LLLNZ Professional Advisory Group

The Professional Advisory Group consists of selected members of the health, science, legal and business professions. The members are selected for their commitment to breastfeeding, their desire to support La Leche League, and their prominence in their professional field. They are invited to assist the work of La Leche League New Zealand in a volunteer, advisory capacity.

Alison Barrett BSc, IBCLC, MD, FRCS, FRANZOG - Obstetrician recently returned from Ontario, Canada and settled back in Hamilton - International speaker

Carol Bartle RN, RM, IBCLC - Coordinator, Canterbury Breastfeeding Advocacy Service, Te Puawaitanga Ki Otautahi Trust

Judith Galtry DipWomensStud, BA, PhD - Researcher

Selene Mize (Bachelor of Science), JD (Juris Doctor) - Associate Professor in Law, Otago University

Kath Ryan BPharm, PhD, MPS - 1998 PhD, University of Otago; 1990 - 2000 International Board Certified Lactation Consultant; 1974 Bachelor of Pharmacy, University of Otago

Janet Weber BS, MS, PhD - Lecturer Food and Nutrition, Massey University

Dr. Leila Masson MD, MPH, DTMH, IBCLC, FRACP - Consultant Paediatrician, Auckland

Dr Yvonne Le Fort MD,  FRNZCGP, FCFP (Canada), IBCLC - General Practitioner, Auckland


Dr Leila Masson 


I graduated from Medical School in Germany and decided to immediately go to Pakistan, as a volunteer, to set up a health centre in a village with no electricity, no running water and where there was not even a road. During my two years there I found that simple interventions, such as teaching hygiene and supporting breastfeeding and healthy nutrition had the biggest impact on the health of the village children. I met a mother with twins - she had chosen to breastfeed the boy, but not the girl (in line with local values when it comes to gender) and the result was shockingly sad: the boy was round cheeked and thriving, while the girl was skin and bones, dying of malnutrition. I managed to convince the mother to breastfeed both children and within a few months, the girl changed into a chubby and smiling baby. This made a huge impression on me, and of course also on the mothers in the village, who from then on breastfed 100 percent of their babies well into their second or third year.

During my paediatric residency at the University of California in San Francisco, I had the benefit of a supervisor who was a strong supporter of breastfeeding, and who encouraged me to learn about the science of lactation. By the time I had my first son, Ilan, I had myself become a spokesperson for extended breastfeeding, which was not the norm in the US. I gave lectures on the benefits of breastfeeding to my colleagues and took a four-week course on breastfeeding policy taught by UNICEF and WHO in London. When my second son Manu was born five years later in New Zealand, I attended LLL meetings, became a lactation consultant, and a member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

It was not easy to find like-minded mothers and medical colleagues, but fortunately New Zealand has made great progress in making breastfeeding the norm. La Leche League has played a vital role in this development and in connecting breastfeeding mothers, so that they would not feel so isolated.

I now see patients in my beachside paediatric practice in Auckland. I am confident that the best start to a healthy life is by being exclusively breastfed for six months, then continuing to breastfeed for at least two years - my two extremely healthy, intelligent, and sweet sons, were both fed well beyond that age, but they will not allow me to say for how long!

Judith Galtry

DipWomensStud BA PhD

Judith is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health at the Australian National University. She has a particular interest in policies and practices that support child and maternal health, particularly with regards to the employment and childcare contexts.

Judith has been a policy advisor for the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, a research fellow at Cornell University NY. and was commissioned by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to prepare and present a research paper on breastfeeding and women's employment. Judith developed guidelines for breastfeeding-friendly workplaces and childcare centres in New Zealand. Her work has been published extensively both in New Zealand and internationally.

Selene Mize

(Bachelor of Science), JD (Juris Doctor) - Associate Professor in Law, Otago University

I was lucky and knew about La Leche League from an early age.  My mother was a Leader in Illinois in the USA, and I remember attending a LLL picnic as a young child in the early 1960s.  She continued on in both local and national roles with LLL and I watched her breastfeed my youngest brother for many years.  There was never any doubt in my mind that I would someday breastfeed my own children.

Fast forward to the mid-1980's.  I had become interested in New Zealand after seeing the gorgeous photos published in overseas tramping magazines.  I came over as a tourist, was offered a job teaching law at the University of Otago, and decided to accept after working as a lawyer in New York City for another year.  I was also a scuba diving instructor and met my future husband at a local scuba diving club.  Kelvin and I have two wonderful daughters, Rachel and Helen (both now adults).

I became a Leader just before Helen was born.  It was great to attend a series meeting as a new Leader, along with my new baby, a toddler and my mother (who was visiting from the US).  I led meetings for two different Dunedin groups and did all the usual LLL things for several years, until it was time to move on. More recently, my role with LLL has been limited to writing for Mosaic on topics related to the law and occasional consulting.

Highlights of my experience with LLL:

  • Counselling calls where you really feel that you have made a difference in a mother and baby's lives, and where you receive an almost embarrassing amount of gratitude in exchange
  • Writing an article for New Beginnings on parenting babies who confuse night and day -- yes, this came from personal experience -- which was published in both New Zealand and the US, and which someone posted online, translated into Portuguese!
  • Being able to spend time and share ideas with the like-minded, smart, capable and caring women who are involved with LLL, and to give and get support (which we all need at times).

Carol Bartle

RN, RM, IBCLC - Coordinator, Canterbury Breastfeeding Advocacy Service, Te Puawaitanga Ki Otautahi Trust

Currently Carol is working in Christchurch as the coordinator of the Canterbury Breastfeeding Advocacy Service, a Ministry of Health contract managed by Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi Trust, a Māori health provider working with mothers, babies, children and their whānau.  Carol's major interests include infant feeding in emergencies, breastfeeding and infant feeding politics, NICU infant feeding issues, mother-to-mother peer counselling, community support for breastfeeding and mothers and babies in prison.

Carol Bartle has a background in nursing, midwifery, education and lactation consultancy. Carol has a post graduate diploma in Child Advocacy and a Masters of Health Sciences from the University of Otago. She was also a member of the New Zealand National Breastfeeding Committee. Carol has over twenty years experience working in neonatal intensive care units and her research thesis explores mothers' experiences of initiating lactation and establishing breastfeeding in this environment.

Alison Barrett


Alison has 20+ years experience in women's health. Alison has worked as a lactation consultant and a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist in Canada and New Zealand. Prior to medical school, she obtained a biology degree and was a researcher in the fields of ecology and biological sciences. She has been a peer reviewer for the Journal of Pediatrics and theRANZCOG Journal. Alison was a member of the National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee for the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the Infant Feeding Advisory Group for Health Canada, is a member of the La Leche League NZ Board of Consultants and is a La Leche League Leader.


Kath Ryan

BPharm, PhD, MPS

Kath is the mother of two adult children and became involved with LLLNZ in 1977.  She became a Leader in 1980 and served as Area V Professional Liaison Leader and then Professional Liaison Consultant on the LLLNZ Board.  She was a Lactation Consultant from 1990- 2000.  Kath completed her PhD on NZ women's experiences of breastfeeding in 1998.  She is a member of the LLLNZ Professional Advisory Group and also the LLLI  Health Advisory Council's, Professional Advisory Board.

Kath is a New Zealand registered pharmacist with a background in community pharmacy, pharmacy practice education and healthcare research in pharmacy, nursing and midwifery.  She is an Associate Professor and currently Research Director in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health Sciences at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.  She has previously worked at Bournemouth University, UK and the University of Otago, NZ. Kath's research interests include women's and children's health; infant feeding and peer support; use and safety of medicines and recreational drugs in pregnancy and breastfeeding; personal experiences of health and illness; qualitative research methods and the use of narratives in health research.  Kath's recent work, undertaken in collaboration with the health experiences research group at the University of Oxford, includes UK women's experiences of breastfeeding, available on the award winning website

Dr Yvonne LeFort


My Breastfeeding Philosophy
I have been a family physician since 1988. I have had the privilege of working with many families over this time and have especially enjoyed Paediatrics and Obstetrics.

I have been a mother since 1993 and when this first son was born in New Zealand I had no immediate family nearby and, despite a very caring husband, experienced many challenges in caring for my baby especially regarding breastfeeding. I was experiencing a colicky unsettled baby with milk overflowing everywhere and only formula feeders in my family to provide me with no assistance. When I went looking for help from my Ob/GYN I was told to wean him and given a prescription for bromocryptine. I promptly took the "magic cure" and stopped breastfeeding at 9 weeks, had what I now know was likely a RIND, nearly dropped my new born baby and went into several months of post-partum depression!

When my second son was born in 1997 in Canada it was a very different story. I was determined to breastfeed successfully and this baby gnawed my nipples from day1! However I met up with my first ever lactation consultant, whom I still consider an angel, who helped me fix my latch and the rest is history. Not a moment of depression did I experience at all and when he finally weaned it was on our own mutually agreed terms.

Following my second son's birth I began to realize that many women need to be supported and given even the simplest correct advice to continue to do what is normal - feed your baby. Too many well-meaning health professionals provide incorrect information and simple but destructive advice to women in a very vulnerable state. I promised myself I would not be one of these health professionals and became involved in educating myself about breastfeeding.

I was privileged to work for and with Dr Evelyn Jain in Calgary for almost 2 years in her breastfeeding clinic in Calgary. The clinical experience fuelled my interest in the field and when we relocated to Auckland in 2001 I sought out local lactation consultants and decided to work towards being board certified myself.

In 2001 I became the first practicing doctor in New Zealand to become an IBCLC. In 2002 I met Dr Mira Leibovich from Israel who runs a breastfeeding clinic north of Tel Aviv and through her friendship learned more about Breastfeeding and joined the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and LaLeche League recognising both these organizations as pivotal in keeping one's knowledge up to date.

I feel a bit sad that we need such structures and educational programs to preserve what should be an intricate and normal part of our society, but I am happy to be able to gain such knowledge and to have the opportunity as a family physician to share this information as part of the care I offer to the families of young children. Additionally I am happy to be able to open my professional services to non- enrolled patients to come and see me for any breastfeeding concerns.

I frequently refer people to La Leche League for on-going support and camaraderie as so many mothers are isolated from family to provide such an environment.

I feel very privileged to enter into a very personal aspect of the lives of parents and babies and always remember the angel who saved my breastfeeding relationship with my second son. I can only wonder how different my life would have been after my first son's birth had a met with a similar LC angel - but we can only go forward in life.