La Leche League International Statements

  1. Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, Endorsement
  2. Breastfeeding as Described….
  3. Declaration for the Promotion of Breastfeeding and on the Marketing of Artificial Feeding Products in the USA
  4. Inclusivity Statement
  5. WHO Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes
  6. WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy For Infant and Young Child Feeding

Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, Endorsement

LLLI endorses the original WHO / UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. In light of this action, LLLI will not endorse any document with changes that negate the original program or its steps.

(Jun 94)

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Breastfeeding as Described by La Leche League International

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What is breastfeeding and what does LLLI mean by breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is what happens when your baby drinks your human milk from your milk ducts at the nipple/breast. It involves you responding, holding, and helping your baby to get comfortable and to latch on to the breast. It also involves your baby actively drinking and swallowing your milk. It is a shared relationship and a shared experience. Breastfeeding offers a multitude of unique and significant health factors to both you as a mother or nursing parent, and to your baby.

For many people, the optimal health and/or most comfortable form of breastfeeding will involve your baby suckling your human milk directly from your milk ducts in the breast tissue around the nipple. When this happens without the baby having received any supplemental milk or formula during the first half of the baby’s first year, it can be referred to simply as breastfeeding. It can also be described as direct, exclusive, or full breastfeeding. Some people refer to their exclusive breastfeeding experience as chestfeeding.

For some breastfeeding mothers and parents, the above description is a nursing experience which they reach very quickly in the early days and weeks after their baby is born. For others, it may take many weeks or months, or be reached only with subsequent babies.

Some people feed their baby their milk at their breast/chest, and they also use supplemental expressed milk, donor milk or formula from the time of their baby’s birth, or for many months of their baby’s life. These supplements can be given to the baby using cups, bottles or an at-breast supplementer.

Some of the people using supplements refer to their feeding journey as combination feeding, and some prefer to use the words breastfeeding or chestfeeding. LLLI respects these different definitions and accepts that for many people across the world their breastfeeding experience may involve some supplementation.

Some people are never able to latch their baby to their breast directly and some babies are unable to suckle milk from the breast/nipple. This might be for physical health reasons for either the mother or parent, or for the baby. Not being able to latch your baby to the breast could be due to mental or emotional health reasons. It could be for cultural or other reasons for the mother, parent or family. Mothers and parents who feed their baby their own human milk fully through a cup, a feeding line, or a bottle may also describe their experience as breastfeeding. LLLI recognises the extremely demanding and tiring work that goes into expressing your human milk every day of a baby’s life. We respect the right of all mothers and nursing parents to describe their breastfeeding experience in the terms that suit them, including: human milk feeding, breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and exclusively expressing.

The first part of the LLL mission is about support for breastfeeding. In pursuing our mission we seek to offer information and support to all families for all of the different forms of breastfeeding set out above. Wherever you are on your breastfeeding journey, if you are pregnant, nursing your baby, expressing your milk, or weaning, La Leche League Leaders are always here for you.

(Dec 2021)
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Declaration for the Promotion of Breastfeeding and on the Marketing of Artificial Feeding Products in the USA

(Artificial Feeding Product is replacing the term infant formula.)

Referencing by the Center for Breastfeeding Information (CBI)

Affirming that breastfeeding is a unique process that:

  • Provides optimal nutrition for infants and contributes to their healthy growth and development; (1-14)
  • Reduces incidence and severity of infectious and noninfectious diseases, thereby lowering infant morbidity and mortality; (15-33)
  • Contributes to women’s health by reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer (34-38)
  • Provides social and economic benefits to the family and the nation, and these benefits are equally available at all economic levels; (39-43)
  • Provides women with a sense of satisfaction and self-esteem when supported and when women are given accurate information to help ensure success and empowers them in making positive health decisions for their families; (44-48)
  • Maximizes the positive impact of infant feeding (minimizes the impact of artificial feeding products) on the ecology. (49-50)

Believing that, in the light of the foregoing considerations, and in view of the vulnerability of infants in the early months of life and the risks involved in inappropriate feeding practices, including the unnecessary and improper use of AFP, the marketing of these products requires special treatment which makes the usual marketing practices unsuitable for these products. We therefore declare that it is imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding by:

  • Establishing regulations for information and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants;
  • Establishing regulations of advertising of artificial feeding products and baby foods;
  • Establishing regulations for distribution of artificial feeding products, directly or indirectly to pregnant women, mothers, or members of their families;
  • Promoting policies and practices within the health care system to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding, especially ensuring mother-infant policies;
  • Promoting the education of lactation management of all levels of health workers;
  • Eliminating advertising or other forms of promotion to the public of infant food products;
  • Passage of a code of marketing for infant food products in the USA.

We believe that these regulations are necessary to ensure that:

    • Women are well informed about breastfeeding and that their feeding choice is understood as more than just a lifestyle choice, but is a positive health decision for both mother and baby;(51-56)
  • Exclusive breastfeeding is understood to be necessary to obtain optimal maternal and child health nutrition and is recommended; (57-63)
  • There is an understanding of the dose-related risk (artificial feeding/breastfeeding) ratio (i.e., the more breast milk a baby receives, the greater the benefits to mother and child); (64-72)
  • Infant formula is seen as an “artificial feeding product” (AFP), not a breast milk substitute; (73-76)
  • The artificial feeding of babies is understood to be a high-risk behavior, which requires more health care services and costs; (77-81)
  • All artificial feeding products must be of the highest quality, with only factual and scientific information on labels and in educational materials; (82-86)
  • Mothers will have the opportunity to make an informed choice about how they will feed their infants without commercial pressures; (87-91)
  • Breastfeeding will become the cultural norm with the removal of barriers. (92-96)

(May 92)
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Inclusivity Statement

We at La Leche League International have all nursed our babies. If you want to do the same, whoever you are, whatever your story is, we’re here to help.

LLLI is committed to serving everyone inclusive of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status, political views, gender identity, sexual orientation, family structure, or other protected status.

LLLI seeks the equitable accreditation of a diverse body of Leaders.

(May 2018)
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WHO Code Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes

LLLI fully supports the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent World Assembly resolutions relevant to the International Code.

(1981, 1988; Oct 93; Oct 06; Oct 08; Oct 10, Dec 18)

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WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding

LLLI supports the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. This strategy focuses on action strategies to promote, protect, and support optimal feeding practices, particularly breastfeeding, for infants and young children around the world. LLLI makes a commitment to promote the strategy.

(Nov 04)

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