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Conference Speakers Reflect Breastfeeding, Home, Work, and Humor

From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 2, March -- April 2007, pp. 82-83

Are you looking for your tribe, a holistic approach to health, or new family traditions? Look no further than some of the outstanding sessions at the LLLI Conference, July 20-23, 2007 at the Hilton Chicago. Do you wonder if you can nurse in public, or if it is worth it to combine breastfeeding and working, or what you do all day when you are home alone with a small child? The answers to these and many other questions will be found at this unique Conference.

Conference speaker, Teresa Pitman, will help you discover how to form a tribe. She believes that mothers in modern society often feel lonely when they are at home alone with their young children. Mothers may be reluctant to recognize their need to be around other people, but in being willing to acknowledge that their children want to be with others, will form play groups. But belonging to a tribe is different than meeting for a visit.

When forming a tribe, people need to spend a lot of time together. During short visits, one person seems to be the host and the other the guest. To be a member of a tribe, you must spend enough time together to feel the rhythm of the day. Working together is one of the aspects that changes a playgroup into "being tribal." In finding your tribe, you do not need someone who believes and behaves exactly as you do. People who lived in traditional tribal groups were born into them, and naturally they would get along better with some than with others.

Teresa Pitman is the Executive Director of La Leche League Canada. She is also a full -- time writer and the author or co -- author of 10 books. Her most recent books are Pregnancy and Birth and, with Dr. Newman, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book Of Answers.

Another presenter, Lorene Wu, MD, a family practice physician and acupuncturist, will help you discover a holistic approach to women's health. Dr. Wu has training in both Western and Eastern medicine. She believes that traditional Chinese medicine is a combination of poetry and science and that it is based on a dynamic understanding of energy and flow that has more to do with Western physics than Western medicine. She believes that individuals need to take responsibility for a healthy diet and lifestyle changes as the first line of defense against disease.

Dr. Wu is a popular speaker, a former elite model, and starred in a La Leche League segment of "The Balancing Act," a cable television show. She is a breastfeeding proponent not only because of her professional background, but also from her breastfeeding experience. She attended LLL meetings during her first pregnancy and went on to breastfeed her three daughters, including a set of twins.

Faith Andrews Bedford, author and storyteller, will share information and inspiration on how to create new traditions and create homespun memories. As Bedford shares personal snippets of childhood, motherhood, and grandparenthood, she will touch attendees deeply and cause them to take time to remember. Ms. Bedford is a prolific writer of non -- fiction and an art historian. After spending time in the "joyous chaos" of raising three children and tending a small herb and honey farm, she returned to school and began researching American Impressionist painter, Frank W. Benson. In between classes and research, Faith began writing stories and essays about life in the country. She began reflecting on quiet pursuits and simple pleasures, which eventually evolved into her book, Barefoot Summers.

Jake Marcus, Esq, Melissa Vance, Esq, and Deidra Wachbrit, Esq, are La Leche League Leaders and attorneys who will answer questions about whether you can nurse in public and many other legal concerns of breastfeeding mothers. They help mothers, other lawyers, and the media to understand laws about breastfeeding in the United States. They use their professional skills and experience to help encourage and promote breastfeeding in the vital area of public law.

The most likely legal situation a mother might encounter is the issue of public breastfeeding. While more than half of the US states have some type of legislation in regard to public breastfeeding, there are still incidents, even in these localities, where mothers are asked to leave or breastfeed their children in a public toilet facility.

Many mothers who return to the workplace and wish to continue breastfeeding may face reluctance or hostility from their employers. Employed mothers who are breastfeeding may need regular breaks, a private place to pump, and a place to store milk. Only 10 states have statutes addressing these issues, and some encourage, but do not mandate employers to provide breaks and places to pump.

Other legal issues that concern nursing mothers include being summoned for jury duty, mothers who are imprisoned, and mothers dealing with child custody and visitation.

The speakers will present a comprehensive look at the impact of breastfeeding legislation in the United States and practical help in approaching legal situations and breastfeeding.

Jennifer Hicks, another Conference speaker, compiled and edited the motivating stories of women from over 35 countries and six continents who have scaled modern mountains to combine breastfeeding and working. The title of her book, HIRKANI'S DAUGHTERS, was inspired by an ancient Indian tale about Hirkani, a young mother, who scaled down a 1,000 -- foot vertical cliff in order to get to her baby to breastfeed.

This session will tell the story of modern employed mothers who have overcome various obstacles to continue breastfeeding. Each woman featured evaluated her options and took the path that worked best for her family. The stories provide joy, wisdom, and encouragement to all families who want to provide the gift of human milk to their babies.

We look forward to seeing you on July 20-23, 2007 at the LLLI Conference as we honor 50 Years -- Celebrating the Power of Breastfeeding.

Grammy Award-Winning Artist Billy Dean at the LLLI Conference

On the evening of July 23, after an elegant celebration dinner to mark the close of the LLLI 50th Anniversary Conference, Grammy award-winning country music artist, Billy Dean, will perform his popular song, "Let Them be Little." The lyrics will remind attendees to let their children be little because they are only little for a short time: "Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day. Let 'em cry, Let 'em giggle, let 'em sleep in the middle, Oh, but let them be little."

As a father who is balancing family life with work life, Billy says that he finds himself struggling with the temptation to let his daughter and son grow up too fast. Writing the song helped him to slow down and let his children be children.

Billy's amazing voice comes naturally to him from his father, who was also a singer. In addition to singing, Billy is also an actor who has appeared on several television shows including "One Life to Live" and "Diagnosis Murder," and movies including "Blue Valley Songbird." His television appearances include "E! Entertainment," "The Tonight Show," and "Good Morning America."

As Billy states on his Web site, in parenting his children, they parent him, too. Simple things his children have said during stressful times have made him listen to his children in a new way. "That's where that line comes from in 'Let Them Be Little,'" says Billy, "'And now you're teaching me how only a child can see.'"

More information on Billy Dean can be found at www.BillyDean.com. For information on registering for this once-in-a-lifetime event at the LLLI Conference, go to www.llli.org.

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