Looking Back: It Makes A Difference

Eileen Carman, Parsippany, New Jersey

Originally published in the January-February 1976 issue of La Leche League News. (From Garden Statements, La Leche League of New Jersey newsletter)

Editor’s Note: This year marks the 65th anniversary of La Leche League International, an organization that “was born”, the co-Founders wrote in Vol. 1, No. 1 of the May-June 1958 La Leche League News, in October 1956 in Franklin Park, Illinois.

LLL Founders in 1956, Franklin Park, IL

“It all started at a picnic…a nice, happy, family-type picnic…A couple of us there had little babies which we were nursing. Perhaps the conversation went something like this: ‘How easy it is to take a nursing baby on a picnic! How many of our friends have said they envied us the ease with which we fed our babies, and how much we seemed to enjoy it. Some of us had tried and failed. Why can’t somebody do something to help them? Why can’t we?’ And so it began.”

Over the past 65 years, La Leche League Leaders, as well as many of the parents who attend LLL meetings, have carried on this idea of using their experiences to help others. In today’s blog post, we read about how, 45 years ago, La Leche League helped change the direction of the nursing relationship of little Warren and his mother, Eileen, when she attended a meeting and learned about growth spurts and how to continue breastfeeding through what is often one of the most challenging aspects of the early weeks and months of the nursing relationship.

At five weeks Warren was in a growth spurt, although I didn’t know about such things at the time. The doctor advised cereal. But after three weeks of messy cereal, constant constipation, and suppositories every twelve hours, I attended my first LLL meeting, desperate. It was mentioned that most babies don’t need solid food until they’re about six months old. For two days I sat and nursed my son ‘round the clock.

Warren changed almost overnight from a crying, very uncomfortable baby to a fully breastfed, cooing delight. The emotional support of my husband and the League were all-important in the face of others saying I’d starve my son just to prove I could nurse him. I don’t really know where I got the courage to stop solids – maybe from that room full of beautiful, healthy babies.

We would have managed, I’m sure, without LLL. Warren would have been bottle-fed quite soon, but life would have gone on. How much nicer, though, to have nursed him! Not to mention that he hasn’t needed a suppository since that first LLL meeting.

Right now it’s raining hard and my two-year-old son is sleeping. I’ve just reread my News, and warmth and peace flood me. What an organization we are! Warren got into mud last night and I was able to laugh with him. Now his shoes await my attention, his toys lie scattered where he left them at naptime, and if I don’t sweep my kitchen floor, it will walk away. However, my child is happy and loving. What could be more important?


Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

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