Author Archive | lactationmatters

An Update from Mudiwah Kadeshe, ILCA President

The path to equity is a journey, not a destination. I am here to tell you that this crossing may be uncomfortable at times, however, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is deeply committed to walking it together, with you, our members and the lactation support community. Progress on this passage will be marked by increased access to our profession; when all families experience skilled lactation care.

We have taken initial steps down the path. Building on the work of the Equity Summits, we are continuing to assess the barriers in lactation, deepen the skills of our staff, members, volunteers, and board, with the skilled support of equity consultants Dr. Adrienne Coleman and Traci Ellis, JD.

In response to your positive feedback and requests, the training they provided at #ILCA18 is available as a webinar. We hope that you will join us for their next training, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Implicit Bias. You can access it by clicking HERE.

We continue to seek additional ways to make access to member benefits equitable to all. Our pricing is structured to make being a part of ILCA within reach for more lactation professionals around the world. The virtual conference provides up-to-the-minute information for those who are unable to join us in person. This year, our marketing efforts will include an American Sign Language (ASL) greeting aimed at engaging our deaf community.

Thanks to your generous gifts to the ILCA Benefactors program, we provide membership and conference scholarships to those impacted by social, economic, or political hardships.  

Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, (R.O.S.E.) whose amazing work has transformed breastfeeding support across the southern United States (where our upcoming conference is located) and our partner, the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC) have both been awarded scholarship offerings for the upcoming #ILCA19 conference with the aim of bringing those from marginalized communities into our sphere.

And we hope you will join us at #ILCA19 if for no other reason than to hear the influential Dr. Camara Jones speak on Achieving Health Equity in Breastfeeding: Naming and Addressing Racism and Other Systems of Structured Inequity.

Still, ILCA submits, we miss the mark. Frequently. As lactation consultants, we know that babies need a deep latch to effectively transfer milk. As a community, we need to commit to go deeper still in our equity journey to transform biased norms.

Finding ways to untangle inequity is tough and ongoing work. It requires us to humbly reexamine the way we show up in the world, “our ways of being,” and then be willing to make course corrective actions. We need to deconstruct what have been our organizational norms. Our Safe Space policies apply not only to our conference, but to our board meetings and on-line spaces.

One  strategy we will employ to dismantle our old, inequitable ways of being is by having multiple means of hearing from you about what we get right – and what we get wrong – as an institution and a profession.

We need you. At last year’s conference, we talked a lot about how we are #bettertogether. Hearing from you will help us “step-up” our pace on the journey to becoming a more just and equitable association.

Soon, you will receive two different surveys seeking your feedback. The first, from Dr. Adrienne Coleman and Traci Ellis, JD, seeks to build on our knowledge of barriers to the profession and to care. The second one, from the Equity Committee, seeks your feedback on what tools and resources ILCA can provide to make its programs and services more equitable, and to increase access to the field for families and professionals.

Do you feel called to walk closely with us on this journey? We are currently seeking volunteers to serve on our Equity Committee. This committee works together to ensure that ILCA is culturally inclusive and welcoming to all members, which furthers the practice of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) on an organizational level and in the skilled lactation care profession. You can access more information by clicking HERE.

There is a long and arduous road ahead. I’m up for the challenge. And, from my place of leadership, I can assure you that ILCA is as well!

As I have shared in the past, one of my greatest desires for my time as President is that you, our members, feel deeply heard. To echo your voice, it is vital that I know how you experience joy and what challenges you face in your daily work. Moreover, how can ILCA better support you through our core values? You can email me anytime at president@ilca.org.

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Impacts of Birth Intervention & Understanding Infant Competence: Q&A with Cathy Watson Genna

As one of the leading experts on assisting infants with anatomical, genetic, or neurological challenges to feed, we at Lactation Matters are thrilled to talk with Cathy Watson Genna, IBCLC.

As the author of two essential books for lactation professionals (Selecting and Using Breastfeeding Tools: Improving Care and Outcomes and Supporting Sucking Skills in Breastfeeding Infants), we spoke with her about issues faced by new families in the early days.

Want to learn more? Hear her at the upcoming 2019 ILCA Conference, 24-27 July in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Lactation Matters (LM): As practitioners, we see how often families face huge barriers at the start of their feeding relationship. What do you see as the places they struggle most? 

Cathy Watson Genna (CWG): Birth interventions are a huge barrier as they can interfere with both mother and baby’s competence for breastfeeding. Sometimes, we need to use technology or medication to safeguard the dyad during birth, but these things are over-applied and have consequences for breastfeeding.

Another major issue is the infant incompetence model. Thinking that 
babies need control rather than support interferes with breastfeeding.

LM: Are the barriers consistent around the world?

CWG: Birth interventions are common all over the world. In some countries of the world, even those where incomes are low, Cesarean rates are high and can impact breastfeeding. Even nations that do not struggle with breastfeeding initiation still have difficulty supporting parents to sustain breastfeeding and breastfeed exclusively.

LM: How can we, as lactation professionals, best support families in the early days?

CWG: In addition to incorporating brief supportive education into prenatal 
care, we can help parents see their infant as competent so they don’t over-control their baby and thwart their breastfeeding behaviors. We can facilitate sensitive parenting by helping families understand their infant’s communication and needs.

Learn more from Cathy and other leading experts. Join us at #ILCA19.

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2019 ILCA Elections: Board of Directors

The ILCA Board of Directors presents the following ballot for ILCA voting members to:

  • select the next Board Secretary;
  • ratify one Board member’s second term; and
  • ratify the candidate for President-Elect.

Balloting commences 24 April 2019 and concludes 08 May 2019, at which time all electronic votes will be tallied by the ILCA staff.

All ILCA members who are certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) and are in good standing will receive an email from ILCA on 24 April 2019 containing a link to the ballot (subject line: Your 2019 ILCA Board of Directors Ballot).

Prior to casting a vote, all voting ILCA members are encouraged to read the profile submitted by each candidate by clicking the hyperlink in her name below. Vote carefully: Once your vote is cast, it cannot be changed, repeated, or cancelled.

Secretary Election

The ILCA Board of Directors asks that you consider the following three candidates for the Secretary position:

Dawn Baltz

MSN, BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC Pinellas Park, Florida, United States

Jeanne Mitchell

RN, MSN, IBCLC Austin, Texas, United States

Tova Ovits

BA, IBCLC Brooklyn, New York, United States

Second Term Ratification

The ILCA Board of Directors asks that you ratify the following Board member for a second term:

Geraldine Cahill

BA, IBCLC Schull, Co. Cork, Ireland

Ger was elected to serve as a Board Director from 2016-2019. She served from 2016-2017 in this role, then graciously stepped into the vacant Secretary position from 2017-2019. 

President-Elect Ratification

The ILCA Board of Directors asks that you ratify the following Board member for selection as ILCA President 2020-2022:

Sabeen Adil

MD, IBCLC Lagos, Nigeria

If you did not receive an email and you should have, please contact the ILCA Office at admin@ilca.org (or) 1+ 919-861-5577 (or) 888-452-2478. Our ILCA staff is eager to make sure you get a ballot so your vote can be counted. 

Questions about our voting process? Review our Bylaws here.

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Two conferences for one

Help us celebrate that the #ILCA18 conference is now available in the Knowledge Center by enjoying two conferences for one.

For a very limited time, register for the #ILCA19 full in-person conference package and receive 60 days of online access to up to 19 select CERPs from #ILCA18.*

By registering now, your in-person registration can earn you up to 41 continuing education credits – more than half of the CERPs needed to complete recertification by continuing education!

To receive the two conferences for one, you must register for the #ILCA19 full conference by 30 April, so be sure to register now!

*Online access to the #ILCA18 content will become available immediately following the in-person conference and will be accessible for 60 days.

ILCA18 Sessions Available in this Offer:

Advocacy Needs, Strategies, and Outcomes: Applying Lessons Learned by ILCA’s Global Partner, ACCLAM, in Your Setting(Mariana Colmenares MD, IBCLC)

Deconstructing Fake Equity: Lessons Learned From a Dominant Culture Institution(Catherine Sullivan MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND)

Gender and Queer Communities 101: Building a Foundation for Culturally Humble and Inclusive Care (Trevor MacDonald)

Global Partners Panel: Furthering the Global Breastfeeding Agenda through Collaborative Advocacy at the Local, National, Regional, and International Level (Global Partners)

Lactation Support in Disasters and Emergencies: Integrating Life Course, Psychosocial, and Human Rights Perspectives (Aunchalee Palmquist PhD, IBCLC)

Length of Stay and Breastfeeding Status Associated with Type of Milk Supplementation Among Late Preterm Infants in a Mother/Baby Unit: Results of a Retrospective Chart Review (Becky Mannel BS, BA, IBCLC, FILCA)

Preparing IBLCE Exam Candidates for Success: Lessons Learned From the First CAAHEP-Accredited Pathway 2 Program (Catherine Sullivan MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND)

Safe and Sustainable Implementation of BFHI’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding: EMPower Breastfeeding and the New EMPower Training Initiative (Kathy Parry MPH, IBCLC, LMBT)

Safe Infant Sleep: Who Decides and on What Evidence? (James McKenna PhD)

SIDS and Colic: Do They Share the Same Breathing Control System Origin? (James McKenna PhD)

Skin-to-Skin Contact: Current Research and Mediating Mechanisms (Nils Bergman MB ChB, DCH, MPH, MD)

Step Up and Step Back: Guidance for Individuals and Institutions Addressing Inequity (Catherine Sullivan MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND)

The Return of Breastsleeping: Humankind’s Oldest and Most Successful Sleep and Feeding Arrangement (James McKenna PhD)

The WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes: Global Relevance and Contemporary Challenges (Terrie Wefwafwa HSC)

To Clip or Not to Clip? Clinical Dilemmas Regarding the Release of Posterior Tongue Tie and their Implications for Infant Feeding (Gina Weissman DMD, RN, IBCLC)

Using the Hazelbaker Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function: Guidance for Clinical Settings (Alison Hazelbaker PhD, IBCLC, FILCA, CST-T, RCST)

WHO Guidelines on Protection, Promotion, and Support of Breastfeeding: Current Updates and Guidance for Facilities Providing Birth and Newborn Services (Trish MacEnroe BS)

Already registered for #ILCA19?
If you registered for the full conference package at any time before 30 April, good news!
You will automatically receive the #ILCA18 online package.


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ILCA Advocating for Maternity Protection at the International Labour Organization

ILCA continued its efforts to increase maternity protection, including advocacy for nursing breaks for mothers, at the recent International Labour Organization (ILO) Centennial Celebration.

The ILO, founded 100 years ago, exists to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men. Established as the first specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) in 1947, the ILO is unique in its tripartite structure, bringing together governments, employers, and workers from 187 member states.

Lisa Mandell, MBA, IBCLC, is one of ILCA’s liaisons to the United Nations. Lisa has for the last eighteen months joined other ILCA liaisons who have been working with the UN with the goal of elevating the needs of breastfeeding families in the workplace. On 10 April 2019 she attended the ILO Centennial Celebration, a High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. This meeting was held to celebrate the founding of the International Labour Organization (ILO) 100 years ago, reflect on their accomplishments, and discuss the future of work.

The High-Level Meeting included remarks from high-level UN officials, including the UN Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, and the Director-General of the ILO and representatives from 24 different member states or groups of states. The speakers emphasized the importance of working toward the goal of decent work for all, how social justice is a part of this effort, and that labor should not be viewed as a commodity. Many discussed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) on Decent Work and Economic Growth. Challenges identified include mass unemployment, discrimination, and informal work; emerging issues include digitalization, climate change, demographic change. Of importance to ILCA, many speakers mentioned a focus on women and work, increasing women’s participation in the workforce and reducing the gender pay gap.

At two interactive panels, Addressing Unfinished Commitments to Achieve Decent Work for All, and The Future of Work, the challenges and emerging issues were discussed. Women’s employment remains a priority. With discussion of the changes in the world of work through technology and other issues, consideration of meeting the needs of working and breastfeeding parents will be critical.

In her role as liaison to the UN, Lisa not only advocates for lactation-related outcomes, but also brings back to the advocacy team a deeper understanding of the ways in which ILCA can align our advocacy goals with the larger world agenda around work. This continues the work ILCA has been doing, with other organizations, to emphasize the importance of maternity protection and pumping or nursing breaks for employed mothers, as identified in this statement for the Commission on the Status of Women.

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How Will #ILCA19 Change Your Practice?

ENGAGE at ILCA’s 2019 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on 24 – 27 July.

How will #ILCA19 Change Your Practice? We asked past attendees and here is what they had to say:

Learn from the leading experts around the globe.

I really appreciated the opportunity to learn at this conference. There was a great mix of topics that were socially and intellectually challenging. Thank you!”

“The speakers  . . . were fantastic, they were receptive to their audience, approachable with questions and the topics were all relevant and covered a wide range of the lactation field.”

Expand and refresh the skills you need to serve families in your community.

“I appreciate the effort to increase diversity and to discuss equity. It’s a hot topic and it seems many people want to see and help make improvements and don’t know how (myself included).”

“I enjoyed the variety of speakers and ability to choose from many subjects.”

“I will send my staff next year! I love the information and feel it wonderfully benefits the newer IBCLC in practice.”

Connect with the advocates improving lactation outcomes worldwide and bring your voice to the table.

“It was refreshing to witness all the inclusion as our field is rapidly changing. I met many new folks from all over the world and was glad for the time to chat with them over the meals.”

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Get Hands-On Skills: Clinical Skills Rotation at #ILCA19

Learn hands-on skills at our pre-conference Clinical Skills Rotation!

Participants will rotate between four skill stations, learning each skill from expert facilitators. All stations last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes between stations.

Quickly learn new skills or practice techniques with your peers.

Two Rotation options are available and are held as pre-conference sessions on Wednesday, 24 July.

Rotation one:

  • Clinical Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies: Skills for the Lactation Consultant
  • Slow Down the Flow: Helping Infants Overwhelmed by Milk Ejection
  • Putting the Pieces Together: An Interactive Case Review from Diverse Work Settings
  • Using Role Play to Identify Strategies to Provide Cultural Responsiveness and Sensitivity in Lactation Care

Rotation two:

  • Facial Massage Technique for a Functional Latch
  • Follow-up for Premature Babies After NICU Discharge
  • Give Yourself a Hand: Using Massage Techniques During Assessment
  • Tongue Tie: Clinical Cases to Improve Early Diagnosis and Management

These highly-popular sessions fill fast!

Pre-registration is required. The fee for these 2-hour sessions is $47 USD each and participants will earn 2 continuing education units per rotation group.

*Online registration permits selection of only one session at this time in order to accommodate all attendees who wish to register. If you wish to attend both sessions, please contact info@ilca.org to be placed on a waiting list.

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Advocacy Update: Research to measure exposure to breastmilk substitute marketing

ILCA, a NetCode partner, is advocating for research that aims to measure exposure to human/breast milk substitute (BMS) marketing in more than 90 countries worldwide.

The Demographic Health Survey program collects, analyzes and disseminates data to improve population health in more than 90 countries. Funded mainly by USAID, several surveys with various target populations measure topics such as child health, education, nutrition, maternal health and women’s empowerment among others.

ILCA is endorsing a proposed indicator that would measure exposure breast milk substitutes (BMS) marketing. As lactation professionals, we are familiar with research that demonstrates unethical marketing practices contribute to less than optimal breast/chestfeeding for families in our care. (For several recent publications from Helen Keller International, see below.) If accepted, the inclusion of this data in a representative global population would assist researchers in identifying the proportion of families exposed to breast/chest milk substitutes.

The new measure will also identify where they were exposed (in the community or health care facility as two examples), providing advocates with data to design effective advocacy interventions that reduce the influence of BMS companies on family health.

As active members of the WHO/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective and NetCode, ILCA calls upon governments to implement, monitor and enforce the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the relevant WHA resolutions. ILCA will be part of an upcoming meeting at WHO in Geneva next month to continue to advocate for Code protection for the health and well being of families worldwide. Stay tuned for updates!

Learn more about exposure to BMS marketing here:

Feeley, A. B., Ndeye Coly, A., Sy Gueye, N. Y., Diop, E. I., Pries, A. M., Champeny, M., … Huffman, S. L. (2016). Promotion and consumption of commercially produced foods among children: situation analysis in an urban setting in Senegal. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 6476. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12304

Helen Keller International, & Ministry of Health. (2018). Breastfeeding practices and consumption of breastmilk substitutes among children under 36 months in Bandung City. Jakarta, Indonesia: Helen Keller International.

Pries, A. M., Huffman, S. L., Adhikary, I., Upreti, S. R., Dhungel, S., Champeny, M., & Zehner, E. (2016). High consumption of commercial food products among children less than 24 months of age and product promotion in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 12. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12267

Pries, A. M., Huffman, S. L., Mengkheang, K., Kroeun, H., Champeny, M., Roberts, M., & Zehner, E. (2016). Pervasive promotion of breastmilk substitutes in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and high usage by mothers for infant and young child feeding. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 3851. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12271

Vitta, B. S., Benjamin, M., Pries, A. M., Champeny, M., Zehner, E., & Huffman, S. L. (2016). Infant and young child feeding practices among children under 2 years of age and maternal exposure to infant and young child feeding messages and promotions in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 7790. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12292

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Human Milk in the NICU Resources

Do you provide care in the NICU setting?

The Journal of Human Lactation has made a collection of articles, Human Milk in the NICU, free for a limited time.*

Click the links below to access the articles now, available until 15 May 2019.


Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) 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.

Access to the Journal of Human Lactation is a top-ranked benefit of ILCA membership. Take advantage of year-round access to all JHL has to offer. Join or renew your ILCA membership today.

Click here to become an ILCA member today.

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Protecting Breastfeeding in Legal Proceedings: Q & A with Liz Brooks

As a leading expert in the ethical, moral, and legal conundrums that lactation consultants face, we at Lactation Matters were thrilled to talk to Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA.

As the author of the only textbook focusing on IBCLC ethics and law as well as chapters and articles in several texts and journals, we spoke with her about common issues IBCLCs face when asked to serve as expert witnesses.

Want to learn more? Liz is commonly ranked as one of our most popular speakers! Hear her at the upcoming 2019 ILCA Conference, 24-27 July in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Lactation Matters (LM): We are looking forward to your session “Litigation and Lactation: Protecting Breastfeeding in Legal Proceedings.” As skilled lactation professionals, why might we be involved in legal proceedings?

Liz Brooks (LB): Sometimes breast/chestfeeding itself is the subject of legal inquiry (imagine an employee being told they cannot express milk at work, or a parent is told to leave a public place for feeding their baby). Sometimes the lactating parent is involved in a controversy, and the ability to breast/chestfeed the child is under threat (imagine a family law matter where the non-lactating parent seeks multi-day custody of the still-BFg child).  The law of most countries of the world, in matters involving minor children, is designed to protect the best interest of the child.  How breast/chestfeeding care promotes those best-interests-of-the-child are rarely well- understood by the lawyers, judges, and legal guardians involved in the case.  An expert in clinical lactation care, like an IBCLC, can offer information to help the court make a good ruling.

LM: Being an “expert witness” could feel intimidating. How can we best prepare?

LB: Be “up” on your clinical knowledge and skill, and be well-versed in what makes you an expert (hint: READ all of your practice-guiding documents at IBLCE, and be able to describe what it takes to become and stay certified).  It is the lawyer’s job to prepare you for your appearance.  They can’t tell you WHAT to say, but they can practice with you HOW you will answer direct questions and cross-examination.  You don’t have to be an expert in expert-witnessing …. you just have to be an expert in lactation!  When in doubt, repeat over-and-over in your head: “I know more about lactation that anyone else in this courtroom.”  Because it is true!  

LM: While your expertise is in American law, we suspect that these professional challenges are present for IBCLCs around the world. How will this session inform our work globally?

LB: Families with young children find themselves in need of skilled support — legally, and for lactation care — all over the world.  We’ve seen how man-made and natural disasters decimate communities.  Families are forced to migrate as refugees, seeking asylum or legal immigration across native borders.  Families split up everywhere, and the interests of the children are in play.  While customs and traditions vary in cultures around the world, the inherent need for skilled advocacy is a constant.  While the laws-on-the-ground may differ from location to location, that is something the lawyers worry about. The expertise an IBCLC will offer will be universal.

Learn more from Liz and other leading experts. Join us at #ILCA19.

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