Thinking About LLL Leadership?
LLL Purpose, Mission, Philosophy
- LLL Purpose
- LLL Mission
- LLL Philosophy
- LLL Concepts and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
- Handout: La Leche League Purpose, Mission, Philosophy
General Purpose: To help the mother learn to breastfeed her baby. To encourage good mothering through breastfeeding. To promote a better understanding of breastfeeding and related subjects.
Vision Purpose: To realize, deepen, and share the love and wisdom found in the breastfeeding relationship.
La Leche League was founded to give information and encouragement, mainly through personal help, to all mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. While complementing the care of health professionals, LLL recognises the unique importance of one mother helping another to perceive the needs of her child and to learn the best means of fulfilling those needs.
LLL believes that breastfeeding, with its many important physical and psychological advantages, is best for baby and mother and is the ideal way to initiate good parent-child relationships. The loving help and support of the father also enable the mother to focus on mothering so that together the parents develop close relationships which strengthen the family and thus the whole fabric of society.
LLL further believes that mothering through breastfeeding deepens a mother’s understanding and acceptance of the responsibilities and rewards of her special role in the family. As a woman grows in mothering she grows as a human being and every other role she may fill in her lifetime is enriched by the insights and humanity she brings to it from her experiences as a mother.
The purpose of LLL is distinct. This singleness of purpose is open to interaction with other organisations with compatible purposes, but La Leche League will carefully guard against allying itself with another cause, however worthwhile that cause may be.
Our mission 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.
(May 1989; rev April 1993)
The practical principles of mothering which are the foundation of LLL beliefs are developed in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. This book has provided answers and inspiration for the rewarding and challenging job of parenting to several generations of mothers. LLL philosophy is summarized in the following ten concepts:
- Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
- Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.
- In the early years, the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.
- Human milk is the natural food for babies, uniquely meeting their changing needs.
- For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.
- Ideally, the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.
- Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
- Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby’s father. A father’s unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child’s development from early infancy.
- Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
- From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.
Leader Applicants are required to own and be familiar with the most recent edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, if available in their languages. On accreditation, each new Leader signs the Statement of Commitment in which she agrees to represent La Leche League as presented in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. You may find it helpful to read it (or read it again) from the perspective of a Leader. If you are interested in finding out more about leadership and have questions about LLL philosophy, please talk to your supporting Leader.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is La Leche League’s first resource for mothers and Leaders. It conveys the essence of La Leche League philosophy. An understanding of LLL philosophy is important for the mother interested in leadership. There are ten concept statements which are derived from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and which summarise La Leche League philosophy. If you wish, you can use the page references below to help you become familiar with The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and develop your understanding of the concepts.
Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.
p. 11, 23
In the early years, the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.
p. 143, 223, 280-81, 287
Human milk is the natural food for babies, uniquely meeting their changing needs.
For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.
Ideally, the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.
p. 204, 317
Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
p. 45, 49-50
Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby’s father. A father’s unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child’s development from early infancy.
p. 31, 32
Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
From infancy on, children need loving guidance which reflects acceptance of their capabilities and sensitivity to their feelings.
p. 174, 216
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is now in its eighth edition. For nearly fifty years, this book, originally written by the women who founded La Leche League, has been answering the questions of breastfeeding mothers. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of mothers have turned to it for information and inspiration.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding provides information on many topics:
- How human milk offers lifetime benefits to babies
- How to overcome common breastfeeding challenges
- How to position a baby at the breast so as to avoid sore nipples
- How to be sure a baby is receiving enough nourishment at the breast
- How to combine breastfeeding and working
- How to find time for yourself while meeting baby’s needs
The decision to breastfeed is a significant choice that will affect mother and baby far into the future. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is much more than a manual of how to succeed at breastfeeding. Many mothers have found in its pages the support they need for responding to their babies’ needs through breastfeeding.
Leader Applicants are required to own and be familiar with The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding in order to understand the philosophy at the heart of La Leche League.
Below you can read Anwar Fazal’s Foreword to the previous edition.
You can purchase your own copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding in the LLLI Online Store.
Foreword to The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
I would not be alive today if not for breastfeeding.
In 1941, when I was born, the little village at the foothill of the mountain range between Thailand and Malaysia was caught madly in the battles of the start of World War II. But I was fortunate. My mother nursed me with the goodness of her milk and the love and care that came with it.
The natural power of breastfeeding is one of the greatest wonders of the world. It is about real love. It is about caring and celebrating the wondrous joy of nurturing a new life. It is about enjoying being a woman.
In a world too often dominated by materialism and greed, every act of the natural power of breastfeeding reminds us that there is another way, the natural way, the breastfeeding way.
Breastfeeding is about the power of peace, the power of goodness, and the power of responsibility.
Today, all over the world, women demonstrate this power by choosing to breastfeed. They celebrate this power and joy by helping other mothers who wish to exercise this natural choice.
Today, all over the world, the people in La Leche League International (LLLI) make breastfeeding happen. Through the partnership that LLLI forges with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), groups all over the world act in unison to protect, to promote, and to support breastfeeding worldwide. And from August 1 to 7, every year, thousands of groups and millions of people celebrate this great cause through World Breastfeeding Week.
The United Nations, particularly through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have provided a Code that serves as a global framework to ensure that the culture of breastfeeding is not undermined.
The greatest power of all in ensuring the maintenance of the culture of breastfeeding is going to be the living example of breastfeeding mothers everywhere, demonstrating and sharing their knowledge and their wisdom about this universal heritage. This is why LLLI is so important and why this book is so necessary.
Mother-to-mother support is the warm, family, and community way and this book helps to gather the great wisdom into useful information. Don’t be without it and don’t forget to give a copy to a friend. It is this kind of assertive action, this linking and multiplying, that will help more and more mothers, and children, to share in the joy and power of a breastfeeding culture. It’s baby-friendly, it’s mother-friendly, it’s family-friendly, it’s community-friendly, it’s eco-friendly, and good economics, too.
World Alliance for Breastfeeding action (WABA)
Recipient of the Right Livelihood Award,
popularly called the “Alternative Nobel Prize”
Penang, Malaysia, May 1997
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