La Leche League (LLL) was created to provide mother-to-mother breastfeeding support. In fact, LLL Canada’s mission is:
To encourage, promote and provide mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society.
This is why every LLL Leader has been a breastfeeding mother herself. We do not provide medical information, and we’re not licensed professionals. We’re trained volunteers who draw from referenced LLL materials and our own experiences.
LLL philosophy underpins everything that LLL Leaders do. This philosophy is drawn from 10 statements about mothering and breastfeeding. They’re not meant to be rules – rather, they form a general framework about what LLL believes. There are many ways to interpret each statement, and you will see LLL philosophy take a different shape in each person who embraces it.
I’d like to share a little bit more about LLL philosophy with you by exploring each statement. So let’s start at the very beginning (I hear it’s a very good place to start), and explore the first statement which says:
Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
You could say that the rest of LLL philosophy follows from this first statement. It sets out what LLL stands for – mothering through breastfeeding.
It’s important to understand what this statement does not say. It doesn’t say, for example, that mothering through breastfeeding is the only way of meeting a baby’s needs. This is because LLL exists to support breastfeeding mothers, not to stand in opposition to anyone. We are not anti-anything. We want to ensure that mothers have accurate information so that they can make the best choices, as well as the support they need to meet their personal breastfeeding goals.
Supporting breastfeeding mothers doesn’t sound like a revolutionary concept today. But when LLL philosophy was formally adopted in 1972, breastfeeding rates were at an all-time low in the United States. We like to think that the increase in mothers who successfully breastfeed is due at least in part to the work that LLL has done for decades in providing support and information.