The La Leche League was founded in 1956 in Illinois to provide recent and expectant mothers access to information and resources about breastfeeding. Over half a century later, the La Leche League (LLL) has expanded to over 100 countries around the world, and is still working to answer breastfeeding questions and to educate the public.
“We have certainly made strides in making breastfeeding more socially acceptable,” said Pamela Laird, an LLL of Ann Arbor Leader. “But Michigan just passed a law last year (Ed Note: the Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act) that made it so you can’t be prosecuted for breastfeeding. So we still have a ways to go.”
Entirely volunteer-run, the LLL of Ann Arbor describes itself as a “mom-to-mom” organization that is dedicated to connecting moms to other like-minded moms that are going through the same breastfeeding process. Their goal is to educate the general public, and most importantly, to connect moms with the resources they need.
“Our mission specifically here in Ann Arbor is to help mothers who want to breastfeed through mother to mother support. We just try to encourage, inform, and educate moms,” said Laird. “We meet three times a month with a leader that has gone through training.”
Meetings are topic-based, according to Laird, focusing on, “Getting started in the early days, or how to introduce solids, or sleep issues.” Meetings are informal, and provide a safe space for moms to socialize, ask questions, or vent. There’s no registration process or membership required – new moms and expectant mothers are welcome, and are encouraged to bring their babies.
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Because, at times, there is still a social stigma connected to breastfeeding in public, as well as a lack of easy-to-find resources for moms, Laird says that it’s hard to follow through on a commitment to breastfeed, no matter how important it may be to the mother. La Leche League of Ann Arbor aims to change that.
“Many mothers start out with the intention to breastfeed, but after a couple weeks, those numbers really drop off,” said Laird. “We believe with the right education and support the numbers of moms that want to breastfeed but aren’t able to will increase. “That’s what we’re here for.”
For more information about the
La Leche League of Ann Arbor,
as well as online resources about
breastfeeding, visit lllaa.org.