What Do the Changes Announced by USLCA Mean To US ILCA Members?

ILCALogo_full_text (2)The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) has announced its intent to change its relationship with the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®). USCLA will establish an operation fully independent of ILCA so that USLCA may focus on the unique challenges of the IBCLC® in the United States. Nonetheless, ILCA is committed to a continuing collaboration with USLCA to advocate for the IBCLC. As always, ILCA will support its members worldwide.

We are all international and part of a global community. Every region in the world  - including the United States – has particular needs, which are, by design, capably managed by the local and affiliate organizations. Those local efforts are supported and enhanced by the international advocacy provided by ILCA.

You may be asking what all of this means for US members. Currently, all US members hold a joint membership with USLCA and ILCA. The recent change will effectively “unbundle” membership. However, all of your member benefits through the end of the 2014 calendar year, both those that come from ILCA and USLCA, will remain unchanged. Starting next year, you are encouraged to maintain membership in both organizations.

We know that one of your first questions is likely about how the new memberships will be structured. Although ILCA only recently learned of these changes, we are already hard at work creating a plan. Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring a new membership package that continues to put the needs of our members at the forefront. As the premier global association advocating for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant profession, ILCA is home to all IBCLCs worldwide, providing services unavailable elsewhere. If you have ideas, questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us at info@ilca.org.

Posted in ILCA 2014 Conference, ILCA News | Leave a comment

ILCA Announces New Vision Statement

Three ILCA presidents – past, present, and incoming – have come together to share a major announcement today during the ILCA conference: a new vision for ILCA. You can learn more by watching the video created by all three presidents and reading on in this post. We want to know what you think! Please share your feedback in the comments below.

We are proud to share with you the International Lactation Consultant Association’s new vision: 

New Vision Statement 2014








Our mission statement remains the same:

To advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

Why change vision statements?

A vision statement serves many functions: to explain “why” our work is important, to inspire participation and support, and to show the outcomes we plan to achieve. It goes hand-in-hand with the mission statement, which shows “how” ILCA will achieve those outcomes.

Our previous vision statement was:

The IBCLC is the globally recognized professional authority in lactation.

This is a powerful statement that IBCLCs know to be true, and has been affirmed in countless settings. Ursuline Singelton summed it up best by saying this: “IBCLCs empower mothers and save babies’ lives.”

But this statement only shows the world “how” we will get “where we truly hope to go.” It does not tell the world why IBCLCs are so critical: Because we are transforming world health.

ILCA’s new vision statement does not reflect a change in ILCA’s priorities or what we will continue to do on a day-to-day basis: promote the profession of the IBCLC.

What it does reflect is the world-changing work that IBCLCs are doing every day: transforming world health.

It goes beyond self-promotion to a much broader vision of the real purpose for the work that the IBCLC does. ILCA envisions a world where health is not just attainable by privileged people, but a reality for all families, including vulnerable populations, where access to good health is much more challenging—and this vision is only made realistic by ILCA’s collaboration with the other 100 entities in the breastfeeding community that are working to move the same needle. ILCA’s new vision recognizes the fact that we share the “why” with many others.

If we aspire to see every child to grow up with the best chance in life possible, we must recognize that breastfeeding is central to that call. IBCLCs are the pivotal drivers of that global transformation.

IBCLCs don’t just provide breastfeeding support and care, we embrace evidence- based care using a high level of skill under the world’s only globally recognized credential.

ILCA’s vision is a rallying point for us all, highlighting our unique role and bringing us together to make a difference for our world.

If you are excited as we are by the new vision, and you agree that we need a world transformed by breastfeeding and skilled lactation care, please join us in celebrating our new vision. Help us to help mothers and babies by joining ILCA and becoming an active member of our community.

liz-brooks-1Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA

ILCA President 2012-14


Cathy 7-6-14-crCathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA

ILCA President 2010-12


DSC03591Decalie Brown, RN, IBCLC, CFHN, BHMtg

ILCA President, 2-14-16

Posted in ILCA 2014 Conference, ILCA News | 4 Comments

Making the Most of Social Media At The ILCA Conference – Even If You Can’t Make It To Phoenix!

Social Media At The ILCA ConferenceIf you are Phoenix bound you are probably picking your best swimsuit for the lazy river right now! Don’t forget to leave room in your bag for your iPad or laptop, because there’s a whole other way to get even more out of the conference: social media.

Not able to attend this year? You will be missed, but you can still join the conversation!

At The Conference

Of course face-to-face connections, conference talks, and the lazy river are going to be your top priorities. How can you use social media to enhance and not distract you from your conference experience?

Facebook folks:

Are you “going” on the event page? Be sure you have marked yourself as “going” on the ILCA Conference event page, which you can find here. The page is already active with people making plans for extracurricular events, sharing tips and conference going strategies, and coordinating rides. During the event, you’ll get updates on last minutes schedule changes, events, pictures to share, and more!

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.41.31 AM

Help us find your posts: use the hashtag! Sharing pictures on your facebook page of you with your favorite speaker? New insights? Favorite quotes? Be sure to mark your posts with the hashtag: #ILCA2014

ILCA Tweeps:

Join the backchannel conversation! Share your insights – and hear what others are saying – on Twitter. We’ll all be tweeting the ILCA conference on the hashtag #ILCA2014, and the Lactation Summit at #LactSummit14.

Tools tip: TweetChat is back up and running! This great tool isolates the tweets on the hashtag you choose, which can keep you from feeling distracted by other topics during a talk. Follow along at the conference in the #ILCA2014 room here or the Lactation Summit in the #LactSummit14 room here. Another great tool for managing multiple streams: Hootsuite.

Following along . . . from Phoenix or from around the world.

ILCA members from around the globe will be following along and joining the conversation.

On Facebook find others posts about the conference: during the conference, enter #ILCA2014 in the Facebook search bar. You’ll find all the conference-specific news! You can do the same for the Lactation Summit at #LactSummit14.

On Twitter: We want to hear from those of you who aren’t at the conference . . . especially at the Lactation Summit. Be sure to tweet to #LactSummit14 – there will be a dedicated person following along and keeping track of your insights.

On Pinterest: Check out our #ILCA2014 conference board here, where we’ll share insights and pictures from the conference.

McCulloch Speakers Headshot CroppedJeanette McCulloch, IBCLC, is the editor of Lactation Matters, the media coordinator for ILCA, and a principal at BirthSwell. You’ll find her at the conference happily tweeting under the #ILCA2014 or #LactSummit14 hashtags . . . or on the lazy river. She’s looking forward to meeting many of the Lactation Matters readers face-to-face, so please come and say hello!

What are your favorite ways to participate in the conference using social media?

Posted in ILCA 2014 Conference, Social Media | Leave a comment

Pumped Up: Supporting Nursing Moms at Work

When Brandon Wright, store manager for Goodwill Industries in Lafayette, IN, learnedworkplace1 that two of his employees were pregnant, he wasted no time letting them know that if they planned to breastfeed, he would provide them with time and space to express milk at work. For Wright, the conversation was more than merely complying with FLSA requirements under the Affordable Care Act; it was about doing the right thing to support valuable employees and help their children get a good start in life. His employees said they appreciated the easy way he began the conversation and instantly established that their family needs would be respected.

Wright found simple accommodations for Melissa and Jessilyn once they returned to work. A clean storage area was made available for them to express milk in privacy, and a simple hand-written sign was placed outside the door to indicate when it was in use. The employees took their usual breaks, and maintained open communication with their supervisor to assure that things worked well for everyone.workplace2

Wright says, “It wasn’t hard at all. It didn’t affect my day to day operations at all.” What he says it did affect was employee morale. “They [my employees] came to work knowing we respected what their rights were as women. They’re still here. I’ve retained them. I think it’s good.”

The Lafayette Goodwill store is one of thousands of companies across America who have found similar easy, low-cost solutions to supporting nursing moms at work, and are enjoying bottom-line benefits of longer retention, lower absenteeism rates due to healthier infants, and improved employee productivity. They are one of 200 companies in 29 U.S. states featured in a brand new online searchable resource for human resource managers launched at the 2014 Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition in Orlando, Florida.

The resource, Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions, was developed workplace3by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health. It features hundreds of solutions for businesses in all 22 industry categories, including challenging environments such as restaurants, retail stores, hotels, manufacturing plants, and many others. Videos and over a thousand photos are included to highlight workable options in virtually every type of work setting.

According to Ursuline Singleton, the OWH project officer, the project is designed to give employers a wide range of options and solutions. “We know that Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers of hourly workers to provide time and space for nursing women at work. We also know that many employers simply don’t know how to do that, and need practical solutions. We established this resource to show them how it’s done all across America. We took some of the most difficult job environments and provide options that are low-cost and easy to implement.”

To learn more, visit the new website at: www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/at-work.

by Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA

Cathy 7-6-14-crCathy is co-director of Every Mother, Inc. and project director for Every Mother’s contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health workplace lactation initiatives. She is the author of the HHS Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Business Case for Breastfeeding, and was lead trainer for state-based training events in 36 U.S. states. She is past president of ILCA, immediate past chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, and chair of the Monetary Investment for Lactation Consultant Certification (MILCC). An experienced trainer and speaker, she has provided training programs in every U.S. state and territory and several foreign countries. She is a Fellow of ILCA and an IBCLC since 1996. She was recently honored by the National WIC Association with their 2014 National Leadership Award in the “Friend of WIC” category.

photo credit: Anne Schollenberger

Did your workplace overcome a unique challenge to support lactating families? Please share with us in the comments!

Posted in Breastfeeding Advocacy, Breastfeeding in the Workplace | 3 Comments

ILCA’s Independent International Code Expert Panel: A Model for Professional Associations

ILCALogo_full_text (2)ILCA demonstrates its bedrock support for the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and all subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions (the International Code, or Code) with by-laws and governance policies that prohibit our professional association from accepting funds from companies that are not meeting their obligations under the Code. ILCA does accept advertising from those meeting their obligations under the Code: Exhibit Hall booths and tote bag flyers at our conference, and ads in our esteemed Journal of Human Lactation. These funds offset the costs of providing member services, which keeps annual dues at a reasonable level.

ILCA is an international role model: Organizations can operate with fiscal responsibility while also supporting the International Code’s mandates against predatory marketing of infant-feeding alternatives.

Due to its complexity and legitimate susceptibility to varying interpretations, the International Code is often difficult even for recognized experts to uniformly discern. Thus, the ILCA Board voted in November 2013 to establish an independent panel of experts, trained under auspices of the International Code Documentation Centre and recognized for their expertise in International Code interpretation and application.

The panel includes ILCA members (familiar with the programs and services of our organization), and those with no official ILCA relationship (to reduce the potential for conflicts of interest).

The Panel members are:

Linda Smith, Chair, MPH, FACCE, IBCLC, FILCA – Dayton, Ohio, USA

Carol Bartle, RN, RM, PGDip, ChAd, MHealSc, IBCLC, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Jen Peddlesden, BScPharm, IBCLC – Chestermere, Alberta, Canada

Elisabeth Sterken, London, Ontario, Canada

Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, RLC – Weston, Massachusetts, USA

Audrey Naylor (Alternate), MD, DrPH, – Shelburne, Vermont, USA

The panel is authorized to make binding interpretations about potential advertisers/advertisements, for purposes of ILCA advertising and management, for the time- and event-specific purposes of the organization (primarily conference exhibit hall booths and tote bag flyers, and JHL ads).

This model doesn’t require the International Code to be legislated in any particular country . . . but it is akin to self-imposed “law” for ILCA operations. Under this model, trained experts can review precedent and WHO documents, debate the facts . . . and make a decision (with citable rationale) whether an advertiser meets ILCA’s stringent advertising policy on Code compliance. And this model provides an opportunity for marketers to learn how they can adjust their advertising, support the Code . . . and meet ILCA’s requirements.

ILCA urges other professional associations of healthcare providers to adopt this model: it eases association operations, expands understanding of the Code, reduces conflicts of interest in decision-making, and allows marketers with a true goal of supporting the Code to receive guidance toward that end.

liz-brooks-1Liz Brooks JD IBCLC FILCA

ILCA President (2012-14)

Posted in ILCA News, WHO Code/BFHI | Leave a comment

ILCA Seeks New Vote on 2014 Bylaws Changes

ILCALogo_full_text (2)ILCA voting members will be sent an email on 24 June 2014, with a link to a secure on-line ballot to vote on changes to the organization’s bylaws. The balloting will be open 24 June – 6 July 2014.

The ILCA Board of Directors supports the proposed changes. Voting ILCA members are encouraged to make an informed decision after thoughtful consideration of the issues.

Didn’t I just do this?

Yes! However, the bylaws portion of the recent ballot has been called into question. The ILCA Board has called for a new vote, on the bylaws alone.

How is this ballot different?

ILCA has re-formatted the ballot, allowing bylaws elements to be voted on by section (instead of all-or-none). We are using a different election platform to assure one-member-one-vote. Vote carefully: Once your vote is cast, it cannot be changed or cancelled.

How will I know my vote counts this time?

ILCA members are urged to confirm that their Profile on the secure Members Only portion of the ILCA website has their current email and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® ( IBCLC®) certification status. A 16 June 2014 listserv, and 17 June 2014 Lactation Matters blog, describe the detailed steps.

If a dues-paid, IBCLC-certified ILCA member does not receive an email on 24 June 2014 containing a link to the new ballot, please contact the ILCA Office at info@ilca.org (or) 1+  919-861-5577 (or) 888-452-2478. Our ILCA staff are eager to make sure members receive a ballot so their votes can be counted.

Are the bylaws changes proposed in this new ballot different from in the last one?

No. The proposed 2014 amendments to the ILCA bylaws remain the same. Only the ballot itself is different. It now allows members to vote on bylaws in sections, instead of all-or-none.

I’m an auditory learner! Where can I learn about all these bylaws changes?

This 10 minute recorded webinar will explain the ILCA Board’s reasoning for the proposed changes to the bylaws, for those who prefer to hear (rather than read) about the amendments.

I love the printed word. What should I read?

This document shows the Proposed 2014 ILCA bylaws, providing “tracked changes” to the 2007 bylaws. It lets you compare the old version with the new. The document also summarizes all the changes, and the Board’s rationale for each, section-by-section.

Can I discuss this with my colleagues before I vote?

Please do! This ILCA Lactation Matters blog, and other social media venues, have allowed shared and vibrant conversation about ILCA’s governance! Use the comments section below. Be certain of your position before you vote: You cannot change or cancel your vote once it is cast.

Ballot Vote No. 1: Why does the ILCA Board support a “representative board?”

The new bylaws create a board of directors designed to fairly represent the interests of its diverse international membership. ILCA must meet the needs of its 5400 individual members around the world, without giving any one geographic region more decision-making weight. Board directorships are guaranteed to be held by someone who represents each of the Partner (Tier 1) Affiliates (Partner Affiliates: Canadian Lactation Consultant Association, CLCA, Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand, LCANZ, and the United States Lactation Consultant Association, USLCA). But there is also a seat to be held by a director who is not from those regions.

This matrix of autonomously-governed organizations is a unique model, developed after extensive discussion between ILCA, CLCA, LCANZ and USLCA. We envision a better-defined operational and financial relationship between these organizations, without compromising individual ILCA member benefits and resources. The representative board is an important element of our collaboration going forward.

The ILCA Board supports this amendment because the bylaws must be changed to allow for a representative board to be guaranteed in ILCA’s governance.

Ballot Vote No. 2: Why does the ILCA Board support changes to directors’ selection and term limits?

The old and new bylaws are the same on certain key elements: All Directors of ILCA must be IBCLC-certified. All directors have a legal duty to uphold the Purposes of ILCA: To provide leadership, advocacy, professional development and research for the IBCLC profession.

Under the revised bylaws, terms for Board members are clearly defined to end after two terms (whether originally appointed or elected). Any Director who is invited for a second term would require ratification by member vote to retain office. The President-designate would also need member vote ratification before taking office.

The ILCA Board supports this amendment because it infuses new leadership on a faster track. It requires members to periodically affirm their support of the leaders in office. This reduces the “disconnect” between the elected board and the members whose interests they are to uphold.

Ballot Vote No. 3: Why does the ILCA Board support giving voting powers to all dues-paying ILCA matters?

ILCA members have power to vote to (1) elect Directors, (2) ratify bylaws changes, and (3) make motions at the Annual General Meeting.

Since 1985, ILCA has invited open membership, to anyone who supports our mission (“ILCA Mission: To advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research”). From 1985-2007, any dues-paying ILCA member could vote.

In 2007 voting rights were confined to IBCLC-only members, to demonstrate strong ILCA advocacy for the IBCLC. Yet, in 2014, ILCA’s IBCLC-promoting mission faces increased threat from external economic, political and governmental influences. Our mission is not undermined by internal member-voters, who elect IBCLC-credentialed Directors who are legally-bound to uphold ILCA’s IBCLC-promoting purpose.

Undeniably, demographics of ILCA membership, and the pathways of entry into our profession as a whole, show significant race- income- and geographic-based barriers.  ILCA’s Strategic Plan seeks to increase diversity by creating meaningful, accessible entry into the profession, and our professional association. A 27 July 2014 Lactation Summit Addressing Inequities within the Lactation Consultant Profession (co-hosted by LEAARC, ILCA and IBLCE) will commence a top-to-bottom look at how to increase diversity, and enhance equity for IBCLCs.

Right now, those who are actively seeking IBCLC certification do not have a professional “home.” The burden falls to the individual to cobble together education and training that will be acceptable to meet pathway requirements of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. ILCA wants to attract, and keep, these members, who will otherwise turn to competing organizations for education and support. ILCA’s international role has always been: Serve current IBCLCs, and engage and help others who believe in our work, and want to become a part of our profession.

Inclusion will propel this profession into growth and sustainability. To address the challenges of current members, and generations of IBCLCs to come, there must be an invited and equitable voice by those in our association. Inclusion assumes full acceptance; in a membership organization, that includes voting rights.

The ILCA Board supports this amendment to giving voting rights to all dues-paying members as means to increase diversity and enhance equity.

Ballot Vote No. 4: Why does the ILCA Board support all these other little edits?

Any bylaw amendment, no matter how small and non-controversial, requires member vote in support. There are several such changes that we have “saved up” for the next bylaws vote, which is now, in 2014.

The ILCA Board supports changes that will correct typographical errors and provide consistency of language.

I have a question, and a few comments!

Excellent! Please use the comments section in this blog to tell us what you think, or to seek more information before you vote (if you are a current ILCA voting member).

Thank you for your membership, and for helping to build a better ILCA!

Posted in ILCA Board of Directors | 12 Comments

Lisa Akers Elected; Bylaws Vote Update

ILCALogo_full_text (2)Editor’s Note: This update was sent to all ILCA members on 16 June 2014. If you are an ILCA member in good standing and did not receive the email, please check your promotions box (Gmail). If you still did not receive the email, it is particularly important that you complete the steps for confirming your email listed below.

The ILCA Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Lisa Akers has been elected by a near unanimous vote (98%) as the new Director of Marketing. Her three-year term will commence July 2014. The Board of Directors welcomes Lisa and looks 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.

During the voting process, ILCA discovered several voting irregularities pertaining specifically to the vote on revisions to ILCA’s bylaws. There were reports of the ballot being misread, or misunderstood, and at least one known instance of a single member submitting multiple votes. While these inconsistencies did not statistically impact the outcome of the Director election, they do raise some question as to the validity of the bylaws vote.

A second issue surfaced during the election process regarding the inability of voting members to selectively vote on specific bylaws changes. Those individuals who objected to specific changes felt obligated to vote “no” for the entire proposal or not vote at all.

The ILCA Board of Directors is grateful that, during a spirited members’ discourse on the LM blog, ILCA members brought these issues to our attention.

Thus, the BOD has decided that the bylaws vote should be repeated under a modified format. First, internal controls will be changed to allow voting members to cast a single vote only that cannot be changed once cast. Second, the bylaws vote will be reformatted to allow voting members the opportunity to vote selectively for individual bylaws changes.

The modified vote will take place between 24 June and 6 July 2014. To ensure the fullest participation possible in the revised election and the most accurate voting process possible, each ILCA member is asked to confirm their ILCA profile email address and IBCLC status no later than 22 June 2014. To do so, please comply with the following steps:

  1. Proceed to the ILCA website and complete your Member Login
  2. Select the “Edit My Profile” link at the top of the page
  3. Verify your email address
  4. Select “Update” at the bottom of the page
  5. Select the “Custom” link at the top of the page
  6. Change your “IBCLC?” status from “False” to “True” (if appropriate)
  7. Insert your “IBCLC ID #” in the space provided
  8. Select “Save” at the bottom of the page

The first role of the ILCA Board of Directors is to uphold ILCA’s mission: to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. ILCA will continue to be led only by those who hold IBCLC certification. The Board of Directors, committee chairs, and liaisons must all be IBCLC certified. We know that those in our profession are best suited to leading and advancing the profession. If you are concerned about threats to the IBCLC credential, it is critical that you remain a member of ILCA (or join if your membership has lapsed). ILCA, and our partner affiliates Canadian Lactation Consultant Association (CLCA), Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ), and United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA), are working hard with governments, non-governmental organizations, insurers, other healthcare providers, and other organizations involved in breastfeeding support and promotion, to ensure that the IBCLC is the globally recognized professional authority in lactation.

One measure of excellence within an organization is its ability to adapt. The Board of Directors recognizes that it is essential that ILCA remain relevant and responsive to its members around the world, and continue to work with the hundreds of organizations throughout the world that can help us achieve a vision of world health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.

To this end, the ILCA Board of Directors is urging each voting member to carefully consider the merits of each bylaws change proposals and make your voice be heard. We also heard you call for a more robust discussion of the issues. We are grateful to everyone who has spoken up about these issues so far. Your comments have shown your deep commitment to your profession and your desire to be active, not passive, members of your professional organization.  To those who have surfaced questions and points of view, you have been heard. To those who have yet to express your opinions, the ILCA Board of Directors stands ready to hear you as well.

Editor’s note: your comments matter! Have questions about the proposed bylaws change? Please post them below. 

Posted in ILCA Board of Directors | 4 Comments

ILCA Seeks Bylaws Changes in 2014

liz_brooksBy ILCA President Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC FILCA

During 1-15 June 2014, International Lactation Consultant Association®  (ILCA®) voting members will be asked to vote to change the organization’s bylaws.

The ILCA Board of Directors supports the proposed changes, and encourages members to vote YES on their on-line ballot (the link to which was sent to ILCA members, via email listserv).

Why do ILCA’s bylaws have to be changed?

ILCA’s bylaws were last amended in 2007.  They are an important part of ILCA’s structure and governance.  Along with the Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan, they are the blueprint for defining the policy and strategic direction of our professional association.  The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) faces new challenges in 2014 in the clinical, educational, professional development, advocacy and reimbursement arenas.  The professional association should adapt to meet evolving needs of its members.

Any change to the Bylaws requires a vote of the members.  The proposed revisions are explained step-by-step here, in ILCA Bylaws OUTLINED. Click here on the 2014 Bylaws Changes ACCEPTED to read a draft “clean” version of the bylaws with all changes incorporated. The major changes are outlined below.

What is an ILCA “representative board?”

The new bylaws create a board of directors that more fairly represents the interests of its diverse membership.  It allows ILCA to meet member needs around the world, without giving any one geographic region more decision-making weight.

ILCA is comprised of individual members: Each of us around the world joins as a single member; each of us enjoys the same benefits of ILCA membership.  ILCA also has an innovative affiliation model, whereby members who live in the regions where a Partner (Tier 1) Affiliate (Partner Affiliate) has been established are automatically given joint membership in both organizations. ILCA provides extra operations and services to the Partner Affiliates: Canadian Lactation Consultant Association (CLCA), Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ), and the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA).

Each Partner Affiliate maintains autonomy to develop policy and advocacy within their region. Over the past 18 months, an extensive collaborative effort by ILCA, CLCA, LCANZ and USLCA reviewed the ILCA-Partner Affiliate relationship, to find the best way to meet member needs with better-defined operational and financial relationships between organizations.

The reconfigured ILCA Board assures one ILCA Board seat (with full director rights and responsibilities) is designated to be filled by each Partner Affiliate.  Also, one seat elected by all voting members (also with full rights and responsibilities) is to be held by a person from any country that is not a Partner Affiliate.  The rest of the ILCA Board seats are elected by all voting members and may come from any country.

To offer an example: A future ILCA Board would be comprised of 3 directors from the 3 Partner Affiliates, 1 director elected from a country with no Partner Affiliate, and 4 more directors elected at large, from any county, for a total of 8 directors.  The changes will actually occur as current ILCA Board members rotate off the Board, and openings arise.

How does changing voting power change ILCA?

Leadership positions on the ILCA Board and Committees require IBCLC certification, but ILCA membership has always been open to anyone who supports our primary activities of education, professional development and advocacy for the IBCLC.  But the demographics of ILCA membership, and the pathways of entry into our profession, show there are significant race-  income- and geographic-based barriers.  ILCA’s Strategic Plan seeks to increase diversity by creating meaningful, accessible entry into the profession, and our professional association.   We can be the “professional home” for those who support our work, and hope to join our IBCLC ranks.

Members with the power to vote have a vested interest in the future of the organization and should have the right to vote. Thus, the suggested bylaws provide voting rights to all dues-paying ILCA members.

Why change the directors’ term limits?

New voices, new leadership, and different experiences maintain the vitality of a professional association.  Under the revised bylaws, terms for Board members are clearly defined to end after two terms (whether originally attained by appointment or election).  This increases opportunities for members to move up through the organization into leadership; this provides for fresh perspectives in setting new policies and strategic goals.

I have a question, and a few comments!

Excellent!  Please use the comments section in this blog to tell us what you think, or to seek more information before you vote (if you are a current ILCA voting member).

Thank you for your membership, and for helping to build a better ILCA!

[Editor's note: All comments on the ILCA blog are moderated, which means that they will appear once "approved" by the editor of Lactation Matters. All comments will be approved unless they violate community guidelines. The comments are moderated twice a day Monday - Friday and occasionally on the weekend when the interest in the topic warrants it. If you have questions about your comment, please contact media@ilca.org. Thank you!]

Posted in ILCA Board of Directors | 109 Comments

ILCA Announces 2014 Board of Directors Election Results

ILCAThe International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the first of two 2014 ballots for the election of three incoming Directors.


Director of Global Outreach:
Michele Griswold MPH, RN, IBCLC

Director of Professional Development:
Kathie Marinelli MD, IBCLC, FABM

These directors will be installed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members, to be held 25 July 2014 at the annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.  Note that ILCA Secretary Lisa Mandell, MBA, IBCLC will also be commencing her second three-year term at the same time, having been invited earlier to a second term by the Board of Directors.

We are thrilled that Al, Kathie and Michelle will be adding their considerable leadership expertise and IBCLC advocacy and clinical skills to ILCA’s Board, and that Lisa will continue to fill her vital role as Secretary!

The winner of the JHL Best Article Award, which was voted upon at the same time, will be announced at the AGM.

The second 2014 ILCA election of an incoming Director commences 1 June 2014. ILCA members will have an opportunity to vote again in a few weeks, to elect one additional board member.  The Director of Marketing post will soon be vacated when current Director Decalie Brown RN, CM, IBCLC, CFHN, BHMtg, JP assumes a two-year post as ILCA President.

In the upcoming ballot, we will also be asking the current voting members of ILCA to vote to accept by-laws changes which have been passed and recommended for implementation by the full Board.

Look for additional information, coming soon, describing these important changes to our governance structure and the final election to fill seats on the ILCA Board of Directors.

The ILCA Board would like to thank each of you for your continued support and encourage you to become involved in ILCA’s committees and other volunteer opportunities. To find out more, please visit our website at www.ilca.org. And, please invite your colleagues to join us at the upcoming 2014 annual ILCA conference in Phoenix, Arizona USA, 23-26 July 2014.


Posted in ILCA Board of Directors, ILCA News | 2 Comments

Keep Infant Formula Marketing Out Of Healthcare Facilities: Action Day

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Guest Post by Jodine Chase

In 2012 Jennie Bever Babendure, PhD, IBCLC, a mother, IBCLC in private practice and breastfeeding research scientist, became an overnight advocate for the protection of mothers and children from predatory marketing practices. It happened after she learned that the representative for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization, had accepted $150,000 from infant food manufacturers Nestlé.

Jennie spearheaded a social media campaign that drew global attention to the need for all who work in maternal and infant health to speak out about predatory marketing practices that erode breastfeeding.

[editor’s note: We often hear confusion at Lactation Matters between the marketing of infant breastmilk substitutes and the availability of these substitutes for families who, for whatever reason, need them. Jennie's work, and that of others who uphold the WHO’s  International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutesfocuses exclusively on marketing. To learn more about the impact of predatory marketing on families, check out this piece by Norma Escobar here or this video from Public Citizen here.]

Shortly after Jennie’s campaign drew attention to Nestlé’s involvement in funding health campaigns in the Americas, IBFAN Latin America denounced Nestlé’s sponsorship of the hiring of 15,000 women to give nutritional advice on infant feeding in Mexico. The IBFAN action comes on the heels of a successful move in the US to curb infant formula advertising in hospitals by banning the distribution of infant formula giveaways to new moms.

The success of these efforts, such as those in New York City and the state of Massachusetts, means moms in those states are no longer exposed to formula gift packs in hospitals. A 2012 survey by Best for Babes found the practice is declining, and a 2013 survey by Public Citizen and Ban the Bags has found top-ranked hospitals in the US no longer distribute infant food product manufacturer gift bags.

Public Citizens says 75 percent of hospitals in the US still distribute formula gift packs. And many mothers are finding they are targeted before they even get into the hospital to give birth. Advertising that targets pregnant women by offering prenatal education in conjunction with formula giveaways at doctor’s offices and ultrasound clinics is on the rise. 

Jennie learned this first hand during her second and third pregnancies. I interviewed her as she prepares to join families who are responding to Public Citizen’s call for a Day of Action to end infant formula advertising in hospitals and health clinics. After the interview, learn more about the Day of Action and about efforts worldwide to support breastfeeding families by reducing predatory marketing.

Jodine Chase: As an IBCLC who has worked as an advocate to end predatory marketing, you are very aware of the tactics that infant food product companies employ to increase their market share. But you’re also a mother expecting your third child. During this pregnancy what marketing tactics were you personally exposed to?

At 10 weeks into this pregnancy, my husband and I went in for our first prenatal visit. A medical assistant handed us a “gift bag” when she ushered us into the exam room. While we were waiting to see the nurse practitioner, my husband opened the bag and started pulling things out. Along with information from the obstetrician on diet and scheduling our visits, there was a small makeup bag from Abbott containing samples of their Prenatal vitamins along with an invitation to join the Similac Strong Moms website, as well as a portable cooler bag from Mead-Johnson with the label “Powdered Formula for Nursing Moms,” with a can of powdered Enfamil newborn formula.

Breastmilk substitutes Jennie received during pregnancy

Breastmilk substitutes Jennie received during pregnancy

The Enfamil package also contained 2 Breastfeeding Guides: the “New Mother’s Breastfeeding Essentials” with a label from the American Academy of Pediatrics and “Breastfeeding: The Best Start for You and Your Baby” produced by Enfamil. My husband was perusing these guides with the bottles of formula on his lap when the medical assistant re-entered the room. When he asked her how giving formula to new moms was supposed to support breastfeeding, she gave a wry smile and said, “Yeah, that is a little strange, isn’t it?” When he further queried how these things ended up in the bags, she said, “Well, the reps bring us lunch along with boxes of these samples, and we put whatever they give us in the gift bags for moms.”

We had our next visit at another office of the same practice. On the front counter was an

Breastmilk substitutes at Jennie's OB's office

Breastmilk substitutes at Jennie’s OB’s office

11×14 gift basket filled with every type of formula Enfamil makes, wrapped up in cellophane with a bow on top. Looking at this, my 7 year old son asked me “Mom, what is that doing there? Aren’t they supposed to help moms breastfeed?”

2) Was it easy for you to see how the ad campaigns are designed to undermine breastfeeding?

This one is tougher, as the formula companies have gotten very slick at marketing themselves as supporters of new moms. They’re so slick that they’ve obviously got many healthcare providers convinced that they are only providing free samples to help, not to hurt breastfeeding.

By providing booklets about breastfeeding, breastfeeding support phone numbers and saying “breastfeeding is best” at every turn, they make it look like they’re really out to help moms, and only step in when needed. But how can you support breastfeeding by giving moms cans of formula?

The formula companies are very aware that putting formula into a mom’s hands makes it more likely she will use it. Having a physician or hospital give the formula samples to moms makes it look like a health recommendation.

In my second pregnancy I received 8 cans of formula by mail and over 200 advertisements/coupons for formula. I definitely didn’t need my healthcare providers to hand me more of this in the guise of breastfeeding support.

3) Did you ever find the tactics influencing or swaying you personally?

No, but I was very lucky. I delivered my first baby with a midwifery practice that was affiliated with a Baby-Friendly Hospital, and was not given any formula marketing material by healthcare providers or the hospital. Perhaps that is why receiving such a huge amount of these materials so early in my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies really shocked me.

Like many new moms, I really struggled with breastfeeding my first, who was a little early and had lost some weight. If I had been handed samples of formula by my midwife or hospital, I might have considered using it.

4) What do you see that a woman expecting her first baby may not have noticed? What do you want pregnant women to know about these practices?

Despite what formula companies would have you believe, the research shows that mothers who are given samples of formula by their healthcare providers are more likely to give supplementary formula to their breastfed babies, more likely to buy the brand of formula given in the sample, and more likely to introduce solid foods (which are often also made by formula companies) earlier than recommended.

There is nothing altruistic about these samples the formula companies provide, they are a wise investment in future sales. Yes, some moms and babies may need or want to supplement, but the formula marketing is aimed at all moms, setting them up to expect to need formula and doubt their abilities to breastfeed before they even start.

The only way for us to stop this from happening is to speak up. With enough pressure from consumers (us!!), the hospitals and healthcare facilities will get the message.

5) What will you be doing on Public Citizen’s Day of Action?

I have already signed Public Citizen’s petition. Since I can’t be there to help deliver the petition in person, I will be posting pictures of myself and my sons on social media asking healthcare facilities to stop acting as marketing arms for the formula companies. My older son is already very aware of these tactics, and I’m proud that he is learning to be skeptical of marketing campaigns. My hope is that by the time he has children, formula marketing in healthcare facilities will be a thing of the past!

Day of Action

Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to championing citizens interests in the face of corporate abuse, is calling on infant formula makers to stop using hospitals and healthcare providers as marketing tools.

A Day of Action takes place on May 21st, both on social media and at Mead Johnson’s Chicago headquarters. Mothers holding hand-made signs with messages like “no ads in hospitals,” “keep ads out of my doctor’s office” and “follow the WHO Code” will be posting their pictures and videos on social media. They’ll be sharing on the Facebook event page as well as on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #NoFormulaAds. And thousands of people have signed the petition for Public Citizen to delivery to Enfamil maker Mead Johnson. The petition currently sits at over 17,000 signatures, with more rolling in each day.

Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes Worldwide

The Public Citizen campaign focuses on changing practices in the United States. The marketing of infant formula impacts families worldwide. To learn more about efforts around the world, check out the links here.

IBFAN Africa
IBFAN Afrique (French Speaking West Africa)
IBFAN Arab World
IBFAN América Latina y el Caribe
IBFAN Europe
Baby Milk Action/IBFAN UK
INFACT Canada/IBFAN North America

This is, no doubt, an incomplete list. Share your local efforts in the comments and we’ll be sure to add them to this post.

Jodine Chase owns a public relations firm that specializes in news analysis for a select clientele. She is the curator of Human Milk News and with her husband has parented eleven children and stepchildren. She has three grandchildren and two more on the way, and she wants infant food product companies to stop targeting her daughter Rose and her unborn granddaughter (photo) with unethical marketing campaigns. She joined the Best for Babes Foundation board in 2014 to support the BfB C.A.R.E.-WHO Alliance, and she helps run INFACT Canada ‘s Facebook page. She is a founding member of the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton (BACE).

photo credits:

image of Jodine’s daughter Rose holding sign, courtesy Jodine Chase
images of breastmilk substitutes received during pregnancy, courtesy Jennie Bever Babendure

Do you have a story to share about your efforts to enforce and/or enact the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in your country? Would you like to share it at Lactation Matters? Please e-mail us at media at ilca dot org.

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