Sunday, June 15, 2008

Edwina Edwina

This girl's got my back. God rest her soul. I just know the founder of La Leche League smiled down on me as I nursed Simeon on the park bench today.

Here's an article about her:

"La Leche founder changed attitudes about breastfeeding"
June 12, 2008

By MATT KIEFER mkiefer@pioneerlocal.com
Friends and family have spent the week reflecting on the life of Edwina Froehlich, a local pioneer for natural childbirth and breastfeeding who died Sunday (June 8).
Froehlich co-founded La Leche League with a group of neighborhood women in Franklin Park during the late 1950s, teaching other mothers how to nurse their infants at a time when doctors promoted formula and breastfeeding rates were reportedly near 20 percent.

"In those days you didn't mention 'breast' in print. We knew that if we were ever going to get anything in the paper, we would have to find a name that wouldn't actually tell people what our organization was about," Froehlich once explained when telling the origin of the group's name (Spanish for "the milk"), according to biographical information provided by La Leche League.
Her Franklin Park home served as the group's original offices, and she remained closely involved over the years as La Leche grew into an international organization with 3,000 groups in more than 60 countries. Froehlich also co-authored The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, which now has 2 million copies in print.
She moved to Inverness a few years ago, continuing to serve on the board, travel and speak on behalf of the Schaumburg-based organization until suffering a stroke last month. She passed away June 8 at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights at age 93.
Froehlich was inspired to take up the cause after observing her sister in labor in the early 1940s, when fathers were ushered from the hospital room, women received general anesthesia and babies were delivered via forceps.
"Mom was kind of shocked by the whole process," remarked her son, Paul Froehlich, a state representative from Schaumburg who in 2004 co-sponsored legislation allowing Illinois women to breast-feed their children in public. He also supported a state law allowing nursing mothers to excuse themselves from jury duty.
Paul Froehlich noted how norms have changed since La Leche was founded more than half a century ago. The league reports 77 percent of babies in America are now breast-fed at birth.
"I think nowadays people are getting more comfortable with the idea," he said, noting La Leche received an outpouring of support from league members around the world who are grateful for Edwina Froehlich's work. "We're getting a better feel of how many lives she affected directly and even more indirectly."



1 comment:

abigail said...

I'm singing "Corinna, Corinna," only substituting Edwina, Edwina.

One of the nurses in the hospital nursery was named Edwina. She was British, and I deduced by the end of the day that she was an old high school classmate's mum.

(Yup. I'm totally avoiding housework right now by making irrelevant blog comments.)