Archive | Social Media

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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How IBCLCs Can Make an Impact Through Social Media

Written by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC

With 93% of adults born after 1982 (the Millennial Generation) communicating online and nearly 3 out of 4 using social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, breastfeeding promotion and support has been taken to an entirely new level. In the Journal of Human Lactation article, Establishing an Online and Social Media Presence for Your IBCLC Practice, authors Amber D. McCann and Jeanette E. McCulloch, present findings that encourage all of us in the breastfeeding community to step into the minds of these Millennial mothers and engage with them about breastfeeding in their preferred medium.

Why does breastfeeding promotion and support need a social media presence?

While health care providers continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, 80% of US Internet users have sought health advice online.  Plus, 44% of US women spend more time online after a new baby is born.  We live in an amazing time where we can find answers online in an instant when we used to have to wait until our doctor’s office opened the next morning.  The scary side of this is that there is so much misinformation online about breastfeeding and how easy it is for mothers to access this incorrect advice. Even formula companies have breastfeeding advice sections on their websites… this is NOT where new mothers should be receiving their evidence-based breastfeeding information and support….right next to a Enfamil advertisement!

Also, with breastfeeding being such a HOT TOPIC in the news, mothers are often bombarded with this negative press.  It goes viral in an instant!  The Time Magazine article, ‘Are You Mom Enough‘ and Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to ban the formula bags in all New York City hospitals flooded the Internet and social media networks in record time.  Negative comments about breastfeeding were abundant!  While Best for Babes and Kellymom are doing all they can to turn this bad breastfeeding press into something positive, they need our help to further provide breastfeeding education and support online.

So where are these Millennial mothers and what are they doing online?

The four most dominant social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Pinterest. What these platforms have in common is that they ALL promote engagement among Internet users.  This is not like reading a book for information, which is a one-sided conversation.  Using social media allows you the ability to comment, ask questions, and agree/disagree with the author and other commenters.  It’s a conversation.  When a mother posts a question on a Facebook page, she is actively seeking advice from her peers or an ‘expert.’  When a mom reads a blog article, she is looking to make connections with the author to help make sense of her world and often seek advice on a particular topic.  Twitter is all about conversation and engagement and Pinterest is now a hub for articles and driving more traffic to websites than Facebook.  We may not live in a village anymore, but the Internet is revitalizing the village mentality.  It’s all about the need for support and belonging.

How can an IBCLC use social media effectively, without feeling like it is a waste of his/her time?

  • Creating a social media plan can be extremely helpful or you might find yourself being led down the time-sucking social media rabbit hole.  As McCann and McCulloch suggest, create a plan that is appropriate for the size of your business or organization.
  • Decide who your target audience is and the purpose of your engagement.
  • Choose a social media platform or two that you feel is manageable and decide how much time you plan to dedicate to it a week.
  • Spend some time just watching and listening.  You will figure out pretty easily what your audience is looking for.
  • Keep in mind that social media is all about sharing information. While you don’t want to give away everything you know, the more information you benevolently share online, the more appreciative your audience will be and encouraged to return to your platform in the future.  You may have the chance to influence the greater masses with your positive messages about breastfeeding!

What about ethical concerns and client/patient confidentiality?

McCann and McCulloch stress the importance of upholding our Code of Professional Conduct, Scope of Practice, and Standards of Practice.  The authors state that while these documents ‘do not contain a specific social media policy, IBCLCs may want to review the American Medical Association’s Policy on Professionalism in the Use of Social Media’.

As an avid blogger and social media user, I have a phrase that I use very regularly when I receive a comment or question that takes information from general breastfeeding advice to specific for one mom and baby and it goes something like this…. “It definitely sounds like you have some very important questions that would be best answered in a private conversation with an IBCLC.  If you would like to discuss this further, please contact me at …..”   This lets the mother know that I would love to help her, but this is not the appropriate place to discuss private, personal information and I want to protect her privacy.

So, even if you feel like you are not Internet savvy and social media gives you hives, all you have to do is start off slowly.  Lurk a little on these social media platforms and just listen to what mothers are saying and asking for.  Check out the Lactation Matters article, Great Breastfeeding Blogs to Read, and start sharing these articles on a social media platform.  Begin a conversation on a Business Facebook page and see where it takes you.  My guess is that you quickly see your calling to offer breastfeeding-supportive and evidence-based guidance to our Millennial mothers.  And you never know… you might just have a ton of fun, as well!

Robin Kaplan received training to be a Certified Lactation Educator and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant from UCSD. She holds a Masters in Education from UCLA, a multiple-subjects teacher credential from UCLA, and a BA in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. In 2009, Robin started her own business, the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, where she offers in-home breastfeeding consultations, free weekly support groups, breastfeeding classes, and online support through her business blog.  In addition to her private practice, Robin was the founding Co-editor of theInternational Lactation Consultant Association’s (ILCA)blog, Lactation Matters, and a regular contributor toILCA’s E-Globe newsletter.  She also is the host/producer of The Boob Group online radio show and the Director of Marketing for NaturalKidz.com.  Robin lives in her native San Diego, where she enjoys cooking, hiking, trying new trendy restaurants, and traveling with her family.

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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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Journal of Human Lactation launches Facebook Page!

By Anne Merewood, PhD, MPH, IBCLC

The Journal of Human Lactation recently published two papers on our Online First page about use of telehealth equipment in lactation consulting. Those 2 papers will be printed in November, alongside a Round Table Discussion about computer technology in daily IBCLC practice, and an Insights in Practice paper, co-authored by Lactation Matters’ own Amber McCann and Jeanette McCulloch, about lactation consulting and social media. Their bottom line?

New mothers are using social media.

IBCLCs had better get with the program. (And don’t worry, they tell you how!). With this techno-heavy issue due in November, JHL’s editorial staff, egged on by those incorrigible, born again social media-ites on ILCA’s Marketing Committee, resolved to take our own messages to heart, and thus, a week ago, JHL “arrived” on Facebook.

According to Amber and Jeanette, I’m a “digital immigrant”, compared to New Young Things born into the computer era and thus, “digital natives.” As an immigrant learning the lingo (use of that dated word alone would presumably raise howls of derision from my teenage sons, who watch my efforts from a safe distance, with indulgent contempt), my plan was to take it slow and build the page, but of course there is no slow …within minutes “likes” materialized like magic; within days we had over 100 of them and the “thing” had developed a life of its own. As the “young mother” (young in the figurative sense, yes) of this site, I hover anxiously over its development, ever anxious of hitting the wrong button and sending very public errors into the etherspace. But I have a team of student caretakers, and so far, it’s been nothing but fun!

Come LIKE us and spread the word!

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Let’s Celebrate: World Breastfeeding Week and Happy Birthday, Lactation Matters!

One year ago, Lactation Matters launched with a focus toward informing and advocating for IBCLCs.  It was no accident that the first posts were published every day during World Breastfeeding Week 2011. The theme of last year’s World Breastfeeding Week was about connecting breastfeeding advocacy with the mothers that need it and ILCA’s commitment to a blog took that theme and ran with it.

Here we are one year later.  Our blog has hundreds of regular readers and dozens of contributors.  We have posted interviews, calls to action, highlights of current research, practical applications and pieces that highlight the important work that IBCLCs do in the world.

Once again, Lactation Matters is looking forward to celebrating World Breastfeeding Week.  Each day this week, we will highlight the work of those advocating for breastfeeding in a different country or culture.  We encourage you to read, to think, to act.  Get involved with your local coalition.  Reach out to a local mother.  Join your professional organization.  Engage with the media.  Come along side a mother and baby.  Together, we can build a worldwide culture of breastfeeding.

 

ILCA would love if you could share your World Breastfeeding Week stories and photos with info@ilca.org. World Breastfeeding Week Kit and promotional items still available here!

 

What will you do to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week?

If you have a story or idea for a post on Lactation Matters, please contact us at lactationmatters@gmail.com. 

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A Little {Twitter} Bird Told Us About Some Prizes…

Will you be tweeting about the 2012 ILCA Conference under hashtag #ilca2012? If so, you’ll have a chance to win one of our daily prizes, regardless of whether you are attending the conference or not! Consider this our small way of thanking the TwIBCLCs (IBCLCs who tweet) for spreading nuggets of knowledge to people interested in breastfeeding around the world. If you will be joining us in Orlando, be sure to pick up a Twitter sticker for your name tag at a volunteer meeting, the registration desk or in the ILCA Lounge. If you won’t be joining, follow this live stream of all things #ilca2012.

Here’s a run-down of the prizes that we’ll award:

  • 1 Free ILCA Webinar Registration – Our webinar topics vary from legal to logistics to the latest lactation research, all earning you continuing education credit from the comfort of your own home (you can even attend in your pajamas and slippers!).
  • $30 Off ILCA Study Modules – You’ll find a wide variety of study modules derived from articles in the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL), conference sessions, webinars, and notable publications. Need a few more E-CERPs? ILCA has them! Need to update your knowledge on a particular topic? ILCA has scores of topics from which to choose!
  • $20 Off Purchase from ILCA’s Bookstore – We’ll have some of our latest books at the conference so you can have instant gratification with your prize or save it for another day.
  • 1 Day Registration at the 2014 Conference – One lucky TwIBCLC will win one paid day (registration fee only) to the 2014 ILCA conference in lovely Phoenix, Arizona.

Happy travels and happy tweeting!

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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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Social Media Highlight: Nevada Breastfeeds Facebook Page

At Lactation Matters, we love having the opportunity to hear from YOU about innovative ideas to reach and support breastfeeding mothers.  We were recently encouraged to check out the Nevada Breastfeeds Facebook page.  We had the privilege of interviewing Sarah Ortega, founder of the page that is currently supporting almost 2,500 “friends”, about why she thinks online support is essential to today’s mothers. Sarah and her family are long-time residents of the Reno, Nevada area and she has four breastfed children.  Her experience with Robin Hollen, IBCLC of Starfish Lactation after the birth of her youngest child, who was born with a severe cleft palate, put her on her current path towards becoming an IBCLC.

1.  How did the Nevada Breastfeeds FB get started?

I started the Nevada Breastfeeds Facebook page after many talks with Robin Hollen, the IBCLC with whom I work. We decided that it was in our community’s best interest to have a page for breastfeeding women to find information, support and encouragement. I created Nevada Breastfeeds as a “friends” page, meaning I would have to send and/or receive friend requests. The main reason for approaching it this way was so that women could send a personal message to me if they didn’t want their question publicized. (Editor’s note:  Facebook recently added a “private messaging” feature to business pages.) When I first started, I had a small group of women that I knew from other breastfeeding projects, so I sent them friend requests and the page grew from there. It was a slow start, but I dedicate a lot of time and effort to make sure I “friend” people that would benefit from this page.

Used with permission from Amen Photography

2.  How is it moderated? Do you personally answer questions or do the mothers on the page respond to each other?

I monitor the page almost 24/7…just ask my husband. 🙂 I am a Certified Lactation Educator (CLE) and am training to be an IBCLC.  There are several different options that women have to get their questions or concerns addressed. Friends of the page can post directly to the wall. If they want a direct answer from me, they can send me a personal message.  I try my hardest to answer all questions within 24 hours. Depending on the question, I will comment or ask for additional detail, then repost so everyone can see the question. This seems to be the most effective way to get people to comment. If I determine that the person posting needs more one-on-one help, I will remove the question from the wall and send a personal message to address the issue or concern. I am very careful to not go outside of my scope, which can be very limited as a CLE and I always refer to ILCA’s Find A Lactation Consultant page or help them find an IBCLC when I feel they need more professional help.

Used with permission from Amen Photography

3.  Why do you feel this is an essential opportunity for mothers?

You must be a part of the conversation to have any impact on people. I work very hard to establish relationships on Facebook. I believe that women are hearing information from many different people (friends, family, doctors, strangers etc..). For me to come along and offer advice doesn’t set me apart from all of the others. It is about building relationships. If someone has had a question or concern, I try to follow-up with them to make sure they received what they needed. If they need additional follow-up with a professional, I refer. If they just need some more support, I am there for them. This page is very close to my heart and I want people to know that they are cared about.

Used with permission from Amen Photography

4.  Any great success stories?

One friend of the page wasn’t planning to breastfeed because she had tried with her first two children and was not successful. We had many conversations during her pregnancy and she decided that she would start out with a goal of breastfeeding for 6 weeks.  She had a little bit of a rough start and she sent me many messages because she thought things were going terrible. With the information she would give me, I could tell she was doing GREAT! Her baby was gaining really well and she wasn’t in pain, so I just kept encouraging and reassuring her. Her goal quickly changed to 4 months, then 6 and so on. She is now in the process of weaning him at 14 months. I am so proud of her and she is proud of herself! In my heart and mind, this is what my page is all about.

In addition, here is a message that I received this past week from a women who is a friend of the page and attended a few support groups…

I just wanted to say thank you for all your support and help with breast feeding! My son is soon to be five months old and is healthier than ever. In his first few months of life, he had respiratory, sinus and weight gain issues but I am pleased to say those have all subsided. He is a chunky, happy, healthy baby and I truly believe it is because of breastfeeding! You gave us a gift for a lifetime and I couldn’t have lasted this long exclusively breastfeeding without your support. Your FB page gave me hope when I was in tears and the posts from other moms gave me confidence that I could do it. When I had a question, no matter how personal or minimal, it was answered! So again I thank you!

We thank Sarah for her commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers and encourage all ILCA members to check out Nevada Breastfeeds on Facebook.

*Special thanks goes to Amen Photography for allowing us to share these photographs which will be used in the 2013 Nevada Breastfeeds Calendar.  Look for a future post about this great project!

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Care for a Virtual Cuppa? Australia’s first Online Breastfeeding Café launched.

Written by Maddy Knight

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) has welcomed the newest addition to its stable of services for breastfeeding families, the Online Breastfeeding Café(OBC).

With so many blogs on the web about breastfeeding (ILCA’s Lactation Matters recently referred to BlogHer’s study where over 98% of respondents said they trusted the information they received on blogs), the Online Breastfeeding Café has been developed by the ABA as an online community where users can share, discover and chat with guaranteed reliable, up to date information.

The OBC also has families in mind. This means the inclusion of  an additional men’s parenting section and private, log-in only forum for Dads.

The new site was launched on behalf of NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Jillian Skinner by State Member Roza Sage at Glenmore Park Child and Family (NSW real estate Australia) precinct on Tuesday 26 June. Also present at the launch were Cr Greg Davies, Mayor of Penrith and Todd Carney representing Federal Member the Hon. David Bradbury.

The Online Breastfeeding Café was three years in development and was designed with Generation Y parents in mind, knowing that for today’s families both mums and dads want to share in the breastfeeding and parenting journey.

“The OBC can help make sure mother’s and fathers both have a place to go to ask and share about their experiences. It really helps them to parent from the same page” says Nicole Bridges, Australian Breastfeeding Association Assistant Branch President.

“These days dads aren’t passive breastfeeding supporters, they want to know what’s going on and how they can help and support mum in any way they can. If she’s happy then the whole family is happy.”

The Online Breastfeeding Café features many of the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s reliable resources and information, but packaged in a new, vibrant and easy to use website that compliments its existing website.

The concept of the breastfeeding café as a physical venue first took off in the UK a couple of years ago. The OBC is the first attempt to take the concept of a comfortable, relaxed place to share and chat about breastfeeding and turn it into an online community.

A café theme runs through the website, with areas such as The Breastfeeding Couch, full of great tips, latest articles and breastfeeding videos; a dad’s-own section of the website aptly titled Dad’s Espresso Bar; great stories and inspiration in A Cuppa and a Read, as well as a long list of popular tools such as finding your local breastfeeding-friendly café.

More features of the Online Breastfeeding Café:

  • Most asked breastfeeding questions, and tips on making breastfeeding easier.
  • How to find your local breastfeeding class or breastfeeding-friendly café or lactation products.
  • Information on breastfeeding and returning to work.
  • The latest breastfeeding articles from the ABA and other trusted sources.
  • Great forums to get involved in, including a general/mum’s forum and completely private Dad’s forum.
  • In “Dad’s Espresso Bar”, a new father can find some practical ways to develop his own special unique bond with his baby even though mum does the breastfeeding. He can also chat with other dads in a private forum about some of the unique concerns of fathers.

The Online Breastfeeding Café also has forums that are fully mobile (containing every post) so you can take it with you and have a virtual cuppa and chat with other parents, all while you enjoy your latte at your local breastfeeding-friendly café.

We would love new mothers (and dads) to know all about this great new online community.

Log in today at www.onlinebreastfeedingcafe.com.au or contact the community manager@onlinebreastfeedingcafe.com.au for more information.

Maddy Knight is Project Director of the Online Breastfeeding Café. She is an experienced journalist, media advisor, publicist and graphic designer and has worked extensively with non-profit organisations including the Australian Breastfeeding Association. The Online Breastfeeding Café was her brainchild for which she developed the website plan and layout, edited and wrote much of the content and even designed the logo and slogan. She spends her spare time singing and writing her blog Bondi Sourdough 101. She lives in Bondi Beach with her husband and cat, Luna.

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Great Breastfeeding Blogs to Read!

Photo by jeff.snodgrass via Flickr

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

Blogging has become an incredibly influential part of the media consumed by today’s mothers. In BlogHer’s 2012 Study of Women and Social Media, a sample of women were asked, ““Do you trust the information and advice that you get from blogs?” and an overwhelming 98% said YES.  The number of women, especially pregnant women and new mothers, who are seeking advice and guidance from bloggers is staggering.  45% of the sample said that blogs were more influential than Facebook status updates from their friends or celebrity endorsements.  Clearly, it is a medium that breastfeeding advocates and supporters should be aware of. And with nearly 4 million “mommy bloggers” on the scene, finding the best of the best can be a challenge.

I recently was involved in a conversation with other lactation consultants about what blogs we were reading to stay up to date on the current conversation about breastfeeding.  I am an active blog reader (if you are new to reading blogs, I encourage you to use an RSS Reader such as Google Reader) and enjoy hearing what other mothers, volunteers, professionals and the general public are saying. Many of my colleagues expressed that they enjoyed reading blogs as well but were a bit unsure about where to go to find the ones being most accessed by breastfeeding mothers.

What are your favorite breastfeeding blogs?  Where are the mothers you support telling you they get their information? Here are some of my favorites * (in alphabetical order) and why I love them:

  • Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine:  Physicians, such as breastfeeding research Dr. Alison Stuebe, weigh in on current breastfeeding trends and “hot topics”.

    Best for Babes

  • Best for Babes:   Bests for Babes is a non-profit organization focused on addressing the “cultural, institutional and legal barriers to breastfeeding”.  I sometimes write for their “Celebrity News” section but my favorite posts are Tanya Lieberman’s series on the “Booby Traps”, those things in the breastfeeding process that a mom isn’t expecting and when she steps on them, everything blows up.  Doesn’t that feel familiar?
  • Breastfeeding Reporter:  Nancy Mohrbacher shares her insights on current breastfeeding issues.
  • Fearless Formula Feeder:  I am well aware that some will take issue with the addition of this blog to my list but I consider it essential reading for lactation consultants.  We must be very aware of how our message is perceived by many mothers and we must be willing to listen to the stories of those who have chosen/been forced down a different path than we would choose.
  • The Leaky Boob:  Jessica Martin-Weber is doing really innovative work in regards to reaching breastfeeding mothers through social media.  While her Facebook pageis where most of the magic happens, her blog is truly compassionate.

    The Leaky Boob

  • MamaMilkandMe: Written by Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC (previously profiled in our “Clinicians in the Trenches” series)  in Manhattan.  I so enjoy her perspective, not only on her practice, but also on her own experience as a breastfeeding mother.
  • Mammals Suck: Katie Hinde is a professor of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and Director of the Comparative Lactation Laboratory.  I particularly enjoy her scientific perspective along side humor.
  • Milky Way: Milk sharing, through organizations such as Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies has become a very “hot topic” in our field.  This blog shares the stories of those mothers who are currently either donating or receiving donor milk through milk sharing.
  • Motherwear: This is the very FIRST breastfeeding blog I ever read.  Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC writes for breastfeeding mothers, interpreting new research and breastfeeding news in an accessible way.
  • Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress

    Normal, like Breathing: Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC share her wisdom and insight on her blog.  I particularly enjoyed her recent posts about breastfeeding beyond infancy.

  • PhD in Parenting: Another “must read” in my book, Annie Urban covers a variety of parenting topics and often talks about breastfeeding and specifically the WHO code.
  • Postpartum Progress:  A fantastic blog about mental health issues surrounding pregnancy and birth.
  • San Diego Breastfeeding Center:  Robin Kaplan, former co-editor of this blog, has really been a standout in using her blog to build her lactation consulting private practice.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list but just a taste of what is available.  I add new blogging voices to my reader all the time and have found that they contribute greatly to my practice.  

* These blogs are my personal favorites, not those endorsed by ILCA.  Obviously, being located in the United States gives me a bias towards blogs authored there.

Do you have a favorite breastfeeding related blog not on this list?  Do you blog yourself?  What are the best breastfeeding blogs NOT based in the US? We’d love to know about it!  

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if 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 here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including The Leaky Boob and Best for Babes and served on the Communications Team for GOLD Conference . 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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