Monday, June 28, 2010

Help Make Breastfeeding History

It was 13 years ago this July that I got my sixth edition copy of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding signed by all seven of the founders of La Leche League International, with my daughter, Virtue in tow (in a sling of course). That was a moment that can't happen again. Not all seven founders are alive today. I got to chat with each one and they each exuded peace and motherliness. Even though the organizers of the autographing event kept telling those of standing in line to be done, these kind old ladies obliged us autograph seekers as if they were queenly rock stars and stayed till the very last groupie was satisfied.

The eighth edition of the Womanly Art is coming out this July! It's been completely rewritten to be more "hip" and "girlfriendy." I am curious to see how this will read. One of the authors is Diane Weissinger. I like everything she's written that I've read so far. You can see her site at I appreciate that the WAB was written by some of the founders because that gives it a patient, grandmotherly perspective from women who grew up in the prefeminist age. I know I gave the breastfeeding book So That's What They're For! five stars but I've been thinking I should change that to four.

It's because that book is written from the postfeminist age perspective that having a baby and breastfeeding is something that you do alongside a career. It's written from the perspective that mothering, fertility, and breastfeeding are things that you turn on and off, according to the needs of your nonmotherly career. The WAB has more of an old-fashioned perspective of yes, you can breastfeed and mother, it's the natural thing for women to do from time immemorial.

When I asked one of the founders of La Leche League to sign my older edition of the WAB that I had brought to the conference, she politely refused. She said it had some stuff in there on birth control that she didn't agree with. But the newer edition that was just being released that month of July 1997 was kosher to her. So what was the big change that Mary White agreed with? The newer edition mentioned LAM as an effective form of birth control. (Please go to to read the rest. You will have to sign in if you haven't already.)

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