Could you imagine being a nursing mother in the 1940s? There were strict feeding schedules, a lack of information and a lot of misinformation about breastfeeding, and worst of all: too many new mothers were not receiving the support they desperately needed. Thank goodness for the new technology, science and support offered in the 2000s, but a lot of information and support for breastfeeding mothers would not be as readily available if weren’t for La Leche League and the seven mothers who founded it.
Mary White, Edwina Hearn Froehlich, Mary Ann Cahill, Betty Wagner Spandikow, Viola Brennan Lennon, Mary Ann Kerwin and Marian Leonard Tompson each brought their own remarkable personalities and ideas to the foundation of LLL’s mission and philosophy.
La Leche League’s mission is to “help mothers worldwide 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.” This mission is based on the ideals and philosophies supported by the seven founders.
La Leche League believes breastfeeding is the best and most natural way for babies and their mothers to create the essential parent-child relationship. In order to support mothers who decide to breastfeed, LLL provides information through personal assistance along with resources for additional care from physicians and health care professionals. LLL also emphasizes the important role of the love and support of a father in creating a parent-child relationship through breast-feeding. Surrounding both parents and the baby with love and support is an important part of breast-feeding, and LLL wants mothers to learn how breastfeeding can deepen a mother’s understanding of her role in the family. La Leche League believes that the role of a mother allows a woman to grow, learn and enrich their life because of the special experiences gained from motherhood.
Through meetings and support groups, La Leche League has made it possible for women across America – and internationally – to learn about breastfeeding, the physical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding and more. La Leche League of Maryland, Delaware and D.C. was created to offer these services to breastfeeding mothers, and currently, there are 24 support groups for mothers in the Maryland, Delaware and D.C. areas. The LLL meetings are available to all women and their children so mothers can share their questions, concerns and experiences with breastfeeding and how breastfeeding has positively impacted their relationships with their children. Along with the information gained from other mothers’ experiences, there are LLL Leaders available at every meeting. Accredited LLL Leaders offer accurate and up-to-date information about breastfeeding. LLL also offers phone, email and online support as well, for busy mothers and mothers who are unable to attend meetings.
La Leche League of Maryland, Delaware and D.C. continues to help breastfeeding mothers foster important relationships between parent and child. With locations all over Maryland, Delaware and D.C. and events happening throughout the year, women can be a part of an organization that helps mothers in their community, across the U.S. and internationally.
Upcoming Meetings and Events: http://www.lllofmd-de-dc.org/Comingevents.html
PDF version of article in Washington FAMILY Magazine: