La Leche League International: Promoting Awareness for Breastfeeding

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La Leche League
For decades there has been a debate over whether or not women should be allowed to breast feed their infants in public. Breastfeeding is a significant activity in early development. Human breast milk contains essential nutrients and calories that are vital to the growth and health of children during the earliest stages of life. There are many organizations that have been formed to promote the awareness and necessity for breastfeeding. The most popular organization is the La Leche League International (LLLI). The La Leche League offers the women of the Valley the opportunity to join an international women’s organization and to better gain valuable insight on the history of breastfeeding and benefits that breastfeeding provides to both the mother and her infant. The La Leche League International is a non-profit organization that was founded by seven mothers (Mary White, Edwina Hearn Froehlich, Mary Ann Cahill, Betty Wagner Spandikow, Viola Brennan Lennon, Mary Ann Kerwin, and Marian Leonard Tompson) in the United States in 1956. The founders of the La Leche League hoped to help other mothers who wanted to breastfeed their children but found it difficult. The La Leche League offers information and encouragement (mainly through personal help and experience) to all mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. The La Leche League encourages breastfeeding from birth onwards with no upper age limit for the child. The idea for naming the ‘La Leche League' came from a statue in St. Augustine, Florida honoring "Nuestra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto" which means “Our Lady of Milk and Good Childbirth”. When the La Leche League was found, the words "breastfeeding" and "pregnant" weren't readily accepted in society, so the Spanish word "La Leche" (which stands for "the milk") was used as to not offend anyone in the society. In 2010, the League published the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which “is the most complete resource available for the breastfeeding mother. The book became a National Best-seller”. The La Leche League is active in 65 countries and territories; it reaches more than 300,000 mothers monthly through a network of over 7,000 accredited leaders (“Brief”). The La Leche League was founded to give information and encouragement, mainly through personal help, to all mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. While complementing the care of the physician and other health care professionals, it recognizes the unique importance of one mother helping another to perceive the needs of her child and to learn the best means of fulfilling those needs. It helps mothers who want to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and the mother (“LLLP”). The La Leche League believes that breastfeeding is best thing to do for the baby and the mother. It offers a unique bonding experience that fosters a nurturing relationship between mother-to-child. The La Leche League also believes that breastfeeding can deepen a mother's understanding of the responsibilities and rewards of her new role in the family. To be a member of the La Leche League it cost an annual fee of $25. Members are granted access to an international e-newsletter, a discount in their online store and special offers via email. The La Leche League believes mothers who are members of LLLI breastfeed longer because they have the information, education, support, and encouragement they need to enjoy the experience. Supporting Membership in LLLI is a real bargain when you consider the costs of not breastfeeding! The best way is to join is through a local group, so that funds will be available in your vicinity to help mothers and babies locally but members may opt to join online (“Benefits of LLL”). The closest center to our area is in McAllen, Texas. The McAllen group meets every third Tuesday of...
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