Taken from Guide to the Patricia Hillard papers in Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa. Papers document Hillard’s work as Western U.S. Division Director of La Leche League International. The papers are open for research.
Patricia Pedersen Hillard was born in 1947 in St. Joseph, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1968 with a degree in home economics. On December 22, 1967, she married Richard Hillard. Together they had four children: Shannon, Elizabeth, Johanna, and Richard. In 1970, Hillard became involved with La Leche League International in Minnesota. When the family moved to Waverly, Iowa, in 1976, Hillard continued working with the organization. She rose to the position of Western U.S. Division Director, which she held from 1988 to 1992. Patricia Hillard died in 2000.
La Leche League International (LLLI) was founded in 1956 by seven Catholic mothers in Chicago who wanted to reestablish the importance of breastfeeding for both mothers and babies. Their motto, “Better Mothering Through Breastfeeding,” reflects their belief that breastfeeding is an essential, not optional, aspect of motherhood. LLLI’s purpose is to provide mother-to-mother support for nursing mothers by offering them information and encouragement. LLI offers services to nursing mothers through monthly meetings, counseling sessions, and area conferences. The organization also hosts large international conferences every two years. LLLI consists of three divisions: Eastern U.S, Western U.S., and Around the World (ATW). As of 2006, over 7,000 leaders worldwide are helping mothers breastfeed their babies. LLLI is considered by many to be the world’s leading source of breastfeeding information.