Speaker, walk lend focus to La Leche

Sunday, August 24, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:26 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

When Julie Jacobs’ 13-day-old son had problems breast-feeding, her doctor referred her to La Leche League.

La Leche League International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources and support to breast-feeding mothers. On Wednesday the league will sponsor the World Walk for Breastfeeding in Columbia.

The walk begins at Peace Park at 6:30 p.m. and ends at the Cherry Street Artisan.

“The walk is a way of raising funds for the league. Since it’s a nonprofit organization, it lets women and physicians know there are resources out there,” said Jacobs, now a Columbia league leader.

This is the second year Jacobs organized the walk. Last year 130 people of all ages participated and the league raised about $2,300, Jacobs said.

Wendy Graham, a 32-year-old accountant and mother of two, sought out the organization when her first child, Heather, was 12 months old. Graham went to the meetings because she was looking to meet other nursing mothers. With her second child, Logan, Graham encountered difficulties. The league provided support and advice, Graham said.

“Smart mothers are those who start attending meetings while they are pregnant,” Graham said, adding that these mothers are probably less likely to encounter problems in the first place.

“It is the absolute best choice physically, psychologically and economically for our children, ourselves and society as a whole,” Graham said about breast-feeding.

Jacobs expects a larger turnout this year because the Columbia league is bringing author and activist Dia Michels to speak.

Michels, of Washington, D.C., has written for both children and adults, with an emphasis on family and parenting. Her children’s books include “Zack in the Middle” and “If my Mom were a Platypus: Animal Babies and their Mothers.” Michels’ adult books include, “Milk, Money, and Madness: The Culture and Politics of Breastfeeding” and “Breastfeeding at a Glance: Facts, Figures, and Trivia about Lactation.” She has written for magazines and newspapers, such as People, Parenting and The Washington Post.

In addition to speaking at the walk, Michels will be giving a presentation Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Contact Julie Jacobs at 875-1966 or, or visit for more information.

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