List of breastfeeding activists
The international breastfeeding community includes people who actively promote breastfeeding, teach breastfeeding, research breastfeeding and related health issues, and who write about breastfeeding and the ways it influences mothering, parenting and family life.
When La Leche League (LLL) was organized in 1956, it became a central place of contact for women looking for information, researchers and health professionals searching for peers, mothers hoping for encouragement and support, and writers wanting to connect with each other and share knowledge and insight.
As breastfeeding women began to join League and attend meetings they also became a willing market for publications about nursing and parenting. La Leche League conferences (local, national and international) created venues for speakers, for researchers to present their findings, and for new books to be released. As more women became college educated and entered the work force, they began to create new health fields, such as lactation consultation. Today, there are lactivists, women and men who actively promote the health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers, babies and communities, and who protest companies and corporations who discriminate against breastfeeding women.
With the development of the internet, individual women can share their breastfeeding experiences, sites can be created that address medical issues, research can be shared throughout the world, and governments can promote breastfeeding as a tool to improve the general health of their entire populations.
This list starts small, with the names of the founders of La Leche League, and then links to articles about the most well-known writers and researchers in the field of breastfeeding today. It includes the most authoritative sites with breastfeeding information, and some smaller sites that address important aspects of breastfeeding. The world health community encourages breastfeeding with sites aimed at a national and international audience.
The founders of La Leche League
These are the founders of La Leche League, also known as the founding mothers:
- Mary Ann Cahill
- Edwina Froehlich
- Mary Ann Kerwin
- Viola Lennon
- Marian Tompson
- Betty Wagner Spandikow
- Mary White
Very early supporters of La Leche League, as listed in the Second Edition of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, May 1963, include:
- Dr. Herbert Ratner, Dr. Gregory J. White, Dr. Niles Newton, Dr. E. Robbins Kimball
- Dr. Frank Howard Richardson, Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, Mrs. John Gale Aiken
- Ms Mildred Hatch, Mrs. Margaret Gamper R.N., Ms Joy Sidor, Ms Dorothy Vining
- Ms Mary B. Carson
Medical professionals working in the field today
- Alison Barrett, MD, is a Canadian obstetrician and Gynecologist who is an advocate for breastfeeding in New Zealand.
- Kathy Dettwyler, Adjunct Associate Anthropology Professor at the University of Delaware. Also a lecturer, author and breastfeeding advocate. She wrote some of the first internet pages: Thoughts on Breastfeeding.
- Lawrence Gartner, Professor Emiritus, Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology University of Chicago, lead author of current American Academy of Pediatrics statement of Breastfeeding and the use of human milk
- Dr. Jay Gordon, M.D., Los Angeles pediatrician, frequent television and radio guest on child rearing, etc.
- Thomas W. Hale, R.Ph., Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics, Texas Tech University School of Medicine  Author of Medications and Mother's Milk
- Barbara Heiser, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy
- Sheila Kitzinger workshops on the social anthropology of birth and breastfeeding
- Miriam Labbok, MD is a director of Carolina Global Breastfeeding institute at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is internationally known for advocacy of women's and children's issues, especially, birth spacing methods that do not harm breastfeeding.
- Chris Mulford, RN, LLL Leader, IBCLC.
- Dr. Jack Newman, MD is a Canadian physician specializing in breastfeeding support and advocacy.
- Dr. William Sears is an American pediatrician and the author or co-author of more than 30 parenting books with his wife, Martha, who is also a La Leche League Leader. They write and lecture about attachment parenting, and coined the phrase.
- Amy Spangler is an American MN, RN and IBCLC who lectures extensively on the benefits of breastfeeding and has written several books on the nursing-related subjects.
- Pat Shelly, IBCLC, RNC, MA, is the Director of the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington.
- Diana West, IBCLC, a writer and lecturer on breastfeeding issues
Publications and organizations that actively support breastfeeding
- Mothering – a holistic parenting magazine edited by Peggy O'Mara, a breastfeeding advocate
- La Leche League
Writings on politics and breastfeeding
- Mother's Milk: Breastfeeding Controversies in American Culture by Bernice Hausman
- Milk, Money, and Madness
- Biocultural Perspectives on Breastfeeding by Katherine Dettwyler
- The Politics of Breastfeeding—When Breasts Are Bad for Business by Gabrielle Palmer