ILCA Style Guidelines for Written Professional Resources

Screenshot 2015-01-27 08.58.09Do you write about breastfeeding for your professional organization, social media, or blog? The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) has a new resource establishing style guidelines for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs®) and other professional organizations.

This resource was created by ILCA’s Professional Resources Committee to set standards for commonly used terms in our profession.  Although produced to guide the development of ILCA’s professional materials, others in the field of lactation may wish to adopt the Preferred Usage section for their written materials.

Please note that these guidelines include preferred usage of words for publications for health professionals.  Alternate terminology might be more appropriate for lay publications. Find the style guide here.

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#WBW2015: PAID Maternity Leave: A Cornerstone in Supporting Women’s Rights

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In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), Lactation Matters is running a series of posts on this year’s WBW theme, Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work! 

This week’s series addresses the importance of recognizing and supporting all types of workthe fundamental three pillars of maternity protection; shorter term workplace solutions that support working women throughout breastfeeding; and worldwide examples of paid maternity leave in action (this post).

Women need many things to achieve adequate maternity protection in the workplace and enable them to balance the needs of family and work life. (For more on what is needed for family- and breastfeeding-friendly workplaces, see this Lactation Matters post.) Many of these conditions, including the maternity rights of women, are recognized in a series of international conventions, treatises, and declarations. These include:

Nearly all of these documents stress the need for an exclusive and longer-term breastfeeding relationship between mother and child, a relationship more easily initiated and sustained during a period of postnatal leave from employment. For many women, the prospect of leaving the workforce for even a short period of time after the birth of a child seems impossible due to loss of income and, in some cases, the unwillingness of an employer to offer even unpaid leave in a nation without laws mandating it.

It is clear that mothers and babies benefit from maternity leave and that legislating paid maternity leave would make access more readily available to the families that most need it. But it isn’t just mothers that benefit. Everyone benefits from measures protecting maternity at the workplace!

  • Mothers and babies are healthier, happier, more rested, and less stressed, resulting in improved long- and short-term health.
  • The entire family benefits from the protection a woman receives in job security, cash, and medical benefits, and peace of mind to be with her newborn and to recuperate.
  • Fathers and partners benefit from being equal partners in parenting, and sharing parental and paternity leaves.
  • Babies are sick less often, so both families and nations save on healthcare costs, with lower morbidity and mortality rates.
  • Employers benefit from having a more contented and productive workforce due to less employee absenteeism, increased loyalty, and less staff turnover.
  • States become more egalitarian and enhance human resource, wealth, and societal well-being by protecting women workers and facilitating maternity rights!

maternity-leave-mapFew countries globally have six or more months paid maternity leave. In 2008, Brazil extended its maternity leave from 120 days to six months for all public sector employees (except for some municipalities). In November 2014, Myanmar passed legislation for six months maternity leave with pay as did Vietnam and Bangladesh.

In many countries the scope for paid maternity leave is limited to certain groups of women and often excludes those most in need.

Want to take action for World Breastfeeding Week? You can galvanize action to increase the scope of maternity leave and/or advocate for additional forms like parental and paternity leaves.

Some countries, like Sweden, are moving towards parental leave to address gender equality issues and encourage greater balance in sharing parenting time. This move, however, should not shorten breastfeeding or take health protection away from pregnant and breastfeeding women.

In Australia, a national scheme for Paid Parental Leave was introduced in 2011 funded from general taxation and covers the minimum wage for 18 weeks. Unlike earlier, when 12 months leave was unpaid and only 12 weeks was paid by the employer to public service or professional women, the new scheme has wide eligibility and includes the self-employed, casual workers, etc. and all mothers employed for more than a week in the year before birth. Paid paternity leave of one week is also provided. The scheme has been successful in increasing breastfeeding duration at 12 months, benefited employers as women returned to work earlier than otherwise, and benefited mothers’ mental health by longer leave.

In Venezuela in 2012, the new Labor Law for Workers established postnatal leave of 20 weeks, adding six weeks prenatal leave, equivalent to six and a half months of prenatal and postnatal paid leave. In addition, the father receives 14 days postnatal leave and 21 days for multiple births in order to support the mother. The Law also requires every employer to have a center for early childhood education and a nursery room, and provides for two 30-minute breastfeeding breaks, if there is a lactation room in the worksite, one and a half hours, twice a day, if there is none!

The Philippines passed a law in 2009 titled Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act, co-authored by a breastfeeding mother. It advocates for 45 minutes paid breastfeeding breaks for working women at the workplace and the establishment of breastfeeding stations. Companies observing the law are privileged through tax deductions.

While paid maternity leave is a NECESSARY condition for women to breastfeed optimally, it is not a sufficient condition. Research found that in addition to the provision of paid maternity leave, women need information and support during antenatal and postnatal period to address factors at individual, family and workplace levels. But guaranteeing all women elongated, paid maternity leave may be the single biggest step toward securing the rights of women in the workplace.

Want to learn more? These posts excerpt information found in the World Breastfeeding Week 2015 Action Folder, which is available for download here.

Photo credit: WABA, Vanessa A. Simmons
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#WBW2015: Workplace Solutions To Support Women In Combining Breastfeeding and Paid Employment

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In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), Lactation Matters is running a series of posts on this year’s WBW theme, Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work! 

This week’s series addresses the importance of recognizing and supporting all types of workthe fundamental three pillars of maternity protection; short-term workplace solutions that support working women throughout breastfeeding (this post); and, upcoming, worldwide examples of paid maternity leave in action.

Breastfeeding- and family-friendly workplace legislative changes take time, so shorter-term solutions for supporting working women to breastfeed and care for children should also be pursued. These include strategies to make the workplace a family- or breastfeeding-friendly environment.

Over the past two decades, since the 1990 Innocenti Declaration, many advances in workplace policy and practices are visible around the world. Here are some global successes that should be celebrated!

In Australia, the implementation of the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Accreditation (BFWA) by the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) has made great strides with over 150 organizations accredited since the program began. The parliamentary committee, in 2007, recommended that the Australian government provide funding to expand this initiative. One outstanding example is the Royal Australian Air Force, which led the way in 2014 by becoming the first military organization in the world to achieve accreditation as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace.

In El Salvador, CALMA-IBFAN, working in concert with national authorities, developed the Women- and Child-Friendly Working Centers in 2010, which include breastfeeding rooms; training for workers in companies, industries, and commercial settlements in both public and private sectors; and surveillance of the implementation of maternity protection laws. Two hundred inspectors have been trained. The program now has 532 breastfeeding rooms for approximately 15,823 women.

In Peru, Supreme Decree No. 29896 established the implementation of breastfeeding and breastmilk rooms in the public and private sectors to promote and support breastfeeding. They are obligatory for all public or private establishments with 20 or more workers.

In Switzerland, the Swiss Foundation for the Promotion of Breastfeeding provides ample resources on their website for working women, employees, and employers in a number of languages. Numerous other examples of breastfeeding information resources exist, showing a real growth in public information and workplace support via breastfeeding-friendly programs (e.g., USA, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and others).

In Brazil, the breastfeeding support rooms (SALM) are spaces within the workplace for employees to express and store their milk to be transported to homes at the end of the day. These rooms have been growing in number all over the country since their launch in 2010 by the Ministry of Health. A few SALM exist in non-hospital health units open to informal workers of the community as well.

In New Zealand, the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces Program has been set up as a national service to provide information and support to women, employees and employers encouraging the latter to be accredited as Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces, similar to the Australian program. The intention is to better serve “industrial and service workers, in particular women in sales, restaurant, hotel, factory, or service occupations [who] have the greatest difficulty in managing breastfeeding and, thus, require greater support from their employers to balance their work and family responsibilities.

In Colombia, a law by the Council of Bogotá requires family- and children-friendly rooms to be established in communities and enterprises, regardless of the number of women workers.

Feeling inspired by these tales of pro-women practices? Want to help this list of successes grow in your community and in the world? Here are some things YOU can do to help make breastfeeding-friendly changes in your workplace.

As an employee:

  • Advocate for a breastfeeding-friendly program within your own workplace. Assume collective responsibility for sustaining it with a supportive work environment.
  • Offer breastfeeding support and practical information on managing work and breastfeeding for pregnant women and women going back to work.
  • Learn about other family-/breastfeeding-friendly employers and the shared benefits for employer and employees when women are supported to combine paid work with motherhood.
  • Campaign for safe and breastfeeding-friendly childcare services that are Code compliant in or near your workplace or home.

As an employer:

  • Check out inspiring examples of breastfeeding-friendly workplaces, accreditation processes, and other resources. See the links at the end of this post for a place to start.
  • Support part time work arrangements for your breastfeeding staff as breastfeeding could take up to half the work time of a woman.
  • Encourage staff to speak with health professionals about strategies on combining work and breastfeeding.
1. The business case for Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Accreditation—New Zealand
2. The Business Case for Breastfeeding: Steps for Creating a Breastfeeding-Friendly Worksite, Employers’ Guide to Working and Breastfeeding
3. General Breastfeeding Support for Employers

Want to learn more? These posts excerpt information found in the World Breastfeeding Week 2015 Action Folder, which is available for download here.

Photo credit: WABA, Jaime Enrique Rodriquez Navarrete
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#WBW2015: Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week With FREE JHL Access on Breastfeeding and Work

Free JHL Header

This year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work!” calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal, or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed.

As a part of the celebration, the Journal of Human Lactation is making available 10 articles on balancing breastfeeding in the workplace — free through September 1, 2015!

Facilitating Working Mothers’ Ability to Breastfeed
Global Trends in Guaranteeing Breastfeeding Breaks at Work, 1995-2014

Policies Aren’t Enough: The Importance of Interpersonal Communication about Workplace Breastfeeding Support

“Frustrated,” “Depressed,” and “Devastated” Pediatric Trainees: US Academic Medical Centers Fail to Provide Adequate Workplace Breastfeeding Support

Overcoming Workplace Barriers: A Focus Group Study Exploring African American Mothers’ Needs for Workplace Breastfeeding Support

Workplace Lactation Support by New Jersey Employers following US Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law

Using a Wellness Program to Promote a Culture of Breastfeeding in the Workplace
Oregon Health & Science University’s Experience

Working Mothers of the World Health Organization Western Pacific Offices: Lessons and Experiences to Protect, Promote, and Support Breastfeeding

In the United States, a Mother’s Plans for Infant Feeding Are Associated with Her Plans for Employment

The Impact of Prenatal Employment on Breastfeeding Intentions and Breastfeeding Status at 1 Week Postpartum

How US Mothers Store and Handle Their Expressed Breast Milk

Journal of Human Lactation (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. 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.

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#WBW2015: What Women Need for Maternity Protection

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In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), Lactation Matters is running a series of posts on this year’s WBW theme, Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work! 

This week’s series addresses the importance of recognizing and supporting all types of work; the fundamental three pillars of maternity protection (this post); upcoming, shorter term workplace solutions that support working women throughout breastfeeding; and worldwide examples of paid maternity leave in action.

Women’s work spaces are diverse—formal and informal locations; full-time, half-time, and temporary; and office work to service jobs to manual and agricultural labor. With so much diversity in the daily work lives of women, how can employers and communities provide an effective framework for Family-/Breastfeeding-Friendly workplaces?

World Breastfeeding Week encourages embracing the needs of working women by highlighting three key pillars of maternity protection: time, space, and support.

Time

  • Six months paid maternity leave postnatally to support exclusive breastfeeding, and adequate paid leave prenatally. Where leave is shorter, women need means to extend their leave period so that they can be with their babies, combining fully paid, unpaid, or some other form of leave.
  • Additional paid leave for mothers of preterm or other vulnerable infants who may need extra time for special care and to express and provide life-saving human milk for their babies.
  • One or more paid breastfeeding breaks or a daily reduction of hours of work to breastfeed her child.
  • Flexible work hours to breastfeed or to express breastmilk, such as part-time work schedules, longer lunch and other breaks, job sharing, or any such alternatives.

Space

  • Infant and child-care at or near the workplace and transportation for mothers to be with their babies. For rural work sites and seasonal work, women could use mobile childcare units or shared childcare and wet-nursing arrangements, according to accepted cultural practices.
  • Private facilities for expressing and storing milk. It can be a breastfeeding room or any safe space at or near the work site.
  • A clean work environment, safe from hazardous waste and chemicals.

Support

  • Information about national maternity laws and benefits, as well as maternity provisions provided at their workplace or sector-wide, which may be better than national laws and practices.
  • Support from employers, management, superiors and coworkers in terms of positive attitudes towards pregnancy, motherhood, and breastfeeding in public.
  • Information about women’s health during pregnancy and lactation in order to be better able to combine employment with breastfeeding and childcare needs.
  • Support from worker’s or trade unions, either from their own work sector or the larger national unions.
  • Job security and non-discrimination on the grounds of maternity and breastfeeding.

Differences in the work and workplaces of women need not stymie efforts to promote breastfeeding-friendly practices in places of employment. Finding ways to address these primary themes in any work environment serves to greatly advance the experiences of women performing productive and reproductive work and encourage full and healthy family lives.

Want to learn more? These posts excerpt information found in the World Breastfeeding Week 2015 Action Folder, which is available for download here.

Photo credit: WABA, Monaliza Oliveira da Palma
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#WBW2015: Protecting ALL Women in ALL Types of Work

6In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), Lactation Matters is running a series of posts on this year’s WBW theme, Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work! 

This week’s series addresses the importance of recognizing and supporting all types of work (this post), the fundamental three pillars of maternity protection, shorter term workplace solutions that support working women throughout breastfeeding, and worldwide examples of paid maternity leave in action.

Women’s work and women’s workplaces can vary immensely. Broadly defined, the work of women can take the form of paid employment, self-employment, and seasonal and contract work, as well as unpaid home and care work. The sheer diversity of women’s occupations make the task of indicating needed maternity protections daunting, but labor can be seen as being part of one of two main types: the formal/organized sector or the informal/unorganized sector.

The Formal/Organized Sector
The formal sector encompasses women workers and workplaces commonly thought of in regard to employment. This work is generally paid, full- or part-time, and likely involves a place of employment other than the home. Examples of work that falls within this sector are office or clerical positions, retail, professional healthcare, and public service.

We often think of maternity protections mainly in terms of maternity leave, but it is much more than that. True maternity protection includes seven key areas:

  1. scope
  2. maternity leave
  3. maternity/cash benefits
  4. health protection
  5. job protection and nondiscrimination
  6. breastfeeding breaks
  7. breastfeeding facilities

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), in 2012, less than one-third of countries’ national legislation satisfies even two of the seven provisions of ILO Convention No.183. These include the length of maternity leave, paid benefits, and payment schemes. Regarding length of leave, the majority of countries (85%) provide 12 weeks or more, in line with ILO Conventions No.3 and No.103, but only 53% of these countries provide more than 14 weeks, as stipulated in ILO Convention No. 183. Less than 20 countries provide 6 months or more postnatally (immediately after birth), which is important for exclusive breastfeeding. (For more on maternity leave, see this Lactation Matters post.)

Legalized breastfeeding breaks fare better, with 122 out of 182 countries having such a provision, but fewer countries have paid breaks (114 out of 182). Even taking legal breaks is a challenge and depends on effective enforcement, the working environment, and staff attitudes. Globally, this provision has progressed modestly since 1995, with only 15 more countries providing guaranteed breaks by 2015 .

The Informal/Unorganized Sector
Most global and national responses to maternity protection are policy based through maternity protection laws and practices. However, the majority of women needing such support work outside the formal work environment where such policies do not cover them. The home front is an especially challenging domain. Women do huge amounts of work but often face gender discrimination, violence, and/or abuse. This makes it doubly difficult for women to successfully integrate productive and reproductive work without cost to their own health and well-being.

The range of women working in vulnerable situations includes domestic workers, migrant workers (who also suffer from human trafficking), women in agriculture, and displaced people in conflict situations. In the world’s poorest regions, over 50% of the women work in vulnerable employment, characterized by low pay, long hours of work, and informal working arrangements.

Interestingly, there have always been women and communities that have found resourceful ways to support women who work and breastfeed in these informal settings. For example, women in many markets in Latin America and the Caribbean have created support networks to look after their children through informal care systems. Women in migrant and non-legal situations support each other to care for children left in their home country, and to ensure communication and solidarity mechanisms.

In the Philippines, the Alliance of Leaders of Workers in the Informal Economy/Sector (ALLWIES), representing about 700,000 vendors, sellers, transport drivers, waste pickers, etc. have organized lactation stations at their work sites following Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Training in 2014, using ARUGAAN’s Peer Counseling manual.
The group, PARE, who are garbage scavengers, was set up in Quezon City with the collaboration of UNICEF, ILO, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the province of Naga City, Camarines Sur, NAMASFED, a federation of vendors and sellers in the public market, set up a lactation room where people can avail themselves of the breastfeeding counseling and facility. It is run by the vendors themselves, who are also now involved in lawmaking to protect breastfeeding rights for workers through local ordinance.

There are also examples where governments have extended maternity protection laws to cover certain vulnerable populations, such as in Costa Rica, where all women, including migrants and those working in the informal sector, have access to health services.

With the increasing feminization of labor, countries need to strengthen maternity protection, especially for women working in the informal sector, and provide support services if rates of optimal infant and young child feeding are to increase. It is therefore urgent that breastfeeding advocates, together with women’s health, gender and rights advocates, trade unionists, and others seek collaborative ways to respond. Working with men, youth, and men’s groups is also important in order to sensitize men so as to increase their awareness and active involvement in supporting women, in fathering, and fatherhood. This will also help to build greater gender equality at the home, in the workplace, and in public spaces.

Whether a woman is working in the formal, informal, or home setting, it is necessary that she be empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed. It may be easier for women to claim their maternity entitlements in more formal work settings. However, in less formal work and home settings, women need to know about their rights to reproductive health, food, and safety. Any approach that supports women to combine employment and unpaid work with reproductive work must do so from an empowerment approach, so that women do not feel they are the recipients of charity. Maternity rights are the rights of all women and need to be supported, facilitated, and upheld as such.

What can you do to support women and families in both sectors gain the maternity protections they need?

  • Share your experiences as inspiration for other women.
  • Find out about your maternity entitlements and general rights to health, safety, work, and livelihood.
  • Join a support group that offers help with motherhood, childcare, and breastfeeding.
  • Forge partnerships with young people and youth groups to support young mothers to breastfeed and care for their children.
  • As fathers or partners, get information on breastfeeding prenatally, and find out how you can better support your wife/partner in breastfeeding.
  • Look for gender inequalities at home and give proactive support, like helping with household chores.
  • Introduce decent work and childcare policies and practices that address marginalized women and those displaced by wars, poverty, and environmental degradation.
  • Restore and/or build breastfeeding support measures for migrant and refugee women, where family or communal support systems are broken.
  • Partner with the International Labor Organization (ILO) on their maternity protection campaign.

Want to learn more? These posts excerpt information found in the World Breastfeeding Week 2015 Action Folder, which is available for download here.

Photo credit: WABA, Arati Banset
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#ILCA15 Conference Wrap-Up!

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More than 1,000 members of our community came together at #ILCA15 for four days of learning the latest concepts in lactation, connecting with leaders and changemakers, and bringing our voices together to transform world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care!

We hope that you had as much fun as we did.

If you were not able to join us, it’s not too late to catch the highlights! You can still search the hashtag #ILCA15 on all of our social media platforms and join the conversation. In addition, you can follow the twitter conversation streams from our plenary sessions by clicking on the following Storify links:

Dr. Gail Christopher

Dr. Howard Chilton

Dr. Jane Morton

Dr. Daniel Sellen

Dr. Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg

Dr. Chessa Lutter

Dr. Donna Geddes

Dr. Katherine Dettwyler

Thirty Years of Lactation Research Informing Practice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeveral of ILCA’s Past Presidents gathered to be honored at our Opening Ceremony.

We heard from dynamic speakers from all over the world who pointed us towards new research and new ways of thinking.We heard from dynamic speakers from all over the world who pointed us towards new research and new ways of thinking.

Our Founders were our guests at a reception thrown in their honor.Our Founders were our guests at a reception thrown in their honor.

We had the opportunity to host the first US screening of the stunning film, MILK.We had the opportunity to host the first US screening of the stunning film, MILK.

Our first ever Global Partners Meeting gave us the opportunity to hear from emerging organizations supporting breastfeeding all over the world.Our first ever Global Partners Meeting gave us the opportunity to hear from emerging organizations supporting breastfeeding all over the world.

We had the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research all throughout the conference.We were able to engage with cutting-edge research all throughout the conference.

And our President, Decalie Brown, made sure we got a "selfie" of the whole crowd during her President's Address.And our President, Decalie Brown, made sure we got a “selfie” with the whole crowd during her President’s Address.

What was your favorite moment? The most impactful moment? The new idea you’ll take to your practice?

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#ILCA15: Update from the President’s Address

Lactation Matters-the official blog of (8)

During yesterday’s President’s Address at the 30th Annual ILCA Conference, Board President Decalie Brown unveiled a major strategic shift that will drive ILCA’s future. We wanted to share with you, here on Lactation Matters, these highlights of the new strategy guiding our profession.

Thirty years ago, our founders laid the foundations for the profession that we enjoy today. Since then, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® has certified over 27,450 IBCLCs in over 101 countries. IBCLCs all over the world have supported and provided guidance to breastfeeding families. We know that breastfeeding saves lives and, thanks to our founders, countless lives have been changed.

As our profession was birthed, so was ILCA. We’ve used the past 30 years to advance the IBCLC profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

One year ago, ILCA announced its new vision: World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. This vision speaks to the powerful IMPACT of the IBCLCs working daily around the globe. Embracing the IMPACT of our work has also enabled us to better align with many global organizations who share this common vision.

Adopting a new vision led to an exciting and important year. We took a hard look at every aspect of ILCA’s work to determine how it  aligned with the vision. We emerged with three Core Values, the driving forces behind why we do what we do:

Knowledge: We believe knowledge guides our practice, strengthens our value, and supports our role in transforming world health.

Diversity: We foster an inclusive environment that supports leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research from varied perspectives.

Equity: We support global access to skilled lactation care and the IBCLC profession.

As we move forward, we will test each idea, decision, program, and initiative against these values and determine how they will impact our three primary areas of impact: our members, the IBCLC profession, and the world.

Our members are the heart of our organization. We will continue to place our highest value on providing you with quality benefits that help you to be better at what you do. As a result, there are a few changes coming soon which will impact the way you interact with ILCA. Be on the lookout for more information about our new website, which will include an updated Find a Lactation Consultant feature and a private social network specifically designed to meet the needs of our members. We’re also overhauling our learning management system where you view webinars and live streaming events and obtain your continuing education units.

We have also asked the critical question:”How do we connect our members to global breastfeeding advocacy?” We need a stronger focus on workforce development, encouraging and empowering new practitioners to join us in this important work. Did you know that, according to our recent member survey, forty-five percent of members intend to retire in the next 10 years? We need to work NOW to encourage more practitioners to support their communities as IBCLCs. A significant  gap will exist if we don’t start working now to fill it.

We have also challenged ourselves to look critically at how equity – or a lack of it – impacts our profession. Earlier this week, ILCA participated in the Lactation Equity Action Seminar, addressing how we can work together to break down barriers to our profession. As we hold equity as a core value, ILCA is committed to rigorously examining our own systems and structures and taking action to increase equity.

One of the most influential ways we can impact our profession and encourage a great swelling of the impact of IBCLCs worldwide is our BRAND NEW GLOBAL PARTNERS INITIATIVE. Just a few days ago, on 22 July 2015, ILCA hosted the Inaugural ILCA Partners Meeting. ILCA committed to expanding formal partnerships with like-minded membership organizations throughout the global breastfeeding community. These national and regional partner organizations are vital to the work of supporting breastfeeding families. In addition, ILCA recognized an urgent need to facilitate the growth and development of small groups of breastfeeding advocates who were not yet self-sufficient. By partnering with ILCA, these organizations will be able to tap into global strategies already established, engage in expert mentoring, and have better access to resources.

We are also developing partnerships with international, public health organizations to connect them with YOU. What if YOU could combine your talents, your skills, and your expertise to their strategies and resources? ILCA is growing the capacity and capability to provide that much-needed infrastructure to bridge global intentions with local needs. We have 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.

Through the creation of our Global Partners Initiative, ILCA is ready to play a major role in promoting breastfeeding worldwide. We are uniquely placed as a bridge between the IBCLCs who are doing the important work “on the ground” and the global organizations who are directing policy and resources. Currently, our ILCA members are an “untapped resource” for these global changemakers. ILCA membership is vitally important because it puts you at the front line of worldwide, life saving work. You can read more about this initiative in our recent Lactation Matters post.

Our mission remains the same: To advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. Now, we are expanding the means and the network to make sure it happens on a global scale.

As we reflect back over our past 30 years, we’re so grateful for the strong foundations that were laid that allowed relationships to be built, expertise to be established, and compassionate care to be the norm. If it wasn’t for the strong work of ILCA for the past 30 years, we wouldn’t be here to launch this new chapter of our influence. You have to know where you’ve come from TO KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING. We’ve come from a strong, passionate place and we’re headed down a new path towards changing the world.

Be watching over the next several weeks for further communication about specific changes to ILCA and your role in the global breastfeeding community!

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#ILCA15: Excitement is Building!

Lactation Matters-the official blog of (6)

We are counting down the days and before we know it, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Conference and Annual Meeting will be here. Our staff and Board of Directors are already in Washington, DC, USA making the last minute preparations necessary to knock your socks off as we celebrate Leadership in Lactation: 30 Years and Moving Forward!

As you pack your bags and make your way to us, we want to remind you of a few important events that you won’t want to miss:

Opening Ceremony and Parade of Flags: We’ll be kicking things off with an exciting event on Wednesday, 22 July. Join us as we introduce some of our past ILCA presidents, celebrate the global reach of ILCA, hear from the local breastfeeding community in Washington, DC, USA and get a glimpse of what the conference has to offer.

Our FIRST EVER Partners Meeting: Come and be part of the  ILCA’s new Partners Initiative. Welcome ILCA’s 12 new national-regional partners, listen to international leaders speak to the global breastfeeding agenda, hear first hand how members can help grow emerging breastfeeding organizations, and help set the course for future collaborations.

Founders’ Reception: It’s our 30th birthday and we’ll be opening up our Exhibit Hall with a party! You’ll have the opportunity to meet our Founders and find out a bit more about their role in building the IBCLC profession. And don’t forget the birthday cake!

Screening of the film, MILK: We are so excited to be able to offer two different private screenings (intended only for Conference attendees) of the film, MILK, by Noemi Weis. You can read more about the film and view the trailer HERE.

Annual General Meeting: Come and hear about all ILCA has accomplished in the past year and help us to recognize the individuals who have been outstanding in research and advancing the profession. We’ll induct two new Fellows of ILCA and give away a FREE iPad (you must be present to win)!

President’s Address: There are exciting changes on the horizon for ILCA and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. Be the first to know about the new ways we’ll be communicating, the new ways we’ll be learning, and the new ways we’ll be engaging with the breastfeeding community across the globe.

An ILCA First! Live Streaming, from the Conference: While we’re excited to welcome everyone to Washington, DC, USA, we’re also thrilled to join with IBCLCs and ILCA members from around the globe as we host our first live streaming event. Share this event with your friends so they can “virtually” join you on this exciting day! Look HERE for more details.

What are you most looking forward to during #ILCA15? 

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Engage with #ILCA15 – from DC and around the world

World Breastfeeding Week-2What brings you to #ILCA15? Connecting with the leaders in the field? Keeping up to date on the latest research? Building your skills?

Whether you are participating in #ILCA15 face-to-face or live streaming, social media can help you reach your goals without distracting from your conference experience.

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

At The Conference

Before you go:

Note that the main conference space does NOT have wifi. We’re hopeful that there will be sufficient reception in the main room so that you can use your cellular data on your phones and tablets. Now might be a good time to check your data plan, especially if you are travelling internationally.

ILCA Facebook fans:

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 minute schedule changes, events, pictures to share, and more!

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: #ILCA15

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 #ILCA15, and the Lactation Equity Action Seminar at #LactEquity15.

BONUS! Wednesday – Saturday, we’ll pick a tweet of the day at random from the #ILCA15 stream. Each winner will be eligible for a FREE 1-CERP-eligible webinar from the ILCA Knowledge Center, our soon-to-be-released learning management system.

Tools we use:

TweetChat keeps you focused. 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 #ILCA15 room here or Lactation Equity Action Seminar in the #LactEquity15 room here.

Hootsuite for following it all. Ready to multitask? Hootsuite allows you to follow multiple streams (like #ILCA15 and #LactEquity15).

Following From Afar

Every year, the ILCA community around the globe follows along and joins the conversation!

On Facebook: Find others posts about the conference: during the conference, enter #ILCA15 in the Facebook search bar. You’ll find all the conference-specific news! You can do the same for the Lactation Equity Action Seminar at #LactEquity15.

On Twitter: We’ll be live tweeting the plenary talks! Follow along at #ILCA15.

On Pinterest: Check out our #ILCA2015 conference board here, where we’ll share insights and pictures from the conference.

On Instagram: We’ll share conference image highlights at #ILCA15. Tag your images too!

Amber McCann, IBCLC and Jeanette McCulloch, IBCLC, are the #socmed junkies on the ILCA marketing team. You’ll find one of us at the roving #ILCA15 sign in the Marriott Ballroom, where the plenary sessions are held.

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

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