Viola Lennon, co-founder of La Leche League, dies at age 86

Fifty-four years ago, in 1956, Viola Lennon and a group of six other local women started the organization called La Leche League a suburb of Illinois, not far from Aurora. Over the past fifty-four years, Ms. Lennon’s idea has become an international source of support for mothers and has initiated and backed numerous movements for breastfeeding rights. Lennon was a mother of ten and grandmother of eighteen.

Lennon and a small group of women in Illinois first got the idea for a group because they found mothers in their area were hosting small support groups but were not able to advertise them because of the fear of the word breastfeeding appearing in print. In those days, due to the recent push of formula products, breastfeeding was associated with the lower class. Breastfeeding was looked down upon. It was the seven Illinois women’s mission to mend this view. Although some mothers continue to face negative views on breastfeeding today, the issue has come a long way.