La Leche League philosophy underpins everything that LLL does. 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’m exploring the 10 concepts that underpin LLL philosophy in this space. I talked about the first three concepts in earlier posts, and now I’m ready to move on to the fourth:
In the early years, the baby has an intense need to be with his mother, which is as basic as his need for food.
Speaking from my own experience, I learned very early on in my own parenting that the best way to soothe my baby was to pick her up and hold her. She seemed most relaxed when she was close to me. She slept better, cried less and was generally more content when she was in my arms. This is a common experience - many mothers report that their babies want to be near them all the time.
This is because human infants depend on a caregiver for their very survival. They are defenseless, and they have so very much to learn. Their instincts cry out to be close to another human being. And from their earliest moments, most infants form their primary bond with their mother. She is their source of food with her milk, and their source of comfort in every way.
La Leche League recognizes that sometimes mothers and babies will need to be apart. But we also believe that the best separations are those that everyone is happy about. And so we encourage every family to carefully consider how they will arrange any separations between mother and baby, particularly in the very early days when breastfeeding is still being established.
We also believe that a baby's need for his or her mother continues 24 hours a day. We encourage parents to respond to their babies with sensitivity, and to recognize their need for comfort at all times of the day and night. When babies cry out in the middle of the night, they are not being manipulative. They are simply expressing their very real need for your comforting presence.
La Leche League believes that you are the best expert on your own family, and we understand that every family (and even every Leader) will interpret LLL philosophy in their own way. No matter what that looks like for you, we will be here to offer breastfeeding support and information at all of your baby's ages and stages.