Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Barbara Hueffmeier: Woman Fosters the Milk of Human Kindness

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Barbara Hueffmeier: Woman Fosters the Milk of Human Kindness

Article excerpt

Barbara Hueffmeier has spent the past 20 years supporting women who believe in the benefits of mother's milk. Hueffmeier, of St. Charles, is president of the St. Louis Coordinating Council of La Leche League. She leads several support groups for lactating mothers in St. Charles, counsels individuals and makes home visitations for breast-feeding mothers who need advice and encouragement.

For Hueffmeier and other members of the La Leche League, the advantages of breast-feeding are legion. They say it is inexpensive, convenient, better for the child's immune system, protects the mother from breast cancer and makes for a closer bond between mother and child.

Hueffmeier, 51, attended her first La Leche meeting after the birth of her second child, whom she was breast-feeding at the time. She took a pregnant friend.

"What I discovered was that the group provided overall mothering support," she said. "I became so much in tune with the philosophy that it introduced me to other mothering options," she said.

Those options provided Hueffmeier with the impetus to stay closer to home for her children's sake. She got interested in home birthing and subsequently delivered her third baby at home. She home-schooled two of her children for 14 years. She put her talent for sewing to work and started a home-based alteration business.

Hueffmeier emphasized that in babies' early years, their need to be close to their mothers is as intense as their need for food - a fact, she says, that the American culture denies. She cited the American Academy of Pediatrics as recommending breast-feeding until the baby is 1 year old. The World Health Organization recommends two years, Hueffmeier says.

"Ours is the only culture in the world where it is frowned on to nurse an older baby," she said. "In general, pediatricians are becoming supportive because the research supporting the benefits of breast-feeding is overwhelming. …

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