La Leche League
At the Crossroads of Medicine, Feminism, and Religion
ISBN10: 0807847917 ISBN13: 9780807847916 Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Pr Published: Jan 1 2000 Pages: 227 Weight: 0.80lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 5.75" Depth: 0.75" Language: English
In 1956, when La Leche League was founded, if a new mother chose to breastfeed rather than bottlefeed her child, she could by no means expect universal support for her decision. Though physicians of the era admitted that breastfeeding was the best method of infant feeding, they warned of the difficulties that nursing mothers faced, and many held that successful breastfeeding required a knowledge of science and medicine that most new mothers could not claim. Started by seven Catholic women who simply wished to help their friends learn to breastfeed, La Leche League grew into an organization with several million members worldwide, known here and abroad for its pathbreaking promotion of the breastfeeding of infants.
Offering a fascinating look inside an organization whose full history has been essentially untold, Jule Ward explores the genesis, theological underpinnings, and development of La Leche League. She demonstrates that, despite distancing itself from any overt expression of its religious roots, the organization remains a quasi-religious articulation of Catholic social thought blended with scientific ideology and feminism. In short, says Ward, the story of La Leche League provides an excellent example of how religion in practice permeates everyday life.