The local La Leche League started with a group of mothers who were interested in learning about breastfeeding their infants. Today, the group still offers woman-to-woman advice and support via telephone, said Robin Rziha.
Rziha (pronounced SHE-hah), along with Ronda Hixson, are accredited La Leche leaders. They used to lead monthly meetings at the Barton County Health Department but the group stopped meeting in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For questions about breastfeeding, call Robin, 620-617-1663; or Ronda, 620-338-0508.
Even before the pandemic, the group’s meetings were getting smaller, Rziha said.
“Over time, we saw less interest in women getting together in a support-group fashion,” she said. So, when asked what the group has need of, her answer was “volunteers.” Rziha’s children are all adults now. Is there another generation of breastfeeding mothers interested in getting involved?
La Leche League International was formed in 1956, in Franklin Park, Illinois, by a group of seven mothers who wanted to provide breastfeeding help and support to interested women. Two mothers, Mary White and Marian Tompson, were breastfeeding their children at a church picnic and many other women expressed interest, or told them how they had wanted to breastfeed but failed.
In Rziha’s case, her husband found a copy of “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” published by La Leche League International, at the Great Bend Public Library. The book has been updated several times and is still in print.
Today, a lot of information is readily available on the interest. Mothers can, however, call the support group with their pre-natal questions if they’re planning to breastfeed or if they’d like other basic information.
“The group was founded on mother-to-mother support,” she said. Mothers could come to the meetings and encourage one another. There are always questions that come up.
For now, it would probably take some renewed interest in breastfeeding to bring the group back to in-person meetings. And, COVID is still a factor. On the other had, issues such as the shortage of baby formula may spark that revival. Either way, Rziha said, “Ronda and I are always open to questions.”
Other resources: The Central Kansas Partnership (ckpartnership.org) has several task forces, including the Central Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition.
Note: La Leche League Leaders provide mother-to-mother support, but they are not lactation consultants and cannot provide medical help. If you have medical questions or concerns, contact your health care professional and/or an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).