I would not have thought on that summer day in 1956 when I asked Mary White and Edwina Froehlich to join me with helping breastfeeding mothers in our small community, that 65 years later La Leche League would still be alive and offering that support in a multitude of ways. Who could have foreseen that the efforts of thousands of dedicated volunteer LLLeaders and the presence of growing numbers of breastfeeding mothers would bring about long needed changes reflecting an appreciation of the unique value of breastfeeding, and breastmilk, and the mother/baby relationship!
We see this recognition in international efforts like Baby Friendly Hospitals and WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action). We see this in efforts made to respond to the needs of nursing mothers who are employed, traveling, or going to school by acknowledging that there is also a baby involved. Nursing in public, which was considered indecent and Illegal, now barely raises an eyebrow. The world is accepting that when a mother breastfeeds her baby, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
From the beginning, La Leche League has been one surprise after another. Now, after too many years, we are again having an International Conference. This time it is online! While we long for those days when we got together in person, an online conference means we are no longer limited by space availability at a hotel. This time we have the most extensive program we’ve ever been able to offer. We can watch from the comfort of our homes, and at a time of day that works for us.
While the way we do things might change, the Mission of La Leche League remains intact.
“Our mission is to help mothers worldwide 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 mother.”
On to the next 65 years!
Photo caption: Marian Tompson on behalf of the Founders: Mary Ann Cahill, Edwina Froehlich, Mary Ann Kerwin, Viola Lennon, Betty Wagner and Mary White.