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A Brief History of La Leche League International

Historia en Español

The 50th anniversary video (PBS 10 minute segment from Chicago Tonight) interviews some of the founders and talks about the history of LLL and where it is now.

Biographical information for all seven Founders

1956 - Breastfeeding rates in the US drop close to 20%; October 17, first meeting held at home of Mary White

1957 - LLL brings Dr. Grantly-Dick Read, childbirth expert, to speak to a packed house at the local high school

1958 - Founders clarify their purpose and incorporate as LLL of Franklin Park; publish the first edition of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING in loose-leaf format and the first edition of the bimonthly publication for members, then called LLL NEWS

1960 - Over 50 women coming to 'Board' meetings bi-monthly; first LLL Group outside of country founded in Jonquiere, Quebec

1962 - LLL establishes 'Chapters' with 5 Groups per Chapter

1963 - LLL publishes first bound book edition of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING and first translation into French; Reader's Digest publishes the article, "They teach the art of breastfeeding" by Karen Pryor

1964 - Official name change from La Leche League to La Leche League International, Inc., with Groups in Canada, Mexico and New Zealand; LLLI's first International Conference takes place in Chicago with 425 adults and 100 babies in attendance

1965 - The first issue of Leaven is published to keep LLL Leaders up-to-date on breastfeeding and organizational issues

1971 - LLLI receives widespread publicity when Princess Grace of Monaco speaks at the 4th International Conference held in Chicago, Illinois, USA

1972 - Breastfeeding rates finally start to climb, jumping 4%, continuing an average climb of 3% a year throughout the decade

1974 - LLLI is accredited to provide continuing medical education credits by The American Medical Association

1979 - LLLI is represented at joint WHO/UNICEF Meeting on Infant and Young Child Feeding in October in Geneva, Switzerland

1981 - LLLI is welcomed into consultative status with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); establishes Affiliate status as part of its organizational structure; LLL Switzerland becomes LLLI's first Affiliate country; A revised and expanded edition of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING is published; LLLI holds its 25th Anniversary Conference with a record attendance of 3800 adults and 2300 children; LLLI publishes the first edition of BREASTFEEDING ABSTRACTS, a quarterly publication for health professionals

1982 - LLL Leader works with UNICEF/Brazil to develop a pilot project to train low-income mothers to be breastfeeding counselors and to form mother-to-mother support groups; breastfeeding rates reach 61.9%

1984 - LLLI publishes OF CRADLES AND CAREERS by Kaye Lowman

1985 - The title and format of LLL NEWS changes to NEW BEGINNINGS; LLLI serves on The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, established to develop and administer a voluntary certification program for lactation consultants; first IBLCE exam administered, July 1985

1986 - LLLI publishes 6 books, including a new edition of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, in 3 years.

1987 - LLLI launches the Peer Counselor Program

1988 - LLLI is awarded a 4 year Child Survival Grant for projects in Guatemala and Honduras to train low-income women as breastfeeding counselors and to form mother-to-mother breastfeeding support groups; LLLI publishes the first quarterly edition of ALUMNAE NEWS to reach members of the newly formed Alumnae Association

1989 - LLLI initiates an 800-line to enable mothers to reach LLL Groups and receive the breastfeeding information they need; LLLI establishes the Center for Breastfeeding Information (CBI), the world's largest resource for scientific research on breastfeeding

1990 - Breastfeeding rates drop to 50%; The WHO/UNICEF Policymaker's Meeting produces the "Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding," which is signed by 10 UN Agencies and 32 countries, including the US

1991 - The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is launched by WHO/UNICEF in June in Ankara, Turkey; LLLI joins with other organizations and individuals to form the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) a global network to protect, support and promote breastfeeding; LLLI publishes THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK and a revised edition of The WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING

1992 - WABA sponsors first World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, with the theme: Baby-Friendly Hospitals; LLLI sponsors its first World Walk for Breastfeeding

1993 - LLLI is admitted into official relations by the Executive Board of the WHO's ninety-first session in January (resolution EB9l.R20)

1994 - LLLI moves its office from Franklin Park to Schaumburg, Illinois, USA

1995 - LLLI establishes a presence on the Internet with its own Web site and as a participant in "Parent Soup on America Online;" breastfeeding rates rise again approaching 60%

1996 - WABA sponsors the fifth World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, with the theme, Breastfeeding: A Community Responsibility; LLLI publishes a revised and expanded edition of THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK

1997 - LLLI holds the 25th annual Physicians Seminar and the 40th Anniversary International Conference in July 1997 in Washington, DC USA; celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Peer Counselor Program

1998 - Education Center officially established at LLLI, Schaumburg, IL, USA, for the implementation of courses related to breastfeeding and lactation management

1999 - LLLI representative travels to Moscow, Russia, to provide technical assistance and support to a newly established mother-to-mother support group; Russian obstetricians tour LLLI offices, Schaumburg, IL, USA

2000 - LLLI's Center for Breastfeeding Information goes online

2001 - Wellstart International donates their library to LLLI, increasing the number of professional journal articles, research studies and books available from our Center for Breastfeeding Information from 19,000 to 38,000

2002 - LLLI published revised edition of THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, available in CD format for the first time

2006 - First La Leche League Leader accredited in Ukraine

2009 - First La Leche League Leader accredited in Russia

LLLI PR July 2003

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