Kittie Frantz, a world-renowned breastfeeding advocate, pediatric nurse practitioner, and educator, started out in 1963 as a breastfeeding mother who attended La Leche League (LLL) meetings in Los Angeles. In 1965, Frantz received a call from a nurse at the Watts Multipurpose Health Clinic who wanted help starting a LLL group. It wasn’t long before Frantz had received a $5,000 grant from Lucy Rockefeller Waletsky to start what became the first LLL peer-counseling program, in Watts.
Frantz received her nursing degree in 1973. Her first job was with prominent pediatrician, Paul Fleiss, who saw her talent for medicine and encouraged her to enroll in the new pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) program at UCLA. Frantz received her degree in 1974 and worked as a PNP for the next 33 years.
By 1978, Frantz had become the director of the University of Southern California (USC) Breastfeeding Infant Clinic. In 1980 she was honored as Fellow of the Year by the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (NAPNAP). That same year, she received a Ford Foundation Grant to study the breastfeeding patterns of Hispanic women in Los Angeles. She then presented a paper in Israel on the effects of infant positioning on sore nipples, which led to invitations to lecture internationally on the topic. Shortly thereafter she founded Geddes Publications, which sells her teaching materials and videos.
In 1996, Frantz became one of the first people to sit on the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), on which she served until 2006. Formerly the National Breastfeeding Leadership Roundtable, the committee is made up of governmental and non-governmental organizations and was formed in response to the 1990 Innocenti Declaration, an international breasteeding initiative sponsored by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the United States Agency for International Development and the Swedish International Development Corporation.
Currently, Kittie Frantz is a full-time Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics for University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine as well as the Coordinator of Lactation Education for Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center. In her spare time she teaches her course, “The Baby’s Perspective” to doulas and infant care providers. Her well-known quote from the class: “Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience, you are raising a human being.”
Most recently, Frantz brought the “birth crawl” to our attention. Dr. Lennart Righard’s video, “Delivery Self-Attachment” depicts the newborn’s ability to crawl up to the mother’s breast at birth and attach himself or herself unassisted.
Frantz is the mother to three adult children.
Tags: Delivery Self-Attachment, Ford Foundation, Geddes Publications, Innocenti Declaration, Keck School of Medicine, Kittie Frantz, La Leche League, Lucy Rockefeller Waletsky, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners, Paul Fleiss, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Swedish International Development Corporation, The Baby's Perspective, The Birth Crawl, UCLA, UNICEF, United States Agency for International Development, United States Breastfeeding Committee, University of Southern California, Watts Multipurpose Health Clinic, World Health Organization