Author Archive | lactationmatters

IBCLC Care Awards: Applications Now Open

Let potential clients know that your Hospital-Based Facility or Community-Based Agency recognizes the role of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) in protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding by applying for the IBCLC Care Award.

The IBCLC Care Awards are promoted to new families and the general public which means your facility can enjoy the benefits of positive public relations in your community, including:

  • Enhanced attractiveness to potential patients
  • Competitive edge in recruiting lactation consultants, nurses, midwives, mother support counselors and other medical staff
  • General good will in the community by providing excellent care in helping new families reach their breastfeeding goals

Visit the IBCLC Care Directory to see which Hospital-Based Facilities are already benefiting from the IBCLC Care Award program!

Hospital-Based Facilities and Community-Based Health Agencies that staff currently certified IBCLCs can apply online to become a recognized IBCLC Care Award facility. Learn more about the qualifications and complete the online application here.

Applications will be accepted online starting 13 January 2020 through 14 February 2020. Please contact us at if you have any questions.

The award was created by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®). Learn more and apply here.


Top 10 JHL Posts of 2019

On topics ranging from addressing disparities to trends in research on human milk exchange, our community tapped into the top-accessed resources of Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) nearly 180,000 times last year.

As we wrap up 2019, we compiled this list of the year’s top ten most accessed JHL articles. Planning on using research to guide your practice? Your ILCA membership ensures a full year’s access to the next year’s content, along with online, on-demand searchable access to the full database of JHL research to find the evidence you need. Not a member or time for you to renew? Click here to join or renew your membership now.

#10 Critical Review of Theory Use in Breastfeeding Interventions

Yeon K. Bai, Soyoung Lee, Kaitlin Overgaard

#9 A Critical Review of Instruments Measuring Breastfeeding Attitudes, Knowledge, and Social Support

Corrine S. Casal, Ann Lei, Sera L. Young, Emily L. Tuthill

#8 Does Truthful Advertising Ever Pass “The Smell Test” in a Peer-Reviewed Journal?

Elizabeth C. Brooks

#7 Reflexivity in Qualitative Research

Joan E. Dodgson

#6 Current Trends in Research on Human Milk Exchange for Infant Feeding

Aunchalee E. L. Palmquist, Maryanne T. Perrin, Diana Cassar-Uhl, Karleen D. Gribble, Angela B. Bond, Tanya Cassidy

#5 Breastfeeding Support Interventions by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ellen M. Chetwynd, Heather M. Wasser, Charles Poole

#4 An Integrated Analysis of Maternal-Infant Sleep, Breastfeeding, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Research Supporting a Balanced Discourse

Kathleen A. Marinelli, Helen L. Ball, James J. McKenna, Peter S. Blair

#3 Feasibility and Acceptability of Metformin to Augment Low Milk Supply: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, Amy Thompson, Sarah Riddle, Laura Ward, Erin Wagner, Eileen King

#2 Breastfeeding in the Community: Sharing Stories on Implementations That Work

Sheree Holmes Keitt, Harumi Reis-Reilly, Nikia Fuller-Sankofa, Margaret Carr

#1 Breastfeeding in the Community: Addressing Disparities Through Policy, Systems, and Environmental Changes Interventions

Harumi Reis-Reilly, Nikia Fuller-Sankofa, Calondra Tibbs

Editors Note: As originally posted, some authors were listed in the incorrect order. This post was edited on 16 January 2020 to list the authors in order as published in the Journal of Human Lactation.


Fighting Cross-Marketing of “Follow-up” Milks

Families often do not know the difference between infant formula and toddler milks. According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), advertising and promotion of toddler or follow-up milks is a way to circumvent the protections provided by the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (International Code).

These toddler or follow-up milks are often labelled nearly identically to infant formula intended for infants birth – six months, but are in some countries not subject to the same marketing restrictions.

According to the World Health Organization: “Products that function as breastmilk substitutes should not be promoted. A breastmilk substitute should be understood to include any milks . . . that are specifically marketed for feeding infants and young children up to the age of 36 months (including follow-up formula and growing-up milks).” 

These are just two of the reasons why ILCA volunteer Maryse Arendt attended the Codex meeting in Dusseldorf, Germany, where follow-up formulas, cross-promotion, and the International Code were being discussed.

Following the six day meeting, Maryse reported that important progress was made following significant discussions, negotiations, and compromises. As ILCA’s representative to Codex, she worked alongside the handful of other lactation-supportive NGO and breastfeeding-friendly country representatives. 

Codex Alimentarius is a set of internationally recognized standards and guidelines for food, food production, and food safety. Since 1963, Codex has existed to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in international food trade.

Progress at Codex often happens in small steps and over multiple years of effort and negotiation. Previously, the Codex standard defined follow-on milks as not being breastmilk substitutes. This is significant as it allowed formula companies to label follow-on milks in similar packaging (often in stages, such stage 1, 2, and 3) and then market the toddler drinks without the protections of the International Code.

The new Codex draft under discussion now names the product a “drink for young children” or a “drink for young children with added nutrients,” without requiring it to be exempted from the International Code. This is important because countries that are already or want to define the product as a breastmilk substitute can do so, without threat of violations of World Trade Organization agreements. The text has still to undergo different Codex steps before being final in 2022.

Up next: a discussion to include a reference to the International Code and WHA resolutions in the preamble, which was deferred to next year. The United States was the biggest opponent to strengthening references to the Code in Codex.

Thank you to Maryse for your significant efforts. 


Call for Papers: State of the Science August 2020 Issue

Guest post by Journal of Human Lactation Editor in Chief, Joan Dodgson, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN

The aim of state of the science literature reviews that Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) features in our August issue is to provide an up-to-date picture of what is well established in a particular aspect of lactation and to suggest possible areas that need further research. These reviews are critical analyses of the body of research about a specific narrowly defined topic, written by researchers who have the breadth and depth of knowledge along with the research skills to distill a body of work for the rest of us. It is important that the authors’ analysis within state of the science articles addresses a number of very important questions:

  • Why is this an important area within lactation?
  • What assumptions are being made in the existing literature?
  • How rigorous are the study designs within this body of literature?
  • Who is and who is not being studied (and why)?
  • What do we know, what are we fairly certain about, and what do we not know about this topic?
  • Where or what are the disparities?
  • What are next steps in moving this knowledgebase forward? 

We consider state of the science analysis a type of research because it requires much more depth of analysis than a synthesis of existing literature. Therefore, all components of a research paper (i.e., background, study aim, methods [design, sample, data collection, data analysis] results, discussion and limitations) are required in the state of the science papers.

  • First, a brief Background about the topic of study that includes the significance of this topic is needed. 
  • A clearly written Study Aim that describes the area to be critically analyzed is essential or the reader will be unable to determine if the authors have adequately addressed the issue. 
  • The methods section begins with the Design section statement, in which a design statement is required. A number of ways to conduct an analytical review of the literature (i.e., the design) exist, any of which would be appropriate for a state of the science paper. We have previously published state of the science papers that used the methods of systematic reviews, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, integrated and qualitative synthesis; however, other methodologies also could be used. 
  • In this type of research, the articles reviewed are the Sample, which need to be described using inclusion and exclusion criteria. This section also provides a description of how the literature review was done, including the databases searched, search strategy and search terms. To do an adequate review a minimum of 4 databases need be searched. In addition to the health science databases, many topics relevant to lactation also require a search of humanities (JSTOR) and social science (PsycINFO, social science abstracts & others) literature. It might be helpful to readers if a table of the search strategy was included. Additionally, a PRISMA diagram is required.
  • The Data Collection section must include how data from each article was abstracted (e.g., using matrices), when and by whom. This section also needs to include which variables were extracted with clear definitions, keeping in mind that breastfeeding variables frequently are ill defined or defined differently by various authors.
  • The Data Analysis section clearly describes to the reader how variables were analyzed (e.g., descriptive statistics, etc.) and compared. 
  • It is likely that most of the Results will be presented in the form of tables and/or figures. 
  • It is in the Discussion section that the authors will need to distill the meanings within their findings, discuss the gaps in the existing body of literature and identify areas for future research. 
  • A Limitation section is required
  • Conclusions need to be generalized statements 

State of the science articles are the most up-to-date evaluations about the topic analyzed, as textbooks are always out of date, making state of the science articles invaluable resources for researchers, educators and clinicians. It is of great importance that experts in the field publish state of the science papers, which is why we are posting this call for papers. We ask that, if you feel this is something you could do, you consider submitting one for upcoming state of the 2020 science issue (manuscripts due 20 January 20).

Find JHL Author Directions here.

For examples of state of the science articles, see our August 2019 issue.


Understanding ILCA’s Advocacy Strategy

At ILCA, all of our advocacy work is defined by our overarching goal: sustainable policy change so that more children survive and thrive through breastfeeding/chestfeeding and so that skilled lactation care is valued globally.

The advocacy strategy was shared with our community by advocacy advisor Michele Griswold at the recent All General Meeting at the ILCA conference in Atlanta, Georgia:

Read on for a summary of key elements of ILCA’s advocacy strategy:

Our overarching goals

At ILCA, all of our advocacy work is defined by our overarching goal: sustainable policy change so that more children survive and thrive through breastfeeding/chestfeeding and skilled lactation care is valued globally.

Of course, ILCA’s advocacy strategy is also informed by our vision: World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.

Target areas in breastfeeding and skilled lactation care

This leads to a two-pronged advocacy approach targeting two critical issues: breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.

For the next three to five years, ILCA has identified six target areas in the two areas of breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.

For breastfeeding, ILCA advocates for breastfeeding/chestfeeding families by calling upon governments, regional and local decision makers to:

  • Implement BFHI
  • Implement the Code
  • Family Friendly Policies

For skilled lactation professionals, ILCA advocates for:

  • Worldwide recognition of skilled lactation professionals as allied health providers
  • Capacity building at the local, regional, and national levels
  • Funding to achieve the above

ILCA represents you when it matters most

To help achieve these goals, ILCA has long had representation at the global level to represent you at the global level. [Editor’s note: We will continue to keep you up-to-date on these key meetings via email and social media at #ILCArepresents]

Engagement is key to advocacy success

How will ILCA reach these goals? Michele captured ILCA’s focus on effective organizing through engagement:

“The heart of advocacy work is relationships. Ongoing engagement with you, our members and partners, and key stakeholders is going to be key to achieving our advocacy goals. We as lactation professionals all over the world are linked to one another through the work we do every day in our communities.”


New Resource: Advocacy Toolkit

The evidence is now stronger than ever: breastfeeding is critically important for women and children in both high- and low-income countries.

Increasing the rates of breastfeeding worldwide will help countries to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—including Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Breastfeeding is a woman’s right and empowers women as mothers, giving women the means to nourish their infants and protect them from illness, even during emergencies and times of crisis.

However, lack of adequate support for women to breastfeed is an issue in every country. Women who wish to breastfeed should have the right to do so—whenever and wherever they choose—with the full support of their families, communities, employers, and governments.

The Global Breastfeeding Collective (the Collective) is pleased to share a new resource: the Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit. Led by UNICEF and WHO, the Collective is a partnership of more than 20 international organizations – including ILCA – committed to increasing investment and driving policy change to support breastfeeding worldwide. The toolkit is intended for all stakeholders seeking information and tools to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. The toolkit aims to build awareness of the Collective’s seven policy actions and provide access to resources that stakeholders can use in the development of initiatives to support these policy actions globally, nationally, and sub-nationally. Resources in the toolkit include guidebooks, policy briefs, educational videos, and case studies. Where possible, resources have been provided in multiple languages, and the toolkit will be updated periodically to include new, relevant tools as they become available.

Please be sure to check out the Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit and consider sharing with your networks! The toolkit is intended to be interactive, and we welcome your input. Should you have any questions or suggestions regarding the toolkit, please contact


ILCA Seeks Advocacy Advisor

ILCA would like to thank Michele Griswold, PhD, MPH, RN, IBCLC, for her service as the ILCA Advocacy Advisor to the Board of Directors. During her time in this new role for ILCA, she has helped to shape this position and has created a vision and strategy that will help advance breastfeeding worldwide and elevate the role of skilled lactation care. While we are deeply sad to see her go, we are thrilled to see her in her new position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at Southern Connecticut State University.

ILCA is seeking an Advocacy Advisor to the Board of Directors to lead the organization’s strategic advocacy plan.

Advocacy is a core tenet of ILCA’s mission and vision.  Additionally, ILCA’s values of knowledge, diversity and equity serve as the basis for ILCA’s equity-focused evidence based advocacy strategic framework.

The person serving in the Advocacy Advisor role will be responsible for helping to operationalize ILCA’s leadership and participation on policies and actions including, but not limited to, Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, The Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, family-friendly policies, workplace initiatives, capacity-building of IBCLCs and skilled lactation professionals globally and promoting recognition of IBCLCs and other skilled support professionals as critical members of the health care team.

This is a leadership position that will report to ILCA’s Executive Director.

Core Responsibilities include:

  • Design and implement strategic planning for ILCA’s advocacy agenda
  • Oversee ILCA’s Global Advocacy Committee including United Nations liaisons
  • Build global expertise teams surrounding ILCA’s advocacy issues
  • Be a liaison between ILCA and ILCA’s global partnerships with WHO, UNICEF, WABA
  • Represent ILCA to the Global Breastfeeding Collective, NetCode, Codex Alimentarus and others
  • Represent ILCA at key strategic meetings globally

Required Qualifications:

  • Experience with advocacy at the local, regional, state, global level
  • Demonstrated commitment to ILCA values of knowledge, diversity, equity
  • Familiarity with core documents related to breastfeeding advocacy i.e. human rights, and the Code
  • Leadership experience
  • Strong English writing skills

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated leadership within ILCA as an organization as evidenced by prior/current volunteer service
  • Ability to communicate in more than one language
  • A strong network of global professional alliances
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Critical thinker
  • Grant writing skills and experience/education in program planning, implementation, management, evaluation. Successful grant funding a plus!

This position may be remote. The successful candidate should have reliable access to internet etc. It is envisioned that the candidate will commit approximately 10-20 hrs/week which may vary with travel commitments. Salary is hourly and commensurate with experience.

To apply:

Please send cover letter, resume/CV addressed to, salary requirements, one letter of recommendation and the names and contact details of two additional recommenders who we may contact.


Three Research Takeaways: Supporting Lactating Women Who Experienced Childhood Sexual Abuse

How can new research inform how lactation consultants support women who are breastfeeding and who have experienced childhood sexual abuse?

The Journal of Human Lactation article, Breastfeeding in Women Having Experienced Childhood Sexual Abuse, aims to “investigate experiences with breastfeeding in women with a history of [Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA)].”

Find three key takeaways we have put together here:

Learn more by accessing the full article here. Access to JHL is free for ILCA members.

New! Earn CERPs by reading this and other select JHL articles in our Independent Study Modules, free for ILCA members. Members, access your free continuing education here. Learn more about ILCA membership here.


Celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week 2019

The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is proud to celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week (25 August – 31 August). 

This year’s theme is “The World Is Yours: Imagine. Innovate. Liberate.” 

Black Breastfeeding Week consists of a series of online and face-to-face activities. Check out their website and social media profiles (including their Facebook page here) for updates. You can also find resources for bringing creativity and inspiration to your local breastfeeding community, like this Hackathon Toolkit.

In the United States, you can also look for a local event many of which include “Baby Lift Up,” the signature event for Black Breastfeeding Week. “Each year, black families gather  . . . in predetermined locations to lift up their babies (of all ages!) in unison in a show of solidarity and support for black children living healthy and thriving lives.”

Check out these past Lactation Matters posts for answers to your questions about why Black Breastfeeding Week exists or other resources for celebrating #BBW19.


Access FREE Articles from Journal of Human Lactation #WBW2019

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 2019 theme, Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding, we are proud to announce that Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is making available 5 essential articles to everyone – FREE* through 31 August 2019.

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 2019!

  1. Breastfeeding Support Interventions by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis by Ellen M. Chetwynd, Heather M. Wasser, and Charles Poole
  2. Effectiveness of the IBCLC: Have we Made an Impact on the Care of Breastfeeding Families Over the Past Decade? by Barbara Haase, Emily Brennan, and Carol L. Wagner
  3. Current Trends in Research on Human Milk Exchange for Infant Feeding by Aunchalee E. L. Palmquist, Maryanne T. Perrin, Diana Cassar-Uhl, Karleen D. Gribble, Angela B. Bond, and Tanya Cassidy
  4. Critical Review of Theory Use in Breastfeeding Interventions by Yeon K. Bai, Soyoung Lee, and Kaitlin Overgaard
  5. An Integrated Analysis of Maternal-Infant Sleep, Breastfeeding, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Research Supporting a Balanced Discourse by Kathleen A. Marinelli, Helen L. Ball, James J. McKenna, and Peter S. Blair

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.


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