Celebrating 66 Years Of La Leche League: Early Words Of Encouragement

Editor’s Note: La Leche League was organized 66 years ago, and the first official meeting of La Leche League was held October 17, 1956, at the home of co-founder Mary White. By 1958, the first edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was published in a loose-leaf format. In today’s blog post, we share an excerpt from that very first volume. We have kept the excerpt as it was published with the original spelling, punctuation, etc. Be sure to check out the link at the end of the post for exciting news about an update to this LLL resource!

WAB old edition About Crying (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 1958, 1st Edition)

“Don’t let a fussy period throw you. Babies are sometimes fretful for no reason that we can discover. (Aren’t we all sometimes?) After you’ve changed him, fed him, and done all the usual things ask yourself these questions. ‘Have I had a big day?’ ‘Have I done something extra tiring?’ ‘Left the baby with someone else – had any upsetting incidents?’ These might give you a clue to his behavior, since he is very sensitive to your moods and feelings. Remember, if he’s crying he obviously needs something. The tiny baby’s wants and needs are one and the same.

“In cases of prolonged, hard crying, check his temperature and if it’s normal you can be pretty certain it’s a temporary discomfort. Check with your doctor but don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s hunger causing the trouble. In fact, sometimes it’s just the opposite. He may have a burp that won’t come up. Or it may be that the baby is lonesome for Mom. Your baby can’t know you are right there unless he feels you. You might as well be in Timbuctoo as on the other side of the room as far as he is concerned.

“Why is it that we mothers seem inclined to doubt that an infant has emotional needs? For example, we willingly keep our babies well fed, warm, dry and generally comfortable. But if a baby does not need any of these things, but soothes when we hold him, we shake our heads fondly at him and put him gently but firmly down to cry it out since we don’t want to ‘spoil’ him. Certainly his emotional need of wanting to feel us close, of wanting to be cuddled in our arms is at least equally important to his need to be fed, and kept dry, etc. So if he stops his crying when you pick him up and hold him, just keep on holding him for a while and be happy that you are there to satisfy this important need of your infant.”


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