Get Your 2017 ILCA Benefits – Join or Renew Now!



2016 has been an exciting year for the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). Together, we’ve been working hard to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. And in 2017, ILCA is poised to be better than ever.

We invite you to become an ILCA member!


ILCA membership connects you with tools and community to support lactating families, including these benefits:

  • THE LATEST IN BREASTFEEDING KNOWLEDGE: Keep up-to-date with up to 10 FREE CERPs, including topics like milk sharing, medications, and ethics.
  • EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR WORK: Unlock your access to our TOP member benefit: Journal of Human Lactation.
  • HELP FAMILIES FIND YOU: Get listed on our Find a Lactation Consultant Directory (IBCLCs only), with new features in 2017. Watch for new search options, increased traffic, and more.
  • CONNECT WITH YOUR COMMUNITY: Coming in 2017! Connect with your peers on the topics you care about most in our new, exclusive online community.
  • TOOLS FOR THE FAMILIES YOU SERVE: Share Inside Track articles with your clients in print or through email using a PDF. ILCA offers expert, evidence-based research interpreted just for lactating families.
  • SAVINGS: Discounts on live and recorded webinars and registration for our annual conference.

ILCA Membership – Not Just For IBCLCs

ILCA has benefit packages to meet the unique needs of clinical care providers (like physicians, midwives, nurses, and dieticians) and breastfeeding supporters (like volunteers with new family support groups, peer counselors, and those with other lactation certifications). Learn more by clicking HERE.

Back in 2017! Group membership discounts!

Groups of ten or more joining and/or renewing members receive ten percent discount on membership. Start getting your group together now! Group applications will be available 24 October.

ILCA membership connects you with tools and community to support lactating families.

Questions or need more information? Contact us at or visit us online at



JHL Call for Papers: Education, Roles and Licensure in Lactation Practice

The Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) invites lactation-related research, reports, reviews, commentaries, and insights into practice and policy related to the theme of Education, Roles, and Licensure in Lactation Practice for an upcoming special issue. Click here to view JHL‘s new author submission guidelines.
Relevant areas for publication may include (but are not limited to):
  • Evaluation of lactation education programs focused on various levels of lactation support providers, from licensed healthcare providers to peer counselors
  • Effectiveness of lactation care provided by IBCLCs and lactation support persons in specific clinical settings and situations
  • How IBCLCs and/or other lactation support providers are cost effective
  • Role differentiation within the various types of lactation support providers
  • The role of licensure in professionalizing lactation support
The submission deadline for the special issue is 14 April 2017.
The Journal of Human Lactation is the top-ranked breastfeeding journal and the most valued benefit of ILCA membership.


Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is the official journal of ILCA. It is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research, insights in practice and policy, commentaries, and case reports relating to research and practice in human lactation and breastfeeding. JHL is relevant to lactation professionals in clinical practice, public health, research, and a broad range of fields related to the trans-disciplinary field of human lactation.


Win Your 2017 Membership . . . Tell Us How ILCA Impacts You


We were blown away by how many of you responded to the ILCA membership survey. We learned so much – like just how much you value the Journal of Human Lactation and your free CERPs. (A lot! Nearly 90% of you rate JHL and free CERPs as important or very important benefits.) Your answers are helping us shape your 2017 member benefits package (watch here for details – coming in mid-October!).

We want to hear more! Share with us how ILCA membership impacts you, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win your 2017 ILCA membership.

Here’s some questions we’d love to hear more about. Pick one to answer and leave your response in the comments. You’ll receive a second entry if you also paste your answer into the comments on THIS THREAD on Facebook. Watch here for the winner: we will select a winner by random draw on 20 December 16.

  • How has ILCA membership impacted the way you practice?
  • What would you tell a colleague about the value of ILCA membership?
  • What ILCA benefit is most important to you? Why?
  • Or anything else you’d like us to know about why ILCA is important to you.

Your comments will certainly help guide our thinking about ILCA membership, and may be used as a part of the materials we use to help others learn about ILCA.

Thank you for helping us learn more about what matters most to you about ILCA.


Considering Becoming a Clinical Site? ILCA has the tools you need.


Considering becoming a Clinical Instruction Site?

ILCA has the tools you need to get started . . .

ILCA’s Clinical Curriculum is a five-part series of online modules that are two hours each. This series is accessible in the ILCA store here. It offers 10 L-CERPs and includes these topics:

  1. Fundamental Foundations, Designs, and Structures
  2. People, Prerequisites, and Processes
  3. Logistics and Mechanics
  4. Teaching and Providing Feedback
  5. Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

Completing this course will teach you how to provide hands-on lactation training with confidence and help you increase access to the IBCLC profession in your community. Once your organization has become a Clinical Instruction Site, consider listing your program in the ILCA Clinical Instruction Directory. Aspiring IBCLCs around the world are eager to acquire clinical experience supervised by an IBCLC.

Learn more about the Clinical Instruction Directory here.


Catching Up with Wilson-Clay & Hoover Award Winner, Dr. Jill Demirci

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At #ILCA16, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) awarded the Wilson-Clay & Hoover Research Poster Award to Jill Demirci, PhD for her poster “An Ecological Momentary Assessment of Primiparous Women’s Breastfeeding Behavior and Problems from Birth to 8 Weeks”. This award, supported annually by Barbara Wilson-Clay and Kay Hoover, honors excellence in research and the winner is chosen by representatives of the ILCA Board of Directors. We recently caught up with Jill to find out more about her poster and how she came to be interested in supporting breastfeeding families through her research.


Share with us a bit about your research interests and what led you to focus your efforts in this area.

Broadly, I’m interested in developing clinical and tech-based interventions that help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals. I’ve concentrated significantly on first time mothers—much of breastfeeding can be a confidence game, and this seems to make the first experience particularly challenging. Lately, I’ve focused on women’s perception of inadequate milk, which is sort of a thorny area. How much can be attributed to physiology? Psychology? Misinformation and mismanagement? It is a sensitive issue, and consistently among the top reasons women use formula and stop breastfeeding before they intend. My study team has looked at complementary and alternative therapies to address perceived insufficient milk. We are now preparing to examine a text message support system to combat misinformation, mismanagement, and anxiety that can lead to supply problems.

I would say my research interests have evolved mostly from listening to mothers over the past 10 years—as a hospital staff nurse, as a lactation consultant in a primary care clinic, as a researcher conducting interviews, and as a friend and family member. You see milk supply issues come up again and again, albeit in slightly different ways, and it’s frustrating for you and them. The system failed them. Research, on the other hand, is empowering—the antidote to clinical frustration. It’s taking a step toward being able to say, “Here. We have ‘X’ to offer you, and we know that ‘X’ seems to help, and ‘Y’ doesn’t.”

My research also benefited from my personal experience with breastfeeding my son. It was certainly a humbling and eye-opening experience. For the first time, I understood at a visceral level the anxiety, the frustration, the highs and the lows that breastfeeding can bring. And it lit a fire under me. At that time, more than ever, my brain was buzzing with how we could do this or that to help moms get what they need to make breastfeeding work. When I came back to work from leave, I had a million ideas. I’m hopeful that I can implement them all eventually!


Tell us more about the research presented in your poster at #ILCA16. What would you hope that IBCLCs most understand about this research?

Our study examined the breastfeeding patterns, thoughts, and problems of first-time mothers, over eight weeks postpartum, with a mobile app that included a feeding log and diary feature. Moms would log their breastfeeding experiences as they happened and then send them to us. The larger goal was to develop a text message support system for first time mothers that delivered targeted, well-timed support. But we found that the data itself was really interesting and worthy of representation in its own right. What we currently know about breastfeeding in first time moms is mostly from retrospective interviews and questionnaires, so this was data as close as you get to what moms are actually doing, stripping away the filter of time and tendency to report breastfeeding in the most socially desirable way.

What we found in examining this data was that the majority of first-time moms (all of whom intended to exclusively breastfeed at birth) had used formula by two weeks postpartum. Perhaps most surprising to us, though, was the replacement of at-breast feeds with pumping/expressed milk feeds, which occurred early and often. By two weeks, we saw that 78% of moms who continued in the study had initiated pumping. Not surprisingly, given these patterns, the top breastfeeding problems in the study included latching difficulties, nipple pain, and perception of inadequate milk. The frequency of problems generally trended downward over the study course, but the perception of not having enough milk had multiple peaks throughout the eight weeks. I would say our study points to the need to provide new mothers early and consistent breastfeeding support, especially in terms of principles of and expectations for milk production, as well as indications and instructions for pumping/milk expression.


What messages of support and encouragement do you have to offer to the breastfeeding families in your community?

I would, and do, tell breastfeeding moms that you are doing something truly remarkable. It takes an incredible amount of determination and mental and physical fortitude to breastfeed in a world that is not consistently supportive of it. Please know that there are people out there working everyday to break down the barriers you are facing. It is slowly, but surely getting better. Your efforts are not in vain. Breastfeeding is the first of many selfless acts of motherhood, and the struggles and victories you experience are the building blocks of an incredible bond with your child and your own confidence as a mother. With every bit of breast milk you feed, save, or donate—somebody benefits. You, your child, your family, your community. You are helping us to move the needle, bit by bit, toward breastfeeding being seen as the normative way to feed a child.

To the families of breastfeeding moms and babies, you are a vital part of their success. Having a supportive partner is one of the biggest factors that determine whether moms meet their breastfeeding goals and whether babies get the breast milk they need. Thank you for being there, for picking up the slack and doing all the things it takes to keep a family and household functioning while mom and baby are breastfeeding for what feels like the sixteenth time in the same afternoon. It takes selflessness to stand back and play the supporting role. It’s also fleeting. You’ll blink and your baby will be a three year old who now wants you, not mom, to give the bath, sing the silly song, and tell the bedtime story.


demirci photoJill Demirci, PhD, RN, IBCLC is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Department of Health Promotion & Development. Dr. Demirci is a PhD-prepared nurse researcher, practicing internationally board-certified lactation consultant, and recent NIH K99/R00 career development award recipient. Her research focuses on clinical breastfeeding support, specifically psychological and perceptual barriers to exclusive, continued breastfeeding, design and implementation of effective communication regarding infant feeding, breastfeeding management in vulnerable populations, and etiology, prevention and treatment of perceived insufficient milk.



National—Regional Partner Update: International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)

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The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Global Partners Initiative was designed to improve breastfeeding worldwide by creating linkages between organizations around the globe. ILCA would like to welcome its 2oth National—Regional Partner, International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), a professional organization that supports educators and healthcare professionals who believe in freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care. ICEA provides training and continuing education programs, quality educational resources, and professional certification programs.

We asked Connie Livingston BS, RN, FACCE, LCCE, ICCE, the president of ICEA, and Debra Tolson BSN, RN, ICCE, IBCLC, CPST, the president-elect of ICEA, to share with us more about the role of the organization in breastfeeding support and why they decided to sign on to the Partners Initiative.

Lactatation Matters (LM): Tell us about why your organization is so important to human health in the United States and internationally.

Connie Livingston and Debra Tolson (CL, DT): ICEA has played an integral role in evidence-based consumer education for over 55 years. World Health Organization (WHO) research indicates that information about pregnancy and childbirth can lead to a reduction in maternal/infant morbidity and mortality, regardless of country. Information about pregnancy and childbirth also has been demonstrated to increase satisfaction with the birth experience, which impacts postpartum health. We have ICEA Approved Trainers in the United States and many [other] countries. ICEA has as a motto: freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care. Our role has been to be an advocate for all expectant parents and maternal/child health professionals, providing unbiased, evidence-based information.

LM: What challenges do you face in your work?

(CL, DT): ICEA supports the educator or doula in their role as an independent professional in private practice, an independent contractor, or a professional employed by a healthcare facility. Each venue that our members practice within brings its own special set of challenges. From marketing the independent educator, to the ability of a facility-based educator to teach evidence-based options, to the refusal of hospital staff to allow doulas to practice, our members face a myriad of challenges. Our Board of Directors, supported by the Advisory Board and the Professional Board, provide counsel to members in the face of these challenges.

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

(CL, DT): Because everything that happens during labor and birth strategically impacts the breastfeeding experience, it is only logical that this partnership [between those supporting birth and birth education and those supporting lactation] exist.

LM: What is your vision for breastfeeding support in the United States and internationally?

(CL, DT): ICEA has, as an organization, fully adopted the WHO Code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and believes that breastmilk is the optimum food source for infants. To this end, we have already created a board position (Director of Lactation), a free set of breastfeeding slides (available to members; includes updated evidence-based information that they can share with clients), and an Early Lactation Care Workshop (to assist those who care for new mothers in the first days of breastfeeding and to increase professional knowledge of best breastfeeding research). Our commitment is clear – increase the rate of breastfeeding across the board through education and advocacy.

ICEA photo ConnieConnie Livingston BS, RN, FACCE, LCCE, ICCE has been a nurse and certified childbirth educator for 35 years. She has worked with expectant families in a variety of settings in many parts of the United States. Having served on the boards of numerous childbirth organizations and creating one of the first 10 hospital-based doula programs in the United States, Connie has received awards from the March of Dimes, the Ohio House of Representatives, and was selected as Purdue University’s first outstanding nursing alumna. She is also the author of four books and numerous articles focusing on childbirth and maternity care. Currently, in addition to serving as the President of ICEA, Connie is president and owner of Perinatal Education Associates, Inc.

Debra Tolson, RN, BSN, ICCE, IBCLC, CPST has been an OB nurse and Childbirth Educator for 32 years, and a Lactation Consultant for 6 years. Her work has primarily been in the hospital setting that includes Houston, Texas, Decatur, Alabama and Fort Morgan, Colorado. She has served on various boards in the past 32 years and currently holds certifications as a NRP and AWHONN Fetal Monitoring Instructor. In 2011, Debra had the unique privilege of being a recipient of the Colorado Nightingale Award in the area of Advocacy. She is currently serving as president-elect on the ICEA board. 


Honoring Black Breastfeeding Week

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25 – 31 August marks the 4th annual Black Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme is “Lift Every Baby . . . Oh What A Joy.”

Black Breastfeeding Week was launched by Kimberly Seals Allers, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka to spotlight “the sweet joy of family bonds and perseverance” for black breastfeeding families.

BBW-Logo-AugustDates-AlternativeThis year, Black Breastfeeding Week consists of a series of online and face-to-face activities, including Instagram and Twitter events, webinars, and local events. Check out their social media profiles (including their Facebook page here) for everything from gorgeous #BBW16 themed coloring pages to photos and news coverage of events.

One upcoming webinar includes “Breastfeeding in the Community: Implementation That Works,” highlighting promising peer and professional breastfeeding support projects. This free webinar is sponsored by the National Association of County & City Health Officials. Click here to learn more.

For an up-to-date calendar, please visit the Black Breastfeeding Week website here.

Lactation Matters is honored to highlight Black Breastfeeding Week. We would love to highlight similar efforts around the globe – please share with us your national and regional communications campaigns!



Honoring the Life of Dr. Miriam Labbok

We are heartbroken to share with you that Miriam Labbok, MD, MPH, IBCLC, passed away on 13 August 2016.

Dr. Miriam Labbok

Dr. Miriam Labbok

Miriam was a true leader in our field, making countless contributions to human health through breastfeeding. The University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health has ably documented many of those accomplishments here. Among the many places her professional contributions were celebrated included the recent ILCA conference, where she was conferred the Journal of Human Lactation’s Patricia Martens Award for Excellence in Breastfeeding Research.

Miriam (seated, right) with members of the ILCA and WABA board and staff.

Miriam (seated, right) with members of the ILCA and WABA board and staff.

Harder to capture in a press release or blog post are the many, many lives she touched through her thoughtful mentoring of emerging and seasoned lactation professionals and advocates. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action has established a tribute wall, where some of these stories are captured.

ILCA Executive Director Dick Padlo had the honor of sharing his remembrances of Miriam in the guest book at her funeral. We welcome you to share the impact she had on your life here in the comments. We will share these stories with her family.


Submissions OPEN for Journal of Human Lactation Photo Contest

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Every year, the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) hosts a photo contest for the coveted cover spot on each edition. The JHL is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research, insights in practice and policy, commentaries, and case reports relating to research and practice in human lactation and breastfeeding. The annual photo contest is your opportunity to contribute to the journal and highlight your community. We’ve invited the JHL staff to tell us more about how you can join in the contest.

The four photos on JHL’s cover are changed annually. JHL is your journal, and we want to feature your photos! The four photos portray the broad field of human lactation, including the IBCLC helping new families (in a wide variety of scenarios), breastfeeding in various cultural contexts around the globe, and the science of lactation.


  • Keep the photo simple: Focus on the subject while limiting background items and distractions.
  • High Resolution and Size: Photos must meet the MINIMUM specifications of being a jpeg file, 300DPI; and at least 4″ tall and wide. Please do not send photos of lesser size and resolution. They cannot be used for print publication. Photos which do not meet these specifications can not be considered.
  • Keep Cropping in Mind: For our cover, we must crop images to a square. Please either submit your photos in this manner or be aware of how this cropping could impact your photo. Photos which can not be cropped to a square can not be considered.
  • Photo Consent: If a recognizable person is in the photo (e.g., the face of a mother/baby/clinician etc.), you must include a signed photo consent form with your submission. If your photo is a contender for publication, we will require these subjects to sign a specific consent form, so only send photos if you know you can obtain permission from the subject(s).


  • Deadline – 15 October 2016: NO EXCEPTIONS
  • Email your photos to
  • Include your name, and if you are not the photographer, the name of the photographer, full contact information.
  • You will receive an auto response email to confirm your submission.
  • The photographer you will need to sign a non-exclusive copyright agreement – in other words, allowing JHL to use the photo but not limiting the photographer’s use of the image.


Questions? Email


World Breastfeeding Week: Access FREE Articles from Journal of Human Lactation

World Breastfeeding Week: FREE Articles in the Journal of Human Lactation

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is an annual celebration of the role of breastfeeding in our homes, our communities, and the world.  As a part of our 2016 theme, Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development, we are proud to announce that Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is making available 10 essential articles to everyone – FREE through 1 September 2016.


The Journal of Human Lactation is essential for building our knowledge as IBCLCs. We believe knowledge guides our practice, strengthens our value, and supports our role in transforming world health.


Read the following JHL articles—free through 1 September 2016!*

  1. Suck-Swallow-Breathe Dynamics in Breastfed Infants
  2. Weighing the Facts: A Systematic Review of Expected Patterns of Weight Loss in Full-Term, Breastfed Infants
  3. Therapeutic Breast Massage in Lactation for the Management of Engorgement, Plugged Ducts, and Mastitis
  4. Behavior of the Newborn during Skin-to-Skin
  5. Breastfeeding Duration and Primary Reasons for Breastfeeding Cessation among Women with Postpartum Depressive Symptoms
  6. Breastfeeding Self-efficacy: A Critical Review of Available Instruments
  7. Transfer of Methamphetamine (MA) into Breast Milk and Urine of Postpartum Women who Smoked MA Tablets during Pregnancy: Implications for Initiation of Breastfeeding
  8. Cultural Determinants of Optimal Breastfeeding Practices among Indigenous Mam-Mayan Women in the Western Highlands of Guatemala
  9. Effect of Cup Feeding and Bottle Feeding on Breastfeeding in Late Preterm Infants: A Randomized Controlled Study
  10. Self-Reported Reasons for Breastfeeding Cessation among Low-Income Women Enrolled in a Peer Counseling Breastfeeding Support Program


Journal of Human Lactation is the official journal of ILCA. It is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research, insights in practice and policy, commentaries, and case reports relating to research and practice in human lactation and breastfeeding. JHL is relevant to lactation professionals in clinical practice, public health, research, and a broad range of fields related to the trans-disciplinary field of human lactation.

*You may already have access to these articles through a library or other subscription.


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