La Leche League of Washington is a mother-to-mother breastfeeding support organization. La Leche League Leaders are volunteer mothers who have breastfed their own children, and are accredited by La Leche League International. La Leche League of Washington is made up of nearly 100 active Leaders and 40 Groups across the state. Four regions provide helpline services for mothers.
As a mother-to-mother support organization, La Leche League is on the leading edge of furthering breastfeeding initation and duration rates in the United States. In 2011, the Surgeon General announced a call to action to improve breastfeeding rates in the United States. Chief among Dr. Benjamin's action items was a focus on mother-to-mother support and peer counseling programs. La Leche League is the original mother-to-mother support group, beginning with its founding in 1956 when a group of mothers got together to talk about breastfeeding.
La Leche League of Washington is committed to providing its volunteer Leaders with the most up-to-date and comprehensive tools to support breastfeeding families. Leaders assist families through phone calls, in monthly Group Meetings and online, through email and social media. La Leche League of Washington strives to meet mothers where they are to help them reach their breastfeeding goals. Through Leader accreditation, La Leche League of Washington continues to accredit new Leaders and expand its reach into communities across the state.
For health care professionals, La Leche League of Washington's health care professional seminars are among the top lactation continuing education opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. Each year, LLL brings some of the most-sought-after experts in the field of lactation to Washington state to further understanding of best practices for breastfeeding.
La Leche League of Washington is part of La Leche League International.
La Leche League International (LLLI) is an international organization with the sole purpose of helping mothers and babies breastfeed. LLLI focuses on matters relating to breastfeeding, as defined by its Philosophy, and does not endorse other causes. The primary role of an LLLI Leader is to provide mothers information and options on matters relating to breastfeeding.
The basic philosophy of La Leche League is summarized in the following statements:
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.
- Breast milk is the superior infant food.
- 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.
- 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 mother’s father. A father’s unique relationship with the 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.
In every country where we work, we reach some mothers more than others. It is always a challenge to find ways to connect with mothers when phone lines, power, internet connection, roads, languages, and other barriers may be present! In July 2007, LLLI established the goal of exploring options for LLLI to reach currently underserved populations, which differ depending on the locality. As identified by LLL Leaders around the world, underserved mothers include: mothers in the Middle East, teen mothers, mothers living in poverty, mothers in the inner city, indigenous populations worldwide, non-English speaking mothers, especially Spanish-speaking mothers in the United States, working mothers, mothers in Africa, and minorities, which are different in each country and locality. LLLI identified a set of tasks, programs, and pilot programs to increase its ability to reach underserved populations.
Our Code of Ethics states that leaders shall “Be sensitive to local cultural customs” and “Respect all mothers and the rights, opinions, and lifestyles of other mothers and Leaders regardless of race, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, and/or physical disability and strive to provide information and options, not advice.”
For more information about LLL of WA’s efforts, programs and policies, please contact us or call our administrative phone line at 425-610-6119.
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Support of the International WHO Code
Written agreements and contracts governing sponsorship will include the information that LLLI fully supports the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent World Assembly resolutions relevant to the International Code, passed before October 2006. LLLI and LLL of WA shall not enter into sponsorship or endorsement or licensing agreements with any corporation that violates the International Code nor accept advertisements or exhibits from such corporations. The term 'corporation' includes subsidiaries and parent companies of known International Code violators. New contracts shall specify that breaches of this provision that occur or become apparent during the term of the contract will result in the contract being terminated.