Please join AskAmma
in congratulating Chetana Amma for completing the training to become a certified La Leche League
La Leche League, an organization founded more than 50 years ago
when breastfeeding rates had dropped close to 20% in the United States, has helped many millions of families get adequate information, technical, emotional, social and political support to defend the time, space, nourishment and respect for women’s bodies that improve our confidence and enhance our ability to breastfeed. My mother was a member and I saw the difference it made for her and for my sister. I too benefitted from the personal support of a La Leche League leader when I experienced difficulty with latch-on in the first days of my daughter’s life.
In India there are communities where women have been breastfeeding for generations, with plenty of support from their families and neighbours. Increasingly however, women are finding themselves without critical support for breastfeeding in the time of need. Breastfeeding rates are dropping in urban as well as rural parts of India.
La Leche League and various forms of mother-to-mother support have a crucial role to play to help women initiate and exclusively breastfeed for at least six months and continue for at least two years as recommended by the World Health Organization. At the policy level, all of us must insist that pregnant and lactating mothers receive adequate rations as provided by the Integrated Child Development Services and know that they are entitled to maternity leave and nursing breaks as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and the Maternity Benefits Act. We must also protest false advertising that undermines real food and breastfeeding.
In a world that increasingly devalues women, women’s bodies, breastfeeding and food while at the same time pushing packaged and mechanized alternatives with false claims of health, happiness and women’s empowerment, La Leche League is one organization that makes a critical difference to the lives of women.
Chetana’s article about her own experience with breastfeeding, which involved seemingly insurmountable challenges at first and yet is going strong even today, touched a number of families and gave strength to many women to continue breastfeeding and seek out support when they needed it. She also reaches out to women in neighborhoods of Bangalore that have little access to lactation support and advocates for their right to food and children’s right to breastfeed.
With Chetana’s leadership I am confident that the compassionate embrace of LLL will reach communities hitherto unreached.
To Chetana I say, congratulations and go forth with strength and courage. We are all with you, Chetana!
Articles by Chetana