For 50 years La Leche League has been supporting and encouraging New Zealand mothers and babies to breastfeed. Through our network of mother-to-mother support groups, education and information La Leche League works to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding and the ongoing impact it has on the healthy development of the baby and mother. La Leche League believes that the unique composition of breast milk and the closeness fostered by the breastfeeding relationship combine to enhance a baby’s start to life.
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This is our New Zealand story.
Latching On: 50 years of breastfeeding support – La Leche League in New Zealand 1964-2014 tells how, as breastfeeding rates plunged during the 1960s, a group of mothers began a quiet revolution that was to change the way New Zealand babies were fed.
Following the lead of an American voluntary organisation, the women set up a remarkable mother-to-mother support group, which met for the first time on 25 April 1964 in the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert. La Leche League had officially arrived in New Zealand.
Latching On is a comprehensive account of what followed over the next 50 years as La Leche League groups sprang up across the country. The impact of the organisation’s work was far reaching; not only did New Zealand’s breastfeeding rates soar but, in making breastfeeding a more public and, at times, controversial issue, the organisation drew attention to the need to support and protect a woman’s right to breastfeed.
Written by freelance public historian Louise Shaw, this is much more than a ‘who said what, where and when’ account of the country’s leading breastfeeding support organisation; it is a valuable insight into the history of breastfeeding in New Zealand and the societal context La Leche League grew up in.
This is a recommended read for those who are or have been involved with LLLNZ at any stage over the past 50 years, and to anyone with an interest in New Zealand history and the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies.
Renaissance Publishing 2014