 1957.<br><br>
Just my random thoughts on the matter! LOL And it is a great stepping stone to becoming an LC, doula, or midwife!<br><br>
Stacie
 

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I actually only became accrediated yesterday! I am excited to begin. It took me 6 months to go through the application process, I was extremely motivated and would of liked to finish it earlier but my LLL leader has a busy home life. I agree, it was a lot of work, more then I thought it would be, but it wasn't hard. I worked on it at night after dd went to bed, during her naps, typing while holding her sleeping, and DH would play with her for some hours here and there. I went back and forth on what I would be able to say as a leader, I am very much pro-bfing, and I admit, more judgemental then I should be at times, I also do not agree the majority of the advice docs give, but I realized that I was giving these women more then just advice. I was giving then a leg to stand on, now they can go back to their docs and say "Well, LLL says this...", and who is more of an authority on bfing then LLL. The applicant process has really helped me to grow, I know for me, I always gave lip service to being non judgemental, but inside I was still thinking what I wanted to think, and through the process, I've come to realize, I mean REALLY realize, that of these moms are doing the best that they can do, and what I am doing, isn't neccessary best for them. I still have a ways to go, but I'm getting there! In my area, the LLL leader work is not that much, I'm actually looking forward to getting our name out there more. We only lead the monthly series meetings, only a few moms attend, and the other LLL leader says she gets maybe 1-2 phone calls a week, if that. There is another LLL applicant in our area who only wants to do phone support when she finished with the process. The other leader and I are going to share all the duties, take turns leading meetings, and etc... My dd is what you would term "high needs" and I was able to go through the process, I admit sometimes it was a struggle, but that is the great thing abot LLL, they believe in "family first", if I didn't get something done when I said I was going to, it wasn't a big deal, they understood. As far as the phone support goes, the other leader here, always picks up the phone if she's home, if it isn't a good time, then she tells the mom she will call her back, and she does when it is a good time, that might even mean a day later. We talked about how that might be a long time to wait to return the call, and she said that you always have to put your family first, if you can't do it then, then you can't, and you shouldn't get upset about it. I just put togther a quiet box of special toys to bring out for dd when I get a call, we'll see how that works! Good luck.
 

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I agree about the training. I used to think, "Oh, LLL says every mom know her baby best..." but in my mind I though, "Whatever! I have training/experience/whatever -- I really know her baby best regarding breastfeeding." I said this a lot "LLL believes every mom know her baby best," but I still did not believe it. Then one day, I realized I was not just saying it. How ignorant to think I could know someone's baby better than she! She who carried the baby for months, birthed the baby, has been with the baby every day since the baby was born! And for me to think I knew what was best for her baby! That to me was a sign of my immaturity as a human, really. Once I realized I was basically full of it, I recognized that I actually did realize every mom knows her baby best. Better than that, every mom knows herself better than I -- she knows her limitations as a person and a parent, so when a mom asks ways to wean her three-month-old, I am trusting she has a good personal reason for this, even though I may not think so. Maybe this was a mom who did not breastfeed her last child, maybe this is a mom who said she was only going to nurse three weeks but made it to three months -- we never really know what's going on, and my mentor leader told me, "Everyone's got a secret."<br><br>
A LLL Leader has commited to helping a mom with what the <b>mom needs help with,</b> not what the leader <b>thinks</b> she needs help with. That can be hard and tricky, but it can also be very fulfilling.<br><br>
Like I stated before, LLL International is not breastfeeding-according-to-me, it is a highly reputable, respectable organization which has gone to great lengths to keep its organization pure (hence no mixing causes) and devoted to the mission of helping moms who want to breastfeed. Without guidelines the organization would quickly deteriorate into a massed muddle of opinions, biases, and misinformation, imo.
 

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What a great post, Stacie! You've helped reinvigorate my interest in getting my application done! I too suffer from "I know what you need better than you do" syndrome and your post really made me stop and think. Thanks!
 
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