La Leche League International: Mothers Supporting Breastfeeding
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La Leche League International: Mothers Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League International (LLLI) (la leche, Spanish for "the milk") is an international nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that promotes breastfeeding throughout the world.

La Leche League International (LLLI) (la leche, Spanish for "the milk") is an international nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that promotes breastfeeding throughout the world.

Founded in 1956 in Franklin Park, Illinois, by seven mothers (including Mary Ann Cahill, Edwina Froehlich, Mary Ann Kerwin, Viola Lennon, and Betty Wagner) who had breastfed their own children and were motivated to help mothers who had difficulties with breastfeeding, La Leche League is now a presence in sixty-eight countries, dedicated to providing education, information, support, and encouragement to women who want to breastfeed. All women, especially pregnant and nursing mothers, are welcome to attend their meetings.

The name La Leche League was inspired by a shrine in St. Augustine, Florida, dedicated to “Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto,” meaning “Our Lady of Happy Delivery and Plentiful Milk.”

The first formal La Leche League meeting was held in October, 1956. The seven “leaders” originally held meetings in private homes; more recently, in hospitals, parenting centers, and other public venues. This was followed in 1960 by the formation of the first La Leche League group outside the United States, in Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada.  La Leche League became La Leche League International, Inc. (LLLI) in 1964 with groups in Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand. Later that same year, the first La Leche League International conference was held in Chicago with 425 adults and 100 babies in attendance.

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In 1981 La Leche League International was honored with consultative status with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and in 1985 served on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, established to develop and administer a voluntary certification program for lactation consultants. The first IBLCE (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) exam was administered in July 1985--a direct result of La Leche League efforts.

Services:

La Leche League International leaders are accredited volunteers who (for the most part) have breastfed their own babies and have been specially trained to help mothers with breastfeeding issues.  Additionally, a growing number of leaders are Certified Lactation Consultants (CLCs) or International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).

The primary purpose of La Leche League International is to encourage, inform, and support mothers via monthly meetings, telephone help, and online through email and the LLLI website.  Some leaders also do home and/or hospital visits.

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La Leche League International leaders facilitate meetings in the morning, afternoon, or evening once a month, with some leaders developing expertise with particular breastfeeding situations such as breastfeeding an adopted child, special medical or physical situations of the mother or baby, family challenges such as divorce, and others.  In order to be most effective, La Leche League leaders keep up-to-date through continued training and study of the most current medical research on breastfeeding available.

While meetings are specifically designed to provide vital breastfeeding information, support, and encouragement to pregnant and breastfeeding women, in some areas of the country there are specialized meetings for couples, working mothers, teen mothers, or mothers of multiples (twins, triplets or more). Online meetings are also available through the LLLI website.

While the La Leche League “leader” represents the La Leche League organization at meetings, mothers are encouraged to share their own experiences with other mothers. A common theme repeated by leaders at meeting is "take what you need and leave the rest,” acknowledging that every mother-baby dyad is unique and each mother knows her own baby best. (All meetings are free of charge, and a one year membership can be purchased for $40.00.)

La Leche League International Philosophy:

The basic philosophy of La Leche League is summarized in the following statements as presented on their website:

•Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.

•Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.

•In the early years the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.

•Breast milk is the superior infant food.

•For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.

•Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.

•Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.

•Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby's father. A father's unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child's development from early infancy.

•Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.

•From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.

To learn more about La Leche League International or have breastfeeding questions addressed, visit one of the sites listed below.

References:

http://www.llli.org/ab.html?m=1

http://www.laleche.org.uk/

http://www.lllofaz.org/

 Images via Wikipedia unless credited otherwise (with my appreciation)

Thumb via: http://www.valleybreastfeeding.org/.a/6a00e008dc8956883401157021c75c970b-800wi

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Comments (8)

very interesting and informative.thanks for posting

Ranked #6 in Women's Health

Breast milk is the first encounter of our immune system system, great well composed work here.

Thank you gentlemen!

Frances Locke

Great article! The Le Leche League was a great help to me when I was nursing my kids.

Thanks, Frances. I think what La Leche League has done to promote and educate on the benefits of breastfeeding is phenomenal.

A very informative post in promoting breastfeeding as opposed to formulated milk by the counter.

Thanks Deep Blue. The breastfeeding issue is heatling up here in the US as a growing number of studies prove what a really bad idea formula is in many cases.

Breastfeeding is always the best compared to infant formulas. So sad that there are moms who cannot produce milk for their babies. Good info about La Leche League International, thanks.

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