At the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers‘ (ABM) Conference on 11th June 2016, Pam’s Prize was presented to La Leche League Leader Veryan Conn. Veryan runs an LLL Group in Frome, Somerset, and LLLGB is delighted that this is the third time, in the five years Pam’s Prize has been awarded, that is has gone to one of our Leaders. The previous recipients were Amanda Dunbar from LLL Tyne and Wear, and Carolyn Markham from LLL Northampton.
About Pam’s Prize
This annual award was launched by the ABM in 2012, to remember its Chair, Pam Lacey. Pam died in November 2010 and the ABM wanted to celebrate the life of an inspirational breastfeeding advocate. The award is given to recognise an outstanding breastfeeding counsellor/supporter, from any organisation, who has touched lives working in a voluntary capacity. Nominees can be breastfeeding counsellors from the ABM or NCT, breastfeeding supporters from the Breastfeeding Network or La Leche League Leaders.
Pam was lovingly remembered during the presentation and anecdotes about her were shared, including how she sat with a new mother until 2am to make sure she had support when she saw the pediatrician, and how she attended her breastfeeding support group until the week before she went into a hospice.
When reading through the nominations, the ABM looks for quotes which show the nominee shares Pam’s values, and is someone who listens, understands the ethos of peer support, and goes that extra mile as she did. One mother who had nominated Veryan had said “She gave me just the right amount of information, reassurance and recognition”. Another said “She gave me the strength to trust my instincts, and helped me feel proud of what we had achieved.”
After being presented with the prize by Pam’s son, Veryan thanked the ABM for giving her the award and went on to thank the mothers from her group who had nominated her. She added “…..but I’m sure that there are many other Breastfeeding Counsellors and LLL Leaders who deserve an award just as much as I do”.
She then thanked all the mums who over the years have come to the group that she runs and pointed out how much she had learnt from them about the challenges women face, including tongue-tie, overactive letdown, and food/lactose intolerance. Most of all, she had learnt about success against all odds. She mentioned mothers “…..who through a lot of determination, support from myself, other mums and their families succeeded”.
Veryan went on to mention two mothers who have always been keen for others to hear their stories. Both had babies who would not latch on at all. They expressed milk and kept trying. One of the babies latched on for the first time at 6 weeks, while the other mum’s son suddenly realised that he could get his milk more directly when he was 4 months old. There was laughter as Veryan explained this baby had suddenly decided to latch on as his mother leaned over him to reach for something one day!
Veryan finished by saying that these two mothers had inspired her to offer this encouragement to others: “Don’t panic, keep calm, get support and carry on, sometimes amazing things happen.”
LLLGB is delighted that another of our Leaders has received acknowledgement of her dedication in supporting breastfeeding mothers. Throughout Britain, LLL Leaders are offering support1 and information to women and we are delighted to see this recognised.
ABM Conference Sessions
The presentation of Pam’s Prize formed part of an enjoyable and informative day.
Heather Trickey, Public Health Researcher from Cardiff University, talked about the evidence for Peer Support, and Gillian Weaver, well-known for her work with human milk banks, talked about “Liquid Assets: buying, selling and sharing breastmilk”.
Laura Dodsworth, professional photographer and author, entertained us with excerpts from her book “Bare Reality, 100 Women, Their Breasts, Their Stories.”
Laura will be speaking at the LLLGB Conference on October 15th.
Former La Leche League Leader Sally Etheridge, BA, PGCE, IBCLC, gave an informative and stirring talk about “Breastfeeding, poverty and crisis in the UK”.
The Conference ended with LLL Leader Deborah Robertson, IBCLC, presenting her session “The Midnight Maybe Strikes Again – strategies for the breastfeeding supporter prone to worry”. This helped to send the participants home in a positive and confident frame of mind.
Written by Anna Burbidge, 2016