The Surgeon General’s Call to Action for Breastfeeding offers opportunities for US-based IBCLCs in virtually every one of its twenty action steps. From #1, give mothers the support they need to breastfeed their babies to #20 improve national leadership on the promotion and support of breastfeeding. IBCLCs play key roles and the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) is actively involved to promote, equip, and empower members. USLCA is working hard to ensure that IBCLCs are represented in discussions with both policymakers and caregivers in a variety of venues. The Call to Action strengthens the voice of the lactation professional and gives IBCLCs the credibility and clout to do what they do best for mothers, for babies, and the health of the nation.
USLCA is responding to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action by networking and relationship-building with organizations such as the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, AWHONN, the American Academy of Pediatrics, United States Breastfeeding Committee, National WIC, and Texas WIC Association. In every discussion, language is emphatically clarified so that a breastfeeding support person translates directly into IBCLC, as per the Surgeon General’s specific and strategic recommendation.
USLCA recognizes the responsibility for IBCLCs to provide the best care possible as they work with employers to develop breastfeeding-friendly workplaces, with hospitals as they move along on the Baby-Friendly journey, with educational institutions creating curricula to incorporate lactation care into health care education, with public health entities as they expand services for maternal and infant care, and for individual families as they seek to achieve their breastfeeding goals. To that end, USLCA publishes its peer-reviewed Clinical Lactation and presents cutting-edge educational programs each month via webinar technology.
USLCA encourages its members to be politically engaged at community, state, and national levels, participating in state Breastfeeding Coalitions and advocating for IBCLCs in a wide cross-section of settings. As Milk for Thought traveled the nation in the Big Pink Bus, USLCA members participated in community rallies at every stop. USLCA President, Laurie Beck, MSN, RN, IBCLC, participated in the documentary chronicling the tour and promoting breastfeeding.
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action is a wonderful tool to advocate for communities that support breastfeeding at every juncture with the goal of health care that begins with breastfeeding. IBCLCs are key figures in the Call to Action and USLCA is responding to the call by providing education, support, and advocacy for IBCLCs.