La Leche League of Washington Programs
Our goals are: to help every mother in Washington State achieve her breastfeeding goals; to provide excellent training and education for health care providers; and to train new Leaders throughout the State to grow our services.
Recently, the Surgeon General announced a call to action to improve breastfeeding rates in the United States. Chief among Dr. Benjamin's action items was a focus on mother-to-mother support and peer counseling programs. La Leche League is the original mother-to-mother support group, beginning with its founding in 1956 when a group of mothers had the idea to connect mothers with one another to improve breastfeeding rates.
La Leche League hosts more than 40 Group meetings monthly throughout Washington State to support and inform breastfeeding mothers. Leaders offer telephone help and community outreach at venues such as The Green Festival, street fairs, farmer's markets, and more. LLL of WA trains and accredits new volunteer leaders and then provides continuing education and suport to those leaders through publications, workshops, retreats and conferences. Bi-annual conferences provide the standard of excellence in lactation education and counseling skills to mothers, leader applicants, leaders and health care professionals including doctors, nurses, WIC officers, therapists, and more.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012, La Leche League of Washington hosted its annual health care professional seminar. Hundreds of health care professionals and Leaders earned continuing education credits in the most cutting-edge lactation research from national and international researchers and clinicians.
We are in the wonderful situation of having more demand for our services than we can meet. We help everyone, regardless of their financial need or ability to support the organization. With so many families struggling, many turn to La Leche League's unique structure of pay-what-you-can for services instead of calling their doctor or clinic.
We want to be able to help every single mother who needs us, and to expand our services into every part of Washington State, training new Leaders who speak languages other than English. We want to be available to every single family in Washington State. We want to be the first line of lactation excellence every single obstetrician, midwife, pediatrician,and pharmacist refers to for breastfeeding information and support, for themselves and for their patients.
To expand our programs, we need to train new leaders, purchase training materials and meeting materials, and pay for telephone lines. We must publish materials to distribute to every health care provider. While our overhead is minimal and most of our Leaders pay all of their expenses out of pocket, we need to be able to subsidize the work of Leaders, especially those in remote and rural parts of the State, who need help in order to fulfill their training.
In 2012-2013, we embarked on a program to improve our cultural competency, increasing the ability of every leader to help mothers across the spectrum of socioeconomic and racial diversity.