ILCA Conference Live Streaming: Join #ILCA16 From Your Corner of the World

#ILCA16 Blog Post Templates


ILCA is committed to ensuring as many voices as possible are a part of our conference. There are many individuals and organizations around the globe who will not be joining us face-to-face but whose perspectives need to be heard in our worldwide lactation community.

Your voice is welcome and needed at #ILCA16!

We are proud to offer a live streaming option for Saturday, 23 July 2016. Live Streaming access includes:

  • Learn and get your CEUs! Opportunity to hear ALL of the speakers for the day. Attendees will be awarded 6.5 L CERPs, Contact Hours, and CMEs.
  • EXCLUSIVE content just for our live streaming audience, including interviews with conference speakers during break time.
  • Additional credit for a FREE WEBINAR from our ILCA Knowledge Center for use after the conference.
  • Participate in the exclusive live-streaming community through dedicated, moderated live chat.
  • Get your voice heard at the conference! Our dedicated moderator will take select questions to the podium in Chicago, Illinois, USA (as time allows).

Saturday’s live streaming sessions include:

  • Beyond BFHI: The Expansion of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative to Neonatal Care  – Laura Haiek, MD, MSc
  • President’s Address – Michele Griswold, MPH, RN, IBCLC
  • Organizational Effect of Mother’s Milk on Infant Outcomes  – Katie Hinde, PhD
  • Growth Charts: Use and Misuse  – Carlos González, MD
  • International Code: The Role of the IBCLC in Code Monitoring  – Ana Parrilla-Rodríguez, MD, MPH, FABM, IBCLC
  • New Developments in Pharmacotherapy during Lactation – Thomas Hale, RPh, PhD
  • The Global Baby-Friendly Impact: Making a World of Difference – Panel Discussion with Maureen Dann, PPCNP-BC, IBCLC; Laura Haiek, MD, MSc; Miriam Labbok, MD, IBCLC; Trish MacEnroe, BS, CDN, CLC; Kathleen Marinelli, MD, IBCLC, FABM

Click here to view the full schedule, including the times in your local time zone.

Equity Access Pricing:

ILCA is committed to ensuring the lactation community has access to #ILCA16, even in low-resource countries. Live streaming pricing is based on the same equity pricing model as our annual membership dues:

Category A: $97 members / $133 non-members, Students: $52 members / $72 non-members, Retired:  $39 members / $53 non-members

Category B: $19 members / $27 non-members, Students: $11 members / $14 non-members, Retired: $8 members / $11 non-members

Category C: $5 members / $7 non-members, Students: $3 members / $4 non-members, Retired: $2 members / $3 non-members

Category D: $2 members / $3 non-members, Students: $1 members / $2 non-members, Retired: $1 members / $2 non-members

To find which category your country is in, click here.

Two Ways to Watch:

Join us live! During the live streaming, you can chat with other live streaming conference attendees and select questions can be brought to the podium for a full conference experience.

Watch on your time! We know that some of you will be unable to join us at our scheduled time or may miss some sessions. Within 4 hours of the close of the last session, every live streaming registrant will have access to watch all of the sessions of the day, as often as you’d like, for up to 90 days!

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Supporting Women and Girls Worldwide by Supporting Breastfeeding ILCA Represents at Women Deliver


ILCA President Elect Michele Griswold, MPH, RN, IBCLC

Close your eyes and try to imagine what that might be like, sharing a few days with people from “all over the world.” I will return to this later. Recently, I had the opportunity and honor to represent ILCA, with President Decalie Brown, at the Women Deliver 2016 (WD) 4th Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

ILCA was one of more than 2000 non-profit organizations represented. Of the 5500 attendees from at least 169 countries, there were more than 700 speakers, 500 journalists, and 50 parliamentarians. The presence of the more than 1000 “young leaders” was palpable, through words and action. I counted three princesses and one queen and at least two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Mohammed Yunis and Tawakkul Karman. There was exactly one Sesame Street Muppet who traveled all the way from India. The President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim spoke, saying that “sexism, ageism and racism are bad economic strategies.” Melinda Gates announced an $80 million dollar commitment from the Gates Foundation to close the gender data gap, expressing that “to make women count, we must count women.”

UNICEF Breastfeeding Advocacy partners and media round table panelists

UNICEF Breastfeeding Advocacy partners and media round table panelists

Breastfeeding was on the agenda for the very first time at WD this year. Thanks to our advocacy partners for ensuring this important addition, we can be certain that it won’t be the last.

There is much work to be done in order to close gaps in breastfeeding practices worldwide. Diverse topics were presented and discussed illustrating the rich tapestry of the lived experiences of women and girls globally. Child marriage, gender based violence, female genital mutilation, sexual and reproductive health rights, education, economic growth and health were just a few of the issues represented.

Breastfeeding, a complex biological phenomenon, is also exceedingly complex socially. Because breastfeeding intersects all dimensions of women’s lives, this unique, vibrant, global forum reinforced to me the multitude of issues that we have yet to connect to the breastfeeding experiences of women in order to close the gaps.

In keeping with our advocacy objectives, ILCA was invited to be part of the #InvestinBreastfeeding Media Roundtable panel with partners from the WHO/UNICEF Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (GBAI). Media outlets from Nigeria, Pakistan, Argentina and others were present, and publications are being generated as a result. Organized by Helen Keller International (HKI), the panel included UNICEF, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and 1000 Days. It was moderated by Julie Taylor, ABM President. During our panel:

  • The Lancet series research demonstrating that 800,000 lives and $300 billion dollars could be saved with investments in breastfeeding was outlined by France Begin (UNICEF).
  • Recent research regarding the marketing of breast milk substitutes and the critical need to strengthen the International Code was shared by Mette Kjaer Kinoti (VP,HKI, Africa).
  • Advocacy efforts at the 69th World Health Assembly to increase protection of the International Code were discussed by Lucy Sullivan (Executive Director, 1000 Days).
  • The role of health care providers in breastfeeding promotion, protection and support was discussed by Karla Rubinger (Executive Director, ABM).
  • The disproportionate distribution of unpaid work that women do globally as a barrier to breastfeeding was presented by Amal Omer-Salim (Co-Executive Director, WABA).
  • Skilled breastfeeding support – what brings together ILCA’s vision, mission, goals and objectives – was the focus of my presentation.

As a global organization, ILCA advocates for breastfeeding as a critical low-cost, high impact intervention that saves lives. Equally important, ILCA advocates for skilled lactation support for all families who choose to breastfeed. Two years ago, ILCA adopted a new vision: “World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.” As such, ILCA developed goals and objectives that, through the four tenets of our mission (leadership, advocacy, professional development and research) can galvanize the realization of that vision. The WD conference was an advocacy opportunity aligned with our strategic goals and objectives. Specifically, it was an opportunity to advance breastfeeding on the global agenda, to engage in partnerships with global health leaders and organizations and to provide guidance on breastfeeding as it relates to diverse areas of global concern. It was also an opportunity to highlight and champion the role of the IBCLC.

As part of the media panel, I made three key points. First, IBCLCs and others providing skilled support improve breastfeeding outcomes. Although more research is needed to distinguish what specific skills are most helpful in what settings, research suggests that a combination of skills, delivered in a combination of settings is most efficacious. For example, a recent study of 130 countries demonstrated that skilled breastfeeding educators or counselors in the health care setting and in the home and family setting increased the impact of exclusive breastfeeding. IBCLCs and others who provide skilled support do so in prenatal settings as well as in hospitals, clinics and the community. We know that IBCLCs and others with breastfeeding-specific counseling skills are in a position to provide this critical frontline support. This is important because women need different types of support prior to pregnancy, while they are pregnant, following birth and beyond. Skilled lactation support can be especially important in settings where medical resources are limited, as I illustrated below.

Second, IBCLCs and others providing skilled support empower women. We know that self-efficacy, closely related to confidence, contributes to improved breastfeeding practices. Having skilled psychosocial lactation support can increase a woman’s confidence to care for her own child. In short, it’s our job to support mothers in reaching their own breastfeeding goals. As IBCLCs, we are not responsible for population health in working directly with women and infants. We have an obligation to provide individualized care to women and their children.


ILCA President Elect Michele Griswold and ILCA President Decalie Brown at WD

My third point was that the link between birth and breastfeeding is inseparable. As coined by our friends at WABA: “Women Deliver and then they breastfeed.” If we invest in birth, we must also invest in breastfeeding. As we continue to push for local, state and national governments to invest in breastfeeding, we must consider promotion AND support as one. It is not only unfair, but unjust, to promote breastfeeding to women who do not have the resources and opportunities to receive skilled support. There is much work to be done regarding equity in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding provides a foundation for equity in other areas such as education and income and is key to the attainment of the highest standard of health, a human right.

Finally, I underscored these points by illustrating a real-life case of skilled breastfeeding support in a setting where medical resources are limited. I shared, with permission, an email sent to me by Maria Fertaki, a LLL and IBCLC working with Syrian mothers, forcibly displaced from their country and living in Greece. I share it now with you, paraphrased with Maria’s permission for space and to protect the identity of the family.

“We had a success story. A Syrian woman who had given birth prematurely in Lesvos was flown to Athens. Her very small baby was in hospital and she stayed in the camp waiting for her little girl’s discharge. When we met her she was not pumping at all because she had bought a pump that had hurt her breasts. We arranged for a good hand pump to be donated to her and I gave her instructions over the phone. I was worried about her milk production but we kept encouraging her to continue pumping. When the baby finally was discharged, a few weeks later, a LLL went immediately to the camp to check how the baby fed. Imagine our relief as she called to tell me that the baby breasted like a pro! When I went to see her a few days later, she was so happy to have her baby, and it had come so natural to her to breastfeed many, many times a day. The baby was latching well and drinking plenty! When she left the camp 3 weeks later, she was fully breastfeeding and hugged and kissed us goodbye in tears, like we were relatives. Both she and her husband were so grateful.”

Now imagine again those 5500 human beings, all gathered in one place for a few days. If one considers all the events that had to occur through time, it is exceedingly unlikely for all of us to be there in one place together. Yet, there we were. For as culturally rich as we were together, all in one place, there was something even more powerful happening. We were gathered around an idea. The idea that in order for all human beings to thrive equitably, there must be substantial investments made in women and girls.

Katja Iverson, eloquently voiced the central idea that “women deliver, more than babies . . . women carry more than water . . . women carry families, women carry businesses, women carry communities, they carry potential and solutions and when we invest in their health, rights and well-being, they lift up countries and everyone wins.” Breastfeeding has a role to play in the equitable distribution of opportunities for human beings to thrive across generations and there is work to be done.

As global breastfeeding advocates, our challenge now is to become familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they relate to breastfeeding and lactation. One way we can do that is through World Breastfeeding Week. Sponsored by our friends at WABA, this year’s theme is “Breastfeeding a Key to Sustainable Development.” With the recent release SDGs, together have the opportunity to transform a shared idea into a committed purpose. The purpose I gleaned from attending WD is the willingness to understand the SDGs, through the lenses of women and girls, “not so they may be passive recipients who need protection, but they be recognized as powerful changemakers.” (Katja Iverson)

Another insight I gleaned from this experience is the importance of partnerships and particularly those “unlikely suspects.” Reaching across the aisle to join others who are working to ensure equity is key. If any of this resonates with you, please join us at ILCA. Join ILCA, join our Advocacy Committee, join our Partners Program. We need you and women and girls need you.

I attended a panel at WD in which panelists named their “sustainable girls.” Some named their mothers, their daughters or other powerful women in their communities. Upon reflection, my sustainable girl is the baby girl who was born too soon, in distress and was separated from her mother. The support her mother received was caring. It demonstrates compassionate, human-centered care. Her mother needed and deserved compassionate care. She also needed, at that time, someone who had the skills and knowledge to help her sustain her milk production while separated from her infant and her premature daughter needed her mother’s milk to improve her odds of survival, a precursor to thriving. Her mother’s gratitude demonstrates how meaningful this support was. Perhaps, that baby girl whose name I am sorry that I don’t know, will have an opportunity to thrive, that she may not have had otherwise because in part, she had her mother’s milk. That is my hope for her.

Want to learn more? A summary of other memorable and inspiring quotes can be found at this link. Many interviews and live sessions can be viewed here.


Michele Griswold has been a Registered Nurse for 25 years working in diverse clinical settings in the United States and in developing countries and has been an IBCLC since 2001. Her clinical work focuses on the integration of routine preventive lactation support in the pediatric primary care setting. Michele was a founding member of the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC) and is the current Chair. Michele was co-director of the Connecticut Breastfeeding Initiative, a statewide program overseen by the Connecticut Department of Public Health with CDC funding to assist 10 hospitals in the state towards Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. Michele has served on ICLA’s Accreditation Task Force leading to the establishment of LEAARC, the accrediting arm of the profession that establishes the highest standards of education with the field of breastfeeding and human lactation. She also served as Chair of ILCA’s Global Outreach Committee and as one of ILCA’s liaisons to the United Nations. Michele holds a BSN from Salve Regina University, an MPH degree from Southern Connecticut State University and is currently a PhD student of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts. She and her husband Matt have two teenage sons.


ILCA Announces 17th National-Regional Partner Agreement: Milk Matters

Lactation Matters milk mattersInternational Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) has just achieved another important milestone in signing its 17th National—Regional Partner agreement with Milk Matters milk bank, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Click here to learn more about the ILCA Partner Initiative and the 16 other Partners.

Milk Matters is a community-based human milk bank that pasteurizes and distributes donations of screened milk from healthy donors to premature, ill, and vulnerable babies whose own mothers cannot supply human milk to meet their baby’s needs. Milk Matters also facilitates the setting up of milk banks in health institutions.

ILCA is thrilled with the prospect of what lies ahead for this collaboration and the shared impact we may have on breastfeeding in South Africa. We asked Louise Goosen, Milk Banking Consultant, to share some of her insights into the organization and why this agreement is so meaningful.

Lactation Matters (LM): Tell us about why Milk Matters is so important to human health in South Africa.

Louise Goosen (LG): According to the jointly published UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) Low Birth Weight Country, Regional, and Global Estimates, the low birth weight (LBW) rate is 15.4% in South Africa. In the Western Cape, where Milk Matters is most active, it is rated even higher at 19.8%. Immaturity-related disorders, such as extreme prematurity, Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), intraventricular bleeds, and hyaline membrane disease accounts for 67% of neonatal deaths among this group of babies weighing less than 2500 g.

Milk Matters’ vision to help decrease the high infant mortality rate is two-fold. Firstly, we focus on educating and encouraging moms to express and breastfeed their own babies. Secondly, we provide donor breast milk to babies whose moms are too ill, absent, or, for other reasons, unable to provide their own babies with breast milk.

As stated in the Lancet series on breastfeeding, breast-milk-fed infants are six to ten times less likely to develop NEC when compared to formula-fed infants. By providing donor milk to the most vulnerable, Milk Matters has a direct influence on decreasing the rate of mortality and morbidity due to NEC in LBW babies. Due to limited supplies, our recipient babies need to weigh less than 1500 g, and requests require a repeat motivation prescription every two weeks while the baby is getting donor milk.

We have managed to increase our donor base and secure funding for an additional pasteurizer to help us keep up with our ever-increasing processing needs. Like so many other nonprofit organizations (NPOs), Milk Matters finds funding and reimbursing its staff members appropriately to be an ongoing challenge. However, looking at how we have grown and increased our capacity and influence on promoting exclusive breast milk feeding and skilled lactation care over the last 12 years, we remain optimistic about the road ahead.

Milk Matters has been an active participant in the development of national and provincial infant health guidelines that aim to reduce young child and infant mortality and morbidity rates by means of the promotion of breastfeeding and milk banking.

LM: What challenges do you face in your work?

LG: A major focus of our work is to continue to grow our donor base. This becomes an even bigger challenge considering that we have one of the highest HIV rates in the world as well as a mere 8% six month exclusive breastfeeding rate. In addition, the spillover effect of previous HIV national guidelines that recommended formula feeding, and even included free formula for HIV+ mothers, has been tremendous. Finding loopholes in and poor understanding of the South African Code of Marketing for breast milk substitutes aggravates this tendency. Reversing this belief that formula feeding is safer remains a challenge. However, South African ILCA members, UNICEF representatives, and others are combining their efforts to counteract this trend.

LM: Why did your organization decide to become an ILCA National—Regional Partner?

LG: As Milk Matters role players who are lactation consultants and, of course, ILCA members, we find ourselves in an excellent position to positively influence the mothers, healthcare staff, and policy makers with whom we meet and interact. Besides being delighted that our organization and the work we do is deemed relevant by ILCA, we believe that becoming an ILCA NationalRegional Partner will enhance our standing and influence and further enable us to promote and support breastfeeding and breast milk feeding in South Africa.

LM: What is your vision for breastfeeding support in South Africa?

LG: Our vision includes educating healthcare professionals and parents about the invaluable role lactation consultants have as specialist professionals. Additionally, we assist, support, and teach skilled lactation care at every possible opportunity. Our longer-term vision is to educate peer counselors and community health supporters with the goal of dramatically increasing South Africa’s exclusive breastfeeding rates. In doing so, we would decrease the burden of infant and young child mortality and morbidity, as well as other pertinent lifestyle diseases, on our heavily overloaded health system. We would consequently increase our donor base, decrease the demand for donor breast milk, and be able to make donor milk available to previously excluded infants and young children. We believe that, given the opportunity, breastfeeding and skilled lactation care can indeed transform health in South Africa.

DSCF6990Louise Goosen is a registered nurse (RN), midwife, International Board of Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) and has a PG diploma in health education. She is a founder member of the SA Kangaroo Mother Care Foundation a well as the breast milk bank Milk Matters. Keeping updated with best practice and sharing information on breastfeeding, skin-to-skin care, and milk banking is her passion. She counts herself as really fortunate to have the opportunity to share information with a variety of health science students as well as parents. By so doing, she strives to facilitate positive breastfeeding experiences for mothers and their babies. Louise is convinced that too many mothers stop breastfeeding unnecessarily because of misinformation and a lack of support.


Honoring Our ILCA Community: An Interview with Roberta Graham de Escobedo

Roberta Interview

Everything that we accomplish at the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is the result of your support. From your membership to your participation in educational offerings to your volunteer time, your engagement with ILCA is what makes your organization able to impact worldwide health through skilled breastfeeding support. At Lactation Matters, we would like to take a moment to honor some of the truly exceptional volunteers who have dedicated countless hours to ILCA and the profession. Today, we are honoring Roberta Graham de Escobedo, BA, IBCLC, FILCA, for her many years of service to our community. We interviewed her so you could learn more about her amazing work.

Lactation Matters (LM): Roberta, you have lived in Mexico for many years. Tell us about how you came to Mexico and the state of breastfeeding in your country today.

Roberta Graham de Escobedo (RGdE): I live and work in the million+ capital city of Merida, on the Yucatan Peninsula, surrounded by Mayan ruins and people who still speak the Mayan language. I am the lone IBCLC® [International Board Certified Lactation Consultant®].

I am originally from the Chicago area. When I was 20, I spent six months in Mexico enrolled at a Mexican university, working on my Spanish-language skills and doing community service for my faith. On a visit to Merida, Yucatan, I met a charming young nineteen-year-old fellow named Alfonso. As the saying goes, “the rest is history.” We have two grown children and one grandson.

In the 1990s, my IBCLC colleagues described Mexico as “baby friendly heaven.” More than 700 public sector hospitals were BFHI [Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative] certified. However, a lack of coordinated government programs and the enormous presence of the formula industry has impacted the breastfeeding rates. Sadly, we now occupy the lowest breastfeeding rates in all of Latin America, with a pathetic 14.6% exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months, tied only with the Dominican Republic.

Needless to say, there is a lot of work cut out for the healthcare community in Mexico, including the small but enthusiastic IBCLC community.

LM: How did you become an IBCLC and what is your role in the lactation community today?

RGdE: In 1979, six years prior to the birth of the IBCLC profession and ILCA, I was invited by a local pro-breastfeeding pediatrician to encourage the mothers of his newborn patients to breastfeed. At the same time, a natural childbirth center asked me to teach a prenatal class on breastfeeding.

Looking back now after 20+ years as an IBCLC, I laugh to myself, wondering what in heavens I had taught them. Nevertheless, knowing something is better than nothing, so I suppose, in some small way, my humble class served to encourage expectant mothers to initiate their breastfeeding experience[s].

Living in an isolated bubble in Yucatan, Mexico—prior to faxes, internet, and texting—I had no knowledge of ILCA or the IBLCE certification process until 1995. Once I connected to the worldwide lactation community, I had found my home. Private practice is my work setting, along with teaching at local universities and promoting worksite lactation programs.

LM: What calls you to lactation work?

RGdE: Having enjoyed the breastfeeding experience of my own two children, the natural next step is to wish others might also delight in this amazing relationship that develops between a parent and her infant, and between partners as they watch with wonder how the simple act of providing nourishment can have such a far-reaching and positive effect in the overall wellbeing of their offspring.

Attaining the IBCLC credential opens up a broad spectrum of avenues, each offering opportunities to make a difference in lives, both individually family by family, and also on a larger scale through public health programs both nationally and internationally.

LM: You have been deeply committed to expanding ILCA’s international reach. Tell us about your proudest accomplishment at ILCA.

Roberta picRGdE: The “I” in ILCA was more of a lowercase iLCA when I became a member in 1995, at the time of ILCA’s tenth anniversary. International membership was extremely low.

When I joined the ILCA Board of Directors in 2007 as Director of Membership, we had a program called the ILCA Sisters Program, which provided scholarships for members in need, but it was not very well known. Happily, during my eight years of service on the ILCA Board, we changed it to the ILCA Partner Program [eds. note: not to be confused with the new ILCA Global Partners Initiative]. It grew in size and presence, bringing into the ILCA community a greater diversity of members from countries where joining ILCA was truly an economic hardship.

Happily, last year the ILCA board wisely revised the cost of membership for those individuals living in economies where the yearly salary makes joining ILCA all but impossible. The new adjusted scale has made the previous ILCA Partner Program obsolete and opened the door for a greater international membership. After eight years of service on the ILCA board, the “I” in ILCA is now a capital “I”, indeed.

Serving on an international board is a wonderful opportunity for personal and professional growth, and now much of what was learned is being channeled into a new area of service as president of the newly founded ACCLAM (Association of Certified Lactation Consultants of Mexico). We have about 30 IBCLCs in Mexico, a drop in the bucket for a country so large. ACCLAM’s status as an ILCA Partner organization helps us to feel connected to the worldwide lactation community and gives us the encouragement we need to make a difference in our national setting. For me, to feel what I do as an IBCLC makes a difference is the greatest payback of all!


Two Years Later: Feeling the Change

Lactation Matters Post Titles (6)

A little more than two years ago, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board of Directors made a deliberate and bold decision to change the path of ILCA. Two years later, that change is having real-life impact on our members and the world. We are grateful for your ongoing support of the new ILCA vision, and want to share with you the changes we have seen so far. One thing is for sure: it is no longer business as usual at ILCA.

Our journey began with the recognition that the clearest path to promoting the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) was through creating greater global impact: World heath transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. Our new vision had its intended effect. ILCA was able to launch into a much larger global arena with increased collaboration and potential impact.

To make the most of that potential impact, the board began the process of reassessing organizational values and aspirations. The end result is a new tactical direction: a strategic map establishing new priorities, goals, and objectives.

The board recognized that the current board, committee, and staff structure were designed many years ago under a different vision with only a minor global agenda for ILCA. The board responded by eliminating board director titles, thus eliminating “silos” of operations within the board; by completely redesigning the committee structure; and by realigning the ILCA staff to better meet the new organizational goals and objectives.

As new committees have formed, they are being asked to ensure that planned activities are strategically aligned with organizational priorities, which, understandably, often conflict with prior activities. These new priorities have overtaken those from the past, and we are feeling the change.

ILCA’s commitment to global impact is now reflected in our vastly expanded advocacy efforts. Funding in this area has been increased two-fold and will result in ILCA’s highest-ever participation in international forums in 2016.

In the past two years, ILCA has expanded its global partnerships from 3 national—regional organizations to 17! In terms of mere presence, ILCA global exposure and potential impact on lactation consultants at the local level has nearly doubled with newly formed relationships in countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and South Africa.

ILCA’s new emphasis on equity and diversity is creating a new cultural awareness and focus on equitable access. Leading by example, ILCA committed to broaden the cultural and linguistic appeal of educational opportunities by dedicating funds to expanding the pool of international conference and webinar speakers and providing greater access to existing educational materials through more translations of key resources.

One way ILCA is broadening our global impact and appeal is by expanding our capacity to provide members with greater access to a broad spectrum of evidence-based research. Rather than diverting critical resources to the development of position papers, ILCA will now make greater use of member content experts to build functional areas of expertise, which can help identify and highlight quality evidence-based resources that are useful in a local and global context. This bottom—up versus top—down flow of information makes greater use of member expertise and will significantly expand our capacity for information sharing. Watch here for more information and next steps. We will need the expertise of our membership to make this effort a success.

The changes at ILCA—and the impact of these changes—is unprecedented. As we continue on this path toward greater global influence, we must guard against our natural tendency to maintain the status quo, to stick with the familiar and continue business as usual. In today’s world of growing interdependence, our success in transforming world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care will largely depend upon our ability to expand our global collaborative community of like-minded organizations. This expansion can best be achieved by continuing our efforts to examine and alter our internal functioning so that our core values of equity and diversity are increasingly manifested in all that we do.

Renaissance historian Niccolò Machiavelli once shared, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” We have knowingly set a new course with an awareness the journey will be challenging, the confusion lessened by transparency, and the impact unsurpassed.

Let there be no mistake, ILCA is committed to a new path and sustained by the knowledge that together we can do even more than has been imagined.

dick1Dick Padlo, ILCA Executive Director, was raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He started his professional career by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force and a short time later, earned an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. After graduation, Dick held numerous leadership positions before serving as a base commander in Germany. He moved into the private sector, managing a Fortune 500 enterprise, and later built a technology start-up into a financial success. His transition to the nonprofit sector involved a successful effort to help revive an international nonprofit by guiding the board in a strategic initiative to refocus their organizational vision and streamline their mission. More recently, Dick designed the strategy and infrastructure for a regional collaboration among cross-sector coalitions to develop a common regional agenda to help those in poverty build a better life. Dick holds a Masters degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University. Dick’s wife, Dedra, is a former special education teacher and mental health therapist who now works as a holistic health coach. Dick and Dedra have one son, Scott.


Election Results: Geraldine Cahill to Join ILCA Board of Directors

Lactation Matters Post Titles

The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Geraldine Cahill has been elected by the ILCA membership to the Board of Directors. Her three-year term will commence July 2016. We look forward to working with her to continue ILCA’s mission: to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

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Geraldine Cahill, IBCLC, BA, Community & Adult Education, Dip.Education (Training of Trainer)

Geraldine comes to us as a private practice lactation consultant in Co. Cork, Ireland where she provides home visits so that she can see a mother in her own surroundings. Her professional plan in the coming years is to develop a curriculum and provide education to healthcare professionals suitable for those who would like to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). She has been a voluntary Breastfeeding Counsellor with Cuidiú since 1993 and has been tutoring Breastfeeding Counsellors all over Ireland since 2000. She has spoken at many Association of Lactation Consultants of Ireland (ALCI) and Cuidiú conference on topics ranging from informed decision making and counseling to anatomy and physiology. She was the ILCA/WABA Chris Mulford Fellow in 2014 and a part of the European Panel at the 2014 Lactation Summit, co-hosted by ILCA, IBLCE, and LEAARC.

We are proud to have Geraldine Cahill join the ILCA Board of Directors.

The ILCA Board would like to thank each of you for your continued support. To find out more, please visit our website at


Early Bird Registration Closes Next Week!


Join us 20 – 23 July 2016 in Chicago, Illinois, USA for Celebrating Baby Friendly in the Hospital and Beyond: Helping Families Thrive Worldwide!

Register NOW before the Early Bird Registration Deadline for the BEST VALUE!

Baby-friendly practices are those that support and promote breastfeeding—in all settings and stages—through the incorporation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. This year’s conference celebrates these practices in hospitals, in clinics and physician offices, and throughout the family’s community. The conference will conclude with a panel discussion on how the Ten Steps fit together in various settings and what the future holds.

NEW IN 2016!

  • SHORTER CONFERENCE FORMAT with the opportunity to earn up to 22 CERPs (including pre-conference sessions), nursing contact hours, and CME credit!
  • MORE AFFORDABLE conference thanks to a shorter, three-day format.
  • GREATER FLEXIBILITY with no need to preregister for specific concurrent sessions. Choose the sessions you like on-site.
  • MANY OPPORTUNITIES to participate in our highly popular Clinical Skills Rotation on the pre-conference day. (Pre-registration required)
  • FREE WIFI in all of our meeting rooms!

PLUS: Still a few spaces left in pre-conference Clinical Skills Rotation!

We are excited to once again offer our popular Clinical Skills Rotation. Participants will rotate between skill stations in each two-hour session. At each station, participants will spend 25 minutes with an expert facilitator, who will provide a demonstration and support hands-on skill practice.

Clinical Skills sessions are available for beginning practitioners (primary session) and for seasoned consultants (advanced sessions). Two different time slots are available (1:00 pm or 3:30 pm start) to maximize the number of participant slots.

Click here to register for #ILCA16


Organizational Documents: ILCA’s Commitment to Transparency

Lactation Matters Post Titles (5)

This week, ILCA is launching a new, occasional series featuring the voices of ILCA board members. We hope you will learn about the people behind the many decisions the board makes every day to bring ILCA closer to our core values of knowledge, equity, and diversity.

ILCA strives to be transparent to our members.

Wondering about the priorities for ILCA Board of Directors? Or actions we’ve taken or decisions we’ve made? The minutes of the Board of Directors meetings are one way to keep up with ILCA’s actions.

Making the minutes readily available to members and making other key documents easier to find on our website are two ways the ways the ILCA board is working towards transparency with our community.

I have been an ILCA member for over 10 years, and have been honored to serve as Secretary of the Board of Directors for almost 5 years.

As Secretary, it is my job to report the Board’s decisions in minutes of our meetings. While the recommendation for organizational meetings is to simply report the actions and motions made at the meeting, I almost always include some of the background or discussion behind those actions and motions to further inform members about those decisions.

The minutes are reviewed for accuracy and approved by the Board. Additionally, I write minutes for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association, which is held each July at the Conference. The minutes from the previous year are presented there and approved by members.

If you haven’t found the minutes or other organizational documents on our new website, I’d like to guide you to them. You can visit them now by clicking HERE.

To locate them later, click on “about ILCA” on the website and scroll to Board of Directors. You will find the content at the bottom of the page here:

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Full public access is available for:

Bylaws – these are the rules by which the association is governed.

Organizational Chart – showing how the different parts of the association fit together, and how we work with outside organizations.

Strategic Map – identifies the vision, mission, core values, goals, and objectives of the association, and generally guides all Board decisions.

Form 990 – an annual reporting form that certain nonprofit organizations in the United States of America must file with the Internal Revenue Service, and which provides information on the organization’s mission, programs, and finances.

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Lisa Mandell, MBA, IBCLC, Secretary, ILCA Board of Directors

Additionally, ILCA members have access to all the minutes of Board meetings that I mentioned previously, from January 2015 on. We are working to add the Electronic Motions and Actions documents (a record of decisions made on the online platform used by the Board between meetings), and minutes of the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Also here are the reports of our financial audits for the last several years. An audit is an independent examination of a nonprofit’s financial records by a licensed certified public accountant; it is an examination of the financial records, accounts, business transactions, accounting practices, and internal controls.

I hope that access to this information helps you to feel more informed as a member of ILCA. The ILCA Board of Directors is committed to transparency – that is, we want our members to know what decisions we are making, and why. We do this work for you, and as an effort to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. This will help us to achieve our vision of world health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.

As always, we welcome your input and your questions.


Influencing the Global Breastfeeding Agenda: A Workshop of the ILCA Global Partners Initiative

Lactation Matters Post Titles (4)
As someone who cares about national and global breastfeeding agendas, you are invited to an opportunity to hear from and be heard by those who share your challenges, hopes and aspirations. Join worldwide, national, and regional leaders in lactation as together we “bridge today’s vision with tomorrow’s reality” at the Second Annual Partner’s gathering. Influencing the Global Breastfeeding Agenda: A Workshop of the ILCA Global Partners Initiative will be held this July immediately preceding the ILCA 2016 conference and all are invited to attend, either in-person or via live-streaming.

The free workshop will kickoff with an opportunity to learn about the agendas of leading worldwide organizations, including Laurence Grummer-Strawn, MPA, MA, PhD, technical officer at the World Health Organization (WHO) and by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) Co-Directors Amal Omer-Salim and Jay Sharma.

Participants will then be invited to work in small, action-oriented groups alongside the ILCA national and regional partners with the goal of:

  • Identifying local and regional strengths and barriers to breastfeeding
  • Expanding local and regional recognition of the IBCLC certification
  • Growing the breastfeeding dialogue across sectors
  • Identifying partner resources and collaboration opportunities
  • Building capacity of skilled lactation care such as developing IBCLC mentoring programs
  • Understanding regional BFHI practices, Code Monitoring and Compliance
  • Exploring opportunities for the global partners network

Since the inception of the ILCA Global Partners Initiative, a number of global breastfeeding issues have surfaced among the partners. This workshop is a part of the growing momentum of the ILCA Global Partners Initiative, including on-going partner discussions and the addition of new partners from Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

The myriad of global challenges to breastfeeding did not happen overnight and they did not happen in isolation. This “unlearned behavior” has evolved from the conscious and unconscious collective efforts of many. It stands to reason; the remedy will come only through the deliberate collective actions of many, like you.

If you want to take an active role in shaping the future success of the global breastfeeding community, please join us for this special event in person, or through live streaming. ALL ARE INVITED TO JOIN.

WHAT: Second Annual Partners Meeting
WHEN: 13:00-16:00, Wednesday, 20 July 2016
WHERE: Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Chicago, Illinois, USA
or Live Streaming (click HERE to register)
WHY: Impact global breastfeeding outcomes

Registration is NOT required for participating on site. Registration IS REQUIRED for live streaming.


Apply to Become an #ILCA16 Exhibitor

Exhibitor visualReach hundreds of lactation professionals by becoming an exhibitor at ILCA’s Annual Conference — Celebrating Baby Friendly in the Hospital and Beyond: Helping Families Thrive Worldwide — in Chicago, Illinois, USA, 20-23 July 2016! #ILCA16 offers high-visibility booth space, as well as exclusive advertising and sponsorship opportunities at all levels, including break and mealtime sponsorships, promotional inserts, and conference program advertising. (Reduced rates are available to nonprofit exhibitors. Please see the Exhibitor Prospectus for available fees.)

Up to 800 lactation consultants, midwives, physicians, breastfeeding counselors, researchers, pharmacists, nurses, doulas, and other health professionals from around the world will attend the conference. This is your opportunity to ensure these highly educated lactation professionals, who have influence with expectant and new parents, as well as healthcare organizations, know about your products and services.

#ILCA16 offers several ways for your company, project, or nonprofit to get involved in the conference on many different levels.

Conference Exhibitors:

Reserving your booth space early ensures high visibility of your products and services. A standard 8×10-foot booth package includes:

  • Contact with international leaders in breastfeeding,
  • Badges for two (2) company representatives per 8×10 booth space rented,
  • Lunch and breaks on exhibit days for two company representatives per exhibit space or one representative for non-profits and small businesses,
  • 15 percent discount on any full conference registrations purchased for the organization’s representatives, and more!

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Gain greater visibility throughout the Conference with exclusive sponsorships! #ILCA16 sponsors have many opportunities to make their name and their products known to conference attendees. Sponsors can opt to have their name or logo printed on conference tote bags, badge holders, lanyards, or hotel keys; sponsor the Exhibit Hall Reception; furnish our Mother-Baby Room with relevant products; or sponsor conference meals and breaks. All of these exclusive sponsorship opportunities also include:

  • Logo on the Conference section of the ILCA website, in a slide show before key sessions at the Conference, and on signage placed in high traffic areas throughout the Conference,
  • Sponsor recognition in the Conference Program,
  • One-time use of both the preregistration and final attendee mailing list,
  • Full Page Black & White Ad in Conference Program, and more!

Promotional Opportunities:

#ILCA16 has promotional possibilities designed to fit all budget levels and to enhance your visibility at the conference. Choose from among a variety of creative opportunities such as:

  • Tote bag promotional inserts,
  • Having your promotional items or materials delivered to the hotel rooms of all conference attendees,
  • Advertising on our Conference Mobile App,
  • Rent the #ILCA16 pre-conference attendee mailing list, or
  • Take advantage of our Exhibitor Promotion Package, with a mix of promotional opportunities to reach people before, during and after #ILCA16, at one package price!

Additionally, ILCA provides other ways for you to illustrate your commitment to the lactation profession, while also getting additional exposure for your product or business. Companies and individuals can help ILCA expand its diversity and support new members from under-represented communities by donating funds toward ILCA membership scholarships. As an ILCA Donor, your company will receive special recognition at the ILCA Conference as an ILCA Membership Supporter through booth signage, the conference materials, and on the ILCA website. Gain further exposure and enrich ILCA scholarship and research grant opportunities by supporting ILCA’s new raffle! Please consider donating an item by emailing

Our conference exhibitors are key partners in creating the ILCA Annual Conference experience. Your displays, your products, and your support are part of what makes the conference the amazing experience it is. The exhibitor application deadline is 20 May! (Booth reservations will be accepted after this deadline if space allows, but late applicants will not be listed in the Official Conference App and Conference Program.) Please see the #ILCA16 Exibitor page for further information and application materials.

Visit the #ILCA16 Exhibitor Information Now! 


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