Archive | Networking/Relationship Building

New Mothers Are Finding Breastfeeding Help and Making Friends Online

By Lara Audelo, CLEC

I can’t recall ever seeing women breastfeed their babies when I was growing up. To be honest, there weren’t many babies around me at all when I was a child. I was the youngest in my family, and my sister is four and a half years older. I always knew that if I had children, I wanted to breastfeed, but I never really gave much thought to all it would entail before I was pregnant.

Once I learned I was pregnant with my older son in May 2006, I began to research everything from natural childbirth to breastfeeding. I rarely make a decision without doing research and weighing my options. For me, birth and breastfeeding were no different. Based on what I had read, I decided to write a birth plan, take childbirth classes, and hire a doula to assist me in giving birth. Looking back, I realize that my birth choices were almost completely motivated by my desire to successfully breastfeed.

Intro_Lara with OwenWhen it was time for my son to make his arrival, everything went as planned: no epidural, short pushing stage, and only a first-degree tear. I really was lucky considering my hospital that had a 98% epidural rate. But we did have an unforeseen hiccough as soon as my son was born: he was taken to the NICU for two days because he had difficulty breathing immediately after birth, and was diagnosed with a pneumothorax. Thankfully, he recovered quickly and we both went home at the 48-hour mark. He was about 27 hours old when I first put him to my breast, and he took to it like a champ.

Shortly after my son was born, our little family of three re-located from the East Coast to the West Coast. I found myself in a new place with no friends, a husband who was gone on deployment, a four month-old baby, and still many, many questions as a new mother. When my son was about six months old, I turned to the Internet for breastfeeding support. Looking back, it was a watershed moment for me. I had no idea that so much of my time would include helping breastfeeding mothers through the Internet, and using technology to help mothers feel confident, the way my sister helped me as I sat in the NICU with my new baby. But that is exactly what happened. I turned to the La Leche League International mother-to-mother forums. Before I knew it, I was asking for–and offering–advice to other breastfeeding mothers. Then something unexpected happened: I was making friends in a way that I never had before—online.

My second son was born in the summer of 2009. My early breastfeeding experience with him was very different. His birth was wonderful as well. He was placed directly on my chest, and latched on and began breastfeeding within about ten minutes after birth. I quickly realized that breastfeeding counseling and education was a professional avenue I wanted to pursue. The fact that it all happened online was serendipitous. I had two young children and a husband who was deployed often. I went online and began connecting with other breastfeeding mothers, to offer support, encouragement, and advice.

The Advantages of Online Support

The Internet offers support in a unique way. You can take what you want and leave the rest. You can find mothers online at 2 a.m. when another late-night feeding that has left you feeling ragged. It’s a global community; your midnight is someone else’s 10 a.m. You might find like-minded women who share many of the same values, who live in a different town, state, or country−but your similarities are enough that you form friendships and keep coming back for more support.

Even if you don’t have access to local support groups at hospitals, or there are no breastfeeding mothers who meet regularly in your area, you don’t have to be alone. You can find your tribe online. The collective group of online mothers offering nursing support is very giving. Someone will hop in on a moment’s notice to help. Access is instant, and in our increasingly technologically driven world, this is appealing to many mothers. Sometimes the support becomes real and tangible: a card for Christmas, a birthday present, a sympathy gift for a lost relative, etc. Either way, the friendships are genuine and the support is invaluable. Online support helped me to continue breastfeeding, and on some days my friend from the forum saved my sanity!

Mothers have been using the Internet to help one another since the 1990s, but those born after 1982, which we refer to as the Millen­nial Generation, grew up alongside the Internet, and they use technol­ogy in almost every aspect of their lives. Time spent online increases after our babies are born by as much as 44% (McCann & McCulloch, 2012). A recent study, Feeding on the Web: Online Social Support in the Breastfeeding Context, by Jennifer Gray, examines how and why women are plugging into the virtual world for breastfeeding support.

More and more women are turning to the Web for health-related support, making it a fruitful option to study breastfeeding communication … An interesting arena to study breastfeeding support communication is the Internet as it offers a record of such support requested and received, and is a place more and more women are seeking breastfeeding support and information (Gray, 2013).

With every breastfeeding-related article published, blog post shared, question answered on a Facebook Timeline, or tweet sent through the “Twitterverse,” this information is stored and can be accessed at will when needed by mothers. The best part is that once you connect with mothers online, they will show you exactly where to go to get what you need. Then that mother will share it, and so on and so on. In less than two decades, women have built an amazing virtual infrastructure of support with the hope that no mother in need of help will fall through the cracks.

One aspect of virtual support is that mothers came to the Internet for answers, and they often stayed because of friends. Friendships began online with the first groups of women who communicated through email and LISTSERVs, and they became more real with the passage of time as technology now allows women to share not only stories, but pictures and videos of themselves and their families, thus enhancing the “real-life” aspect of virtual friendships. It should come as no surprise that women in the early days of motherhood spend more time online than ever before.

They may participate in hyperpersonal communica­tion online, building relationships and finding sup­port that they could not receive face to face, particu­larly those who are isolated in the early period after a birth, feeding an infant at home every two to three hours (Gray, 2013).

Ask any new mother who is at home with a week-old baby how different her life is now, and she probably wouldn’t even be able to articulate the incredible change. It is an awkward time. We need support and help more than ever, but we are often alone and afraid because we have no idea what we are doing. No mother should ever feel alone, or like she doesn’t have anyone to talk to who can help answer her questions. Technology has given us a way to end the isolation and increase support: anywhere, anytime.

Lara AudeloLara Audelo is the mother of two young boys, and a passionate breastfeeding educator and advocate. She believes increased education for all is the key to helping mothers achieve their individual breastfeeding goals, and is crucial for individuals who are responsible for providing much-needed support to nursing mothers. She received her Certified Lactation Education Counselor (CLEC) credential from University of California San Diego (UCSD) in 2010. This article is excerpted from her new book, The Virtual Breastfeeding Culture (2013, Praeclarus Press. Used with permission). Lara can be reached at mamapeardesigns@gmail.com.

 

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World Wide Impact in 10 Minutes or Less: Using Social Media for Powerful Change

By Amber McCann, IBCLC

One week ago, Lactation Matters posted a blog entitled If YOU Don’t Advocate forMothers & Babies, Who Will? If there was any doubt that you, the Lactation Matters readers, were willing to step up to the plate, that doubt has been squashed. Within moments of the publishing the post, the initiative to use social media to ask the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) about their acceptance of money from major industry, including Swiftmoney Nestle, was gaining ground.

In response to the blog post, over 400 readers have joined a Facebook group, Friends of the WHO Code, to discuss advocacy and activism as it relates to the WHO Code and social media. Discussions this week have centered around gaining the attention of those involved in this situation and those who have the power to influence decisions. The group has worked hard to get the message out that that acceptance of funds that constitute a conflict of interest are unacceptable for an organization whose purpose is to protect the public health of the world. The group is primarily using Twitter as a means to connect and raise a tidal wave of support. And, it has been SUCCESSFUL!

Wednesday morning, those in the group noticed that the World Health Organization was responding to our questions with the following tweets:

In addition, WHO posted the following message on their Facebook page:

The conversation is beginning in the social media space and is a perfect example of how social media has the power to quickly bring all the players to the table. Although the World Health Organization has engaged in conversation with us, there is much work still to be done.

Do you have 10 minutes?

Would you join the conversation?

In a few short minutes, you can play a significant role in this initiative. Please consider taking 10 minutes and doing the following:

  1. Join the Friends of the WHO Code Facebook group
  2. Go to Twitter* and share the following tweets (just copy and paste!):

#WHOCode protects women&babies from predatory marketing. Shame @Nestle for trying to buy seat at the @PAHOWHO table #nonestle #breastfeeding

Tell @PAHOWHO to give back @Nestle $150K #nonestle #WHOCode #breastfeeding #conflictofinterest http://t.co/nnWJCIfX @WHO

We will not be bought! @PAHOWHO please return the money to @nestle . Stand up for mothers and babies. #WHOCode #breastfeeding #nonestle

If you’ve got more than 10 minutes, would you lend your expertise, insight, and skills to the movement?

Two thoughtful ladies responded to last weeks Call to Action with this quote from Margaret Meade:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

The time is now.  Let’s change the world.

* If Twitter feels like another language to you, we understand. Check out the support from Birth Swell and Twitter’s Help Center.

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside of Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.  She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same. In addition to her work as the co-editor of Lactation Matters, the International Lactation Consultant Association’s official blog, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including for HygeiaThe Leaky Boob, and Best for Babes. She also serves on the Social Media Coordinator for GOLD Conferences International and is a regular contributor to The Boob Group, a weekly online radio program for breastfeeding moms.  When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at @iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV.

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American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding Launches New Facebook Page

By Jennifer Thomas, MD, MPH, IBCLC, FAAP, FABM

The internet has increasingly become a tool for people seeking health By Jennifer Thomas, MD, MPH, IBCLC, FAAP, FABM
information. A Pew Internet and American Life survey in 2011 showed that 80% of internet users have visited a website for information or support for a specific health problem, 19% of whom searched for information on pregnancy and childbirth.

Social media has increasingly become a tool for organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), to share information pertinent to the goals, mission, vision, publications and achievements. It has become a way to promote new products. It increases awareness about current issues, and can, unfortunately, generate misinformation which can be quickly disseminated widely. As the AAP is the recognized authority on the care of children, in addition to provide accurate information to physicians and breastfeeding mothers, we see this misinformation as a problem which needs to be addressed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding recently launched a new Facebook page.  It was created to:

    • Raise awareness of activities, products, and resources produced by the Section on Breastfeeding.
    • Highlight our members achievements.
    • Recruit new pediatricians to our membership.
    • Highlight pertinent evidence-based practices and publications.
    • Present evidence-based information in response to trends on social media which may be detrimental to the experience of new breastfeeding mothers.
    • Join in the discussions, currently occurring in social media about breastfeeding.

The Facebook page has the potential to be many things but it will not be a place for our section’s members to offer clinical advice.  It will be for the dissemination of information only. 

We invite IBCLCs and other breastfeeding professionals and volunteers to come “like” our page and engage in the conversation with us. A strong collaboration between pediatricians and other members of a baby and their family’s health care team is vital to their breastfeeding success.

Click HERE to connect with the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding’s new Facebook page.

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IBCLCs Play a Critical Role in the US Best Fed Beginnings Program

By Debi Ferrarello, MSN, MS, IBCLC

The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) launched it’s CDC-supported Best Fed Beginnings program with the ambitious goal of preparing 90 US hospitals for Baby-Friendly designation by September, 2014. The 90 hospitals were selected from 235 applicants and represent 29 states with dubious distinction of having the lowest breastfeeding rates and the highest rates of supplementation during the hospital stay. The 90 hospitals were further divided into three geographical cohorts of 30
hospitals each.

IBCLCs gathering at the recent NICHQ Region B conference in Baltimore.

Each hospital has a “core team” that includes a senior administrator, at least one physician, a nurse leader, a bedside nurse, a data manager, a team leader, a senior lactation consultant, and a mother who does not work for the hospital and has given recently given birth at the hospital. This model addresses administrative “buy-in” issues by requiring senior administrator participation. In fact, the senior administrators have their own track tailored especially for their needs. Since creating a community that supports breastfeeding is a goal of Baby-Friendly, involving a mother from the community makes so much sense!

Recently, hospital core teams from “Region B” gathered in Baltimore, MD for a two day learning session (and Baltimore’s famous crabcakes on our own!). National public health leaders such as CDC’s Laurence Grummer-Strawn and Charles Homer, MD, MPH, president of NICHQ and on faculty at Harvard University, kicked off the event and energized the crowd. Over the course of two days, participants learned more about why breastfeeding is so important, how hospital practices make a difference, and what teams can do to transform the culture. We heard specifics about Baby-Friendly designation directly from Trish Mac Enroe and Liz Westwater of Baby Friendly USA. ILCA members Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, MPH, IBCLC and Anne Merewood, PhD, IBCLC provided specific strategies for success. Pediatrician Sahira Long, MD, gave insights into providing culturally appropriate care. We learned Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) techniques that are essential to measure our baseline, develop strategies for change and chart our progress as we strive to support breastfeeding from the prenatal period, throughout childbirth and the hospital stay, and into the postpartum period. Finally, we heard from hospitals in our region who have already become Baby-Friendly as they shared trials and triumphs that we could all relate to.

Each participating hospital made a “story board” or video about their hospital, their goals, their successes, and challenges. Pennsylvania Hospital Core Team members enjoyed seeing what others have done and were proud to share our history of “rooming-in” dating back to 1765! Debi Ferrarello, Susan Meyers, Brittany Stofko, Kelly Wade, Pam Powers, and Karen Anastasia in front of their hospital story board.

So what do IBCLCs need to know about this initiative? IBCLCs need to know that after years of pushing that boulder up the mountain alone, there is suddenly an army of folks pushing right along with us…And we need to welcome the newcomers to the task. We need to be prepared to graciously play support roles as leaders who may never before have considered breastfeeding suddenly “discover” it. Many of the hospital team leaders are IBCLCs, meaning that we need to quickly become experts in CQI tools that were never part of The Exam and develop the essential skills to effectively lead an interdisciplinary team through a complex and multi-layered transformation. This is challenging work, but then again, IBCLCs have always be up for a challenge!

Best Fed Beginnings brings opportunities for IBCLCs. In order to become Baby-Friendly, hospitals need to make sure that all of their nurses have at least 20 hours of breastfeeding education, including five hours of competency-based demonstration. IBCLCs can teach classes and conduct skills labs for the competency education. While hospitals are not required to employ IBCLCs for Baby-Friendly designation, many do hire IBCLCs to care for their patients, as well as to provide education for other staff members. And finally, as hospitals invest resources into breastfeeding support, the visibility of those with expertise in lactation care rises. IBCLCs become far more valuable in the eyes of the hospital and the community. This is all good for IBCLCs, and ultimately for mothers and babies!

Debi Ferrarello, MSN, MS, IBCLC is honored to lead the NICHQ Core Team for the nation’s first hospital—Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.  Over the years she has worked in private practice, co-founded the nonprofit communty-based Breastfeeding Resource Center with Colette Acker, IBCLC, and led hospital-based lactation programs.  She conducts breastfeeding-related research, writes and speaks about breastfeeding, and is passionate about breastfeeding as public health.  She currently serves on the board of the United States Lactation Consultant Association. 

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Reducing the Breastfeeding Disparities Among African American Women: A Commentary from ROSE, Inc.

Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc. (ROSE) seeks to enhance, encourage, support, and promote breastfeeding throughout the USA, by working to reduce the breastfeeding disparities among African American women. We also seek to strengthen the health of their families through, mentoring, breastfeeding support groups, social support, outreach, education, health policies and social marketing. ROSE works with national groups to strengthen local groups that serve African Americans who breastfeed.

It is our understanding that a storm is brewing in the lactation community among International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and the several other lactation certifying organizations to gain the title of grand matron of the breastfeeding world. The African American community needs all the breastfeeding management assistance we can get in order to overcome the breastfeeding disparities in our community. ROSE is grateful for the work that you all do. We understand that breastfeeding promotion is not enough. To be successful, mothers may need hours of skilled help that is provided when needed. We are of the position that there is a need for several levels of lactation managers. There is a need for the novice, the beginner, the intermediate and the expert lactation specialist. We are of the position that EVERY informed person can help a mother to breastfeed. We are in NEED of every advocate who wishes to be involved with lactation management, to be applauded and welcomed to the table of breastfeeding protection. Everyone does not NEED a cardiologist. Everyone does not need a specialist. However, when a specialist is needed, it is wonderful to be able to refer to the IBCLC.

Becoming and maintaining the designation as an IBCLC is a complicated and expensive process. Many of us, concerned with addressing the disparities of breastfeeding in the African American community do not have the luxury of the time that it takes nor the necessary funds to be involved in this complicated process. This is what we have been told by African American health care providers and community organizers as we travel. That some sort of designation is important for the provider of direct lactation services in the hospital, is an underlying theme. We are of the firm belief that EVERY person, that has contact with and cares for mothers and babies in the hospital, should be trained to assist mothers in the hospital with skin to skin, latch and pumping when necessary. Our goal is to have every African American woman who has successfully breastfed a baby help another African American woman breastfeed her baby. Most of these women will never be an IBCLC.

Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc. recently coordinated a Breastfeeding Summit which involved African American healthcare providers, community advocates, organizations, and government representatives from throughout the United States. We came together to ponder, discuss and debate the breastfeeding disparities in the African American community. We also celebrated. We celebrated the many accomplishments of the breastfeeding advocates that were gathered. This was an African American “Dream Team” of breastfeeding experts. There were 49 persons who assisted with the planning and execution of the summit. Three were African American IBCLC’s. Ten were African American CLC’s. All were experts at what they brought to the table to assist African American women breastfeed their babies.

Discussions during the Summit included: reforming healthcare through breastfeeding, exemplary lactation projects, consulting with doctors on effective initiatives, samples of breastfeeding support programs, saving our babies, reclaiming our breastfeeding experience, a continuum of care from the hospital to the neighborhood which featured primary care, hospital, community and public health and bridging the gap on breastfeeding disparities. These were the concerns of the experts on the planning committee. They were confirmed to be significant issues in our community by those in attendance. The raging debate about what certifying body should reign supreme in lactation management cannot distract us as we seek to save our babies. We could, however use your help with special situations when the occasion arises. ROSE will continue to be about the business of increasing initiation rates and duration rates of breastfeeding in the African American community.

You may contact ROSE, Inc. by sending email to BreastfeedingRose@gmail.com or visiting their website at BreastfeedingRose.org.

Kimarie Bugg MSN, MPH, is President and CEO of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere Inc. (ROSE), a nonprofit developed to decrease breastfeeding disparities in the African American community. ROSE’s mission is to train African American healthcare providers and community organizations to provide culturally competent encouragement and support so that African American mothers may begin to breastfeed at higher rates and sustain their breastfeeding experience to match the goals expected by the Surgeon General of the United States. Kim has been a bedside breastfeeding counselor in a large metropolitan hospital, managed perinatal and breastfeeding projects and programs at the state level, and has served as a technical advisor to Best Start, as well as for the US Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. Kim was a founding member and officer of Georgia breastfeeding task force (coalition) and SEILCA. Kim was trained at Wellstart International and has traveled throughout the United States and several foreign countries training healthcare professionals to manage lactation. Kim previously worked for Emory University, school of medicine, department of pediatrics as a nurse practitioner. She also provides the training for Georgia’s WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, a proud position held since 2005. Kim is married to Dr. George Bugg Jr, a neonatologist and they have five breastfed children.

Mary Nicholson Jackson, CLC, works in a large urban hospital as a breastfeeding consultant and is the co-president of the Georgia State Breastfeeding coalition. Mary is Vice President of ROSE She is on numerous committees and task forces that address breastfeeding and lactation management in the community. She previously worked with Healthy Mother, Healthy Babies of Georgia. Mary is married and the mother of three adult children. She has three grandchildren.

Betty Neal, R.N., MSN, is a founding member of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere Inc. (ROSE), a nonprofit developed to decrease breastfeeding disparities in the African American community. ROSE’s mission is to train African American healthcare providers and community organizations to provide culturally competent encouragement and support so that African American mothers may begin to breastfeed at higher rates and sustain their breastfeeding experience to match the goals expected by the Surgeon General of the United States. Betty has worked in women’s health for over 30 years. She completed certification as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner from Emory University. She recently retired from the State of Georgia Department of Human Resources, DeKalb County Board of Health as a public health nurse and program administration where she managed, developed and implemented numerous statewide and local public health programs. Her past experiences include instruction in a baccalaureate nursing program and mother-baby nursing in a large urban hospital. She has an passion for mothers and babies and believes we must support and ”nurture our mothers who will nurture our babies”.

Andrea Serano, a ROSE Inc. staff member, is from North Hollywood CA., and attended Mount St. Mary’s College with a major in Healthcare Policy and minor in Business Administration. During her course of studies, she participated in the Washington Semester Program- Transforming Communities at American University. She has interned at the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Service in the Office on Women’s Health and at Great Beginnings for Black Babies. Andrea has participated in breastfeeding awareness movements through the use of social media and hopes to one day establish a young women’s development center in the country of Belize.

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Making Connections: Serendipity + Opportunity + a Few Lily Pads

As a follow-up to Tuesday’s post about mother-to-mother support, we asked Melissa Vickers to share about how she came to be a co-editor with Dr. Virginia Thorley on this project.

By Melissa Clark Vickers, MEd, IBCLC

Try something with me…. Instead of looking ahead to where you’re heading next, turn around and look where you’ve come. How did you get to this point in time and space? Was it following a path you’d planned years ago, or did your actual path diverge? I suspect that few of us decided as young children, “When I grow up, I want to be an IBCLC!”

I decided early that I would be a teacher, and I did teach for five years. And then I had babies, discovered breastfeeding and La Leche League, and earned my IBCLC. I was still teaching – not in a classroom but in mothers’ homes. And, I’d added something else to my life, just as unexpected (to me) as becoming a mother-to-mother breastfeeding supporter: writing. And THAT has led to even more surprising opportunities.

My career path was no longer linear, neatly mapped out by college degrees and traditional job settings. My new path began to resemble the frog that happily jumps from one lily pad  to the next, combining opportunity with a little faith that the pad will hold her up and point her to the next interesting pad.

Writing for various La Leche League International (LLLI) publications led me to working with Rebecca Magalhães, former LLLI Director of External Affairs and LLLI’s link to World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). Rebecca would periodically call me and say, “Hey, Melissa! How would you like to do this project?” I worked with Rebecca and others on the 2008 WABA World Breastfeeding Week Action folder, and that led to a booklet for WABA, Mother Support for Breastfeeding: Selected Statements and Excerpts about Mother Support in Key International Documents. Rebecca and Paulina Smith (another LLL Leader with WABA ties) and I worked as a team to create this document.

Meanwhile, on a lily pad not too far away, I was working on another serendipitous opportunity – I had the honor of working with Marian Tompson, LLL Co-Founder, to co-author her memoir, Passionate Journey – My Unexpected Life. I had never written a book before, but Marian was willing to take a chance on my eagerness to help tell her amazing life story. As that two year project came to a close, Rebecca was poised on the next lily pad, pointing this frog to her next opportunity.

Australian IBCLC, Virginia Thorley, had an idea for a book about mother support for breastfeeding that would include chapters written by authors around the world. She wanted help and asked Rebecca and Paulina if they would be interested. Rebecca recommended me as a possible co-editor.

I might have heard of Virginia on Lactnet, but I doubt that she’d ever heard of me. In any case, neither of us had a clue what working together on such an undertaking might be like. But we both trusted Rebecca’s faith in the other’s abilities, and we were both willing to make that leap to the next lily pad.

It’s interesting working on a project of this magnitude with someone you’ve never met before, and would only get to know through email. Thankfully, we hit it off, and despite working half a world away from each other, had just a few hours each day that we could both be at our computers. We shared our lives and the chapters we authored, and traded off editing the 18 chapters from authors around the world—some of them written by those for whom English was a second language. We plugged away at the task, despite very busy individual lives. We learned from each other and from each of our chapter authors, and collectively we created a tapestry of mother support, The 10th Step and Beyond: Mother Support for Breastfeeding.

From Chapter 1: Why Breastfeeding Women Need Mother Support –

When mothers are adequately supported to breastfeed, everyone−the baby, the mother, the family, the community−benefits. This kind of support, coming from many different facets of society, helps move us toward breastfeeding as the cultural norm and weaves a tapestry of support. Tapestries are both beautiful and strong, and the beauty and strength come from the diversity of types of support interwoven together. While any form of support can help a mother breastfeed her child, the synergistic effect of the tapestry makes it easier on that mother, empowering her to support other mothers. Ted Greiner has stated this idea succinctly:

Anything done by anyone on behalf of making the world a better place where breastfeeding works better for mothers and babies is doing a great service. It may seem small, but it all really adds up.

I’d like to think that through our book Virginia and I (and our chapter authors) have taken a few of those small steps (or lily pad leaps) to making the world a place where breastfeeding works better for mothers and babies.

Melissa Clark Vickers traded a career as a biology teacher to become mom, IBCLC, and writer. She also works as the IMPACT (Improving Maternal and Child Health Policies so All Children Thrive) Project Coordinator for Family Voices, a U.S. organization dedicated to family-centered care and advocacy for families with children with special health care needs.

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