A Recap of the 2023 Lancet Series

by Lisa Mandell, ILCA Global Advocacy Advisor and Zoe Faulkner, ILCA Board of Directors

The Lancet published a powerful 2023 Series on Breastfeeding during an in-person event held 8 February 2023 in London, United Kingdom.

International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board Member Zoe Faulkner, who is also Chair of Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, attended the in-person launch and shared, “It was a real privilege to be in person at an event that was being live-streamed internationally. There was an incredible atmosphere in the room, with a sense of hope and excitement that these papers may play a part in enabling positive change.”

During the Series’ Q&A portion, she asked if now was the time to also focus attention on the workforce that is so vital to counseling and supporting breastfeeding families.

“It appears that the lack of understanding of the importance of breastfeeding for public health is also reflected in a lack of understanding of the infant feeding workforce, inclusive of the knowledge, skills, and the range of roles that provide the support services that mothers and lactating individuals need. This workforce is inclusive of peer supporters, breastfeeding counselors, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, midwives, and health visitors such as community public health nurses – all of whom collectively play a role in providing vital support.”

The 2023 Lancet Series on Breastfeeding builds on the 2016 Lancet Series on Breastfeeding and explores how the value of breastfeeding is undervalued and underinvested in by governments and public health, and how the vulnerabilities of women and children are exploited by the Commercial Milk Formula industry. The three-paper series is structured around the following themes, as outlined at the launch:

  1. How baby behaviors, such as sleep and crying, are misunderstood and misconstrued to undermine breastfeeding, but multi-sectoral interventions can protect the extensive health impacts of breastfeeding
    • Unsettled infant behaviors such as crying, fussiness, posseting/spitting up, and short night-time sleep duration are common and normal
    • These behaviors often result in parents changing from breastfeeding to commercial milk formula (CMF) or from one CMF to another or to a specialized CMF that claims (without evidence) to resolve the issue
  2. How the formula marketing ‘playbook’ targets parents, health professionals, and politicians, and undermines the health and rights of children and mothers
    • CMF sales worldwide have grown from $1.5 billion USD in 1978 to $55.6 billion USD in 2018 (a 3,700% increase in 41 years)
    • Health professionals are targeted by CMF companies due to their capacity to encourage sales
    • CMF companies are large and powerful. The four largest companies together generated $187 billion USD in revenue in 2022These four CMF companies employed more than 535,000 people globally in 2018, which is greater than the entire health workforce of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Lesotho combined
    • “CMF marketing impinges on the human rights of women and children, harms their health, and adversely affects society”
  3. How power imbalances and political and economic structures determine feeding practices, women’s rights, and health outcomes
    • Breastfeeding and breastmilk are not included in most countries’ gross domestic product (GDP), so improving breastfeeding rates does not impact GDP, while increasing CMF sales does
    • The monetary value of the milk produced by breastfeeding women globally is estimated to be about $3.6 trillion USD
    • Unpaid care work, including breastfeeding, is primarily performed by women; not including the value of this unpaid care work shifts policy priorities away from it and exacerbates gender inequities
    • The CMF industry exacerbates economic disparities and health inequalities; the harms associated with CMF concentrate in low and middle income countries, while the shareholders of CMF companies who increase their wealth through increased CMF sales are almost exclusively in high-income countries

A number of critical points were made throughout the series, with the following quotes being especially relevant to the role of lactation consultants and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs):

“…universal access to improved breastfeeding-supportive maternity care, evidence-based breastfeeding counselling, and public and health worker education are crucial for preventing common early lactation problems, avoiding attempts to address common behaviors of infant development by introducing CMFs, and helping mothers improve their breastmilk production and self-efficacy.”

“Skilled counselling and support should be provided prenatally and post-partum to all mothers to prevent and address self-reported insufficient milk and avert the introduction of prelacteal feeds or CMF early on…”

“Health professionals, mothers, families, and communities must be provided with better educational support and skill development, free from commercial influence…”

Key Takeaway

“Breastfeeding success is a collective responsibility that depends on multifaceted policy and societal responses. Fact-based information on feeding infants and young children that is free from commercial influence is a human right that must be made available to all.”

What You Can Do

The Series offers excellent, well-researched support for any policy decisions related to breastfeeding and supporting new families, and highlights the importance of regulation and the legal protections governments can and should provide. ILCA encourages all involved in infant and young child feeding to read these papers, amplify the messages, and act on the recommendations they provide. Lactation consultants, especially IBCLCs, should be part of every solution, from providing training for health professionals, helping to make policy decisions, and providing care to breastfeeding families.

ILCA is committed to providing the latest, quality education free from commercial influence, and upholds the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions. ILCA strives to support and empower all lactation consultants and IBCLCs to advocate locally, nationally, and globally for breastfeeding and for the policies that promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

The USA launch of the 2023 Lancet Series on Breastfeeding will be held on 18 April in New York, NY. Learn more about it and register for the livestream here.


ILCA Participates in WHO Meetings Pertaining to HCPA Sponsorships

by Lisa Mandell, Global Advocacy Adviser, ILCA

In November of 2022, I participated in a series of virtual meetings organized by World Health Organization (WHO) that addressed sponsorships from the baby food industry. Attended by a number of national and international healthcare professional associations (HCPAs), these meetings were an important step in the long process of realizing the goals of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (Code), and all subsequent, relevant WHA resolutions.

During the meetings, the case was made for why it is critical to end such sponsorships, and several speakers presented their successes in doing so. Attendees participated in breakout group discussions aimed at identifying reasons for accepting sponsorships, key obstacles to moving forward, and opportunities and next steps.

Associations such as Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) highlighted how they ended such sponsorships. The BMJ ended advertising from formula companies as a result of commissioning an article by Chris van Tulleken in 2018 on “Overdiagnosis and Industry Influence: How Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy is Extending the Reach of Infant Formula Manufacturers.” This article identified that prescriptions for specialized commercial milk formulas for infants with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) increased by nearly 500% over a ten year period, from 2006 to 2016, while there is no epidemiological data to support such a large increase in prevalence of CMPA, and suggesting an industry-driven overdiagnosis. When physicians get their information about CMPA from formula manufacturers and their research, they are subject to the bias of the commercial entity. 

ILCA has been a leader in refusing sponsorship from companies who do not meet their obligations under the Code. ILCA’s International Code Committee critically reviews all applications for sponsorship, and works with companies to understand their obligations. This recent meeting was an opportunity to share that expertise with other associations, as well as ILCA’s continued work and diligence in this area. ILCA is also a member of the planning committee for a Global Congress on Implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes being convened by WHO and UNICEF in June 2023.

Stay tuned for more information on ending sponsorship by HCPAs, and increasing implementation and monitoring of the Code – and especially what YOU can do to help.


What is Codex, and Why is it Important?

You’re a lactation professional working with families to help solve breastfeeding/chestfeeding problems. Why should you care about something called the Codex Alimentarius Commission?

Your focus may be to help families reach their breastfeeding/chestfeeding goals. Think about some of the things that get in the way of that – poor information and advice from other health professionals and from families and friends, physiological challenges, and most certainly easy availability and heavy promotion of breastmilk substitutes. When breastmilk substitutes need to be used, you want to be sure that they meet basic standards, and that they are not labeled and marketed in such a way as to further discourage breastfeeding. That’s where international food standards come in, and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) is the global body that sets those standards.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are the parent bodies of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The members of Codex are member countries, with 188 member countries plus the European Union. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can apply for observer status with Codex and participate in meetings, offering expert opinion and information. ILCA is officially recognized as an observer for Codex, and has been participating and contributing to these meetings for 16 years; Maryse Arendt has been the primary spokesperson for ILCA at these meetings, and Lisa Mandell, ILCA’s Global Advocacy Adviser, joined her this year.

Codex has more than 15 different committees that work in specific areas. The one that sets standards for infant formulas, follow up formulas, and growing up milks is the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU). This committee usually meets once a year. The committee did not meet in 2020 due to the pandemic; they met this year virtually, and ILCA was there to represent you and your concerns on this important world stage.

The work of Codex and its committees is long-term and follows a complex process. It is often influenced more by trade issues than public health, frequently involves controversies and compromises, and eventually results in food standards that are adopted by the member countries. This year’s virtual meeting of CCNFSDU occurred during the last week of November 2021, and we are excited to report on some positive decisions made at this meeting.

Three standards are currently being developed by CCNFSDU:

— a revision of the standard for follow up formula (FUF) for older infants (defined as 6-12 months)

— a standard for growing up milk (GUM), identified by Codex as drink or product for young children with added nutrients, or drink for young children (defined as 12-36 months)

— a standard for ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF), which are provided to children 6-59 months with severe acute malnutrition

In the community of lactation care providers and breastfeeding supporters, many of us are frustrated just by the existence of FUFs and GUMs. These products were developed by industry as a way to get around the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the Code). Regular infant formula is adequate for the first year, with no need for a special formula for 6-12 months; and growing up milks are highly-processed food products that are not needed at all; both FUF and GUM are considered breastmilk substitutes by WHO.

However, these products exist, and as such it is important to set standards for them. One of the biggest issues for ILCA and others concerned about protecting breastfeeding was about sweet taste of the product and  whether flavourings could be included in FUF and GUM. The concern about use of sweet taste and flavourings is that these products replace the liquid part of a diet and are considered breastmilk substitutes; allowing flavourings could cause infants and children to develop a preference for sweet taste, which could have a negative impact on food choices and lifelong health; it could also cause infants and children, and their caregivers, to prefer these products and increase their use. ILCA strongly supported not allowing flavourings in either product. Country delegations have the first chance to comment on any issue, and all countries who spoke supported no flavourings in FUF. At least 13 country delegations spoke for no flavourings in either FUF or GUM, and 7 countries supported allowing flavourings for GUM, stating that it was not a breastmilk substitute (BMS), that these older children (12-36 months) are already exposed to a wide variety of other foods and flavors; and that flavourings should not impact sweet taste. The Chair concluded that no flavourings would be allowed in FUF. Much more discussion occurred, with more countries stating either their support or disagreement with allowing flavourings in GUM. Delegates from WHO and UNICEF stated clearly that these products for children aged 12-36 months are breastmilk substitutes, and are considered not necessary in the diet; they opposed allowing flavourings. The Chair suggested a compromise solution for GUM, allowing flavourings but adding a footnote that national and/or regional authorities may restrict or prohibit the use of the listed flavourings.

WIN: No flavourings allowed in FUF 

Partial WIN: Flavourings allowed in GUM, but countries may restrict or prohibit use of flavourings.

Another big concern of ILCA and others at this meeting was the definition to be used for “growing up milk,” for ages 12-36 months. The previous meeting ended with the following definition: “Drink/product for young children with added nutrients or Drink for young children means a product manufactured for use as a liquid part of the diversified diet of young children [which may contribute to the nutritional needs of young children].” In considerable discussion on whether these products should be defined as breastmilk substitutes, a compromise was to include the following footnote: “In some countries these products are regulated as breast-milk substitutes.” This was despite WHO guidance, adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA), that all FUF and GUM should be considered breastmilk substitutes.  The text in brackets above was left to be discussed at this meeting. The arguments against including this text are that it does not need to be included; and that the World Health Assembly has agreed that these products are unnecessary and including this text suggests that these products can play an important role in the diets of young children, which they do not. Considerable discussion among countries and observers, including some objections to including “with added nutrients” in the name options, resulted in a decision to delete the bracketed text. Additional discussion over the name options led to a decision to offer four name possibilities from which countries can choose one: drink for young children with added nutrients, product for young children with added nutrients, drink for young children, or product for young children.

WIN: Definition of GUM will NOT include the phrase “which may contribute to the nutritional needs of young children”

Another important agenda item at this meeting was finalizing the preamble for Ready-to-use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF), for children aged 6-59 months suffering severe acute malnutrition (SAM). The preamble to a standard sets the stage for what the standard covers. Thanks to the suggestion of a representative from UNICEF, and with the support of country delegations, ILCA, and other observers, it was agreed to add to the preamble the following clause, identifying that interventions for SAM should occur: “within an appropriately designed programme that promotes continuation of breastfeeding, appropriate transition to nutritious family food and psycho-social support for recovery.” Additionally, the adopted preamble concludes that use of RUTF “does not preclude other dietary options including the use of locally based foods. RUTF is not for general retail sale.”

WIN: Preamble for RUTF will stress the importance of programmes to support continued breastfeeding. Additionally, RUTF is not for general retail sale and thus cannot be promoted.

The CCNFSDU meeting covered many other topics (composition of FUF and GUM, nutrient reference values for children, and much more). The next meeting of CCNFSDU (tentatively planned for early 2023) will include finalizing the preambles for FUF and GUM, which we hope will clearly reference the Code. This is important work that ultimately serves to protect consumers. For our population of families with infants and young children, the contributions of ILCA representatives, along with the important voices of other observer organizations and many country delegations, will help to protect and support breastfeeding, and infant and child health.

For more information on Codex and other Codex committees, see:

Arendt, M. (2021). Advocacy at Work During the Codex Committee on Food Labelling Meeting. Journal of Human Lactation, 089033442110570. https://doi.org/10.1177/08903344211057083

Arendt, M. (2018). Codex Alimentarius: What Has It To Do With Me? Journal of Human Lactation, 089033441879465. https://doi.org/10.1177/0890334418794658


Become an Oxytocin Expert, and Earn CERPs: New free independent study module dives deep into groundbreaking study connecting lactation outcomes with postpartum hormone levels

You know that oxytocin and prolactin are critical to lactation outcomes.

But how direct is the relationship?

If you knew a parents’ oxytocin and prolactin levels following birth, could you make predictions about how soon their milk would come in, their baby’s milk transfer, or even their baby’s weight gain?

This is the question Elise Erickson, PhD, CNM, and colleagues wanted to answer with their 2020 pilot study published in the Journal of Human Lactation.

And Erickson et al wanted to go one step further.

They wanted to know whether it was possible to connect certain parental variables with hormone profiles postpartum.

Do aspects of labor, age, and BMI predict levels of hormones postpartum?

If they could answer that, they might be able to provide a new way to identify parents at risk for struggling with lactation, for earlier and more effective help. 

Their study is the first to attempt to define the relationship between hormone levels postpartum and breastfeeding measures, as well as between hormone profiles and aspects of labor.

Now, you have the opportunity to look closely at the results of the study while earning CERPs in a new Independent Study Module through ILCA (members only)!

Want a sneak preview of some of the key findings?

  • Older participants had moderately higher levels of oxytocin postpartum than younger participants.
  • Participants with higher body mass index scores when they gave birth had moderately lower oxytocin levels.
  • Participants with shortest labors had higher oxytocin postpartum, while those with longer active labors had lower oxytocin.  
  • Participants who received synthetic oxytocin during labor had a different hormone profile during a feeding than those who did not. They showed an increase in the hormone vasopressin during a 20-minute feeding, while in those who did not receive synthetic oxytocin, vasopressin dropped during the feeding. This is important because vasopressin may bind to oxytocin receptor sites, causing “cross talk” and weakened oxytocin response.
  • Babies born to parents with higher oxytocin lost less weight post-birth than those born to parents with lower oxytocin.
  • Babies born to parents with higher vasopressin post-birth lost more weight than those born to those with lower vasopressin.

How might these findings affect the way you practice?

If you are a member, you can dive deeper and learn more with ILCA’s Independent Study Module. Register for free today.

Interested in earning CERPs to study a different topic? Check out all of ILCA’s free educational content at our Knowledge Center


New Tools for Implementing Lactation Counselling Programs

“Skilled breastfeeding counselling meant that breastfeeding could remain a choice for me and my baby.” 

“Having skilled breastfeeding counselling completely changed my mental state. It was transformative.”

“Without it, I probably would have just given up and never breastfed ever again.”

These are direct quotes from parents, shared in a new video released during the webinar Building Better Breastfeeding Counselling Programmes: New tools for implementation.

As a lactation professional, you know the importance of skilled lactation care to families.

However, you also know that access to care is far from guaranteed. In some countries, there are no or very few International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs®) available. In other areas, IBCLCs may be practicing, but existing policies do not support a full range of options for families.

How can we as IBCLCs support the creation of more and better skilled breastfeeding counselling programs? IBCLCs are critical to ensuring improved options, by advocating for high-quality care, training others, and helping to implement programs where IBCLCs are a critical part of the warm chain of support. 

The recent webinar from the Global Breastfeeding Collective (GBC), including ILCA, WHO and UNICEF was created to update you on new tools and resources to increase access to high quality breastfeeding counselling programs. Recordings of the event are available in five languages (Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish).

Implementation Guidance on Counselling Women to Improve Breastfeeding Practices

In 2018, WHO released its ground-breaking guideline, “Counselling of Women to Improve Breastfeeding Practices.”

The 2018 guideline represented a paradigm shift in thinking about breastfeeding counselling, explains Laurence M. Grummer-Strawn, MPA, MA, PhD the unit head of the Food and Nutrition Actions in Health Systems unit at WHO. 

Key recommendations of the 2018 guideline include counselling for all pregnant women and mothers of young children during both the antenatal and postnatal period; at least six contacts, ideally face-to-face; and offering counselling that anticipates and addresses key challenges.

Now, there is new guidance available on how to carry out these important guidelines.

In chapter format, the document describes the stages of breastfeeding counselling program implementation and includes case studies from around the globe.

From gathering initial data to providing services to designing, implementing, and monitoring a skilled breastfeeding counselling training program—as well as evaluating, advocating, and sustaining it—this document provides a wealth of applicable advice. 

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling: Training Course

Now available: the second edition of a curriculum that “aims to address the practices that address childhood malnutrition as well as those that lead to the accumulation of excessive weight,” according to Dr. Ma del Carmen Casanovas Vargas, MPH.

Tied to the WHO Child Nutrition Standards, this curriculum covers breastfeeding, advanced breastfeeding, complementary feeling, growth assessment, and HIV and infant feeding.

With modules for each area and eight clinical practice sessions, it combines lecture with hands-on learning, with the goal of giving health care workers basic counselling skills so they can help mothers and caregivers more effectively.

The curriculum also includes materials for course directors, course trainers, and participants, such as manuals, handouts, and counselling cards with guides for use.

The curriculum is designed for lay counselors, community health workers, primary healthcare nurses and physicians, pediatricians, nutritionists, and many other professionals.

No prior knowledge of infant feeding is assumed, and guidance is given for adapting it to your own setting.

“We hope that [this course] will be useful for different countries and different regions, considering the wide type of uses we are expecting for it,” Cassanova notes.

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Operational Guidance: Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies

The newly released document “Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies: Operational Guidance” offers pragmatic guidance on how to apply the 2018 WHO Counselling of Women to Improve Breastfeeding Guideline specifically in emergency settings.

“When systems are disrupted, breastfeeding continues to offer nutrition and hydration, comfort and connection, and protects babies from infectious disease … yet just when it’s needed the most, good breastfeeding practices are often eroded and undermined by misinformation, formula donations, and other Code violations,” notes Isabelle Modigell, Lead Researcher of the Operational Guidance.

Parents need “urgent reassurance and skilled support so they can continue to nurture and nourish … their babies under difficult circumstances,” Modigell continues.

Skilled breastfeeding counselling can make a critical difference during emergencies, but real-world guidance is needed to operationalize effective support.

“When there are hundreds affected, how to reach them all?” Modigell says. “How do we provide six sessions of counselling, when they are constantly changing locations to escape violence? Do we continue to provide face-to-face care, even during an infectious disease outbreak?”

The IFE Core Group conducted a desk review of 80 papers and case studies and conducted interviews with key informants around the world.

“We explored the successes, challenges, gaps, required resources, compromises, and adaptations for implementing counselling interventions in emergency settings, guided by an expert peer review group,” Modigell says.

The end result is Implementation Guidance: Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies.

The document “elaborates on several recommendations,” providing “challenges, solutions, adaptations, and compromises.”  

For example, Modigell says, one of the WHO guidelines recommends that all pregnant parents and parents of children under two receive skilled BF counselling.

But this is not always possible in an emergency, when needs tend to rise and systems are overwhelmed.

“So a compromise is to prioritize particular groups, through rapid triage and screening,” Modigell explains.

The new guidance contains specific suggestions on who to prioritize—sick and malnourished infants, for example.

“Despite the perceived difficulty … experiences have shown that it is possible to establish or reestablish breastfeeding counselling services and even to improve breastfeeding practices, even in the midst of a crisis,” Modigell shared. “This guidance will tell you how to do it!”

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Advocacy Brief: The Role of Midwives and Nurses in Protecting, Promoting, and Supporting Breastfeeding

Nurses and midwives are “key health providers who care for women and children before and during pregnancy and birth, and throughout early childhood.”

A new advocacy brief by the Global Breastfeeding Collective highlights the role of nurses and midwives in protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding.

To produce the document, authors first conducted a survey to gather the experiences of nurses, neonatal nurses, and midwives in the area of breastfeeding.

“Why is this important?” asks Carole Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, ANEF, the Chief Executive Officer, Council of International Neonatal Nurses, Inc., who worked on the document.

Kenner’s answer: Nurses and midwives must be empowered to provide skilled breastfeeding support because we know that when breastfeeding mothers and infants are not supported, there is an increase in mortality rates and childhood infections, cognitive development is compromised, and rates of lifelong illnesses increase in both mothers and children.

“All midwives and nurses, including neonatal nurses, must endorse the importance of breastfeeding and be competent in providing support as well as protect mothers and newborns from barriers to breastfeeding,” Kenner adds.

This new tool provides a key opportunity to advocate for this reality.

“We’re asking all of you to join us in this call of action,” says Theresa Shaver, USAID, GHSI-III contractor.

“Please invest in midwives. We need to fully integrate critical competencies, funds to develop a comprehensive specialized training for midwives, nurses, and neonatal nurses, and to fully integrate quality and respectful maternal and newborn care. We need to establish and enforce legislation to protect breastfeeding.”

“And most importantly, we need time,” she continues, urging professionals to advocate in their settings for the allocation of “adequate staffing levels so there is time to dedicate to breastfeeding and supporting women and their babies.”

This is an ideal tool if you are in a position to “strengthen the leadership role of midwives and nurses at a national, local, and facility level,” she concludes.

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Case Studies Compendium

See the development of skilled breastfeeding counselling programs in action with the newly released Case Studies Compendium.  

“Last year, the Global Breastfeeding Collective released an advocacy brief on skilled breastfeeding counselling, which outlined seven key actions stakeholders, donors, and governments can take to improve access to skilled breastfeeding counselling,” explains Lesley Oot, MPH, an Associate Director of Alive & Thrive.

“In support of the call to action, the GBC worked with authors around the world to document case studies of how individual countries, programs and initiatives have successfully answered this call to action, with practical guidance and lessons learned that others can use to duplicate their successes,” she continues.

The result is a compendium of eight case studies.

Geographically diverse, these case studies represent a robust set of examples that are applicable around the globe.

To conclude the webinar, four of the case study authors share their stories about supporting skilled breastfeeding counselling with videos and interactive sessions.

Watch the webinar to learn from and be inspired by stories from eight countries (four in each webinar), highlighting work with government agencies, peer support groups, university midwifery training programs, and hospitals in implementing BFHI. 

Coming soon! When available, you will be able to find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.


JHL Offers Open Access Articles During World Breastfeeding Month

How can you stay up-to-date on changes at BFHI, learn the history of the lactation field, and take in new approaches about the language we use when we talk about breastfeeding and chestfeeding care? By staying up-to-date with the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL)

Now through the end of the month, the following articles are available open access. Please share widely with your colleagues who may not be ILCA members, and so may not be able to take advantage of all that JHL has to offer.

Marie-Elise Kayser (1885-1950): Pioneer of Milk Banking. Florian Steger, PhD, Oxana Kosenko, PhD.

Watch Your Step. Diane Wiessinger, MS.

An interview with Gabrielle Palmer, Campaigner Author, Nutritionist. Palmer & Arendt.

The Paradigm Shift in BFHI Step 2. Elise M. Chapin, MEd et al.


Celebrate and Share: Pass this Video On to Your Audience During World Breastfeeding Week

If you had a way to communicate the role and importance of IBCLCs in a compelling, encouraging one-minute explanation, would you share it far and wide?

Now you do!

As part of our celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2021, the International Lactation Consultant Association is re-releasing its video “How a Lactation Consultant Can Help You”, along with new versions in Spanish and French. 

The video offers an easy way to connect with the theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week: Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) chose this year’s theme to emphasize the importance of providers and professionals at every level collaborating to help families reach their lactation goals.

You know that IBCLCs are a critical link in this chain.

Now you can share that message effectively and easily with your own audience during August by sharing this video.

Find the video in English:




And in French:




And in Spanish:




Please join us in thanking the Asociación de Consultores Certificados en Lactancia Materna de Mexico (Association of Certified Lactation Consultants of Mexico, ACCLAM) and the Association Québécoise des Consultantes en Lactation Diplômées de l’IBCLC (Quebec Lactation Consultant Association, AQC) for their assistance in reviewing the translations.


Eight Easy Ways to Get Involved with World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week begins today, 1 August!

Interested, but not sure how to get involved? 

This post is for you.

World Breastfeeding Week has been celebrated every August since 1992.

But this year, it has a special importance.

As COVID-19 continues to pose enormous challenges across the globe, helping parents provide human milk for their babies and children is more critical than ever.

That’s why the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) chose “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility” as this year’s theme.

Like links in a chain, everyone’s participation is needed.

Regardless of your setting, you can connect with and show support for World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) in several ways, big and small. Here are eight suggestions.

1. Frame the issue. Put a WBW frame around your Facebook profile.

2. Hashtag/support. Use relevant hashtags – like #WBW2021 #ProtectBreastfeeding and #SharedResponsibility – to communicate about WBW on your social media. Visit these links for more suggestions from WABA (scroll to the bottom).

3. Educate yourself. Take advantage of WABA’s Take Action Folder. This information-packed publication, written specifically for WBW 2021, details specific challenges and solutions for supporting human milk feeding at the national, health systems, workplace, and community levels.

4. Tweet it out. Be part of a 48-hour Twitter Storm led by WABA! Get the details here.

5. Get Graphic. Educate and inspire your readers by downloading and sharing World Breastfeeding Week graphics, available here.

6. Join the conversation. Attend the WABA’s 48-hour “ask me anything” session. Learn more in the social media toolkit.

7. Go local. Check out the Pledge Map and find out about World Breastfeeding Week events you can attend and support in your local area.

8. Take the lead. Plan your own World Breastfeeding Week event and put yourself on the map.

Ready to get involved?

WABA points out that World Breastfeeding Week offers a chance to “include health systems, workplaces and communities at all levels of society” in building back better after the impacts of COVID-19, highlighting the importance of human milk in short- and long-term health.

For more ways you can connect, explore the World Breastfeeding Week page here.


Promote World Breastfeeding Week: Add a Frame to Your Profile Image

Sunday 1 August through Saturday 7 August is World Breastfeeding Week! Show your support by changing your profile frame on Facebook.

How to Add a Profile Frame on Desktop 

UPDATE: Skip the steps below and add the frame easily by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/profilepicframes/?selected_overlay_id=520314699052088

  1. Navigate to your profile page by clicking your name on top blue bar. 
  2. Hover over your profile picture. 
  3. Click “Update”. 
  4. Click “Add Frame”. 
  5. In the search box, type “Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week”. 
  6. Click the frame to select it. 
  7. Use the editing box on the right to adjust the size and placement of your profile picture. 
  8. On the bottom row, next to “Switch back to previous profile in”, click on the drop down menu. 
  9. Choose how long you would like to keep your frame. 
  10. Click “set”. 
  11. Click “Use as Profile Picture”. 
  12. You’re all done! If you want, make a post about your new profile frame to your followers. 

How to Add a Profile Frame on Mobile (iOS)

  1. Navigate to your profile by tapping the person icon on the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap the photo icon on your profile picture. 
  3. On the menu that pops up at the bottom of the screen, tap “Add Frame”. 
  4. At the top of the screen, click on the search bar. 
  5. Search “Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week”. 
  6. Choose your style by tapping on it. 
  7. Tap the button that says “Make Temporary” and choose “Custom” in the drop-down menu. 
  8. Choose how long you would like to keep your frame. 
  9. Tap “Set”. 
  10. Tap “Save” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. 
  11. You’re all done! If you want, make a post about your new profile frame to your followers. 

World Breastfeeding Week 2021: Lactation Consultants Critical to the Chain of Support

As a lactation professional, you know that successful breastfeeding or chestfeeding rarely happens in isolation.

Parents providing human milk to their babies need the support of healthcare providers, partners and extended families, employers, and wider communities to thrive. 

Every person a parent contacts forms a link in the chain. The more solid the links, the greater the likelihood they will meet their goals.

This year, World Breastfeeding Week will focus on how to create stronger links for a better chain. 

WBW 2021

Where do you fit into the chain that protects and promotes breastfeeding worldwide?

As the globe is preparing to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2021, 1 August through 7 August, lactation support professionals are being invited to think about that question.

The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.  

The celebration’s organizers, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), chose this theme to emphasize that efforts and collaboration across all levels are needed to support and protect human milk feeding, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As WABA shares, “Although support at the individual level is very important, breastfeeding must be considered a public health issue that requires investment at all levels.” 

WABA stresses that efforts are needed at the national, health systems, workplace, and community levels.

WABA has outlined goals at each level, from strengthening enforcement of the WHO Code to improving parental leave and workplace lactation support to scaling up implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to implementing a continuing education curriculum for healthcare workers and building the capacity of community-based breastfeeding support programs and much, much more.

(To read a detailed discussion of the challenges and action steps WABA is calling for at each level, and learn more about WBW, head here.)

The Warm Chain

By focusing on shared responsibility, WBW aims to inspire each person to find their spot in the warm chain.

The warm chain WABA envisions includes people across levels and settings—those working in health systems, workplaces, and in the community.

“A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding and protect against industry influence,” WABA writes. “It is time to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action to protect breastfeeding at all levels.”

Put Yourself on the Map

IBCLCs connect with parents and influence policy across all settings around the globe—hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, in private practice, as policy makers and as advocates and educators.

IBCLCs are a critical link in the chain with a unique ability to move the goal of protecting human milk feeding forward.

How can you get involved with World Breastfeeding Week 2021?

For one thing, you can put yourself on the map.

WABA offers a Pledge Form and a Pledge.

Use the map and form to add your community or workplace’s plans and to find events near you.

Watch the ILCA blog for more details on how you can take action for World Breastfeeding Week.


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