Cookie Policy

Archive | Social Media

Join the ILCA Social Medialert Team: Marketing IBCLCs and Empowering Families!

ILCALogo_full_text (2)Elevate your social media know-how while spreading evidence-based information about breastfeeding and the role the IBCLC® plays in supporting families!

Are you a breastfeeding advocate who uses social media to spread positive messages about breastfeeding and parenting?

Are you looking to increase your social media skills?

Would you like to support your profession with a growing social media presence?

The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA®) is seeking applicants for a one year volunteer position as an Online Community Manager (OCM).

As an ILCA OCM, you will:

  • Receive social media training (including the basics and masterclasses to take your skills to the next level) in the comfort of your own home, led by a social media expert.
  • Learn the cutting edge tools and strategies that will help you spread your breastfeeding know- how, build your online credibility, enhance online relationships and mobilize people, and deepen your skills as a strategic community builder.
  • Learn to use social media strategically to spread messages about breastfeeding, parenting, and the IBCLC profession.
  • Work on a team with others that love social media and breastfeeding as much as you do!

Preferred applicants should:

  • Be a current member of ILCA.
  • Be intrigued by social media.
  • Be familiar with and regularly use at least one social media platform (like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, blogging).
  • Love people!
  • Enjoy working in teams, interacting with a diverse online community and being respectful even when there’s controversy.
  • Have been known to “talk breastmilk” at a dinner party . . . and are familiar with current topics in breastfeeding, parenting, and the IBCLC profession.
  • Have time to learn and engage. The online training takes about 12 hours and will be conducted via interactive online platforms.
  • Have time to volunteer. Each OCM is expected to volunteer 2-3 hours per week on an ILCA social media platform, with our startup time (March/April) and 3 other times per year being even more intensive.
  • Make a commitment. Because of this significant free training opportunity, ILCA asks each volunteer to commit to being an ILCA Online Community Manager for a one year term.

If you are interested, please complete the application here. We look forward to learning more about you!


Making the Most of Social Media At The ILCA Conference – Even If You Can’t Make It To Phoenix!

Social Media At The ILCA ConferenceIf you are Phoenix bound you are probably picking your best swimsuit for the lazy river right now! Don’t forget to leave room in your bag for your iPad or laptop, because there’s a whole other way to get even more out of the conference: social media.

Not able to attend this year? You will be missed, but you can still join the conversation!

At The Conference

Of course face-to-face connections, conference talks, and the lazy river are going to be your top priorities. How can you use social media to enhance and not distract you from your conference experience?

Facebook folks:

Are you “going” on the event page? Be sure you have marked yourself as “going” on the ILCA Conference event page, which you can find here. The page is already active with people making plans for extracurricular events, sharing tips and conference going strategies, and coordinating rides. During the event, you’ll get updates on last minutes schedule changes, events, pictures to share, and more!

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.41.31 AM

Help us find your posts: use the hashtag! Sharing pictures on your facebook page of you with your favorite speaker? New insights? Favorite quotes? Be sure to mark your posts with the hashtag: #ILCA2014

ILCA Tweeps:

Join the backchannel conversation! Share your insights – and hear what others are saying – on Twitter. We’ll all be tweeting the ILCA conference on the hashtag #ILCA2014, and the Lactation Summit at #LactSummit14.

Tools tip: TweetChat is back up and running! This great tool isolates the tweets on the hashtag you choose, which can keep you from feeling distracted by other topics during a talk. Follow along at the conference in the #ILCA2014 room here or the Lactation Summit in the #LactSummit14 room here. Another great tool for managing multiple streams: Hootsuite.

Following along . . . from Phoenix or from around the world.

ILCA members from around the globe will be following along and joining the conversation.

On Facebook find others posts about the conference: during the conference, enter #ILCA2014 in the Facebook search bar. You’ll find all the conference-specific news! You can do the same for the Lactation Summit at #LactSummit14.

On Twitter: We want to hear from those of you who aren’t at the conference . . . especially at the Lactation Summit. Be sure to tweet to #LactSummit14 – there will be a dedicated person following along and keeping track of your insights.

On Pinterest: Check out our #ILCA2014 conference board here, where we’ll share insights and pictures from the conference.

McCulloch Speakers Headshot CroppedJeanette McCulloch, IBCLC, is the editor of Lactation Matters, the media coordinator for ILCA, and a principal at BirthSwell. You’ll find her at the conference happily tweeting under the #ILCA2014 or #LactSummit14 hashtags . . . or on the lazy river. She’s looking forward to meeting many of the Lactation Matters readers face-to-face, so please come and say hello!

What are your favorite ways to participate in the conference using social media?


MORE Great Breastfeeding Blogs to Read!

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLCDSC02925

Almost two years ago, I penned a post on this blog highlighting my favorite breastfeeding blogs for IBCLCs and other lactation professionals and volunteers to read. Since the online world moves so fast and a number of new resources pop up every week, I figured it was high time for an update.

One of my favorites continues to be Breastfeeding Medicine, the official blog of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM). I included it on my list last time and it is still the place I go to for thoughtful, evidence-based reflection on current breastfeeding trends. Primarily written by Dr. Alison Stuebe, a member of the ABM Board of Directors, it takes a balanced stance of the challenges facing today’s mothers. Her recent post, How Often Does Breastfeeding Come Undone, caused me to look inward and examine the assumptions I make when breastfeeding doesn’t go well for new families. I strongly encourage you to put this blog on your “must read” list.

As breastfeeding advocacy is growing and practical solutions to the real challenges faced by families are being proposed, I find myself relying more and more on Moms Rising. While not focusing exclusively on breastfeeding, there is a strong emphasis on the needs of new families, including parenting leave and workplace flexibility. In addition to informative blog articles, they also create resource guides for issues such as Breastfeeding and the Workplace.

The awareness of the importance of donor milk and milk banking has risen dramatically in the past year and the hard work of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America’s (HMBANA) member banks is paying off. A number of banks have extensive online profiles and I especially enjoy the blog of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank (and their accompanying Instagram profile). They are using these tools to reach out to donor mothers and increase access to donor milk. According to IMMB’s communication director Carissa Hawkins, the blog has driven much needed traffic to their website. “In the month since we posted this post on a recent policy change, web traffic has been higher then ever. We generally see about 1,500 hits a month. This post alone has had over 4,000. It was seen by over 3,000 people on Facebook and commented, liked, and shared over 1,o00 times.”

Some of the hardest working mothers I’ve ever encountered are those who serve in the military. Robyn Roche-Paull, BSN, RN, IBCLC and her hard work with Breastfeeding in Combat Boots serves not only to provide quality, evidenced-based education for the mothers who serve but also to give support and encouragement. Unique challenges abound for these families and having a place to engage about them is incredibly important.

I was so challenged almost two years ago when I began reading Milk Junkies, an honest and heartfelt blog written by Trevor MacDonald, a transgender father in Canada. Trevor shares his experience chestfeeding his son, their unique challenges, how their relationship challenges traditional gender roles and beliefs about breastfeeding, and affirms the incredible power of breastfeeding. It is my hope that as we, as a culture, will step away from our fear and disregard of our transgender community members and instead embrace them, especially in their role as parents who breastfeed. We need to be ready and Trevor’s blog is a wonderful resource.

As blogs continue to be an important part of the way in which we receive our news and information, I hope you will add these to your regular reading list. Of course,  also check out the ones listed in my previous Great Breastfeeding Blogs to Read (which has been updated to remove inactive blogs) and add your additions in the comments.


Moving On

By Amber McCann, IBCLC


Two years ago, I received a message from Decalie Brown, a board member of ILCA, asking me if I would consider coming along side the organization to give leadership for their blog, Lactation Matters. My dear friend, Robin Kaplan of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, had birthed the blog a year earlier and taken it through its infancy. She had been afforded the opportunity to kick-off The Boob Group podcast (if you aren’t listening, it is a fantastic resource for the mothers we serve!) and was handing off her ILCA responsibilities. My knowledge of Robin and the caliber of her work coupled with a true desire to be a part of walking ILCA through the changing tide of online communications led me to give a hearty “YES” to Decalie.

And thus began my wonderful term as blog editor for Lactation Matters. I had the opportunity to attend two amazing conferences (one in Orlando and the other in lovely Melbourne, Australia) and connect with countless ILCA members worldwide. I grew as a clinician and an advocate. I got to rub shoulders with many of those who have gone before me in the field and paved the way. Here are a few of my favorite moments:

Our Clinician in the Trenches Series: Early in my time with Lactation Matters, I was tasked with highlighting the work of ILCA members who were working with new mothers and babies in their communities to support them at the start of their breastfeeding journeys. We developed this series to ask the question “What Does a Typical Day Look Like for an IBCLC?”. The responses we got were varied and inspirational. So many of you are doing the hard work, over and over and over, to provide the families in your communities education, support, and advocacy. Bravo to you!

Engaging with Dr. Virginia Thorley: While working on a blog post about her latest book, The 10th Step and Beyond, I struck up an email relationship with Dr. Virginia Thorley. If you’ve ever been afforded the opportunity to engage with her, you know that she has a wealth of wisdom and a library of stories. My background is in sociology and I’m driven not by the science of lactation (though I do strongly respect its value) but by the connection it brings. I found a kindred spirit in Dr. Thorley. I was blessed to share dinner, face to face conversation, and her company while in Melbourne. I treasure those moments and her willingness to pour a bit of her magic into me.

IMG_3272Our 2013 World Breastfeeding Week Series: The theme in 2013 highlighted the many ways that support is provided in the community: through the workplace and employment, through government, through family and social networks, through crisis response, and through the health care system. We highlighted each of these methods in its own post and more than doubled our weekly posting average to focus on them all! We had a wonderful response and more views on the blog in a week than we’d ever had.

As I pass the baton to my colleague, Jeanette McCulloch, I do so with gratitude. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my gifts with ILCA and I look forward to continuing to serve in the future. I couldn’t be more confident that Jeanette will take the foundation that was built by Robin Kaplan and I and grow the ILCA presence higher and higher. As I give up my responsiblities with ILCA, I’ll use the time I get back to explore my new hometown of Pittsburgh (and eat my way through all of its amazing restaurants) and find new and exciting ways to support the mothers in my community. I’ll never be far from ILCA. They help me everyday to “empower mothers and save babies’ lives.”

Photo credit: Amber McCann, IBCLC


Join the ILCA Social Medialert Team: Marketing IBCLCs and Empowering Mothers!

ILCAElevate your social media know-how while spreading evidence-based information about breastfeeding and the role the IBCLC plays in supporting families!

Are you a breastfeeding advocate who uses social media to spread positive messages about breastfeeding and parenting?

Are you looking to increase your social media skills?
Would you like to support your profession with a growing social media presence?

The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) is seeking applicants for a one year volunteer position as an Online Community Manager (OCM).

As an ILCA OCM, you will:

  • Receive social media training (including the basics and masterclasses to take your skills to the next level) in the comfort of your own home, led by a social media expert.
  • Learn the cutting edge tools and strategies that will help you spread your breastfeeding know- how, build your online credibility, enhance online relationships and mobilize people, and deepen your skills as a strategic community builder.
  • Learn to use social media strategically to spread messages about breastfeeding, parenting, and the IBCLC profession.
  • Work on a team with others that love social media and breastfeeding as much as you do!

Preferred applicants should:

  • Be a current member of ILCA.
  • Be intrigued by social media.
  • Be familiar with and regularly use at least one social media platform (like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, blogging).
  • Love people!
  • Enjoy working in teams, interacting with a diverse online community and being respectful even when there’s controversy.
  • Have been known to “talk breastmilk” at a dinner party . . . and are familiar with current topics in breastfeeding, parenting, and the IBCLC profession.
  • Have time to learn and engage. The online training takes about 12 hours and will be conducted via interactive online platforms.
  • Have time to volunteer. Each OCM is expected to volunteer 2-3 hours per week on an ILCA social media platform, with our startup time (February) and 2 other times per year being even more intensive.
  • Make a commitment. Because of this significant free training opportunity, ILCA asks each volunteer to commit to being an ILCA Online Community Manager for a one year term.

If you are interested, please complete the application here. We look forward to learning more about you!


YouTube for Breastfeeding: Video Sharing as a Counseling Tool

By Jessica Lang Kosa, PhD, IBCLC

youtube-logo2“Do you have any suggestions for how to get a deeper latch?” asks the mom on the phone. I’ve been a LLL leader for years, so I have a lot of experience with phone counseling, but certain questions always leave me struggling for words while illustrating my point with animated hand gestures that are invisible to the caller. Even the best description of a physical technique just doesn’t do it justice – a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video, well that’s priceless. Hence, my YouTube channel.

YouTube is a video sharing website that allows anyone to post videos. They can be restricted to only certain viewers, or can be made public. If a video is public, then other users can share it around by marking it as a favorite, emailing a link, or adding it to a playlist (a collection of videos). The copyright agreement that video creators agree to allows only for open sharing within YouTube – not for downloading the video. Links to a video can also be embedded in a Facebook post, blog, or other social media, but the link goes back to YouTube. A user can simply view other people’s videos, or can create a channel – essentially a homepage, where the host can present their own videos and links and comments on other public videos. Accounts and channels are free. Creators of a video can choose to show an ad at the beginning to generate revenue (both for themselves and for YouTube), and this is what keeps it viable.

As a teaching tool, this is incredibly powerful. A mother calls to say she is engorged and can’t get the baby to latch. I can send her to a video demonstrating reverse pressure softening. Any time I teach a client a technique – hand expression, laid-back breastfeeding, supplementing at breast – I can also give her links to videos. Learning theorists say that we all remember information better when we receive it through multiple routes; verbal, kinesthetic, and visual all reinforce each other. I can also diversify, by offering both my own videos – reminding her of what I taught her in person – and other public videos, usually offering a slightly different approach. She can see for herself a real range of practices, and experiment to find what works for her. One of my favorite things to teach new mothers is nursing while babywearing. Since there are zillions of different carriers, and many ways of nursing in them, collecting a lot of examples in a playlist is super useful.

I’ve posted several videos I made myself; all are short simple ones shot with an iPhone. One of the first videos I posted was a live demonstration of hand expression by a colleague. Within 48 hours, it had thousands of views, and had been flagged as “inappropriate” and removed by YouTube. I fought YouTube, and got it reinstated, now marked “18 and over” and “For Health Education Only.” I also disabled the comments – most of which were coming from people who were not my intended audience.

After that, I switched mostly to videos using props rather than actual breasts. In addition to reducing the troll traffic, props have several advantages. For one thing, they simplify. For another, it’s easy to make a point very quickly. My demo baby (a teddy bear) can be moved around into several different positions, including those that would be uncomfortable for a real baby. Seeing a real baby latch is valuable too, but with my bear, puppet, and knitted breast, I can illustrate the key points several times over in less than a minute. Another lesson I’ve learned is that a 1-minute video is generally more useful than a 10-minute video.

Since my goal in posting videos is to have an easy teaching tool, I have not put ads on my own videos. But it’s an option, and a popular video can make some significant ad revenue. For those who just want to use videos to support their work with mothers, the first step is to create an account, and browse. Search terms like breastfeeding, twins, pumping, whatever you find yourself describing often. When you find something you like, click “Favorite”, or “Add to Playlist.” For a playlist, you will have a chance to create a new playlist, name it (such as “Twin nursing positions”), and add a description. A playlist is good for when you want to organize multiple videos on a topic. Then, you can email or text links to individual videos, or a playlist, or your “channel.” (Or to my channel, which can be found HERE.) This is not a time-consuming process, and it’s free. And it’s much easier than describing that invisible latching baby over the phone.

Jessica head 4Jessica Lang Kosa is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice in the Boston area.  She offers home visits for comprehensive breastfeeding help, and teaches courses in breastfeeding support for professionals who work with mothers and babies.


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



El Código Internacional: ¿Sigue siendo relevante en la era de la información? {Parte 2}

We are proud to offer this Spanish translation to our popular post “The International Code: Is It Still Relevant in the Information Age? {Part 2}“.

Estamos orgullosos de presentar la segunda de dos entradas al blog sobre el Código Internacional de Comercialización de Sucedáneos de la Leche Materna (Puede leer la primera parte aquí). Este documento es vital para nuestro trabajo y es una pieza clave de apoyo a las familias que servimos. Después de nuestro post anterior, que era un “Código 101 de la OMS ” básico, la entrada de hoy cuestiona “¿Y ahora qué?”, ​​ Se discute cómo nuestras interpretaciones y aplicaciones del código tienen que cambiar con la llegada de nuevos estilos de marketing, incluido el uso de los medios sociales.

Por Norma O. Escobar, IBCLC (Con el aporte de Annelies Allain del Centro de Documentación del Código Internacional)

La mayoría de nosotros estamos familiarizados con las violaciones más comunes al código, publicidad directa en los medios impresos, muestras gratuitas en los hospitales y consultorios médicos, cupones para descuentos. Pero ¿qué pasa con los métodos de marketing que han surgido con el advenimiento de las redes sociales y el teléfono inteligente (smart phone) “siempre presente”?

¿Qué hay de nuevo?

Los mayores cambios en los últimos años han sido la explosión de los medios sociales y la ampliación del uso de los teléfonos inteligentes. Los medios sociales ocupan un estimado de 20% del tiempo que los estadounidenses gastan en línea en sus computadoras y el 30% de su tiempo en sus dispositivos móviles.

Las mujeres, y las personas de 18-34 años, son más propensas que otros grupos a visitar los sitios de medios sociales. Por ejemplo, las mujeres representan el 62% de todas las visitas de páginas en Facebook. Estas estadísticas sugieren que para muchas mujeres estadounidenses, los acontecimientos importantes de la vida como el embarazo, el parto y la maternidad están siendo influenciados por los medios de comunicación social. Y estas cifras crecen cada año. Según el informe de Nielsen, el tiempo que se gastó en los medios sociales en 2011 fue de 88 minutos al mes. En 2012, ese número había aumentado a 121 minutos.

De acuerdo con Nielsen: “Los días en que las empresas podían controlar muy bien los mensajes de la marca y su avance en los consumidores a lo largo de un línea de compra ordenada, hace tiempo que terminó. Los medios sociales han cambiado fundamentalmente la decisión del consumidor. Las decisiones de consumo y comportamientos cada vez están más impulsados por las opiniones, gustos y preferencias de una manera exponencial, grupo de amigos, compañeros y personas influyentes “.

sherylabrahamsComo resultado de estos cambios, la comercialización de los productos dentro del ámbito del código también ha cambiado. Sheryl Abrahams, una estudiante graduada en el Instituto Global de Lactancia Materna de Carolina, pensó que sería un buen proyecto de investigación averiguar cómo el código se está siguiendo, o no, en los campos de juego de los medios sociales. Sus resultados han sido publicados en el Journal of Human Lactation, agosto de 2012. Yo estaba haciendo mi propia investigación informal cuando tuve la oportunidad de hablar con ella en el otoño de 2011.

Los intereses comerciales tienen una presencia muy fuerte en los medios sociales: Varios fabricantes han establecido una presencia en Facebook y Twitter, incluyendo Gerber y productos PBM, el mayor fabricante de marcas de fórmulas en EE.UU., el cual ha lanzado páginas para sus diversos nombres: Bright Beginnings, Parent’s Choice, Vermont Organics y Member’s Mark. Earth’s Best, que fabrica fórmula, también tiene una página en Facebook. Todas estas páginas están configuradas para permitir comentarios de los miembros y permitir a los usuarios a darle “me gusta” o “seguir” a la página. Después, los usuarios quedan en el registro como “gustando” la página, un hecho que da motivo a sus  propios contactos de revisar estos sitios.

gerberLa página de Facebook de Gerber, en una sección dirigida a embarazadas, contiene un enlace a la información sobre una bolsa de regalo para cuando esté de alta del hospital, incluyendo un enlace para ver los hospitales participantes que están repartiendo la bolsa. También contiene biografías de dietistas registrados “expertos” que están a su disposición para responder a las preguntas publicadas. Hace un tiempo el sitio tenía un vínculo a cupones de fórmula.

Gerber, Parent’s Choice, Bright Beginnings y Member’s Mark de tiempo en tiempo patrocinan concursos de fotografías, en el que los usuarios envían fotos de sus hijos al sitio para oportunidades de ganar tarjetas de regalo y otros premios. Los usuarios a menudo tienen que  dar clic al “me gusta” o convertirse en un fan de la página para poder ganar. Estas fotos o las ganadoras, son publicadas en el sitio para que otros las puedan ver.

No hay datos sobre la superioridad de la leche materna en ninguna de estas páginas, excepto la página de Facebook de Earth’s Best, que son fabricantes de fórmula y alimentos complementarios. Ninguna de estas páginas contiene la lista completa de los avisos requeridos en el Código, como la información sobre los efectos adversos sobre la lactancia materna con la introducción parcial de la alimentación con biberón.

similacLuego están las “aplicaciones”. ¿No todas las mamás desean añadir una mayor previsibilidad a su vida? ¿Y quién no quiere ser una “madre fuerte”?

¿Qué tipo de información están estas madres recibiendo? Una de las seguidoras de Unlatched, una página de Facebook de apoyo a la lactancia, envió este correo electrónico que recibió cuando su bebé tenía 5 semanas de edad.

containterSe puede ver que la intención es promover un producto, no promover la lactancia materna. ¡Y usted puede conseguir fórmula GRATIS para que pueda empezar!

Otro aspecto de los medios de comunicación social son los blogs, “celebridades” en línea que las personas siguen y leen para obtener gran parte de su información. Para mi gran sorpresa, hay patrocinio de estos bloggers, se les paga para revisar productos y servicios. Muchas madres creen que estas son opiniones “independientes”, pero en realidad están muy sesgadas. La fuente de estos pagos es a través de terceros. Uno de estos terceros, se llama Collective Bias.

¿Y quiénes son estos clientes de Collective Bias? Su sitio web dice:

“Collective Bias es una empresa de marketing de contenido que asocia contenido social orgánico con historias reales para crear millones de impresiones, la unidad orgánica de SEO y en última instancia, las ventas de marcas y minoristas como Starbucks, Nestlé, Elmer’s y Walgreens.”

¿Quiénes son las personas que desean crear comunidades dedicadas a fomentar conversaciones compartidas, crear una plataforma que fomente la promoción en un diálogo orgánico. . . en última instancia, mejorar la lealtad y las VENTAS? Son las empresas multinacionales que ponen las ganancias por delante de la salud de millones de madres y bebés.

Las redes sociales se están utilizando en clara violación del Código Internacional.

Algunas prácticas, tales como la activación de contenido generado por usuarios, como fotos, vídeos, comentarios, endorso con un solo clic, y patrocinio a blogs de terceros, plantea cuestiones no previstas por el Código original.

Abraham concluye su investigación diciendo: “Las futuras revisiones del Código deberían considerar nuevas estrategias de marketing permitido por los medios sociales, incluyendo el uso de contenidos generados por usuarios, divulgación de patrocinio de críticos, bloggers y creadores de otros medios de comunicación y vínculos financieros que proporcionan educación a las madres y familias”.

Por lo tanto, ¿sigue siendo el Código relevante?

SÍ. El hecho de que la comercialización sea menos transparente y obvia que antes, no significa que nos vamos a rendir. Mientras a la Asamblea Mundial de la Salud puede que le tome un tiempo para aclarar las nuevas cuestiones que los medios sociales han generado para el Código, no tenemos que esperar hasta la próxima resolución. ¡Aun así, podemos y debemos hacer una diferencia! De hecho, propongo que, gracias a los medios de comunicación social, sea aún más fácil hacer que su voz se escuche.

¿Qué puede usted hacer?

  • ¡Ya hace mucho! Ayudar a las madres a amamantar es una gran manera de ayudar a derrotar a los intereses comerciales. Hable con las madres sobre los riesgos de los suplementos innecesarios y su impacto en la producción de leche incluyendo la dificultad de restablecer el amamantamiento
  • Familiarizarse con el Código. La Red Mundial de Grupos Pro Alimentación Infantil (IBFAN) es un recurso maravilloso y su sitio web contiene una gran cantidad de información.
  • Comprometerse a cumplir con las disposiciones del Código para “Trabajadores de la Salud” al hablar con las madres, profesionales de la salud, y cualquier persona involucrada con las madres y los bebés de la importancia del Código. Escribir cartas a revistas, páginas de Facebook y medios de comunicación que violan el Código. No aceptar comidas, regalos o patrocinio para su educación o conferencias que sean patrocinadas por compañías que violan el código.
  • Supervisar mediante la recopilación de muestras de revistas, exposiciones, tiendas, sitios web y consultorios médicos. Tome fotos de tiendas y exhibiciones en conferencias.
  • Informe violaciones a IBFAN o su red local “Vigilantes del Código” como la Alianza Nacional para la Defensa de la Lactancia Materna (NABA) o la Coalición para la acción en alimentación infantil (INFACT).
  • Asegúrese de no utilizar o proporcionar afiches, materiales educativos, libretitas, revistas, bolígrafos, imanes, etc. que le hayan obsequiado o que llevan el logotipo de los infractores del código.
  • Utilice los medios sociales, ¡tweet, post, me gusta y compartir!

benkenobiUsted puede hacer una diferencia. Tenemos que hacer una diferencia. Siempre me gusta contar la historia de los bebés del río cuando se habla del código, es una historia común que se aplica a muchos problemas de salud pública, pero creo que vale la pena repetirlo aquí. Es algo parecido a esto:

Un verano en un pueblo, la gente de la ciudad se reunieron para un picnic. Mientras compartían comida y conversación tranquilamente, alguien se dio cuenta de un bebé en el río, luchando y llorando. ¡El bebé se iba a ahogar! Alguien corrió a salvar al bebé. Entonces, se dieron cuenta de otro bebé gritando en el río, y sacaron a ese bebé. Pronto, vieron más bebés ahogándose en el río, y la gente del pueblo los sacaban tan rápido como podían. Tomó un gran esfuerzo, y comenzaron a organizar sus actividades con el fin de salvar a los bebés que llegaban por el río. Mientras todos estaban ocupados en las tareas de rescate para salvar a los bebés, dos personas del pueblo empezaron a correr por la orilla del río.

“¿A dónde van?”, Gritó uno de los rescatistas. “¡Los necesitamos aquí para ayudarnos a salvar a estos bebés!”

¡Vamos río arriba para detener a quien los está lanzando!”

El Código fue puesto en marcha para detener a los bebés de ser arrojados al río de la avaricia corporativa. Por favor ayude a detenerlos y a darle seguimiento y ojalá algún día todos nuestros países tengan una legislación gubernamental fuerte que pueda ayudarnos. Hasta entonces, no podemos renunciar y debemos seguir educándonos y a las madres que servimos para que no caigan presa de los intereses comerciales. Tienes una voz, utilízala.

 normaOriginaria de la Ciudad de México, Norma Escobar ha estado trabajando con las mujeres que amamantan a partir de 1994, primero como líder de La Liga de la Leche, y luego como consultora de lactancia certificada por la Junta (2002). Su trabajo actual se centra en atender a madres de bajos ingresos en Wilmington, Carolina del Norte. Ella es la madre de dos hijos sin lo cual nunca habría descubierto las alegrías y los retos de la lactancia materna. Norma postea mensajes en Facebook a través de la Tri-County Breastfeeding Coalition  y La Leche League of Wilmington NC.


The International Code: Is It Still Relevant in an Information Age? {Part 2}

We are proud to present the second of two blog posts about the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (You can read the first part HERE). This document is vital to our work and is a critical piece of advocacy for the families we serve. After our previous post, which was a basic “WHO Code 101”, today’s posts asks “What Now?” as we discuss how our interpretations and applications of the Code have to change with the advent of new styles of marketing, including in the use of social media.

By Norma O. Escobar, IBCLC
(with input from Annelies Allain from the International Code Documentation Center)

Most of us are familiar with the most common Code violations, direct advertising in print media, free samples in hospitals and doctor’s offices, coupons for discounts. But what about the marketing methods that have popped up with the advent of social media and the “ever present” smartphone?

What is new?

The biggest changes in the last few years have been the explosion of social media and the expanded use of smart phones. Social media use accounts for an estimated 20% of all time Americans spend online on their computers and 30% of their time on their mobile device.

Women, and people aged 18-34, are more likely than other groups to visit social media sites.  For example, women account for 62% of all page views on Facebook.  These statistics suggest that for many American women, important life events like pregnancy, birth and early motherhood are playing out against a backdrop of social media use. And these figures are growing yearly.  According to the Nielsen report, time spent in social media in 2011 was 88 minutes per month.  In 2012 that number had jumped to 121 minutes.

According to Nielsen: “The days when companies could tightly control brand messaging and progress consumers along a linear purchase funnel have long ended. Social media has fundamentally changed the consumer decision journey. Consumer decisions and behaviors are increasingly driven by the opinions, tastes and preferences of an exponentially larger, global pool of friends, peers and influencers.”


Sheryl Abrahams

As a result of these changes, marketing of products within the scope of the code has also changed.  Enter Sheryl Abrahams,a graduate student with the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, who thought it would be a good research project to find out how the code is being followed, or not, in the social media playing field.  Her results have been published in the Journal of Human Lactation, August 2012.  I was doing my own informal research when I was able to talk to her in the fall of 2011.

Commercial interests have a very strong presence in social media: Several manufacturers have established a Facebook and Twitter presence, including Gerber and PBM products, the largest US manufacturer of store brand formulas, which has launched pages for its various labels: Bright Beginnings, Parent’s Choice, Vermont Organics and Member’s Mark.  Earth’s Best, which manufactures formula, also has a Facebook page.  All of these pages are set up to enable member comments and to allow users to “like” or “follow” the page.  Users would then be on record as “liking” the page, a fact which might give their own contacts reason to check it out.

gerberThe Gerber Facebook page, in a section marked for pregnant moms, contains a link to information about a hospital discharge bag, including a feature to search for participating hospitals that are currently giving out the bag.   It also contains bios of registered dietician “experts” who are on hand to answer posted questions.  The site in the past has linked to formula coupons.

Gerber, Parent’s Choice, Bright Beginnings and Member’s Mark at certain times sponsor photo contests, wherein users submit photos of their children to the site for chances to win gift cards and other prizes.   Users are often required to “like” or become a fan of the page to be eligible to win.  These user-posted photos, or the winners, are then posted on the site for others to view.

No information on superiority of breast milk found on any of these pages, except the Facebook page of Earth’s Best, which manufacturers formula and complementary foods.  None of these pages contained the full list of warnings called for in the Code, such as information on the adverse effects on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottle feeding.

similacThen there are the “apps”.  Doesn’t every mom wish to add more predictability to their life?  And who does not want to be a “strong mom”?

What kind of information are these moms receiving?  One of the fans of the Unlatched, a breastfeeding support Facebook page, sent this email she received when her baby was 5 weeks old.


You can see that the intention is to promote a product, not to promote breastfeeding. And you can get a FREE container of formula to get you started!

Another aspect of social media are blogs – on-line “celebrities” that people follow and read to get much of their information.  Much to my surprise – there is quite a bit of sponsorship of these bloggers – they get paid to review products and services.  Many moms believe that these are ‘independent’ opinions, but they are in fact, very biased.  The source of these payments is through third parties.  One such third party is called Collective Bias.

And who are these Collective Bias clients?  Their website says,

“Collective Bias is a content marketing company that weaves organic social content into real-life stories to create millions of impressions, drive organic SEO and ultimately sales for brands and retailers like Starbucks, Nestlé, Elmer’s and Walgreens.”

Who are the people wishing to build dedicated communities to foster shared conversations, creating and advocacy platform that fosters organic dialogue. . . ultimately enhanced loyalty and SALES? They are the multi-national companies that put profit ahead of the health of millions of mothers and babies.

Social media is being used in clear violation of the International Code.

Several practices, such as enabling of user-generated content like photos, videos, comments, one-click endorsements, and sponsorship of third-party blogs, raise issues not anticipated by the original Code.

Abraham concludes her research by stating: “Future revisions of the Code should consider new marketing strategies enabled by social media, including  use of user-generated content, disclosure of sponsorship  of reviewers, bloggers and other media creators, and financial ties to those providing education to mothers and families.”

So, is the Code still relevant?

YES.  Just because the marketing is less transparent and obvious than before, does not mean we give up.  While the Wold Health Assembly may take the time to clarify the new issues that social media has generated for the Code, we don’t have to wait around for the next resolution.  We can and should still make a difference! In fact, I propose that thanks to social media, it is even easier to make your voice heard.

What can you do?

  • You already do a lot! Helping moms breastfeed is a great way to help defeat commercial interests! Talk to mothers about the risks of unnecessary supplementation and their impact on milk production including the difficulty of reestablishing breastfeeding
  • Become familiar with the Code. The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) is a wonderful resource and their website contains a wealth of information.
  • Commit to abide by the Code provisions for “Health Workers” by talking to mothers, health professionals, and anyone involved with mothers and babies about the importance of the Code.  Write letters to magazines, Facebook pages and media outlets that violate the Code.  Don’t eat lunches provided by Code violating companies, take their gifts, or accept their sponsorship for your education or conference.
  • Monitor by collecting samples from magazines, exhibits, stores, web sites and doctor’s offices. Take pictures of store and conference displays.
  • Report violations to IBFAN or your local “Code Watcher” like the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) or the Infant Feeding Action Coalition (INFACT).
  • Make sure you do not use or provide posters, educational materials, pads, magazines, pens, magnets, etc. that are given to you by or that bear the logo of code violators.
  • Use social media yourself – tweet, post, like and share!


You can make a difference.  We must make a difference.  I always like to tell the story of the River Babies when talking about the Code– it is a common story that applies to many  public health issues lots of public health issues, but I believe it bears repeating here. It goes something like this:

One summer in a village, the people in the town gathered for a picnic. As they leisurely shared food and conversation, someone noticed a baby in the river, struggling and crying. The baby was going to drown! Someone rushed to save the baby. Then, they noticed another screaming baby in the river, and they pulled that baby out. Soon, more babies were seen drowning in the river, and the townspeople were pulling them out as fast as they could. It took great effort, and they began to organize their activities in order to save the babies as they came down the river. As everyone else was busy in the rescue efforts to save the babies, two of the townspeople started to run away along the shore of the river. 

“Where are you going?” shouted one of the rescuers. “We need you here to help us save these babies!” 

“We are going upstream to stop whoever is throwing them in!” 

The Code was set in place to stop the babies from being thrown into the river of corporate greed.  Please help by upholding it and monitoring and hopefully one day all our countries will have strong government legislation that can help us.  Until then, we cannot give up and we must continue educating ourselves and the mothers we serve so that they do not fall prey to commercial interests.  You have a voice, use it.

normaOriginally from Mexico City, Norma Escobar has been working with breastfeeding women since 1994, first as a Leader with La Leche League, then as a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (2002).  Her current work focuses on serving low-income mothers in Wilmington, North Carolina.  She is the mother of two sons without whom she would have never discovered the joys and challenges of breastfeeding. Norma posts avidly on facebook through the Tri-County Breastfeeding Coalition  and La Leche League of Wilmington NC.


JHL’s Newest Podcast: Establishing an Online and Social Media Presence for Your IBCLC Practice

JeanetteThe Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) has released an interview with Jeanette McCulloch, author of “Establishing an Online and Social Media Presence for Your IBCLC Practice” as their latest podcast. The paper can be found in the latest issue of JHL. McCulloch is a lactation consultant in private practice and co-founder of BirthSwell, bringing new media tools to birth and breastfeeding professionals. She co-authored the JHL paper (For subscribers to the journal, you can read it HERE.) with Amber McCann and is passionate about the ways that social media can be used to help build businesses, spread evidence-based information, and support breastfeeding policy. She brings more than 20 years of public relations experience to the table and is a birth and maternal health advocate working on the local, state, and national level.

Click HERE for the latest podcast.

We asked Jeanette to share a bit about social media impacted her as both a mother and as a professional:

I am 42 years old – not a digital native. I have two children, both born with the care of a midwife. When access to midwifery in New York State was threatened, I was a part of a small group of moms who pulled together and organized, using traditional communications paired with social media. When I saw how these new tools could be used for old-school organizing, I was hooked. Now, I enjoy using these skills to advocate for and support pregnant and breastfeeding families.

JHL is proud to offer these podcasts as a companion to the journal and we hope that you’ll take the opportunity to listen.


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

Translate »