By Amber McCann, IBCLC
Two years ago, I received a message from Decalie Brown, a board member of ILCA, asking me if I would consider coming along side the organization to give leadership for their blog, Lactation Matters. My dear friend, Robin Kaplan of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, had birthed the blog a year earlier and taken it through its infancy. She had been afforded the opportunity to kick-off The Boob Group podcast (if you aren’t listening, it is a fantastic resource for the mothers we serve!) and was handing off her ILCA responsibilities. My knowledge of Robin and the caliber of her work coupled with a true desire to be a part of walking ILCA through the changing tide of online communications led me to give a hearty “YES” to Decalie.
And thus began my wonderful term as blog editor for Lactation Matters. I had the opportunity to attend two amazing conferences (one in Orlando and the other in lovely Melbourne, Australia) and connect with countless ILCA members worldwide. I grew as a clinician and an advocate. I got to rub shoulders with many of those who have gone before me in the field and paved the way. Here are a few of my favorite moments:
Our Clinician in the Trenches Series: Early in my time with Lactation Matters, I was tasked with highlighting the work of ILCA members who were working with new mothers and babies in their communities to support them at the start of their breastfeeding journeys. We developed this series to ask the question “What Does a Typical Day Look Like for an IBCLC?”. The responses we got were varied and inspirational. So many of you are doing the hard work, over and over and over, to provide the families in your communities education, support, and advocacy. Bravo to you!
Engaging with Dr. Virginia Thorley: While working on a blog post about her latest book, The 10th Step and Beyond, I struck up an email relationship with Dr. Virginia Thorley. If you’ve ever been afforded the opportunity to engage with her, you know that she has a wealth of wisdom and a library of stories. My background is in sociology and I’m driven not by the science of lactation (though I do strongly respect its value) but by the connection it brings. I found a kindred spirit in Dr. Thorley. I was blessed to share dinner, face to face conversation, and her company while in Melbourne. I treasure those moments and her willingness to pour a bit of her magic into me.
Our 2013 World Breastfeeding Week Series: The theme in 2013 highlighted the many ways that support is provided in the community: through the workplace and employment, through government, through family and social networks, through crisis response, and through the health care system. We highlighted each of these methods in its own post and more than doubled our weekly posting average to focus on them all! We had a wonderful response and more views on the blog in a week than we’d ever had.
As I pass the baton to my colleague, Jeanette McCulloch, I do so with gratitude. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my gifts with ILCA and I look forward to continuing to serve in the future. I couldn’t be more confident that Jeanette will take the foundation that was built by Robin Kaplan and I and grow the ILCA presence higher and higher. As I give up my responsiblities with ILCA, I’ll use the time I get back to explore my new hometown of Pittsburgh (and eat my way through all of its amazing restaurants) and find new and exciting ways to support the mothers in my community. I’ll never be far from ILCA. They help me everyday to “empower mothers and save babies’ lives.”
Photo credit: Amber McCann, IBCLC