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Who Started the La Leche League?


Updated January 23, 2010

La Leche League

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La Leche League
Question: Who Started the La Leche League?

The La Leche League International (LLL) is a well-known organization structured to "help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother." Though the La Leche League is well-known throughout the world, the names of its founders are not. Who founded La Leche League International?


The La Leche League began when a group of seven mothers living in Illinois in the mid 1950's realized that many women either stopped breastfeeding or did not breastfeed due to challenges with nursing. Those challenges included both physical and societal hurdles.

The Founders of La Leche League International

What began as a small group of housewives spread to an organization with world-wide bases. That influential group of seven women included:

  1. Mary Ann Cahill, (1927)
  2. Edwina Froehlich, (1915-2008)
  3. Mary Ann Kerwin, (1931)
  4. Viola Lennon, (1923-2010)
  5. Marian Tompson, (1929)
  6. Betty Wagner Spandikow, (1923-2008)
  7. Mary White, (1923)

A full biography on the La Leche League founders is available at the LLLI website.

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