Honor IBCLCs Locally and Globally with the IBCLC Care Award


As the international professional organization for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®), we know that those who have achieved this credential provide valuable expertise in the field of lactation care.

IBCLCs globally provide skilled support to individual caregivers in their efforts to breast/chestfeed. Because of the nature of this work, it is most effectively conducted on a local or regional level. We believe that IBCLCs deserve international acclaim for the differences that they are making in the lives of caregivers and their children, which is one of the reasons we host the IBCLC Care Award in conjunction with the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®).

This award honors Hospital-Based Facilities and Community-Based Agencies around the world that hire IBCLCs, have dedicated lactation programs and show evidence of lactation projects that promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

In order to be awarded the IBCLC Care Award, Hospital-Based Facilities and Community-Based Agencies must provide the name of the IBCLC(s) on staff and a detailed program description, including goals, outcomes, and evidence. Hospital and Community Agency awardees are provided with a press release describing the IBCLC Care Award for distribution to their local media outlets. In addition, they are listed for two years in the IBCLC Care Directory, which is accessed by parents looking for quality lactation support services. When two years have passed, these groups are encouraged to re-apply with a new lactation project to continue being listed in the directory. Because the directory lists programs supporting IBCLCs from all over the world, it gives local programs credibility in their communities and internationally.

IBCLCs work in their communities to encourage the fundamental, incredible connection between a parent and his/her child. The IBCLC Care Award is one way to honor the work of IBCLCs, recognize the facilities and agencies that hire them, encourage others to benefit from their services and inspire a new generation of lactation professionals.

If you are interested in recognizing the work of IBCLCs on your staff in your hospital or community on a global scale, you can click here to learn more about the qualifications and complete the online application

Apply now! Applications will be accepted online from 15 January 2018 through 16 February 2018.

The award was created by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®). Learn more and apply here.


2018 IBCLC Care Awards Now Open

Lactation Matters Post Titles

Let potential clients know that your Hospital-Based Facility or Community-Based Agency recognizes the role of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) in protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding by applying for the IBCLC Care Award.

The IBCLC Care Awards are promoted to new families and the general public which means your facility can enjoy the benefits of positive public relations in your community, including:

  • Enhanced attractiveness to potential patients
  • Competitive edge in recruiting lactation consultants, nurses, midwives, mother support counselors and other medical staff
  • General good will in the community by providing excellent care in helping new families reach their breastfeeding goals

Visit the IBCLC Care Directory to see which Hospital-Based Facilities are already benefiting from the IBCLC Care Award program!

Hospital-Based Facilities and Community-Based Health Agencies that staff currently certified IBCLCs can apply online to become a recognized IBCLC Care Award facility. Learn more about the qualifications and complete the online application here.

Apply now! Applications will be accepted online starting 15 January 2018 through 16 February 2018.

The award was created by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®). Learn more and apply here.


Top 10 JHL Posts of 2017

On topics ranging from the impact of breastfeeding on breast cancer to co-sleeping to human milk donation, our community tapped into the top-accessed resources of Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) more than 22,000 times last year.

As we wrap up 2017, we compiled this list of the year’s top ten most accessed JHL content. Planning on using research to guide your practice next year? Now is the time to join or renew your membership to ensure a full year’s access to next year’s new content. Once you join or renew, you will also have online, on-demand searchable access to the full database of JHL research to find the evidence you need.

#10 Factors Distinguishing Positive Deviance Among Low-Income African American Women: A Qualitative Study on Infant Feeding

Cecilia E. Barbosa, Saba W. Masho, Kellie E. Carlyle, Maghboeba Mosavel

#9 Interventions to Improve Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy and Resultant Breastfeeding Rates: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Meredith Brockway, Karen Benzies, K. Alix Hayden

#8 Factors Influencing the Breastfeeding Practices of Young Mothers Living in a Maternity Shelter: A Qualitative Study

Rosann Edwards, Wendy E. Peterson, Joy Noel-Weiss, Cathryn Shearer Fortier

#7 Efficacy of an Osteopathic Treatment Coupled With Lactation Consultations for Infants’ Biomechanical Sucking Difficulties: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Juliette Herzhaft-Le Roy, Marianne Xhignesse, Isabelle Gaboury

#6 Breastfeeding Mode and Risk of Breast Cancer: A Dose–Response Meta-Analysis

Mishel Unar-Munguía, Gabriela Torres-Mejía, M. Arantxa Colchero, Teresita González de Cosío

#5 About Research: Qualitative Methodologies

Joan E. Dodgson

#4 Breastfeeding in Women Having Experienced Childhood Sexual Abuse

Constanze Elfgen, Niels Hagenbuch, Gisela Görres, Emina Block, Brigitte Leeners

#3 The Atlantic Divide: Contrasting U.K. and U.S. Recommendations on Cosleeping and Bed-Sharing

Helen L. Ball

#2 An Adoptive Mother Who Became a Human Milk Donor

Beatriz Flores-Antón, Nadia Raquel García-Lara, Carmen Rosa Pallás-Alonso

#1 Systematic Review of Evidence for Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Step 3 Prenatal Breastfeeding Education

Kathryn Wouk, Kristin P. Tully, Miriam H. Labbok


Thank You: A Message of Gratitude from our ILCA President

Dear ILCA Community:

As we approach the end of 2017, on behalf of the ILCA Board of Directors, I would like to extend to you our heartfelt gratitude for being a part of the ILCA community.

To our members, thank you.

Your support makes it possible for us to work tirelessly towards our mission: To advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. We are honored to serve you and the profession.

To our volunteers thank you.

Your time, expertise, and talents make it possible for ILCA to achieve the goals of our strategic map. Together, we can provide lactation professionals with the network and resources necessary to best guide practice, advance the IBCLC profession globally, and respond and adapt to local and global lactation community priorities.

May the year ahead bring you joy and hope as you work with families in your community and work with us around the world, transforming world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.







Michele K. Griswold, PhD, MPH, RN, IBCLC
President, International Lactation Consultant Association


Introducing New Members of the ILCA Board of Directors: An Interview with Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi

International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) would like to introduce the newest members of the ILCA Board of Directors, Sabeen Adil, Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi, and Iona Macnab, whose terms began in July 2017. The following interview with Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi is the second in a series of interviews with each of our new Board members.

Lactation Matters (LM): Tell us about what professional role you play in the lactation community.

Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi (NK):

I have been practicing as a lactation consultant in a private set up since 2008. Since then, I have been conducting breastfeeding classes, one-to-one consultations, and engaging with local and global breastfeeding communities.

In 2010, I was given the opportunity to lead the establishment of a nationwide peer counselor program in Malaysia, funded by UNICEF.

In 2015 and 2016, I participated in the production and translation of breastfeeding videos by the Global Health Media Project.

LM: What brought you to the lactation field?

NK: Like many other lactivists, I was first introduced to the world of lactation when I delivered my first daughter. While going through that amazing experience, I wondered how other mothers went through their own different experiences. My background in Information Technology led me to set up my own online web-based support group forums, called SusuIbu.com (“Susu Ibu” is “Mother’s Milk” in Malay). It was first established in 2004.

The online support group forums hosted lively breastfeeding-related discussions, mainly in the local “Bahasa Melayu” (Malay) language, and had served the local online community quite well for a few years, until they gradually moved to Facebook discussions.

Through SusuIbu.com, I learned that breastfeeding is more than just a special moment between a mother and her baby. It also plays a vital role in humankind. Promoting it is not enough: it needs to be supported and protected.

Since then, I never turned back. I pursued studies in this field whenever the opportunity presented itself. I am grateful to the local hospitals at the time, which offered me to join their BFHI courses for their staff. There I learned the basic skills of lactation management. Eventually, I started taking more online courses. Throughout the learning process, I practiced what I had learned while helping moms as peer support. In 2008, I sat for the IBCLC examination and passed. With that certification, I considered myself officially leaving the software engineer profession for good, and became a dedicated lactation consultant through my own private practice (which still carries the name SusuIbu.Com), until today.

LM: What is your role on the ILCA Board of Directors?

NK: Being the first ILCA board member coming from my home country, to be honest, I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. I feel that I have to play an important role in bringing issues or closing the gaps we had in the regions within ILCA outreach. I’m seeing myself like a swimmer, who may know how to swim in my local rivers, but now facing the challenge of swimming the wide open seas. I know for sure that I have to keep on swimming, and along the way I will eventually need to learn more skills in order to overcome the ocean tides and waves.

LM: What are the greatest opportunities you see for the board and the Global Collaboration and Equity Committees?

NK: With the new strategic plan that was initiated earlier, backed by the new members of the board coming from many different parts of the world, I see ILCA’s opportunity to engage with a wider range of lactation consultant communities, thus improving the breastfeeding situations through better collaborations between them.

I hope by being directly involved with ILCA through this opportunity, I will be able to facilitate further in the creation of a global platform for networking and communication throughout the regions.

Being part of a few representatives from the other side of the world, I hope this will bring balance to ILCA as a global organization.

LM: ILCA board members are unpaid volunteers that spend countless hours on all aspects of the organization. What inspires you to make this commitment to your profession?

NK: I’ve been a member of ILCA few years before I became an IBCLC and had benefitted from the association through the journals and conference. I was 2009 ILCA conference scholarship recipient. Back then, I was figuring out on how I could contribute back to ILCA in any way. This has become that opportunity for me.

Being part of an already established organization like ILCA will also mean finding ways to adapt to what has been planned, and finding gaps that can be filled. That is definitely one of the most priceless experiences that one could ever hope to go through.


Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi, BE, MIT, IBCLC; Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi resides in Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia. She created the online breastfeeding support forum susuibu.com in 2004 and is a co-founder and President of Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselors. She is on the Local Governance Task Force Coordinator for World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). Kamariah is working with IBCLCs to establish a Malaysian Lactation Consultant Association. She is currently a private practice lactation consultant. (Read more about Kamariah in her ILCA Board of Directors nominee profile.) 



Thank You, ILCA Volunteers!

At the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), we are deeply appreciative of our volunteers. The countless hours, energy, professional knowledge, and significant passion they offer allows ILCA to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research care. In honor of the United Nations’ International Volunteer Day, we have asked Meredith Parker, ILCA’s Assistant to the Executive Director, to offer up our thanks.

Dear ILCA Volunteers,

I would like to take this opportunity, on International Volunteer Day, to sincerely thank you for the time, effort, and enthusiasm that you have brought to ILCA over the past year.

Volunteers are essential to reaching ILCA’s mission of transforming world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. You can see this clearly in our Strategic Map, which we use to inform every step of our work. Developed by our Board of Directors in 2015, this document identifies foundational elements like our vision, our mission, and our core values along with the themes, goals, and objectives that stem from these. We recognize that these ideas have a gigantic scope, a charge that is too great for any one person or group to complete. It is our volunteers who complete the work to activate our mission in the world. For this, we are incredibly grateful.

For example, our Professional Development Committee Research Team addresses Goal 2 from our strategic map: providing access to and interpretation of lactation research. One way in which they do this is by evaluating the poster and research abstract submissions for our annual conference. They have also been instrumental in compiling bibliographies and other resources for our newly-developed Resource Modules.

Also, our Advocacy Committee addresses Goal 5 from our strategic map: advancing breastfeeding on the global agenda. They regularly attend international meetings to collaborate with global health stakeholders.

This essential work is enriched not only by our volunteers’ professional expertise, but by their incredible diversity. We currently have 86 Committee and Task Force volunteers hailing from 22 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, Spain, Croatia, Ireland, India, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Nigeria, Netherlands, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe. They communicate in 18 languages, including Afrikaans, American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Igbirra, Japanese, Malay, Punjabi, Spanish, Thai, Urdu and Yoruba.

As you might imagine, it is a challenge not only to schedule virtual meetings across the world but also to ensure that everyone’s ideas are communicated. I am touched by the grace displayed by our volunteers when they stop to ask for the input of all committee members before making a decision. I am impressed by their commitment when they are flexible with late night or early morning meeting times, inconveniencing themselves for the sake of their team.

Included below is the name of each current Committee and Task Force member. We would like to sincerely thank them for their work on behalf of ILCA, the IBCLC Credential, and Global Health at large. We could not be more proud of you and look forward to what we are able to accomplish together in 2018.

Meredith Parker
Assistant to the Executive Director


Advocacy Committee

Johanna Bergerman, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Chair
Gihan Fouad Ahmad, Cairo, Egypt
Maryse Arendt, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Amy Kathryn Brandon, Barcelona, Spain
Decalie Brown, Katoomba, NSW, Australia
Geraldine Hirsch Fitzgerald, Bethany Beach, DE, United States
Deborah Lang, Columbia, MD, United States
Lisa Mandell, Havertown, MA, United States
Ghada Sayed, Cairo, Egypt
Angela Smith, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Linda J. Smith, Dayton, OH, United States

Equity Committee

Dana Hardy, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, Chair
Debbie Albert, Sacramento, CA, United States
Srikanthi Bodapati, Mississaugua, ON, Canada
Angie Bond, Chandler, AZ, United States
Liz Brooks, Wyndmoor, PA, United States
Rika Dombrowski, Oregon, WI, United States
Salma Fleewa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Eleanor Johnson, Muncie, IN, United States
Adele McHenry-Koenen, Chardon, OH, United States
Erica Morrell, Burlington, VT, United States
Asibi Onyioza Musa, Maitama, FCT, Nigeria
Mireya Roman, Miami, FL, United States
Ghada Sayed, Cairo, Egypt
Lindiwe Sibeko, Amherst, MA, United States
Jacquana Smith, Morrow, OH, United States
Natalia Villegas, Miami, FL, United States

Global Collaboration Committee

Prashant Gangal, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, Chair
Dexter Chagwena, Harare, Zimbabwe
Amal El Taweel, Giza, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Manisha Gogri, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Mirjam Pot van-de Mey, Oegstgeest, Netherlands
Marion Rice, Portland, OR, United States
Zaharah Sulaiman, Khota Bharu Kelantan, Malaysia

International Code Committee

Linda J. Smith, Dayton, OH, United States, Chair
Ana Novina, Zagreb, Croatia
Ana Parilla-Rodriguez, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Jennifer Peddlesen, Chestermere, AB, Canada
Elisabeth Sterken, London, ON, Canada
Marsha Walker, Weston, MA, United States
Terrie Wefwafwa, Nairobi, Kenya

Professional Development Committee

Azza Ahmed, West Lafayette, IN, United States, Chair
Salma Abdel Magid, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Carmela Baeza, Galpagar, Madrid, Spain
Gini Baker, Sun City West, AZ, United States
Marian Cristina Cornelio Bernardo, Paranque, Metro Manila. Phillippines
Joaana Cole, Mercersburg, PA, United States
Elizabeth Collins, Port Jefferson, NY, United States
Paulina Erices, Littleton, CO, United States
Karen Foard, State College, PA, United States
Tipper Gallagher, Robbinsdale, MN, United States
Dominique Gallo, Roanoke, VA, United States
Jane Grassley, Meridian, ID, United States
Mona Liza Hamlin, Newark, DE, United States
Tar Hilton, Staten Island, NY, United States
Shela Hirani, Karachi, Pakistan
Robin Hollen, Reno, NV, United States
Phyllis Kombol, Kannapolis, NC, United States
Patricia Kostka, Cumberland, RI, United States
Marion Lou Lamb, Palmyra, VA, United States
Annette Leary, Orlando, FL, United States
Meabh-Anne McNamara, Maynooth, Co. Kildaire, Ireland
Jeanette Panchula, Vacaville, CA, United States
Jennifer Peddlesen, Chestermere, AB, Canada
Mirjam Pot-van de Mey, Oegstgeest, Netherlands
Merrie Rheingans, Mesa, AZ, United States
Wilaiporn Rojjansasrirat, Olathe, KS, United States
Libby Rosen, Topeka, KS, United States
Doria Thiele, Milwaukie, OR, United States
Benjamas Thussanasupap, Phayathai, Thailand
Amber Valentine, Lexington, KY, United States
Karen Wambach, Riverside, MO, United States
Shu-Fang Wang, Hualien, Hualien County, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Janet Heger Waters, Powder Springs, GA, United States

Resource Development Committee

Kathleen McCue, Alexandria, VA, United States
Angela Love-Zaranka, Harrisonburg, VA, United States

Annual Conference Program Task Force, 2018

Stacy Davis, Detroit, MI, United States, Chair
Jennifer Day, Southfield, MI, United States
Felisha Floyd, Navarre, FL, United States
Stephanie George, Hagersville, ON, Canada
Camie Goldhammer, Seattle, WA, United States
Mona Liza Hamlin, Newark, DE, United States
Elisabeth Neighbors, Johnston, IA, United States
Mirjam Pot-van de Mey, Oegstgeest, Netherlands
Lourdes Santaballa, Dorado, Puerto Rico
Ghada Sayed, Cairo, Egypt
Jada Wright Nichols, Cordova, TN, United States

WABA-ILCA Fellowship Review Task Force

Asha Benakappa, Bangalore, India
Johanna Bergerman, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Pei Ching Chuah, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Rukhsana Haider, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Pushpa Valli Panadam, Paraguay
Sue Saunders, Alfred Cove, WA, Australia
Angela Smith, Collaroy Plateau, NSW, Australia
Zaharah Sulaiman, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia

Nominations Task Force

Decalie Brown, Katoomba, NSW, Australia, Chair
Gini Baker, Sun City West, AZ, United States
Cathy Carothers, Terry, MS, United States
Sue Jameson, Dublin, Ireland
Lisa Mandell, Havertown, PA, United States
Paula Oliveria, Salisbury, MA, United States


ILCA Membership Impacts Your Practice: Join or Renew TODAY!


We believe that membership in the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) gives you the tools and community you need to support lactating families. But don’t take it from us – listen to your fellow members! We reached out to members from all over the world and asked them: How does ILCA membership impact your practice?

ILCA membership gives me a sense of belonging. It is great to know that, in my endeavor to create practice change and support families as they encounter myths and confusing advice about breastfeeding, I have amazing IBCLCs supporting me.

~Regina Amos, Australia

The subscription to the Journal of Human Lactation helps me stay on top of the most current evidence based practice in our field. Additionally, ILCA is important to me in its global networking potential.

~Ilana Chertok, USA

I was impressed with my ILCA membership. It is my main source of updated research via the Journal of Human Lactation. I’m connected with a huge number of experts to support each other. I loved being updated with the latest news of lactation events and conferences. The free continuing education is great and adds a lot for me.

~Fatin Tamim, Jordan

I would say the Find a Lactation Consultant Directory has been most helpful in directing potential clients to me and the free continuing education has helped me stay current.

~Maire MacLean, USA

ILCA membership has made me a better clinician, offered incomparable conference learning opportunities, and has been a springboard for considerable personal professional development. ~Liz Brooks, USA

ILCA membership allows me to join together as a network of IBCLCs with a large data base of resources. And the Inside Track handouts are so valuable for mothers to refer to. The Equity-based pricing for membership also reflects their core value of Knowledge, Diversity and Equity. I like ILCA so much.

~Clare Li, Hong Kong

What I really value about my ILCA membership is access to the resources like Inside Track handouts and the JHL, but also the free continuing education. And when I requested help or information, ILCA have always been quick to respond. Thank you!

~Dorle Verrinder, Namibia

Appartenere ad ILCA è un valore aggiunto per la mia pratica clinica, un modo per accedere, sia attraverso il Journal of Human Lactation, sia attraverso le conferenze on line, ad una formazione continua utilissima per il mio lavoro. {Being a member of ILCA is an added value for my clinical practice. It allows me to access both the Journal of Human Lactation and online conferences which give me ongoing training that is useful to my work.}

~Laura Dell’Edera, Italy

ILCA Membership Connects You with the Tools and Community You Need to Support Families!

Our 2018 Membership package includes:

  • NEW in 2018! MEMBERS-ONLY RESOURCE MODULES CONNECT YOU TO KNOWLEDGE AND COMMUNITY. Join our secure, exclusive communities and get tools (like the latest research), support (including virtual chats with experts in the field and case reviews), and resources (like webinars, handouts, and more). Ten times each year, you will have access to Resource Modules on the topics that most impact your practice, like low milk supply, babies with special challenges, and perinatal mood disorders. Learn more HERE.
  • THE CONTINUING EDUCATION YOU NEED. You will still receive the opportunity to earn ten free continuing education credits each year. New in 2018, each webinar will be up-to-the-minute, released as a part of every Resource Module. You will have a full three months to complete each webinar.
  • EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR WORK. You have told us the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is your TOP member benefit. In 2018, all members can “Go Green” by receiving the online edition only!
  • HELP FAMILIES FIND YOU. In 2017, we made the Find a Lactation Consultant Directory easier for families to USE, all based on your feedback. In 2018, watch for it to be easier for families to FIND you, thanks to our new search engine and social media strategies.
  • 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 families.
  • SAVINGS. Discounts on additional educational opportunities including as live and recorded webinars and our annual conference.
  • STAY CONNECTED. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and the ILCAlert, our weekly newsletter!


Questions? We are here to help! Contact us at info@ilca.org.


Submit Your Case Report to Journal of Human Lactation: New Guidelines

International Lactation Consultants Association® (ILCA®) and Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) recognize the importance of publishing case reports in the lactation field. A case report (or case study) is a detailed description and analysis of an interesting or unusual patient or series of patients, including their signs, symptoms, history, presentation, work-up, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. It is often a way to begin to discuss in the literature a new phenomena, and—although considered the lowest level of evidence—it is an extremely important way in which we become aware and start to document new clinical observations.

To encourage submissions of more well-crafted, academic case reports, JHL has rewritten its author guidelines. (Find the entire Manuscript Submission Directions HERE.)

Case Reports

The manuscript has a word limit of 1500 words, excluding tables, figures, and references. Include headers and content for just the following sections:

  • Background: A brief introduction, including a review of the literature relating to the problem.
  • Case: The case presentation, including informed consent, history of the problem, and other pertinent information, clinical approach, and outcome.
  • Discussion: Discussion/recommendations regarding future investigations and/or assistance of future clients.
  • Conclusion: Client confidentiality must be protected in the presentation, and if identifiable photos are used, a statement regarding obtaining written consent must be included. Tables should be kept to a minimum.



Introducing New Members of the ILCA Board of Directors: An Interview with Sabeen Adil

International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) would like to introduce the newest members of the ILCA Board of Directors, Sabeen Adil, Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi, and Iona Macnab, whose terms began in July 2017. The following interview with Sabeen Adil is the first in a series of interviews with each of our new Board members.

Lactation Matters (LM): Tell us about what professional role you play in the lactation community.

Sabeen Adil (SA): I am a physician and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®), and, also, a trailing spouse. We have lived in five different countries in the last ten years, so the whole world is my community. As one of the first IBCLCs hailing from Pakistan, I was able to establish a private lactation practice in Karachi, which is one of the most populous cities of the world. I have moved out since, but continue to help mothers and families in my country through social media and other online platforms. Now, being based in Lagos, Nigeria, I again explore the options of working as the only lactation consultant in a developing mega-city. At the same time, I feel it is my work as a board member with ILCA that forms the base of my professional role in the lactation community.

LM: What brought you to the lactation field?

SA: I will have to give the cliched answer that most of us in our field do—my own experience with my babies. Being a doctor, I thought I knew everything, until that little bundle was in my arms, and I was left clueless. As a physician who had worked extensively in pediatrics, I was surprised that I knew so little about breastfeeding. I wanted to explore more. I was lucky to find the right guidance and professional support when I was living in Dubai and eventually realized this is my true calling. I feel so grateful to have found both passion and profession in the same field.

LM: What is your role on the ILCA Board of Directors?

SA: I am the newbie. Me, along with two other members, were elected to the board this year. Our tenure with the board started in July, 2017, at the ILCA conference in Toronto. I was, unfortunately, unable to attend that because of visa issues. So, I have been working with my colleagues for about six months now, without having met anyone [in person]. Yet, I feel so connected with them while doing such important tasks for our profession. I am a board liaison for two committees within ILCA: Equity Committee, which is close to my heart, and the Global Collaboration Committee, which is an exciting new mission for all of us.

LM: What are the greatest opportunities you see for the board and the Global Collaboration and Equity Committees?

SA: Oh the places we’ll go!

Development of skilled lactation care is the answer to so many global issues. The Board is committed to working for the promotion of IBCLCs and to transforming world health through breastfeeding.

Global Collaboration Committee is a step in the right direction, to take our association truly global. We all come together from various regions and make sure that underrepresented populations are being catered to. The Global Partners Program is working to help new and emerging lactation organizations in all regions of the world.

Equity is a very broad term, and it is one of our three core values. Our committee is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the association are culturally inclusive. We have to take this work earnestly and seriously in today’s changing world to make sure that all ILCA members feel welcome and encouraged to work for the profession.

LM: ILCA board members are unpaid volunteers that spend countless hours on all aspects of the organization. What inspires you to make this commitment to your profession?

SA: Instead of helping one mother and one child in an hour long consultation, I spend one hour in our board meeting and discuss issues which have such broad results. It is time well spent, I’d say.

I take immense pride in my profession. And I feel a sense of responsibility to do everything I can to promote it. Being a part of ILCA gives me the perfect opportunity to be a part of the big picture and to be able to do something on a global scale, not just in my city, not just in my country, but something whose impact is felt all over the world.


Sabeen Adil, MD, IBCLC
Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria

Sabeen Adil, MD, IBCLC currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria and is originally from Islamabad, Pakistan. She has experience working in lactation, pediatric, and maternity clinics and hospitals in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan, and Nigeria. Sabeen established the first lactation clinic in Pakistan, and worked to achieve recognition of lactation consultants as medical professionals in that country. She is currently a private practice lactation consultant in Nigeria. (Read more about Sabeen in her ILCA Board of Directors nominee profile.)



Focus on Collective Action: The Advocacy Part of ILCA’s Mission


by Michele Griswold, PhD, MPH, RN, IBCLC, ILCA Board President

How does the International Lactation Consultant Association
envision transforming world health through
breastfeeding and skilled lactation care?

Every day, ILCA’s staff, board members, and teams of volunteers focus on objectives that are connected to our mission: “to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.” One way that we are doing this work in the advocacy realm and amplifying the voices of IBCLCs worldwide is with the Global Breastfeeding Collective.

It is reasonable to say that we, as IBCLCs and others who provide skilled care to breastfeeding families, may all consider ourselves breastfeeding advocates. Yet, how does that passion translate to action? The world is a big place and sometimes it is overwhelming to know where to begin. For ILCA, working toward our mission involves the target goals and objectives outlined in our strategic map. With a specific objective that charges us “to engage in partnerships with global health leaders and relevant organizations,” we begin to open the door for breastfeeding families by working with other groups who aim to do the same thing. Together, we can go further than we could ever go alone. Currently, ILCA is engaged with more than 20 global organizations through the WHO/UNICEF Breastfeeding Collective and together, we are opening the door.

The Collective (formerly, the Global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative) was convened in 2014 with an overarching mission “to rally political; legal; financial; and public support, so rates of breastfeeding increase, which will benefit mothers, children, and society.” Ultimately the goal is to reach the 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) global nutrition target that 50% of all infants breastfeed exclusively through 6 months of age.

The underlying message of the Collective is that breastfeeding is not and therefore should not be approached as the sole responsibility of the mother but rather, should be viewed as a collective societal responsibility. Thus, the Collective and its partners aim to galvanize donors and governments to invest in breastfeeding so that all mothers have the technical, financial, emotional and public support they need to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and to continue breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond.

What does investing in breastfeeding mean?

In short, investing in breastfeeding means money. It means advocacy efforts that call for adequate funding that will be directed toward policies and programs that have been shown to improve breastfeeding practices. Globally, even in countries with emerging growth markets, investments for breastfeeding are low. A recent report generated by Collective partner, 1000 Days, cited that donors and governments allocate about $335 million in total to breastfeeding programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). With an additional investment of $5.7 billion over the next 10 years, evidence-based programs could be scaled up to meet the WHA 2025 target. While this might sound like a big number, it amounts to less than $5 for every infant in LMIC. With support for this investment, the reported lives saved is 520,000. Estimates of the economic gains over 10 years are $300 billion, resulting from reduced health care costs and increased productivity.

This strategy recognizes that as important as it is to save lives, it is as important to assure that people have equal opportunities to achieve their full human potential. Breastfeeding is a critical factor in achieving health equity. In turn, health equity supports communities and nations by making them more prosperous economically, by lowering health costs as one example. These messages are compelling to policy makers. They go beyond traditional advocacy messages citing improved health as breastfeeding’s primary “benefit” and appeal to a greater societal good – that breastfeeding should be available to all as a basic human right.

The Collective calls on the decision makers in society – governments, donors and other stakeholders – because they are the people with the power to create conditions that support optimal breastfeeding practices. Asking the decision makers to assume some responsibility in clearing the path for breastfeeding on a global level is a groundbreaking advocacy strategy. In turn, the action items also provide direction and tools that local communities can use to create political will that ultimately improves policies.

The Collective specifically calls on governments to take the following actions:

  1. Increase funding to raise the rate of breastfeeding from birth to 2 years.
  2. Adopt and monitor the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
  3. Enact paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies.
  4. Implement the ‘Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’ in maternity facilities.
  5. Improve access to skilled breastfeeding counseling in health facilities.
  6. Strengthen links between health facilities and communities to support breastfeeding.
  7. Monitor the progress of policies, programs and funding for breastfeeding.

We know that all of these actions are relevant to the work that many of us do clinically to support breastfeeding in our own communities. ILCA knows that these specific policy “asks” support our mission through advocacy for the IBCLC. To address these actions, governments and program planners will need to recognize the value of skilled breastfeeding counseling in maternity facilities, health facilities and in the community.

How can you get involved with the Collective’s work?

The short answer is that you are the experts in your own communities! By connecting with others who are as passionate about these issues as you are, you will strengthen your advocacy position and messages. Most importantly, call on your national and local governments to implement the 7 calls to action. To help you to be informed in your advocacy work, the Collective launched the Global Breastfeeding Scorecard during World Breastfeeding Week 2017. The tool allows you to access country-specific data on indicators and breastfeeding outcomes. Because the scorecard did not identify any countries meeting the minimum indicator standards, there is much work to do.

Get involved with ILCA’s advocacy work.

Consider becoming an ILCA member so that you can connect with clinical lactation professionals worldwide. Clinicians can be powerful voices for advocating for policies that support the actions of the Collective at the local level.

Consider being an ILCA volunteer. Join with us in our mission-based work through volunteering to work with a specific committee, including but not limited to the Advocacy Committee.

Consider becoming an ILCA partner. ILCA’s Global Partner Program aims to bring together organizations who are established and those who are emerging in their communities, as leaders in breastfeeding support. ILCA partners will directly benefit from ILCA’s involvement with the Collective by receiving support and information relevant to issues in your communities.

Together, we can go far.

If you have further questions about the Collective, please email me at michelegriswold@ilca.org.

Michele Griswold, PhD, MPH, RN, IBCLC is the President of ILCA and has years of leadership experience in local, state and global breastfeeding advocacy. Her research interests involve unjust social barriers to breastfeeding, particularly among marginalized women and children. Michele represents ILCA to the WHO/UNICEF Breastfeeding Collective.


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