Unfortunately, in our modern Western society, the traditional village has been lost and women are raising their children in relative isolation. Young girls used to learn about breastfeeding by observing their neighbors and aunts, and by sitting around and chatting with other breastfeeding women once they were mothers themselves. Today mother-to-mother support groups recreate that camaraderie. They offer breastfeeding women a place to enjoy the company of other breastfeeding women, realize that their thoughts and concerns are normal and learn more about breastfeeding and mothering. Research has found that mothers with breastfeeding support breastfeed for longer.
Le Leche League International (LLLI)
In 1956, in the US, seven breastfeeding women got together to support each other at a time when breastfeeding rates were extremely low. That group was the beginning of Le Leche League International, the first and largest mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group. Today, Le Leche League meetings are held throughout the world. Meetings are held monthly and are run by an experienced breastfeeding mother who has been trained to lead the groups. Though the leader presents a structured outline of information at each meeting, the meetings are not lectures, but open discussions. Besides monthly meetings, LLL provides telephone counseling, information on line and printed material. Membership fees vary.
The Baby Cafe: Breastfeeding Support
An even less structured approach is the Baby Café. Started in the UK, Baby Cafes are drop-in centers for pregnant or nursing mothers. The cafes are open once a week and women can drop in anytime they want to grab a cup of coffee and chat with other breastfeeding mothers. There is a lactation professional available to help mothers with difficulties they may be having. There is also a play area for toddlers. Baby Cafes can be found all over the UK and have recently opened in the US.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)
The Australian Breastfeeding Association is the most active mother-to-mother breastfeeding
support group in Australia. Informal meetings are held once a month and telephone counseling is available 24/7. Like LLL, the ABA offers printed material and an online forum. There is a membership fee.
The above are the largest organizations. Many hospitals and lactation consultants have groups as well. Check out what's available in your area and enjoy!