La Leche League International is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization dedicated to encouraging, supporting, and promoting feeding babies human milk. La Leche League began in 1956 as a meeting of seven friends, at a time when parents found it difficult to find either information or support from their communities or doctors related to breastfeeding and human milk. Since then, La Leche League has grown into an international organization with groups in over 60 countries, providing personal support, education and encouragement to help families be successful in reaching their goals.
La Leche League Internaitonal (LLLI) serves as a non-governmental organization consultant for UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), acts as a registered Private Voluntary Organization for the US Agency of International Development (USAID), is an accredited member of the US Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies National Coalition, is a member of the Child Survival Collaborations and Resources Group (CORE), and is a founding member of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).
LLLI is the world's largest resource for publications about breastfeeding and related topics. The information that we provide is reviewed by a Health Advisory Council made up of doctors and other health care professionals.
Our vision is to help families worldwide to breastfeed through parent-to-parent 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 parent.
- Parenting through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
- Baby and nursing parent 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 their nursing parent, which is as basic as their need for food.
- Human milk is the natural food for babies, uniquely meeting their changing needs.
- For the healthy, full-term baby, human 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.
- Alert and active participation by the parent in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
- Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing relationship sustained by loving support, help, and companionship from family, friends, and community. Each parent’s unique relationship with 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.
The ideals and principles of parenting, which are the foundation of LLLI beliefs, are further developed in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding a comprehensive handbook on breastfeeding and parenting. It has provided needed answers to three generations of nursing families on every aspect of feeding babies human milk.