La Leche League Breast Feeding

cross nursing, wet nursing, breastfeeding support

La Leche League Breast Feeding International (LLLI) is a worldwide organization dedicated to helping mothers breastfeed successfully. According to the organization’s website, the mission of LLLI" 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."

History of La Leche League Breast Feeding International

The first meeting was held in 1956, and the organization really started to take off when it received an endorsement from Dr. Grantley-Dick Read, an expert on natural childbirth who as popular in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1962, the first official chapters of the La Leche League were formed, and in 1964, the group officially added “International" to its name. LLLI published its first book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, in 1958 and had since published many different breastfeeding resources, books, and articles. There are currently LLLI chapters in many different countries and all 50 states in the United States, and the LLLI website is also translated into 12 different languages as part of the organization’s dedication to providing help and information to as many people as possible.

Services and Support of La Leche League Breast Feeding International

LLLI offers several different services and modes of support to breastfeeding mothers, interested care providers, and anyone else looking into the topic of breastfeeding. LLLI is known specifically for its many local chapters and in-person meetings where you can get personal breastfeeding support from La Leche League International leaders and other breastfeeding mothers. However, the organization also offers phone consultations with local chapter leaders, email help, information on common breastfeeding problems and issues on the website’s “Answer Pages," and there is also an online forum that allows mothers and leaders to provide peer support via an online community.

While LLLI leaders are not required to have any formal training like International Board Certified Lactation Consultants are, they must have personal breastfeeding/mothering experience and complete organization’s required readings and preparations to obtain accreditation. Each leader comes from a different breastfeeding background and brings her own experiences to the table. If you are currently looking for an LLLI group and find that the leader of one chapter is not quite what you are looking for, try a different group! Also, you may find invaluable support in the mothers that attend the meetings even though they are not accredited through LLLI.

Finding a Chapter Near You

There are several different ways you can get in touch with your local LLLI chapter. There is a directory on the website that lists all of the chapters internationally. You can also check with your local pediatrician, hospital, or lactation consultant to see if they are aware of a meeting in your area. Local chapters may also be listed in the phone book. Don’t forget, if you cannot find a chapter near you, there are many other ways to get breastfeeding support through LLLI, and you may even consider starting a local chapter yourself.

By Katelynne Shepard

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