The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and UNICEF are but a few of the organizations that say breast milk is best for babies. But it wasn't always that way.
Mary Ann Kerwin, one of the founding members of the La Leche League International explains, "In 1956, breastfeeding in the United States was a lost or dying art. I believe that never before in the history of the world had a resource as valuable as human milk been so widely discarded. Only about 20 percent of U.S. mothers breastfed their babies."
Another LLLI founder, Mary White, says that back in the 40s and 50s, the three main obstacles to successful breastfeeding were doctors, hospitals and social pressures. She added that the desire to breastfeed was always there along with the conviction that 'breast is best' but women had forgotten the wisdom of previous generations.
In 1956, these two women joined five others to form the LLLI. The goal was to help women breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement and education. Today, there are LLLI groups worldwide. Go to www.llli.org for information and to find personal support near you. The site includes much more including Q&As, podcasts and forums.
While breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, new mothers can have many questions and encounter issues from nipple soreness to when to wean. In addition to your physician and pediatrician, here are some additional resources to check out:
- ProMoM is the Promotion of Mother's Milk Inc. nonprofit that offers 101 Reasons to Breastfeed, a discussion forum and ways to get involved to increase public acceptance of breastfeeding.
- International Lactation Consultant Association lists professionals whom you can contact to help answer your breastfeeding questions and provide valuable advice.
- Dona International is an international organization of doulas. These are the professionals who provide support during and after childbirth.
- WomensHealth.gov contains a wealth of info from the basics of breastfeeding to the politics of where it is allowed. Also available is a free publication - "An Easy Guide to Breastfeeding."
National Breastfeeding Helpline is an information and referral service of the United States Department of Health & Human Services. Speak in English or Spanish to a counselor 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., EST, Monday through Friday or , during off hours, leave a message and receive a return call the next business day. Call 1-800-994-9662.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times