dreamstime_m_29749337La Leche League was founded by seven breastfeeding women in Illinois who wanted to help others breastfeed. It began with a conversation at a church picnic in August of 1956. Marian Tompson and her friend Mary White were discussing the joys and difficulties of breastfeeding.  They invited their friends Mary Ann Cahill, Edwina Froehlich, Mary Ann Kerwin, Viola Lennon, and Betty Wagner to the conversation.  By the end of World War II, breastfeeding rates were at a low, with only 20% of American moms initiating breastfeeding.  The first meeting of LLL was in October of 1956.  The seven Founders held meetings in their homes.  Today meetings are still held in homes but also in hospitals and other public venues.

DSC_0484The basic philosophy of La Leche League is summarized in the following statements:

  • 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.
  • Human milk is the natural food for babies, uniquely meeting their changing needs.
  • 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.dreamstime_m_16797592
  • Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breast-feeding 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.

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