LLLI believes that breastfeeding with its many important physical and psychological advantages is best for baby and mother and is the ideal way to initiate good parent-child relationships. The loving help and support of the father enables the mother to focus on mothering so that together the parents develop close family relationships which strengthen the family and thus the whole fabric of society.
LLLI further believes that mothering through breastfeeding deepens a mother’s understanding and acceptance of the responsibilities and rewards of her special role in the family. As a woman grows in mothering she grows as a human being and every other role she may fill in her lifetime is enriched by the insights and humanity she brings to it from her experiences as a mother.
The purpose of LLLI is distinct. The purpose as stated in the Bylaws does not prevent interaction with other organizations with compatible purposes but La Leche League will carefully guard against allying itself with another cause, however worthwhile that cause might be.
The basic philosophy of LLLI as expressed in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is summarized in the following concepts:
- Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
- Human milk is the natural food for babies, uniquely meeting their changing needs.
- Alert, active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
- Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying breastfeeding relationship and reliable milk production.
- Breastfeeding is enhanced by the loving support of the baby’s father, a co-parent, a partner, and/or close family members who value the breastfeeding relationship.
- In the early years, the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.
- For the healthy, full-term baby, human milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of readiness for complementary foods, about the middle of the first year after birth.
- Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
- Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the child outgrows the need.
- From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.
(date unrecorded; rev Feb 1998, Dec 2014, Sept 2019, Apr 2020, May 2020, June 2020, January 2021)