In 1956 two mothers, Mary White and Marian Tompson with five other mothers created the International Leche League, which today is found in more than 85 countries.
Mary White and Marian Tompson were nursing their children at a church picnic when other women showed interest and came forward stating that they had wanted to breastfeed but failed. From this experience, they created the International Leche League under the premise that they are mothers supporting other mothers. Sixty years later, women still need these support networks.
Valeria Baena, leader of the La Leche League in Colombia says that even though breastfeeding is a biological act, women have begun to question their bodies’ ability to do so. One of the reasons, she explains, ‘is that women have stopped seeing other women breastfeed’. In other words, the practice and knowledge that is transmitted from generation to generation in terms of breastfeeding has been lost
She affirms: Women who do not need support during breastfeeding are usually because they have grown up in spaces where women in the family or close to them have breastfed.
There is a generation of women today in Colombia between 55 and 70 years no were breastfeeding and very few breastfed their babies, especially those living in urban contexts. This is explained by the boom in formula milk and baby bottles, which began in the 1960s. Leche League was born right in the period in which doctors began to recommend formulated or recommended milk powder above breastfeeding. The marketing of the big formula milk companies skyrocketed at that time.
La Leche League in Colombia
The support the League gives consists mainly of providing information not only backed by scientific studies and the knowledge that these moms have acquired over all these years, but also by the experience contributed by each mother who breastfed. With that information, families and care networks decide what is best for the breastfeeding mother and the baby. It is key to take into account any feelings the woman involved may have about it.
Many women come to the League looking for security in what they are doing. On the one hand, some have the intuition that what they are doing is the right thing to do but, on the other hand, they may be told that they have to supplement, that they are spoiling their babies, or that they are underweight because they only feed on breast milk, among other things. other things.
There is a very large cultural interference in the breastfeeding process. If you see any mammal, it doesn’t think much and the baby sticks to the mom. The cow, to give an example, does not ask herself whether or not she is going to give milk, no mammal has those doubts. While today women are full of doubts. Yes, support is necessary and it is very common to need it. Affirms, Valeria Baena
This leader warns that the best thing to do in times of crisis is to listen to the mother. It’s not about holding on, being brave, or stopping breastfeeding to switch to a bottle, which may be the “easy” thing to do.