Author Archive | lactationmatters

Win a FREE ILCA Membership! How has ILCA Membership Impacted Your Practice?


THANK YOU for your response to our recent ILCA membership survey. We learned new things and confirmed what you have shared with us before – like just how much you value the Journal of Human Lactation and your free continuing education. (A lot! Nearly 97% of you rate JHL or free continuing education as the MOST important ILCA benefit.) Your answers are helping us shape your member benefits package.

We want to hear more! Share with us how ILCA membership impacts you, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win an ILCA membership.

Here are  some questions we’d love to hear more about. Pick one to answer and leave your response in the comments. You’ll receive a second entry if you also paste your answer into the comments on THIS THREAD on Facebook. Watch here for the winner: we will select a winner by random draw on 1 October 2018. DEADLINE EXTENDED! We’ll be gathering your responses until Friday, October 5.

  • How has ILCA membership impacted your practice?
  • What would you tell a colleague about the value of ILCA membership?
  • What ILCA benefit is most important to you? Why?
  • Or anything else you’d like us to know about why ILCA is important to you.

Your comments will certainly help guide our thinking about ILCA membership, and may be used as a part of the materials we use to help others learn about ILCA.

Thank you for helping us learn more about what matters most to you about ILCA.


ILCA’s International Advocacy: Understanding NetCode

As a part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (commonly known as the International Code), ILCA has signed on as a NetCode partner. The news was shared with members at the recent ILCA conference by immediate past president Michele Griswold.

While the International Code outlines critical protections against predatory marketing of breast-milk substitutes, regional and national laws and regulations in line with the International Code provide the on-the-ground provisions that support families. Those regional and national laws and regulations must exist and be enforced to ensure families have a level playing field to make feeding decisions.

NetCode is a coalition of organizations working to expand and strengthen the capacity of Member States and civil society to develop, monitor, and enforce national Code legislation. Formed in 2015, NetCode members include the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), select Member State representatives, and collaborating nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including ILCA.

ILCA board member Sabeen Adil recently attended the third meeting of NetCode to lend ILCA’s support to the efforts. She will be serving on the Advocacy Task Force, which will be focusing on efforts to advocate about code monitoring with health care professionals.

NetCode has developed a number of tools that you can use in your local community, including:

  • NetCode toolkit. To better enable governments to monitor adherence to the International Code, NetCode developed a toolkit, consisting of an ongoing monitoring protocol and a periodic assessment protocol. The toolkit is being piloted in countries including Mexico, Cambodia, and Ghana.
  • Introductory course on the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. This e-learning course on the International Code is available for free at It is intended to provide a comprehensive introduction to the International Code, its contents, and ways in which it can be implemented and monitored. This resource is intended for policy makers, legislators, health practitioners, relevant UN agency staff and civil society partners staff.

ILCA looks forward to its ongoing involvement in NetCode’s efforts. To learn more, watch for updates here and in the ILCAlert.


Celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week: Guest Post by Stacy Davis, Executive Director of the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color

The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is proud to celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week (25 August – 31 August). We asked Stacy Davis, BA, IBCLC, and executive director of U.S.-based National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC), one of ILCA’s Global Partners, to share with us the importance of this week and how professional lactation supporters can support Black families.


Why is Black Breastfeeding Week important for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLC®), around the globe, to celebrate?

Black Breastfeeding Week is incredibly important and necessary for professional lactation supporters to celebrate for many reasons. Black Breastfeeding Week is not simply about celebrating that Black women are breastfeeding, but rather about affirming the experiences of a Black woman, acknowledging the disparities for Black women and their children, and addressing the lack of support and resources in Black communities.

In the United States (and in many other places in the world), Black women are often not understood by women of other races and ethnicities. Black women often suffer from “strong woman syndrome” – the need to be strong and resilient in all situations and circumstances. This is often perceived as aggressive and militant, even in instances where we feel feeble. We grapple with the need to be the best and look our best AT ALL TIMES. We have to give even when nothing has been deposited.

Black women are charged with so much in our daily lives – we are breadwinners, caretakers, nurturers, educators, social workers, therapists, and so much more. We bear the burden of our families and our communities, while paying little to no attention to ourselves . . . and most of us struggle with self-care. When we fail (or feel as though we are failing), we internalize that and it tends to impact other areas of our lives.

So, when a Black woman decides to make breastfeeding a priority for herself, her child(ren), her family and her community, we need to celebrate that! We should not question why Black Breastfeeding Week exists. It is imperative that we, as professionals, providers, supporters, advocates, leaders, from around the globe celebrate all the Black women who sacrifice to chestfeed/breastfeed, as well as those who make sacrifices to support another Black woman. Black lactation professionals make DAILY sacrifices to support other women in, and out, of their community. Overall, Black Breastfeeding Week is about celebrating disadvantaged Black women and children and the boots on the ground doing the work with little to no recognition or pay.


How can IBCLCs support families of color in their communities?

IBCLCs can support Black families and other families of color by seeking training in equity, cultural sensitivity, cultural responsiveness, and cultural humility. It is essential that we incorporate these lessons into our lactation care and practice. Moreover, IBCLCs can embrace the LOVE model of care:

L – (actively) LISTENING with a open heart and open mind

O – (asking) OPEN-ENDED questions for better understanding

VVALIDATE and affirm feeling

EEDUCATE with focused, individualized messages (not blanket, textbook information)


What can national and international organizations do to increase the number of skilled lactation providers of color?

There is much that national and international organizations can do to support aspiring IBCLCs and increase diversity in the IBCLC profession, such as:

  • Create affordable mentorship programs in communities including opportunities for free and reduced-cost mentorships
  • Offer financial assistance through personal or organizational donations
  • Support the work and efforts of organizations such as NAPPLSC and the Reclaiming, Improving and Sustaining Equity (RISE) Lactation Training Model, and others
  • Help to create adequate job opportunities for current and aspiring non-medical IBCLCs
  • Be an advocate or an ally for diversifying the field
  • Ask an IBCLC of color what she/he believes is lacking and needs addressing

There is so much to be done, now and for years to come.

Want to learn more?

We encourage you to register for NAPPLSC’s 2nd Annual Black Breastfeeding Webinar. As an added bonus, NAPPLSC will be doing raffles and giveaways for FREE trainings and memberships. Click below for more information and to register.



Breaking the Cycle of Poverty #WBW2018

International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is excited to join World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and other organizations and individuals the world over in celebrating #WBW2018 1-7 August. The theme of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2018 is Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life. Lactation Matters will feature blog posts and resources throughout the week to help you make the most of this important week.

A sustainable world begins with ending poverty in all its forms everywhere. According to Pinstrup-Andersen, “not every poor person is hungry, but almost all hungry people are poor. Millions live with hunger and malnourishment because they simply cannot afford to buy enough food, cannot afford nutritious foods, or cannot afford the farming supplies they need to grow enough good food of their own.” Hunger and poverty work together in a vicious circle that keeps people from achieving their full potential.

Breastfeeding is the great equalizer that can help break the cycle of poverty.

Breastfeeding is a universal solution that levels the playing field to give every child a fair start in life. It enables millions of young children to survive and thrive, setting them on a path towards better health and a more prosperous future. Breastmilk is the most nutritionally and immunologically potent food for infants and toddlers, a food that can fuel brain development like nothing else. Breastfeeding powers cognitive development and IQ of children, thus greatly improving educational attainment, participation in the workforce and lifetime earnings. Missing this critical stage of brain development during childhood can result in significant cognitive and economic losses. Breastfeeding improves the health and well-being of women and children and is the foundation of a country’s development and future.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the most up-to-date information about WBW 2018 and to download promotional materials, please visit the World Breastfeeding Week website by clicking here.


9. Poverty – United Nations Sustainable Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from
10. Nurturing the Health and Wealth of Nations: The Investment Case for Breastfeeding.

Ensuring Food Security, Even in Times of Crisis #WBW2018

International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is excited to join World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and other organizations and individuals the world over in celebrating #WBW2018 1-7 August . The theme of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2018 is Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life. Lactation Matters will feature blog posts and resources throughout the week to help you make the most of this important week.

The United Nations defines food security as “existing when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet dietary needs for a productive and healthy life.” The first 1000 days are critical as this is when the foundation of human development is being built. Breastfeeding provides food security to infants from the very beginning of life and contributes to food security for the whole family. Policies that protect, promote, and support optimal infant and young child feeding should include food security for all pregnant and lactating women.

Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding is crucial for the health of our planet and its people.

Breastfeeding is a prime example of the deep connections between human health and nature’s ecosystems. Breastmilk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe and green because it is produced and delivered to the consumer without pollution, packaging, or waste. By contrast, artificial feeding leaves a major environmental footprint that contributes to a depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation and climate change in a
number of ways. Dairy farming causes the production of greenhouse gases. Additionally, the production, packaging, storing, distribution and preparation of infant formula includes the considerable use of fossil fuels and large amounts of water. Therefore, artificial feeding contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases and water scarcity that further aggravate climate change.

Climate change leads to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Unreliable supply chains of milk powder and the unhygienic conditions that commonly prevail in emergency situations make breastfeeding the safest option. Breastfeeding is a climate-smart decision that helps ensure food security even in times of crisis.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the most up-to-date information about WBW 2018 and to download promotional materials, please visit the World Breastfeeding Week website by clicking here.


4. Food and Agricuture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.). How close are we to #ZeroHunger? Retrieved from
5. Save the Children. (2018). Don’t push it. Why the formula milk industry must clean up its act. Retrieved from
6. Linnecar, A. et al. (2014). Formula for disaster. Weighing the Impact of Formula Feeding vs. Breastfeeding on Environment. Retrieved from
7. During disasters, breastfeeding’s advantages shine. (n.d.). Retrieved from
8. Nutrition in emergencies. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Preventing Malnutrition in All its Forms #WBW2018

International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is excited to join World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and other organizations and individuals the world over in celebrating #WBW2018 1-7 August . The theme of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2018 is Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life. Lactation Matters will feature blog posts and resources throughout the week to help you make the most of this important week.

It has long been recognized that malnutrition with underweight and stunting is common in low-income countries. In addition to this problem, overweight and associated non-communicable diseases are actually a larger contributor to the burden of disease in low-income compared to high-income countries. Lack of breastfeeding can be linked to both underweight and overweight in children. This double burden of malnutrition has major consequences on short- and long-term health.

Optimal breastfeeding helps prevent malnutrition in all its forms with positive lifelong effects on both children and mothers.

Child malnutrition, especially wasting, often results from artificial feeding in low-income settings. Wasting may be prevented indirectly, for example by preventing severe diarrhea. In addition to breastfeeding, many factors affect the optimal growth and development of children, including the introduction, amount, and frequency of complementary feeding. The risk of the other form of malnutrition, overweight and obesity, increases the more a child is artificially fed, and this is becoming more common in all settings.

Breastfeeding also has implications for maternal nutrition. The assumption that mothers will become malnourished and lose weight due to breastfeeding does not appear to be valid. Good maternal nutrition together with optimal birth spacing and access to contraceptives are the main factors for preventing malnutrition. Exclusive breastfeeding also helps mothers return to a healthy pre-pregnancy weight and possibly lowers the risk of her developing diabetes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the most up-to-date information about WBW 2018 and to download promotional materials, please visit the World Breastfeeding Week website by clicking here.


1. Child malnutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved from
2. Akst, J. (2015). Breast Milk and Obesity: A study links components of a mother’s milk to her infant’s growth. Retrieved from
3. Sankar, M. J. et al. (2015). Optimal breastfeeding practices and infant and child mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatrica, 104, 3-13

Access FREE Articles from Journal of Human Lactation #WBW2018

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is an annual celebration of the role of breastfeeding in our homes, our communities, and the world.  As a part of our 2018 theme, Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life, we are proud to announce that Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is making available 10 essential articles to everyone – FREE* through 31 August 2018.

The Journal of Human Lactation is essential for building our knowledge as IBCLCs. We believe knowledge guides our practice, strengthens our value, and supports our role in transforming world health.

Read the following JHL articles—free through 31 August 2018!*

  1. Interventions to Improve Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy and Resultant Breastfeeding Rates: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by Meredith Brockway, Karen Benzies, and K. Alix Hayden
  2. Efficacy of an Osteopathic Treatment Coupled With Lactation Consultations for Infants’ Biomechanical Sucking Difficulties: A Randomized Controlled Trial by Juliette Herzhaft-Le Roy, Marianne Xhignesse, and Isabelle Gaboury
  3. The Atlantic Divide: Contrasting U.K. and U.S. Recommendations on Cosleeping and Bed-Sharing by Helen L. Ball
  4. The Impact of a Prenatal Education Video on Rates of Breastfeeding Initiation and Exclusivity during the Newborn Hospital Stay in a Low-income Population by Kathleen A. Marinelli, Sara L. Gill, Ann L. Kellams, Kelly K. Gurka, Paige P. Hornsby, Emily Drake, Mark Riffon, Daphne Gellerson, Gauri Gulati, and Valerie Coleman
  5. Randomized Controlled Trial on Effect of Intermittent Early Versus Late Kangaroo Mother Care on Human Milk Feeding in Low-Birth-Weight Neonates by Dhaarani Jayaraman, Kanya Mukhopadhyay, Anil Kumar Bhalla, and Lakhbir Kaur Dhaliwal
  6. Advising Mothers on the Use of Medications during Breastfeeding: A Need for a Positive Attitude by Kathleen A. Marinelli, Sara L. Gill, Riccardo Davanzo, Jenny Bua, Angela De Cunto, Maria Luisa Farina, Fabrizio De Ponti, Antonio Clavenna, Stefania Mandrella, Antonella Sagone, and Maurizio Clementi
  7. Enforcing the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes for Better Promotion of Exclusive Breastfeeding: Can Lessons Be Learned? by Kathleen A. Marinelli, Sara L. Gill, Hubert Barennes, Guenther Slesak, Sophie Goyet, Percy Aaron, and Leila M. Srour
  8. Public Attitudes Toward Breastfeeding in Public Places in Ottawa, Canada by Katherine Russell and Amira Ali
  9. Gestalt Breastfeeding: Helping Mothers and Infants Optimize Positional Stability and Intraoral Breast Tissue Volume for Effective, Pain-Free Milk Transfer by Pamela Douglas and Renee Keogh
  10. Obesity as a Predictor of Delayed Lactogenesis II by Irma Preusting, Jessica Brumley, Linda Odibo, Diane L. Spatz, and Judette M. Louis

Journal of Human Lactation is the official journal of ILCA. It 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.

*You may already have access to these articles through a library or other subscription.


Happy World Breastfeeding Week! #WBW2018

Happy World Breastfeeding Week! International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is excited to join World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and other organizations and individuals the world over in celebrating #WBW2018. The theme of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2018 is Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life. Lactation Matters will feature blog posts and resources throughout the week of 1-7 August to help you make the most of this important week.

Are you ready to celebrate #WBW2018? Check out this must-do list to be sure:

Visit the #WBW2018 website for general information and downloadable promotional materials, including Announcement, Logo, Poster, Action Folder and other forms of multimedia. These materials are available in many languages and contain information on the theme, relevant facts and figures, case studies, and suggested ways to take action.

Share your commitment to breastfeeding advocacy and education. The links between breastfeeding and good nutrition, food security, and poverty reduction may be obvious to breastfeeding advocates, but there is still work to be done to make these connections clear to others. Thinking of organizing your own WBW event? Then Pledge and Report your event to be placed on the Pledge Map and receive an e-certificate for each event you organize. Use the #WBW2018 Media Kit that contains information about the annual WBW campaign as well as the 2018 Press Release for your events. Join the online social media movement by participating in WABA interaction, polls, and activities such as the upcoming #AskMeAnything session through their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Don’t forget to view the Social Media Kit that is frequently updated with visuals, infographics, GIFs, sample posts, and relevant hashtags.

Look for information and action steps throughout WBW at Lactation Matters, where you’ll find articles, images, action steps, and more to help with your successful WBW 2018 observance.


For the most up-to-date information about WBW 2018 and to download promotional materials, please visit the World Breastfeeding Week website by clicking here.


LAST CHANCE to REGISTER for the #ILCA18 Virtual Conference

Whether you plan to participate live or watch the recording, TODAY is the last chance to register for the 
#ILCA18 Virtual Conference.

Don’t miss out!

The #ILCA18 Virtual Conference begins tomorrow, July 20 and continues through 21 July. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to join us . . . right from your computer!

We will be offering up to 12 Continuing Education Credits, a special online community, and an easy-to-use platform with lots of support. Watch live or on your own time for up to 60 days.

Click below for more information and to register. Questions? Email us at


ILCA Statement on WHA Resolution on Infant and Young Child Feeding

All families deserve public health policies designed to improve their health and well-being that are free from corporate interests. This is why the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) calls upon governments to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. This includes holding businesses accountable for misleading marketing practices that unfairly target vulnerable women and children and directly impact breastfeeding.

This statement is in response to events reported by the New York Times. The article, “Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution by U.S. Stuns World Health Officials” reported on U.S.-delegation opposition to a resolution that aimed to call upon member states to strengthen promotion, protection and support for breastfeeding.

The resolution was to be introduced by Ecuador and “expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who had gathered . . . ” According to the article, Ecuador unexpectedly withdrew the resolution in response to threats made by delegates representing the United States. “The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.”

Ultimately, a weaker resolution was adopted after being introduced by Russia. These actions took place at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2018.

The proposed resolution included a number of key protections for breastfeeding families, including strengthening efforts to reduce predatory marketing of breastmilk substitutes and providing additional supports for families in emergencies. To be clear, it did not deny families access to breast milk substitutes.

As an organization, ILCA envisions “world health transformed by skilled lactation care;” a world in which human beings have every opportunity to thrive through breastfeeding. As such, ILCA stands in support of The Code and subsequent resolutions. ILCA also stands in unwavering support of families everywhere, to make decisions that are best for their families. When breast milk substitutes are desired or required, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs®) and other skilled lactation professionals are qualified to assist families in the safe preparation, storage and feeding according to WHO guidelines. For parents choosing to breastfeed, this means navigating a host of unique challenges to the breastfeeding family. Challenges may be clinical but also social. Social policies such as adequate maternity leave and the right to breastfeed or express milk in the workplace work in favor of breastfeeding continuation whereas the absence of supportive and protective policies work against breastfeeding continuation.

The NYT article sheds light on how corporate interest interferes with public health policy designed to improve health and well-being. The article also highlights the role that governments have to promote, protect and support breastfeeding rather than side with businesses to support corporate gains. ILCA strongly supports systems and structures that shift the responsibility for breastfeeding success away from parents and toward social policies that make breastfeeding easier, not more difficult.

As frontline health professionals, IBCLCs and other lactation caregivers around the globe know first-hand the challenges that families face in providing their children with the best nutritional start to life. Therefore, ILCA calls upon governments to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

ILCA has for many years provided representation at key meetings like the WHA, and will continue to do so. ILCA stands with other global allies and urges its members and partners to continue to advocate for policies that strengthen the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding at the government level. ILCA urges skilled lactation professionals all over the world to continue to provide individualized specialized clinical care to families while advocating at the local/regional/country level for policies that support the families in our care.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,




Michele Griswold, PhD, MPH, RN, IBCLC

ILCA President


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

Translate »