We Need YOU to Help Us Improve the “Find a Lactation Consultant” Feature!

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 3.43.06 PMThe Find a Lactation Consultant (FALC) feature on the International Lactation Consultant Association’s® (ILCA®) website has long been a significant benefit to ILCA membership. In last year’s Member Survey, you told us it was a valuable way to connect with families who needed the care of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLC®) and helped you establish strong connections for support in your communities.

However, you also told us that the feature was challenging to find on our website, frustrating to have updated properly, and confusing for families to find the type of care that they truly needed.

We have heard you and we are in the midst of a major overhaul of the FALC. With our new system, users will be able to search by:

  • Location: As an international organization, we are committed to finding ways for this feature to be truly useful all over the world. Users will be able to search for practitioners in cities, states, provinces, regions, and countries.
  • Practice Setting: The new system allows us to better help users find the kind of help that will be beneficial for their needs. The search function will allow entries to be sorted by those who work in a variety of settings including hospital-based, private practice, community support, and research.
  • Areas of Expertise: Members with a listing in the FALC will be able to select up to 6 areas of special expertise. Users will be able to use this feature to find support for their specific needs.
  • Profession: While we will continue to only offer the benefit of being included in this directory to our IBCLC members, users will also be able to search to find members who are midwives, doulas, dietitians, nurses, etc.

But, even with these planned changes, we still need YOU to help us make the FALC useful within every community. We’ve created a survey to find out what is working for you and what is not working for you with the FALC. Please click the button below to participate.

Find a Lactation Consultant Survey (1)


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World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2015

World Breastfeeding Week_We are one month from World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2015. We hope you will join us in learning about the theme, sharing the World Breastfeeding Week materials, and checking out the ILCA WBW popup store!

This year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’s (WABA) World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) theme is “Let’s Make it Work!” This theme revisits the 1993 WBW theme “Women, Work, and Breastfeeding.” Both campaigns focus on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative and seek to rally global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work.

Much has been achieved in 22 years, such as the adoption of the revised International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 183 and Recommendation 191 on maternity protection in 2000—enacting stronger maternity entitlements, more country initiatives, and improving national laws and practices. There are also more breastfeeding- and mother-friendly workplaces and accreditation. Despite these advances, further progress to increase support for women working in non-formal sectors to breastfeed is minimal.

2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration of 1990, where four targets were adopted by the international community. The declaration stated that all governments, by the year 1995, should have:

  1. appointed a national breastfeeding coordinator of appropriate authority, and established a multisectoral national breastfeeding committee composed of representatives from relevant government departments, non-governmental organizations, and health professional associations;
  2. ensured that every facility providing maternity services fully practices all ten of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding set out in the joint WHO/UNICEF statement Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding: the special role of maternity services;
  3. taken action to give effect to the principles and aim of all Articles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions in their entirety; and
  4. enacted imaginative legislation protecting the breastfeeding rights of working women and established means for its enforcement.

Over 20 years later, all targets need more attention. After over two decades, global monitoring of infant and young child feeding progress shows that this fourth Innocenti Declaration target is still the most difficult to meet. This is a complex and multilevel task, requiring diverse strategies and the engagement of different partners on shared agendas. It is the intent of this year’s theme to help draw the international eye to the ongoing struggle for human rights protections for women in the workplace.

The Goals for WBW 2015 are to:

  • galvanize multidimensional support from all sectors to enable women everywhere to work and breastfeed safely and adequately.
  • promote actions by employers to become Family-, Parent-, Baby-, and Mother-Friendly, and to actively facilitate and support employed women to continue breastfeeding their children.
  • inform people about the latest in global maternity protection entitlements and raise awareness of the need to strengthen related national legislation and implementation.
  • strengthen, facilitate and showcase supportive practices that enable women working in the informal sector to breastfeed.
  • engage with target groups, e.g. trade unions, workers rights organizations, human rights agencies, occupational health organizations, and women’s and youth groups, to protect the breastfeeding rights of women in the workplace.

This year’s theme involves EVERYONE, not just breastfeeding women. Balancing work and family life, including breastfeeding, is increasingly necessary for women’s rights and a strong, healthy, and vibrant workforce—and a better society. Today’s global economic and labor conditions are changing rapidly, with some positive, but many negative implications for women’s health and livelihoods, as well as that of their children and families.

By adequately integrating women’s and men’s productive and reproductive work and lives, all sectors of society will benefit. Benefits include productivity, family income and job security, women’s and children’s health and well-being, employers’ long-term profits, and national socioeconomic health and stability.

It is time to fully recognize, protect and support the unpaid care work and breastfeeding that women all over the world do. Together, WE CAN MAKE IT WORK!

For the most up-to-date information about World Breastfeeding Week 2015 and to download and purchase promotional materials, please visit the World Breastfeeding Week website by clicking HERE.

Please note that ILCA is not producing its own WBW kit. We are working with WABA to assist in the development of their materials. We are offering a small number of items in our Zazzle Store, with proceeds going towards the ILCA Conference Scholarship Fund. In addition, logo files are available for download on the WBW website that you may use to create your own promotional items.

photo credit: Sudipto Das, During Work Hours, copyright WABA2015. View all of the photo contest winning images here.

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#ILCA15 Invites YOU to a Live Streaming Event!

ILCAConferencemainimageFor the first time ever, ILCA will offer a one day, live streaming event for those unable to attend the conference in person!

Can’t join us for #ILCA15, but still want to hear from our cutting-edge researchers and inspiring plenaries? Register for our live streaming event! This exciting event will happen on Saturday, 25 July 2015 and will include the opportunity to hear all of the exciting speakers for the day, including our ILCA President, Decalie Brown, as she shares exciting updates about the organization and our vision for the future.

Live streaming will run from 8:00am EDT – 3:45pm EDT. Click here to find out what time the event will be in your timezone. You won’t want to miss it!

Live Streaming Schedule:

Plenary: Physiological and Behavioral Oxytocin: Adaptations that occur in connection with breastfeeding. Kerstin Uvnas Moberg, MD, PhD

President’s Address: Decalie Brown, RN, CM, IBCLC, CFHM, BHMtg, FILCA


Plenary: WHO UNICEF Network for Global Monitoring and Support: Implementation of the International Code. Chessa Lutter, PhD

Plenary: The Origin of Appetite Control Hormones in Breastmilk. Donna Geddes, PhD


Plenary: A Time to Wean: The hominid blueprint for a natural age of weaning in modern humans. Katherine Dettwyler, PhD

Plenary: Thirty Years of Lactation Research Informing Practice. Cynthia Howard, MD, MPH; Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA; Trish MacEnroe, BS, CDN, CLC

The cost for this live streaming event is $200 (members) and $275 (non-members) and it will qualify for 5.5 CERPs, Contact Hours, and CMEs.

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ILCA Global Partners Initiative: Bridging Vision and Reality

Lactation Matters_the official blog of-2Organizations around the world – from established international organizations to emerging national and regional groups – are all working toward improving breastfeeding outcomes. Imagine the impact if these groups had a way to link together goals, break down barriers, and pursue common objectives.

As a part of ILCA’s ongoing efforts to foster a global agenda, on 22 July 2015, ILCA will officially launch the ILCA Global Partners Initiative at the inaugural ILCA Partners Meeting.

This meeting represents the realization of an effort begun nearly a year ago when the ILCA Board of Directors proudly announced a new organizational vision: World Health Transformed through Breastfeeding and Skilled Lactation Care.


Implementation of the new ILCA vision began with a commitment to two goals: expansion of formal relationships with global partners and development assistance for emerging breastfeeding organizations.

In addition to nurturing formal relations with international breastfeeding organizations (WHO, UNICEF, WABA, etc.), ILCA committed to expanding formal partnerships with like-minded membership organizations throughout the global breastfeeding community (USLCA, ELACTA, JALC, etc.).

At the same time, ILCA recognized an urgent need to facilitate the growth and development of small groups of breastfeeding advocates who were not yet self-sufficient. Over the past several months, ILCA has formed new partnerships with several national and regional breastfeeding organizations and opened a dialogue with numerous emerging organizations.

During this process, ILCA has recognized a new and unique opportunity to significantly impact breastfeeding and skilled lactation care on a global scale—bridging the gap between vision and reality.

ILCA aims to facilitate dialogue and create new linkage among partner organizations at the international, national, regional and local level. Our goal: creating new synergies that support international programs while simultaneously elevating the needs of emerging breastfeeding organizations.

While many international organizations have regional representatives throughout the world, they often lack the infrastructure to successfully implement programs and objectives or to fully grasp the local needs. Through its multi-tiered collaborative global network, ILCA is growing the capacity and capability to provide that much-needed infrastructure to bridge global intentions with local needs.

Meeting Objectives

While the inaugural ILCA Partners Meeting will afford ILCA Partners the first opportunity to meet face-to-face, we anticipate this meeting will become a keystone event associated with all future ILCA Annual Conferences.

Key Objectives:

  1. Introduce the key components, members, and potential of the new global breastfeeding collaboration.
  2. Highlight several key international objectives that may benefit from this new collaboration.
  3. Identify some of the major organizational development barriers for emerging breastfeeding organizations.
  4. Identify 2-3 objectives the collaboration may wish to address.

Bridging Vision and Reality

While every organization has its own agenda and unique needs, ILCA sees a unique opportunity for the lactation community to speak with one voice that furthers the global breastfeeding agenda.

It is our hope that by creating the space for dialogue and collaboration among all of those in the breastfeeding community, we can bridge the gap between today’s reality and our collective vision for tomorrow.

Want to learn more? Leave us a message in the comments or contact ILCA Executive Director, Dick Padlo via email at executivedirector@ilca.org.

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Q&A with #ILCA15 Speaker Katherine Dettwyler

Dettwyler Blog ImageKatherine Dettwyler, PhD is a plenary speaker at the upcoming 2015 ILCA Conference, 22-25 July in Washington, DC, USA. Her plenary address will be A Time to Wean: The hominid blueprint for a natural age of weaning in modern humans. She will also present during two breakout sessions, Beauty and the Breast: The cultural context of breastfeeding and Promoting Breastfeeding, Promoting Guilt?.

Kathy Dettwyler, PhD was recently interviewed by Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC on behalf of Lactation Matters.

I first heard Kathy Dettwyler, PhD, speak at a La Leche League (LLL) Conference in New Jersey, USA, when I was nursing my second toddler. I had been a LLL Leader for four or five years and had fallen in love with toddlers who were nursing—mine and others. I started a toddler-focused LLL meeting in addition to the regular support meetings in my area.

Nursing a toddler seemed so natural. I couldn’t imagine mothering without this special tool. I heard so many moms struggling with weaning and with so many voices questioning what seemed right. I knew in my heart it was right, but I couldn’t always answer the questions parents had, the questions extended families had, the questions doctors had. Her presentation was just what I needed.

Recently, I was lucky to be able to pick her brain about nursing past infancy.

LO: Can you tell me how you got interested in breastfeeding, particularly older babies?

KD: I first got pregnant in 1979, when I was in grad school, and I had a dear friend, Martha Toomey, who had a four-month-old she was nursing. When I told her I was pregnant, she invited me to go with her to a La Leche League meeting. I said, “What’s La Leche League?” and the rest, as they say, is history.

I was the youngest child in my family, my older sisters don’t have kids, and I never babysat much, so I was clueless about babies in general. But breastfeeding was easy for me, and as I had always been interested in the interactions between culture and biology, I was fascinated by the cultural differences between La Leche League and the general US culture at the time.

I ended up having to change the topic of my dissertation research at the last minute, and found myself in Mali. I decided to look at how infant formula was impacting the growth and health of children in Mali, only to discover that no one used formula. I did my PhD research on general cultural beliefs and practices about breastfeeding and weaning, and their effects on child growth. In Mali, people used to nurse longer (up to 6 or 7 years for last children), but the “new” style was to breastfeed for only two years, and the women I worked with there started to urge me to wean my daughter when she turned two years of age, so I could get pregnant again—a third cultural viewpoint to contrast to the US mainstream and to LLL.

Eventually, I ended up trying to write a review chapter for a book I was co-editing on what we knew about how long modern humans were evolved to breastfeed, only to discover that no one had ever, EVER asked that question. Lots of “experts” had lots of opinions, but no one had ever tried to answer the question scientifically except for the wonderful Ruth Lawrence, and she was working from outdated information about mammals in general and elephants in particular.

So I started trying to answer the question of how long humans would breastfeed, if not for weird cultural beliefs, by looking at how length of nursing correlated to other life history variables in our closest relatives (the nonhuman primates) and then using variables that aren’t so easily manipulated by culture, like length of pregnancy, when the permanent teeth erupt, average adult female body size, etc., to predict age at weaning in the absence of cultural beliefs. That’s where the 2.5 years to 7.0 years comes from.

LO: What percentage of people are breastfed until natural weaning occurs? In Western cultures? In other cultures?

KD: There is no way to answer this question in a meaningful or scientific way. There are hundreds of thousands of cultures around the world, depending on how one defines the boundaries of a culture. In every culture, there will be variation in age of weaning unless the culture imposes some strict cultural belief on it. There are undoubtedly some cultures where most of the children nurse until they are between 3 and 5 years of age, or longer.

There are also many cultures, including in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, where some children nurse that long, but most do not. There are also many, if not most, mother–child pairs where weaning is a mutually negotiated process—two people are involved, after all. I nursed my first child for 4 years, then one for only 4 months, then the last for 5.5 years. None of them weaned “on their own,” except my son with Down syndrome, who absolutely refused to nurse after 4 months of age.

LO: Which cultures currently nurse the longest?

There is no way to answer this question meaningfully. There are still a number of cultures around the world where children nurse for many years. We don’t have a snapshot in time of cultural beliefs about nursing or actual practices in terms of length of nursing from most places around the world. All over the world, the general trend is for nursing to get shorter and shorter, or be replaced by formula, except in a few cultures, such as the United States and other Western countries where nursing is trending the other way, with more women nursing and for longer and longer times.

It’s a very similar process to the “Demographic Transition.” There are three stages to infant feeding practices:

Stage I: Everyone breastfeeds for many years, with a shift to shorter and shorter durations, and, eventually, replacement by formula.

Stage II: Most people bottle-feed with formula, and those who do breastfeed only do so for short periods of weeks or months at most, followed by a shift back to longer and longer durations, and fewer and fewer people using bottles and formula.

Stage III: Everyone breastfeeds for many years.

The United States and other Western countries led the way in the transition from Stage I to Stage II, with the wealthier, more educated women leading the way in the transition to bottle-feeding with formula, then these ideas and practices trickling down to those of lower socioeconomic status and less education. About the time those with the least resources] had switched to bottle-feeding, the wealthier, more educated women were switching back to breastfeeding (1960s-1970s).

Likewise, most non-Western cultures were slow to adopt formula feeding, and some of them are just now in the transition between Stage I and Stage II—places like China, where the formula companies are now targeting mothers in a big way as the market for formula wanes in the West.

This view of the “Infant Feeding Transition” is not my own original perceptive insight; it was Margaret Mead herself who first put this forward years and years ago and said it was too bad we couldn’t figure out some way to skip Stage II, since so many children die or are left with impaired cognitive and immune systems from formula.

LO: What are the biggest barriers to normal length nursing?

  • Cultural beliefs that breasts are sex objects. They are not. They are mammary glands, but cultural beliefs about the breasts as sex objects are very powerful in a tiny minority of cultures around the world, and these beliefs are largely to blame for the difficulties women in the West have with breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding even in private, getting their husbands to support them, etc. Not to mention female mammary mutilation (breast augmentation surgery), which is analogous to female genital mutilation in so many ways.
  • The lack of belief in the power of women’s bodies to function normally.
  • The lack of paid maternity leave, or a society where women can combine their productive work and their reproductive work. In much of the world, women do much more work than in the West—hauling water and firewood, chopping firewood, pounding grain into flour, walking for miles every day, growing crops, milking the herds, working at all sorts of other productive tasks, such as weaving and pottery and even in office jobs—but their kids are with them at all times, and they can nurse whenever they want, including in public, and they have many other people to help them care for their kids.
  • A misguided notion that normal durations of nursing will make a child clingy and more dependent, a sissy, not capable of independence from the mother. Research has shown that this belief is not just false, but that, in fact, the more children have a secure base in infancy and toddlerhood, through nursing and co-sleeping, the more independent and socially mature they are in later childhood. As well as smarter, and healthier, and nicer, of course.
  • A general devaluation of children and a reluctance to give them the time and emotional effort they need and deserve, having kids too close together; I could go on and on and on.

LO: How do you feel about the term “extended nursing?”

KD: I don’t mind “extended nursing” as long as it is clearly and consistently defined. To some people, anything past three weeks is extended, for others, it is one year. I use the phrase to mean “beyond three years,” which is extended relative to cultural norms in the United States and other Western contexts, but, of course, is not at all extended in biological terms. But I don’t get my panty hose in a twist and insist on such awkward constructions as “natural-term” or “full-term” nursing. I would love to see the term “extended nursing” limited to those children who nurse beyond 7 years of age, and yes, there are some, even in the United States, but that isn’t going to happen.

LO: Is there a difference in children who wean naturally from those who are weaned?

KD: This is another unanswerable question. There are, of course, differences in children who nurse for several years versus those who nurse for only a few months or those who are weaned at birth. Is there a difference between my son Alex who “was weaned” at age 5.5 years, by me, versus a fictional child, George, who self-weaned at 2.5 years? No one knows. What kind of differences? How could one ever determine if it was because of the different way they ended up stopping breastfeeding versus one of the thousands (nay, millions) of other genetic, environmental, and cultural differences between Alex and George.

I am all in favor of the wording in the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that mother and child should nurse as long as is mutually desirable. I don’t think mothers should feel any qualms about weaning when they are ready to stop, for whatever reason. The more critical issue is that mothers who want to continue nursing to any age should be supported, not ridiculed, not have their motives questions, and not be charged with sexual abuse or lose custody of their children, as sometimes happens.

LO: Are there health differences and attachment differences between weaned vs. self-weaned children?

KD: No one knows. There is basically no research on differences between children who nurse for varying lengths of time beyond 2 years (2 vs. 4 vs. 6, etc.) either for cognitive functioning, short- and long-term health consequences, emotional health, attachment, etc., just like no one knows the composition of maternal breast milk more than 2 years postpartum. And certainly there is no research I am aware of between those who self-wean at various ages versus those who are encouraged to stop. Remember, too, that “weaning” can happen more than once. I weaned my daughter, my first child, at age 3, then went back to nursing her 4 months later, and weaned her again at age 4.

LO: What is the latest research in breastfeeding older babies and children?

KD: Here’s an excerpt from my “court letter” that cites the only recent research I am aware of:

Thus, while there is not a broad-based research enterprise proving that breastfeeding a child for 3 years provides statistically significant health, cognitive, or emotional benefits compared to breastfeeding a child for only two years, there is no research to show that breastfeeding a child for 3 years (or 4-5-6-7-8-9 years) causes any sort of physical, psychological or emotional harm to the child. This was explicitly confirmed in the 2005 American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations for breastfeeding the healthy term infant, as well as Karen Epstein-Gilboa’s research, published in her 2009 book Interaction and Relationships in Breastfeeding Families: Implications for Practice.¹

LO: How can mothers best be supported to continue nursing past a year or two?

KD: Families could best be supported in extending breastfeeding by providing:

  • A year of paid maternity leave.
  • On-site child care facilities, or letting them have their kids with them at work.
  • Education for the general public that breasts are not sex objects.
  • Education for the general public that nursing beyond age 2-3-4 is normal and healthy.
  • Education for the general public on the risks of formula feeding for children, including death, cognitive impairment, immune system dysfunction, chronic diseases, etc.
  • Education for the risks of formula feeding for mothers, including higher rates of osteoporosis and reproductive cancers.

LO: What are the biggest myths around nursing older babies?

KD: The biggest myths are:

  • They will bite you with their teeth. Yes, they sometimes bite, but so do babies, with their bony gums. It hurts either way and can be easily discouraged
  • It will make them homosexual, especially boys. Ridiculous!!
  • It will make them clingy and dependent. Not true—just the opposite, in fact.
  • They don’t need it for nutrition. There is no better food for children than human breast milk; nothing else comes close. And, of course, it isn’t just, or even primarily, food. Breast milk contains all sorts of factors, many still unrecognized, that help in normal development of the brain, immune system, and other parts of the body. Breastfeeding also helps the child self-regulate their physiological state, to calm them down when hurt, tired, or upset, to make them better when they are sick, to put them to sleep, to lower their blood pressure, to improve nutrient absorption through the gut, etc.
  • The idea that breast milk magically turns to Kool-Aid the day the child turns one year of age. There is lots of research to show that breast milk continues to be nutritionally valuable and to have even more immune factors per mL as the child gets older. It never becomes nutritionally valueless.
  • Their friends will make fun of them. In my experience, a lot of older nurslings have friends who are also still nursing, and they think everyone at kindergarten goes home and nurses. Why would they think otherwise? If kids do make fun of them, the nursing child can educate the ignorant with a few well-chosen words. Or, as my daughter said to someone in high school who was acting disgusted about learning that a 1.5 year old was nursing, “Look, I’m sure you’re a very nice person, but you’re a complete idiot when it comes to this issue. You obviously don’t know anything about it, so why don’t you just shut up” (paraphrasing, it was many years ago, that daughter is now 34 years old). And even if some kids do make fun of them, so what? We wouldn’t expect a Jewish mom to raise her children Christian to fit in and avoid teasing. We wouldn’t expect a mom to have surgery on her child’s face at age 6 to make him or her more pleasant looking (hopefully) to avoid teasing. Etc., etc., etc. Children are going to make fun of each other no matter what.

LO: Are there any downsides to nursing into preschool age?

KD: Absolutely not. Except having to deal with ignorant people. And, of course, legal trouble for some people in places where the ignorant people are judges, lawyers, and/or work for child protective services and think extended breastfeeding is abuse.

LO: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in your research?

KD: How many people are so ignorant about the function of human breasts and think that they are naturally sexy and that mothers who nurse older children are having sex with their kids.

LO: What is the most unusual nursing story you have encountered?

KD: I’ve heard lots of great stories. I love my friend’s story. She was nursing a five year old and a three year old when she gave birth to twins (unexpectedly—she knew she was pregnant, but not that she was having twins). For a while she was nursing all four kids, but then eventually weaned the 5 year old to try to help get a yeast infection under control. She used to joke that even though she drank tons of water every day, she never peed.

And of course, I love stories like the one where my daughter was flying from Europe to New Zealand by way of China and there was a Chinese baby on the plane without its mother, screaming, and the father couldn’t get any formula mixed up, so my daughter offered to, and did, nurse the baby to sleep. The best part of the story is that she had to get her husband to distract their own little boy so he wouldn’t be upset seeing mommy share “his” milk with another baby. Everyone on the plane was very appreciative.

And of course, I once was interviewing a mom for my dissertation research and she was nursing her two year old, when a one year old walked over and started nursing from her other breast, and she was surprised when I was surprised. It was her grandson and she said, “Doesn’t your mother help you nurse your daughter?” When I said, “No, she lives too far away and doesn’t have little kids of her own any more,” she offered me her sympathy, saying, “That must be really difficult for you.”

LO: Where do mothers find the most support?

KD: For some, it is right there at home with their mother, mother-in-law, sisters, husband, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. For others, it is face-to-face mother support groups like La Leche League, Nursing Mothers Association, and similar groups. Since the advent of the internet, of course, there are now thousands of online support groups, including some targeted specifically to distinct groups, such as disabled mothers, older mothers, African-American mothers, lesbian mothers, mothers nursing toddlers and beyond, etc.

LO: Where do you find participants for your research?

KD: When I was doing research in the mid 1990s on women in the United States who nursed longer than three years, that was in the early days of email and the internet, but I put up info on my website, through LLL, at conferences, through email lists, such as LactNet, etc. Lots of women passed the survey I was doing on to their friends. It isn’t difficult at all to find women nursing kids over three years of age.

DettwylerKatherine Dettwyler, PhD is an anthropologist and breastfeeding expert who specializes in evolutionary medicine and infant/child feeding practices. She publishes extensively on topics related to breastfeeding, especially the conflicts between biological and cultural breastfeeding wisdom. Katherine is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Delaware.

Leigh Anne O'Connor 2Leigh Anne O’Connor is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Parenting Expert. She has over 17 years experience working with families. She is the past President of New York Lactation Consultant Association (NYLCA), a member of International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) and a past member of the Bank Street Head Start Health Advisory Board.

¹Epstein-Gilboa, Karen. 2009. Interaction and Relationships in Breastfeeding Families: Implications for Practice. Texas: Hale Publishing.

Want to hear more? Join us at #ILCA15!

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2014 Lactation Summit: Panel Roundup

Lactation Matters_the official blog ofThe 2014 Lactation Summit was designed to listen and learn from the missing voices of the profession so that strategies for dismantling institutional oppression within the profession can be developed.

Much was learned from the 2014 Summit, but there is still listening to be done. Over the past few months, Lactation Matters broke out the Summit finding from each community that spoke at the Summit. We wanted to pull together all of those posts for you here in one round up as we look ahead to the Lactation Equity Action Seminar, a half day event designed to address the cultural and classist barriers to the IBCLC profession to be held Tuesday, 21 July 2015 in Washington, DC, USA.

The 2014 Summit was the result of a year-long planning effort by a 22-member design team made up of diverse representatives from seven countries of the world. It was hosted jointly by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®), International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), and Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC).

The design team recommended a structure to hear from 26 individuals representing the following categories:

  • African Americans in the U.S.
  • Hispanics in the U.S.
  • Native Americans in the U.S.
  • North and South America
  • Asia Pacific
  • Russia and Europe
  • Communities that cross geographic and ethnic lines (males, lay breastfeeding support groups, those working in remote regions of the world, and the LGBTQI community)

While there are specific barriers unique to various racial, ethnic, geographic, and other groups, several general themes emerged that were common to many of the groups. These findings will help guide future discussions and action plans needed to dismantle institutional oppression.

You can find a summary of each panel here:

African Americans in the U.S.

Native Americans in the U.S.

Hispanics in the U.S.

North and South America

Asia Pacific

Europe and Russia

Other Perspectives Crossing Cultural and Geographic Lines

To access information on all of the panels presented, read a complete summary of the report here.

We hope that, after reading, you will consider sharing your comments, ideas, and suggested solutions. Please click here to offer your input.

We also hope you will join us for the Lactation Equity Action Seminar. Learn more here!


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ILCA Selects Two New Fellows!

International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is pleased to announce our two newest ILCA Fellows, Decalie Brown and Sue Saunders. The ILCA Board of Directors created the Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association (FILCA) designation to recognize significant voluntary commitment to ILCA and also the professional excellence and achievements of the leaders and mentors in the field of lactation consultancy.

Decalie Caren Brown, RN, CFHN, CM, BHMtg, IBCLC has been a breastfeeding advocate and birth educator for many years, having worked as a midwife and a Child and Family Health Nurse. She has been an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant®
(IBCLC®) since 2001 and has worked tirelessly to support her clients and advance the lactation field overall.

Decalie’s involvement in the field includes publishing on topics related to breastfeeding and lactation consulting, working with policy makers to craft pro-family legislation related to maternity/paternity leave and breastfeeding, as well as advancing the Baby-Friendly Initiative in New South Wales, Australia. Her contributions to ILCA are equally extensive, serving on the ILCA conference committee, IBCLC Care Award Coordinator, ILCA’s Marketing Director, and most recently, the current President of ILCA.

Sue SaundersSue Saunders, IBCLC, CIMI was one of the very first IBCLCs in Western Australia. She has practiced as an IBCLC in Western Australia, the UK, Gabon, Malaysia, and Syria and is a founding member of the Australian Lactation Consultants Association WA Branch and Lactation Consultants Great Britain. In addition to her advancements in lactation education, Sue is working to empower families to build relationships through infant massage.

Sue has shown a high level of commitment to ILCA and its mission, having served as a/an ILCA/IBLCE Care Award Hospital and Community Care Award Reviewer, Fellow of ILCA Committee and Conference Program Committee member, Independent Study Module (ISM) Co-Coordinator, and as ILCA’s Director of Professional Development.

Join us in congratulating these astounding women and leaders in the lactation community! For more information on the Fellows application and eligibility requirements, visit ILCA’s website.

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Beyond Bullets: Increase the Power of Your Presentations

Visual Language WorkshopsInternational Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is partnering with Aspire Communications again this fall to bring you two visual language workshops to help you support your practice and hone your interactive presentation techniques.

The first workshop will be offered in Hartford, Connecticut, 4–6 September 2015. The second workshop will take place in Oakland, California, 7–9 October 2015, in partnership with the California Breastfeeding Coalition. Both workshops will cover:

  • All aspects of making and delivering PowerPoint presentations, including ways to transform your talks into truly effective and engaging visual communication
  • Converting bullet points into entertaining and memorable visuals that captivate audiences
  • Building a flexible, hyperlink-based structure called a presentation platform that helps you organize and dynamically display any presentation topic at any moment
  • Building picture stories, picture roles, content graphics, and other essential visual strategies
  • Key photography techniques for capturing and building a personalized visual content library

Workshop fees are $639 per person, which includes your conference registration and Aspire’s Visual Language Template Package, containing three pre-built master shows that can be used to quickly assemble a flexible, powerfully visual collection of all your presentation content.

Enrollment in these workshops is limited. When enrolling, be sure to use promotional code vip175 to receive the ILCA-member registration rate. Discounted hotel rates have been negotiated for participants, though you will need to book accommodations separately.

Hartford, Connecticut, 4–6 September 2015

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Oakland, California, 7–9 October 2015

Register Now Equity ButtonILCA receives a portion of the proceeds from this event. Help ILCA while building your skills by registering today!

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The Asociacion de Consultores Certificados en Lactancia Materna de Mexico is Born!

{Ed. Note} A Spanish translation is available below. Thank you to Laura Gruber, IBCLC for providing it for us.

The International Lactation Consultant Association ® (ILCA®) would like to congratulate the Asociacion de Consultores Certificados en Lactancia Materna de Mexico (Association of Certified Lactation Consultants of Mexico) on the birth of their organization. Also known as ACCLAM, they seek to connect with and promote the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) in Mexico.

ACCLAM Founding Board of Directors. Photo used with permission from Roberta Graham de Escobedo.

ACCLAM Founding Board of Directors. Photo used with permission from Roberta Graham de Escobedo.

On Thursday, 14 May, 2015, their founding Board of Directors gathered to sign the legal documents establishing the organization and invited all 21 IBCLCs residing in Mexico to join them for a luncheon. We caught up with Roberta Graham de Escobedo, President of ACCLAM, and Dr. Mariana Colmenares, Director of Education for ACCLAM, to find out why they started the organization and what they hope to accomplish in the future.

[LM] What inspired the creation of ACCLAM?

[RGdE] After certifying as an IBCLC in 1995, I found myself to be very alone, with the nearest IBCLC colleague a mere (!) 1,000 miles away. At that time, there were 7 IBCLCs scattered around the entire country of Mexico. In the years since, our numbers went up and down but we never seemed to reach a tipping point which would allow us to band together.

Everything changed when I met Dr. Mariana Colmenares, a pediatrician IBCLC from Mexico City, at ILCA’s 2014 International Conference in Phoenix, AZ, USA. We began talking about how it was time to join together and so upon returning home to Mexico, we began a concerted effort to find all of the IBCLCs in the country. Happily, we realized we were 21 STRONG! 50% of our members are located in Mexico City area, with the other 50% scattered around the country. The time was ripe.

Photo used with permission by Sandra Massry.

Photo used with permission by Sandra Massry.

[LM] What is the breastfeeding culture like in Mexico?

[MC] There is a general misconception that Mexico is an overwhelmingly PRO-breastfeeding culture and that most babies breastfeed for many months.  However, in 2012, the National Institute of Health conducted a survey and, to the shocked surprise of most health authorities, the precipitous drop in exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months to a shameful 14%  brought home the reality that something was drastically wrong.  Mexico holds the first place worldwide in childhood obesity and diabetes is a national issue requiring concerted action. The powerful and entrenched influence of the formula manufacturers combined with the lack of professional education regarding breastfeeding in medical and nursing schools created a difficult situation to reverse.

Happily, there is change afoot.  The Mexican government recently approved a law requiring businesses to provide space for working mothers to pump breastmilk while at work, plus Mexican labor law allows for 2 half-hour breaks for mothers to breastfeed their babies (or pump) during an eight-hour day. UNICEF recently launched a program to promote breastfeeding in Mexico, and the National Institute of Health is also carrying out some actions in support of breastfeeding.

[LM] What are you hoping to accomplish with ACCLAM as an organisation?

[RGdE] Our main goals for the present will be to increase the number of IBCLCs in Mexico, to promote the Lactation Consultant profession, and to establish our association as an important voice in the conversation regarding the promotion and protection of breastfeeding in Mexico.  UNICEF Mexico is launching a campaign to bring breastfeeding once again into the spotlight as an essential element in the health of Mexico’s children, and ACCLAM’s timely appearance gives us great confidence that we will be able to make an important difference in our country.

[LM] How can the rest of the IBCLC community support the work of ACCLAM in Mexico?

[MC] ACCLAM has appeared on the national scene at a fortuitous moment, and although we are small with only 21 members, we have high hopes to make a real impact.  We believe that connecting with ILCA gives us a gravitas and status which we would otherwise not enjoy, and most certainly empowers us to stand strong and make our voice heard here in Mexico.

We are proud of those who are bringing together lactation professionals in Mexico and we hope to establish connection with such groups all over the globe. Watch for updates soon about how national and regional groups, such as ACCLAM, can more formally partner with ILCA to meet our mutual vision of “world health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.”

La Asociación Internacional de Consultores en Lactancia® (ILCA®) felicita a la Asociación de Consultores Certificados en Lactancia Materna de México en el nacimiento de su organización. También conocidas como ACCLAM, ellas procuran unirse y promover la certificación de Consultores Internacionales Certificadas en Lactancia (conocido en inglés como “International Board Certified Lactation Consultant®”, y por sus siglas “IBCLC®”) en México.

Consejo Fundador de ACCLAM. Foto usada con permiso de Roberta Graham de Escobedo.

Consejo Fundador de ACCLAM. Foto usada con permiso de Roberta Graham de Escobedo.

El jueves, 14 de mayo, 2015, las fundadoras del consejo se reunieron a firmar los documentos legales estableciendo la organización e invitaron a cada una de las 21 IBCLCs que radican en México a que asistieran el almuerzo.

Pudimos hablar con Roberta Graham de Escobedo, Presidente de ACCLAM, y con la Dra. Mariana Colmenares, directora de educación de ACCLAM, para que compartieran el por qué establecieron la organización y qué quieren lograr en un futuro.

[LM] ¿Qué inspiró la creación de ACCLAM?

[RGdE] Después de recertificar como IBCLC en el 1995, me sentí muy sola, con la colega IBCLC mas cercana a solo (¡!) mil millas de mi. En esa época, solo habían siete IBCLCs en lo que es todo el país de México. Y en los últimos años, a pesar de que esa cifra ha subido y ha bajado no habíamos podido lograr llegar al punto de asociarnos.

Todo cambió cuando conocí a la Dra. Mariana Colmenares, una pediatra IBCLC de la Cuidad de México, en la Conferencia Internacional del 2014 de ILCA en Pheonix, Arizona, USA. Empezamos a hablar de que ya era hora que nos uniéramos así que al regresar a México, nos ezforzamos a encontrar a todas las IBCLCs en la nación. ¡Felizmente descubrimos que tenemos la fuerza de 21 IBCLCs en total! El cincuenta por ciento de nuestros miembos están hubicadas en el área de la Cuidad de México, y el otro cincuenta por ciento de miembros se encurantran dispersadas a través del país. Ya era hora.

Foto usada con permiso de Sandra Massry.

Foto usada con permiso de Sandra Massry.

[LM] ¿Cúentanos sobre la cultural de lactancia en México?

[MC] Existe una idea equivocada que México tiene una cultura que favorese altamente a la lactancia, y que la mayoría de los bebés son amamantados por varios meses. Sin embargo, en el 2012, el Instituto de Salud Nacional llevo a cabo una encuesta y, para la sorpresa de muchas de las autoridades de salud, la taza de lactancia exclusiva a los seis meses había dado un bajón al solo catorce por ciento, y eso nos dió a ver que había un problema drástico. México ocupa el primer lugar globalmente en lo que es la obesidad infantil y la diabetes es un problema nacional que requiere acción coordinada. La poderosa y arraigada influencia de los compañías de fórmula, combinado con la falta de educación professional de la lactancia en las escuelas de medicina y enfermería han creado una situación difícil de corregir.

Pero afortunadamente hay cambios en marcha. Hace poco el gobierno mexicano aprobó una ley que requiere que negocios aporten espacios para que madres empleadas puedan extraer su leche mientras trabajan, y la leyes laborables mexicanas permiten dos pausas durante el día para que madres lacten a sus bebés (o se extraigan su leche) durante un día de trabajo de ocho horas. La organización UNICEF recientemente lanzó un programa para promover la lactancia en México, y el Instituto de Salud Nacional también está llevando a cabo esfuerzos para apoyar a la lactancia.

[LM] ¿Qué espera lograr ACCLAM como organización?

[RGdE] Nuestra meta principal hoy día va a ser el aumentar el número de IBCLCs en México, para promover la profesión de Consultor de Lactancia, y establecer a nuestra asociación como una voz importante en la conversación para promover y proteger la lactancia materna en México. La organización UNICEF México estará lanzando una campaña para nuevamente enfocar el amamantar como un elemento esencial en la salud de los ninós mexicanos, y con la formación oportuna de ACCLAM nos sentimos muy seguras de que podremos hacer una diferencia importante en nuestro país.

[LM]¿Cómo el resto de la comunidad de IBCLCs podrá apoyar los esfuerzos de ACCLAM en México?

[MC] ACCLAM ha aparecido en la tarima nacional a momento grato, y a pesar de que somos pequeños, con solo 21 miembros, hay esperanzas altas de tener un impacto actual. Creemos que el aliarnos con ILCA nos dará la posición y la seriedad que no lograríamos tener sin ella (la alianza con ILCA), y definitivamente ésta nos apoderará a mantenernos firmes y hacer que nuestras voces sean escuchadas aquí en México.

Nos sentimos orgullosos de quienes están uniendo los profesionales de lactancia en México y esperamos establecer relaciones con grupos parecidos a través del mundo. Manténganse pendientes de cómo grupos regionales y nacionales como ACCLAM pueden unirse aún más formalmente con ILCA para alcanzar nuestra meta mutua de “salud global transformada a través de la lactancia materna y a través del cuidado experto de ésta.”

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Election Results: Mudiwah Kadeshe to Join Board of Directors, Bylaws Changes

Copy of Journal of Human Lactation (2)The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mudiwah A. Kadeshe has been elected by the ILCA membership to the Board of Directors. Her three-year term will commence July 2015. 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.

Mudiwah A. Kadeshe

Mudiwah A. Kadeshe

She comes to us with more than 25 years of experience in women’s health nursing. Informed by her own birth experiences, she entered the profession wanting to support women in their birthing choices and became a certified childbirth educator and an IBCLC to increase her ability to reach families.

After having established and directed a lactation resource center at a tertiary care medical system hospital that facilitated more than 3000 deliveries per year, she currently is a community based lactation consultant in one of the most poverty stricken wards in Washington, DC and oversees the peer counselor services through the Children’s National East of the River Lactation Support Center. She is currently the Vice President, Program Manager, and lead facilitator for grant-based projects for DC Breastfeeding Coalition.

We are proud to have Mudiwah Kadeshe join the ILCA Board of Directors.

Additionally, ILCA is pleased to announce that all three bylaw changes were APPROVED. The bylaws changes that were ratified took effect as of 10 May 2015.

A second 2015 ILCA voting process will entail the ILCA membership ratifying the other board positions already voted on by the ILCA Board of Directors: ILCA’s incoming President (2016-2018) and the continuation of the Director of Research for an additional three year term. Look for additional information soon.

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

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