Archive | Education

How Do You Obtain Your Continuing Education? {SHORT SURVEY}

ILCALogo_full_text (2)Each International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) is required to gain and update their knowledge of lactation and the infancy period. One of the best gifts we can give to the families we serve is to be up to date on the latest in evidence-based care. IBCLCs are required to either retake the certification exam or recertify with Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs) every five years (recertification by exam only is required every ten years). CERPS can be obtained through conference attendance, webinar viewing, study modules, in-person education, eCourses, and a variety of other means.

Please share with us...

We have developed a short survey to better understand how you are receiving your required continuing education and to learn how we can better help you to obtain it. Click on the button to participate in this quick poll. It should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

You do not need to be an ILCA member to participate in our quick poll. We are interested in hearing from everyone in the professional lactation community.

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If you have any questions about ILCA’s continuing education offerings, please email education@ilca.org.

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All-New Staff Development eCourse to Increase Exclusive Breastfeeding from ILCA and InJoy

The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is proud to announce the release of “Practices to Increase Exclusive Breastfeeding: Core Concepts eCourse”, which we have co-produced along with InJoy Birth and Parenting Education. As part of our value to “uphold high standards of professional practice,” we believe that access to quality, standardized education for health professionals is key. This goes hand in hand with our vision of “world health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.”

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It is no surprise to anyone in the field that training is lacking for healthcare workers in the science and art of lactation and supporting breastfeeding families. InJoy and ILCA have sought to address the challenge with this eCourse, available completely online.

Hospitals who license the course will also find ideas for additional related group activities in the Facilitator’s Guide. It was designed to provide education to in-hospital maternity care staff and highlights both 10 Steps of the the 10 Steps of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative as well as the impact of birthing and postnatal practices on breastfeeding.

For more information and to learn more about how this course might be valuable to you (including the option to view Module 2 in its entirety), please click HERE.

Want to see a sample video?

Check out this one which shows maternity staff how to accommodate skin-to-skin care immediately after birth.

 

We would love for you to consider this product in two ways:

1. If you work for a hospital or health care facility serving women through childbirth, please share the information about this product with your supervisor or education department.

2. If you are an IBCLC seeking to build your knowledge about the impact of birthing practices and how to support breastfeeding in the early days, consider purchasing the single-user version of this product. For just $35 USD, you will have full access to video, practice tools, handouts, all in an interactive learning environment. Upon completion, you will be eligible for continuing education units, awarded by ILCA. Additional fees apply.

Essential topics covered in the four 20-minute modules:

  • “The Ten Steps” overview, team strategies, and effectively communicating to mothers
  • How to implement skin-to-skin care after vaginal and cesarean births
  • How to teach and assess hunger signs, latch, and infant sucking patterns
  • How and when to help mothers express milk mechanically or by hand

The eCourse includes:

  • Instructive, real-world video examples showing nurses using proven techniques
  • Downloadable practice tools and patient handouts that allow nurses to apply newly-learned concepts right away
  • Engaging case studies, interactive exercises, and quizzes
  • Facilitator’s Guide with ideas for in-service group sessions
  • 1.5 CE credit hours available from ILCA (fees apply)

We strongly encourage YOU to consider how this course could benefit your community or professional growth.

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Informative Brochure for Radiology Personnel from the Breastfeeding Resource Center

Lactation Matters is proud to highlight this fantastic resource produced by the Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC), a brochure intended to educate radiology personnel about breastfeeding. We hope that it will be helpful for those with questions about the compatibility of breastfeeding and contrast agents. We thank them for encouraging all of our readers to widely share this resource.

By Colette Acker, Executive Director of Breastfeeding Resource Center

“I had to switch to formula for two days because of my MRI. I couldn’t pump enough beforehand.”

“The doctor said I had to stop breastfeeding for a week because I needed the MRI and he said he wasn’t sure what that would do to the baby.”

These are common phrases we all have heard as IBCLCs. It’s even more frustrating when we hear about it after the fact.

By Helmut Januschka via Wikimedia Commons

By Helmut Januschka via Wikimedia Commons

The Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC) provides assistance to fourth year medical students from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA and they can use us as a resource for projects. Mariya Gusman, a Drexel student, came to the BRC to pick my brain for ideas for her project. Her passion lay in Radiology, but a visit to our center validated the important link between breastfeeding and Radiology.  You can only imagine my excitement when we started talking. Together with the BRC’s Education Committee, we planned to create a brochure for local Radiology Departments.  I pointed Mariya to resources to find evidence based information on contrast agents and their impact on breastfeeding. Interestingly, she came back to me with one question, “What’s the big deal about pumping and dumping for a few days?” Even she, a doctor and breastfeeding advocate, didn’t understand the difficulty.  So we decided to add a portion addressing the concerns surrounding pumping and dumping.

The BRC then gathered 15 volunteers to begin the search for contact information on as many Radiology Departments and Imaging Centers as we could find. A cover letter was developed and mailed along with two brochures to 85 researched addresses. We also emailed the brochure to our local ILCA affiliate members and offered to mail nicely printed copies to them. Many were excited to help spread the word.

Since the mailing, many of the recipients have contacted us. They have thanked us for our work and requested more brochures. We hope this project can end the senseless need for pumping and dumping!

We are proud to offer this resource to all of our readers. You can access it by clicking on Radiology brochure.

ColetteColette Acker is the Executive Director of the Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC) in Abington, PA. In 1998, Colette became an IBCLC. She began providing home visits, but many mothers couldn’t afford to pay. In 2003, Colette and a colleague founded the BRC which provides visits on a sliding scale of payment. The first year they worked with almost 300 families. Last year, they worked with close to 1,000! New programs were developed over the years such as free support group meetings, observation days for pediatric residents, and a pump program for low income mothers. Colette loves both working with mothers and doing the daily tasks of the executive director.

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The Legacy of a Hurricane

By Regina Roig-Romero

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Every year at about this time, I think of Hurricane Andrew. Sometimes I wonder why. Twenty-one years ago, I was inside the tropical buzz saw known as Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm that hit South Florida in August of 1992. When a storm of that strength is just outside your door, the smartest thing you can do is suppress your curiosity and not look out your windows, which hopefully are boarded up anyway. And we were smart, so from that frightening night what I mostly remember are the sounds – the storm, whistling like an oncoming train about to roll full-speed ahead into the closet we were hiding in, and the knowledgeable, calming voice of meteorologist Bryan Norcross on my radio. I remember the darkness. And I remember my 16 month old daughter nursing….and throwing up.

But Hurricane Andrew wasn’t just a personal milestone in my life; it was also a professional one, my first serious venture into my future as a public health IBCLC. That night was all about Andrew’s sounds, but from the moment the sun returned to our skies, its sights took over. South Florida – indeed the country – could not remember when the nation had last witnessed such devastation from a natural disaster.  Three of our five La Leche League (LLL) Leaders lost their homes to Andrew. I – a newcomer to breastfeeding advocacy, having only become a Leader one year earlier – was one of the two that didn’t. Once we were all finally able to see what had just happened to our city, those of us in LLL were immediately panic-stricken at the prospect of the city’s newborns being fed infant formula under such conditions – no water, no electricity, no refrigeration, no grocery stores. It was as if overnight we had all been transported to a 3rd world country and were now living inside of Gabrielle Palmer’s book, The Politics of Breastfeeding.  “Well, not in my town, and not on my watch,” I thought, so I had an idea – take all of the money that LLL folks from around the country had donated to us, spend it buying copies of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and then give them away for free in South Miami-Dade where the storm had hit worst.

It seemed like a great idea and so we bought the books and packed them – along with our idealism and our kids – into our cars and set out for “tent city”:  the huge collection of tents in Homestead where many of the instantly-homeless were now living. And that is when I came across the most enduring sight, for me, of Hurricane Andrew:  a huge green tent full of infant formula, can after can after can of it piled high and being given away. Our books seemed so tiny and unimportant by comparison! Just as defining for me was the virtual wall of disinterest that we were met with when we tried to explain to the powers that be that after a disaster breastfeeding is even more important than it is before it. But our passion and idealism fell on deaf ears; I felt afterwards like we’d failed miserably to make a difference.

My idealism died in tent city; two things replaced it: the conviction that the most important thing we can do to promote breastfeeding after any disaster is to normalize breastfeeding *before* it, and an intense and mercilessly unrelenting desire to make a difference that drives me to this very day. Twenty-one years later I am an IBCLC with 17 years’ experience as a Lactation Consultant for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, a public health professional on the brink of graduating with a Master’s degree in Public Health, a member of the National WIC Association’s Breastfeeding Promotion Committee, and a Board Director of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. I neither imagined nor planned any of it. But it all began with Andrew – with the whistling wind, the frustration of failure, the implacability of apathy, and a tent full of formula. No wonder I still think about that hurricane…..

ReginaRoig-Romero_IBLCE BOD picRegina Maria Roig-Romero was a La Leche League Leader for several years beginning in 1991, and is currently the Senior Lactation Consultant for the WIC breastfeeding program in Miami, Florida. She has assisted as an IBCLC in the program’s creation, development and leadership since its inception in 1996; in 2011-2012 she led the implementation of a worksite lactation support program at the health department in Miami. From 2002-2011, she successfully mentored thirteen Peer Counselors to become IBCLCs. In 2011, Regina served as an invited member of the USDA Food & Nutrition Service Expert Panel on the revision of the Loving Support Peer Counselor Training curricula. Her major speaking engagements include: the National WIC Association’s (NWA) Washington Leadership Conference & Breastfeeding Summit in 2010, two Spanish-language sessions at the 2012 ILCA annual conference, and an upcoming presentation on perceived milk insufficiency at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in November 2013.  Regina was appointed to the NWA Breastfeeding Promotion Committee in August 2012, and was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners in September 2012. In December 2013, she will graduate with a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from Florida International University.

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Don’t Miss These FREE Articles from the Journal of Human Lactation

Even though we’ve wrapped up our World Breastfeeding Week celebration for 2013, The Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is still celebrating all month long with FREE access to their journal. JHL is the premier quarterly, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research, commentaries relating to human lactation and breastfeeding behavior, case reports relevant to the practicing lactation consultant and other health professionals who assist lactating mothers or their breastfeeding infants, debate on research methods for breastfeeding and lactation studies, and discussions of the business aspects of lactation consulting.

JHL is offering free access to a number of their most-read articles through August 31, 2013. While ILCA members receive and have access to JHL as a member benefit, the availability of the free articles is especially beneficial for our colleagues from other disciplines.  Please share widely these resources to pediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, educators, researchers and general public.

Free articles from JHL (through August 31, 2013) include:

Breastfeeding and Telehealth

Breastfeeding Protection, Promotion, and Support in the United States: A Time to Nudge, A Time to Measure

Education and Support for Fathers Improves Breastfeeding Rates: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Impact of Male-Partner-Focused Interventions on Breastfeeding Initiation, Exclusivity, and Continuation

Provision of Support Strategies and Services: Results from an Internet-Based Survey of Community-Based Breastfeeding Counselors

Breastfeeding Duration in Relation to Child Care Arrangement and Participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

What are your favorite JHL articles from the past year?  How have they impacted your practice?

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A Look Inside A Work in Progress

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By Christine Staricka

How do new ideas spread in the lactation community? How often are there really any NEW ideas? How big does an idea have to be to make a real difference? These are questions I am asking myself as I write and create a new lactation education toolkit based on my middle-of-the-night revelation that we need a better way to motivate and empower mothers.

The idea sprang from working through two very routine cases with patients in the hospital…not an unusual situation but I was frustrated that I couldn’t find the words to teach these mothers effectively. This led to lengthy conversations with my lactation colleagues, then some sleepless nights and, finally, a light bulb moment.

But this is about what happens AFTER the light bulb moment, after you start frantically typing and rifling through piles of research articles and textbooks, the days where you move through all you other activities, waiting for the free moment when you will have time to express your blossoming ideas and capture them, and the glazed-over look of your family member who have long since tired of hearing about your new breastfeeding project.

What does one do with a new idea? My first obstacle was deciding on a format to express the idea. In this case, an article seemed as if it would not do justice to the concept, so a blog post or an entry to a journal seemed like the wrong place to start. The concept lends itself well to a toolkit and a toolkit with a broad audience requires excellent and accurate reference. Proper credit must be given to those whose ideas came before and which form the basis of the founding principles of the new concept. Research articles much be located and cited. Well-accepted textbooks must be consulted and cited. Online searches for similar concepts must be performed diligently. As the research and writing proceed, new thoughts on the direction of this concept are constantly forming and being reshaped.

Considering the direction of the project has revealed several things to me: the lactation community is global, diverse, and highly intelligent. Providing lactation support is an endeavor which requires not only the accumulation of knowledge, but the critical thinking skills and resourcefulness to make judgement calls and navigate tricky situations, both with parents and in healthcare settings. It takes a very unique set of skills to be an effective lactation support provider. Lactation care providers also must be effective educators, sensitive and valuable counselors, and excellent communicators.

The lactation community has learned to embrace all new methods of communication. LactNet has existed as a way of connecting far-flung individuals involved in lactation support for most of the time the internet has been widely available. All of the newer methods of communication have been rapidly assimilated into the culture of our community. This blog is an excellent example of a modern and efficient tool for mass communication used to all of its advantage by our professional organization.

So, with the ease of communication which has been established by the lactation community, the only issue remaining for someone with a new idea is to reflect on how new the idea really is and how to measure its effectiveness. Just as the writer of an essay considers and reconsiders the thesis statement many times during the writing, this idea must be truly probed for its originality. If it is not unique enough, its scope of influence will be small.

But that thought has brought me back to the basic principle of lactation support: if an idea or a tool helps even one mother and baby experience breastfeeding, it is successful. If a lactation care providers helps one mother and baby breastfeed better even one time, the provider has completed his or her objective. If an idea, a tool, or a provider can influence even one mother and her baby, it is meaningful for this world.

photoChristine Staricka is a hospital-based IBCLC. She became a Certified Lactation Educator through UCSD while facilitating local breastfeeding support groups. She studied independently while accumulating supervised clinical hours and passed the exam in 2009 to become an IBCLC. She holds a BS in Business Management from University of Phoenix. Christine is the co-owner of Bakersfield Breastfeeds, which provides lactation education to professionals and expectant parents. She has contributed to USLCA’s eNews as well as this blog. She enjoys tweeting breastfeeding information as @IBCLCinCA and maintains a blog by the same name. She is a wife and mother of 3 lovely and intelligent daughters and aunt to 4 nephews and 2 nieces, all of who have been or are still breastfeeding. She is partial to alternative rock and grunge music, especially Pearl Jam, and attends as many concerts as financially able with her husband of 18 years.

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New HIV and Breastfeeding Resource from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)

By Pamela Morrison, IBCLC

Photo by  DFID - UK Department for International Development via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by DFID – UK Department for International Development via Flickr Creative Commons

Have you gained the impression that maternal infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) automatically rules out breastfeeding? Or that formula-feeding by HIV-positive mothers, whenever possible, is always recommended? If you have had access to different global World Health Organization (WHO) HIV and infant feeding recommendations over the years, do you find them confusing? If the answer to any one of these questions is Yes, then you are not alone.

Based on the huge amount of research conducted since the 1985 discovery that HIV could be transmitted in mothers’ milk, global guidance about breastfeeding in the context of HIV has been changing every few years. One of the spillover effects has been that IBCLCs and others who work with mothers and babies have frequently been exposed to outdated and/or myth-information.

However, IBCLCs can now feel more confident than ever before in supporting HIV-positive clients who express a desire to breastfeed. With certain safe-guards, including maternal adherence to antiretroviral (ARV) regimens which are mandatory in developed countries, the risk of transmission of HIV through breastfeeding can be reduced to virtually zero.

Originally conceived as a joint ILCA-WABA collaborative project, with a gestation period of over seven years, WABA marked World AIDS Day this December with the easy delivery of a new Comprehensive Resource entitled “Understanding International Policy on HIV and Breastfeeding” which can be downloaded HERE.

Intended for use by policy-makers, national breastfeeding committees, breastfeeding advocates, women’s health activists and others working for public health in the community, the Resource sets out why breastfeeding in the context of HIV has never been as safe as it is today. Recent research shows that HIV-positive mothers who receive effective ARVs, protecting their own health sufficiently to result in a near-normal life-span, can also expect that the risk of transmission of HIV to their babies during pregnancy, birth, and throughout the recommended period of breastfeeding, can be close to zero. As a consequence, today’s HIV-positive mothers are enabled to avoid both the stigma and the risks of formula-feeding because current HIV and infant feeding guidance is once again more closely aligned to WHO recommendations for their uninfected counterparts, in place over the last decade: exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding with the introduction of age-appropriate complementary feeding for up to 2 years or beyond.

Building on current research, the 2010 global HIV and infant feeding guidelines and ARV recommendations for prevention of transmission of vertical HIV show that, for the first time, there is enough evidence to recommend ARVs while breastfeeding. Where ARVs are available, it is recommended that HIV-positive mothers breastfeed until their babies are 12 months of age. Furthermore, updated WHO programmatic advice issued earlier this year for ARVs for pregnant women and prevention of HIV infection in their infants has gone a long way towards clarifying many previously perceived ambiguities. Rather than different ARV regimens being decided on the basis of an individual HIV-positive mother’s disease progression, a clear recommendation is now made for provision of ARVs to all HIV positive pregnant women from the time that they are first diagnosed with HIV and continued for life.

With proper treatment, an infected mother’s viral load becomes undetectable, not only protecting her own health and survival, but also reducing to virtually zero the risk of her baby acquiring HIV through her breastmilk.

Thus, current guidance has enabled countries as diverse as South Africa and the United Kingdom to develop national recommendations which once again effectively support breastfeeding for all babies. The up-to-date guidelines simultaneously free health workers from having to tailor infant feeding advice to the HIV-status of their clients and lift from HIV-positive mothers the stigma attached to previous advice about formula-feeding. Most importantly, current guidance ensures the greatest likelihood of HIV-free survival for babies exposed to the virus.

Fully referenced throughout, the Resource’s six sections clarify many past misconceptions by helping to explain how they came about. They track the impact of HIV on women and their infants, review past and current research on transmission of the virus through breastfeeding, trace the evolution of past guidance, outline current policy and counselling recommendations and list easily accessed informational and training materials.

The Resource clarifies how, in a situation of competing infant feeding risks, breastfeeding can now be safely promoted and supported. It is hoped that this tool will enable all who work with HIV-positive mothers to confidently endorse current HIV and breastfeeding recommendations so that each individual child’s chance to survive and thrive can be maximized.

We hope that this document impacts practice and helps to support mothers with HIV all over the world. Please download your own copy of “Understanding International Policy on HIV and Breastfeeding” HERE

pmorrisonPamela Morrison’s interest in HIV and breastfeeding arose from having worked as a private practice IBCLC in a country where HIV-prevalence amongst pregnant women reached 25%, yet breastfeeding was both the cultural norm and a cornerstone of child survival. While in Zimbabwe, Pamela also worked as a BFHI Facilitator and Assessor, as well as serving on the Zimbabwe National Multi-sectoral Breastfeeding Committee and the national BFHI Task Force. She has also served on the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) Task Forces for Children’s Nutrition Rights, and for HIV and Infant Feeding, and the ILCA Ethics & Code Committee. After moving to England in 2005, she was employed until 2009 as a Consultant to WABA. She is currently the ILCA media representative on HIV, and continues to do volunteer work for WABA.

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ILCA Announces New Educational Initiative to Advance Research-Based Education and Skills (FREE WEBINARS)

ILCA is pleased to announce a new educational initiative to advance research-based education and skills in our profession.

Through the end of June, 2013, both ILCA members and non-members may attend ILCA’s live webinars webinars at no charge.

During that time, access to all live webinars is free and you will pay only if you want continuing education credit. Webinar recordings and handouts will be posted on ILCA’s CERPs onDemand™ site within 2 weeks after the live presentation. Those who wish to receive credit can purchase the recorded webinar and print their certificate online. This also provides full access to the recorded webinar and materials for the length of time it is available online.

We extend this free service to our valued members to express our appreciation for your continued support of ILCA and its mission to advance the profession. This free access to live webinars also demonstrates to potential new members ILCA’s commitment to professional development and the valuable services available to members. Be sure to pass this information on to colleagues and invite them to take advantage of this special educational initiative.

Visit ILCA’s webinar page now to begin registering for your free live webinars! If you elect to purchase the continuing education credit, remember that ILCA members receive a 50% discount on all purchases on the CERPs onDemand™ site.

Liz Brooks, ILCA’s president, has this to say about the exciting initiative:

“ILCA is a professional association committed to providing high quality evidence-based information to our members, and other practitioners with interest. These free webinars meet Goal Two of our recently revised Strategic Plan:  “Promote professional development through member services” via continuing education opportunities, use of technology, and offerings that promote the advancement and education of IBCLCs … who hold the essential credential for lactation support. Bringing people *to* ILCA to show them *what* ILCA does, and has to offer, is one way to build new membership.  It reminds our current members of the value of their membership. The line-up of excellent researchers and presenters, offering their highly relevant and interesting material, ought to captivate any IBCLC.  This simple notion of free, excellent education, is one way to attract those who love to learn, and to learn from the best.  They will be similarly attracted to ILCA’s incredible Journal of Human Lactation, to the rest of our on-line learning modules and webinars, and to our penultimate educational offering, the annual conference.  If  folks need CERPs, those are easily obtained for the customary fees (half off for current members!).  If folks just want great education, pure and simple, this is a great opportunity.  Regardless, attendees will learn the latest evidence-based practice, making them better clinicians serving breastfeeding families.  There is no downside in that!”

What webinars will you be signing up for?

Please share this information with friends and colleagues.

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FREE Access to the Journal of Human Lactation during August in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week

The Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is the premier quarterly, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research, commentaries relating to human lactation and breastfeeding behavior, case reports relevant to the practicing lactation consultant and other health professionals who assist lactating mothers or their breastfeeding infants, debate on research methods for breastfeeding and lactation studies, and discussions of the business aspects of lactation consulting.

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, JHL is offering free access to a number of their most-read articles through August 31, 2012. While ILCA members receive and have access to JHL as a member benefit, the availability of the free articles is especially beneficial for our colleagues from other disciplines.  Please share widely these resources to pediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, educators, researchers and general public.

Free articles from JHL (through August 31, 2012) include:

Human Colostrum and Breast Milk Contain High Levels of TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) by Riccardo Davanzo, Giorgio Zauli, Lorenzo Monasta, Liza Vecchi Brumatti, Maria Valentina Abate, Giovanna Ventura, Erika Rimondi, Paola Secchiero, and Sergio Demarini

Maternal Request for In-hospital Supplementation of Healthy Breastfed Infants among Low-income Women by Katie DaMota, Jennifer Bañuelos, Jennifer Goldbronn, Luz Elvia Vera-Beccera, and M. Jane Heinig

Expansion of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding into Neonatal Intensive Care: Expert Group Recommendations for Three Guiding Principles by Kerstin Hedberg Nyqvist, Anna-Pia Häggkvist, Mette Ness Hansen, Elisabeth Kylberg, Annemi Lyng Frandsen, Ragnhild Maastrup, Aino Ezeonodo, Leena Hannula, Katja Koskinen, and Laura N. Haiek

Milk and Social Media: Online Communities and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes by Sheryl W. Abrahams

Development of a Postnatal Educational Program for Breastfeeding Mothers in Community Settings: Intervention Mapping as a Useful Guide by Hanne Kronborg and Gerjo Kok

Barriers, Facilitators, and Recommendations Related to Implementing the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI): An Integrative Review by Sonia Semenic, Janet E. Childerhose, Julie Lauzière, and Danielle Groleau

Breastfeeding at NICU Discharge: A Multicenter Italian Study by Riccardo Davanzo, Lorenzo Monasta, Luca Ronfani, Pierpaolo Brovedani, and Sergio Demarini

A Model Infant Feeding Policy for Baby-Friendly Designation in the USA by Lori Feldman-Winter, Diane Procaccini, and Anne Merewood

What are your favorite JHL articles from the past year?  How have they impacted your practice?

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Education, Social Media & Motherhood

Written by Deirdre McLary for her blog, Breastfeeding Arts

I was recently discussing the upcoming ILCA conference and the business of breastfeeding, both locally and nationally with a friend and dear colleague. Part of our discussion was on the business of education and helping mothers grow their confidence and wisdom before baby arrives. The models for education can be both face to face; through class time and instruction, or online via email and social media. Knowledge is power, as the expression goes. How do we, as breastfeeding educators, grow that knowledge base for expectant mothers, and how can we expand our reach so that your transition to new motherhood is a smooth one?

As both an IBCLC and a childbirth educator & doula, I know all too well how few families seek out empowering childbirth & breastfeeding education.

But are enough women turning to seeking prenatal education? I don’t think so. What I do know, and see repeatedly, is that those women who do not seek good prenatal education have a greater likelihood of feeling overwhelmed and isolated. I know this because they call me desperate for help and support.

A solid network of education, support and resources should be cultivated prior to baby’s arrival. This will help the mother navigate those first weeks of baby blues and postpartum healing. Not all mothers, mind you, have a difficult transition. One of the many benefits to consider is not just the knowledge base a mother will take into birthing and breastfeeding, but also the relationship she has now established! Wise Woman to New Mother! She has her tribe, someone she can now turn to postpartum to seek answers and support. As my colleague says, “a friend in her pocket”!

Social media and online support can be a wonderful conduit for support and wisdom. Sixteen years ago, when I was pregnant with my first, I researched something on the “then pretty new” internet. I brought it to the attention of my OB, who I subsequently left for the care of a midwife. You know why? He scoffed and said, “Are you going to trust some quack you find off the internet?” and immediately dismissed my researching things outside his care. (That quack was Ina May Gaskin). Well, I did trust what I had read. Those were my instincts kicking in and my ability to trust myself.

I encourage all pregnant mothers to seek out advice online from reputable IBCLC businesses and online communities! (Editor’s Note: Check out Australia’s new Virtual Breastfeeding Cafe) There are many wonderful resources with excellent professionals happy to help you find your way. As a La Leche League leader, the concept of “mother to mother” support is still, in my opinion, one of the best conduits of postpartum sisterhood out there! And now that “mother to mother” care can be found online, on many a Facebook page, blog, Twitter or Listserv. It’s not always easy getting out of the house as a new mother. While I never want online communication to replace face-to-face connection, there are a wealth of relationships available there.

It all comes back to education and support! Whether it’s private or group prenatal classes (each has its advantages), a private lactation consult in the comfort of your home, an online consult via email or even a Twitter chat (for example, #bfcafe) — all are great ways to stay connected to a professional who only wants the best for you — normal, healthy birthing which leads to normal, healthy breastfeeding!

How have you, as an IBCLC or breastfeeding professional, helped mothers to receive prenatal education and support?

Deirdre McLary is the founder of BREASTFEEDING ARTS and has provided expert IBCLC Lactation Support, Doula Care and Childbirth Education since 1997 in the Hudson Valley, NY area. Deirdre is deeply committed to raising childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting awareness throughout her area by providing compassionate, holistic & open-minded options for anyone who seeks them. She is a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), a labor support and post partum doula, La Leche League leader, childbirth educator, and new parent mentor. She has also held leadership positions in The Metropolitan Doula Group, La Leche League, River Doulas and The International Cesarean Awareness Network.

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