Dear Readers: My Journey to Breastfeeding Today

Categories: Breastfeeding Today

Dear Readers,

As I sit down to write to you from this little corner of my apartment kitchen here in Oregon, USA, and reflect on the hundreds of WhatsApp messages exchanged over the past few months with my counterpart, Associate Editor Valentina Attanasio, across the globe in Italy, I am so humbled. To think that a whole world of breastfeeding families and advocates are reading this makes me a tad nervous, but so grateful at the same time!

Looking back

More than a decade ago, my now teenage daughters were babies, and I had a growing pile of La Leche League print magazines in my living room. The inspiring stories from parents who contributed to the magazine buoyed me on when my babies were cranky from teething and their mama, exhausted from lack of sleep. As I flipped through the pages I was reminded: I can overcome just about anything for the love of my children.

Then in 2011, a partially weaned pile of New Beginnings and Breastfeeding Today magazines accompanied me from Missouri to Oregon aboard the back of a moving truck. A feeling of sadness mixed with excitement over the unknown washed over me. On one hand, I was saying goodbye to a house and mourning a troubled relationship; but on the other, I would say hello to grandparents in my new town who would share proud smiles during my girls’ school performances. And an established La Leche League group would be there to welcome me.

By then I was an accredited La Leche League Leader and had been a freelance writer and editor for other magazines. I remember chuckling to myself as I wedged the magazine box into the truck, “Maybe one day I will play a key role in a La Leche League publication. Then all this magazine hoarding will prove valuable ‘research.’”

Looking ahead

Funny thing, it has! As I click through the digital files of contributor stories for this Breastfeeding Today relaunch issue, I am reminded of what led me to fall in love with La Leche League magazines in the first place: the resounding themes of determination to overcome feeding obstacles and solidarity in knowing we are not alone. That’s what makes La Leche League, well, La Leche League!

In this issue, we will celebrate working mothers who have helped shape breastfeeding and work laws across the globe, and caused employers to change their thinking, too. We’ll also stand in unison with August World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) and Black Breastfeeding Week (BBW) advocates in many countries, and hear about their exciting activities. (Not to worry Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Belgium and France—your WBW October events will be featured in our November/December issue!)

Whether you work outside the home or not, there is one thing we likely all can agree on: every breastfeeding parent deserves the right to breastfeed, privately pump or hand express while at work to ensure baby receives human milk. And whether you celebrate World Breastfeeding Week in August or October—or have perhaps never heard of WBW before—drawing attention to the right to breastfeed is how we can change the tide at home and abroad. My hope is that my children and yours will one day live in a world where breastfeeding is seen as the norm in every country.

In closing, I want to say a special word of thanks to Valentina, for her unending support and encouragement over these past months. Also, to our faithful Breastfeeding Today Editorial Review Board members, who have committed to helping us ensure the magazine is factually accurate and in top shape for all you readers.

  • Carolyn Driver-Burgess, LLLI Board member, LLL Leader from New Zealand
  • RuthAnna Mather, LLL Leader from Japan
  • Alyssa Schnell, Missouri, USA, retired LLL Leader
  • Lois Rowlands, LLL Leader from Great Britain
  • Eva Gisella Natali Williams, LLL Leader from Great Britain
  • Helen Lloyd, LLL Leader from Great Britain
  • Anna Teresa Restuccia, LLL Leader from Italy, currently in Massachusetts, USA
  • Marcella Bonanno, LLL Leader from Italy

Grateful for you all,

Karen Williamson
Managing Editor

(LLL = La Leche League; LLLI = La Leche League International)

Please note: The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in Breastfeeding Today belong to each author, and are not necessarily those of La Leche League International.