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Become an Oxytocin Expert, and Earn CERPs: New free independent study module dives deep into groundbreaking study connecting lactation outcomes with postpartum hormone levels


You know that oxytocin and prolactin are critical to lactation outcomes.

But how direct is the relationship?

If you knew a parents’ oxytocin and prolactin levels following birth, could you make predictions about how soon their milk would come in, their baby’s milk transfer, or even their baby’s weight gain?

This is the question Elise Erickson, PhD, CNM, and colleagues wanted to answer with their 2020 pilot study published in the Journal of Human Lactation.

And Erickson et al wanted to go one step further.

They wanted to know whether it was possible to connect certain parental variables with hormone profiles postpartum.

Do aspects of labor, age, and BMI predict levels of hormones postpartum?

If they could answer that, they might be able to provide a new way to identify parents at risk for struggling with lactation, for earlier and more effective help. 

Their study is the first to attempt to define the relationship between hormone levels postpartum and breastfeeding measures, as well as between hormone profiles and aspects of labor.

Now, you have the opportunity to look closely at the results of the study while earning CERPs in a new Independent Study Module through ILCA (members only)!

Want a sneak preview of some of the key findings?

  • Older participants had moderately higher levels of oxytocin postpartum than younger participants.
  • Participants with higher body mass index scores when they gave birth had moderately lower oxytocin levels.
  • Participants with shortest labors had higher oxytocin postpartum, while those with longer active labors had lower oxytocin.  
  • Participants who received synthetic oxytocin during labor had a different hormone profile during a feeding than those who did not. They showed an increase in the hormone vasopressin during a 20-minute feeding, while in those who did not receive synthetic oxytocin, vasopressin dropped during the feeding. This is important because vasopressin may bind to oxytocin receptor sites, causing “cross talk” and weakened oxytocin response.
  • Babies born to parents with higher oxytocin lost less weight post-birth than those born to parents with lower oxytocin.
  • Babies born to parents with higher vasopressin post-birth lost more weight than those born to those with lower vasopressin.

How might these findings affect the way you practice?

If you are a member, you can dive deeper and learn more with ILCA’s Independent Study Module. Register for free today.

Interested in earning CERPs to study a different topic? Check out all of ILCA’s free educational content at our Knowledge Center

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New Tools for Implementing Lactation Counselling Programs


“Skilled breastfeeding counselling meant that breastfeeding could remain a choice for me and my baby.” 

“Having skilled breastfeeding counselling completely changed my mental state. It was transformative.”

“Without it, I probably would have just given up and never breastfed ever again.”

These are direct quotes from parents, shared in a new video released during the webinar Building Better Breastfeeding Counselling Programmes: New tools for implementation.

As a lactation professional, you know the importance of skilled lactation care to families.

However, you also know that access to care is far from guaranteed. In some countries, there are no or very few International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs®) available. In other areas, IBCLCs may be practicing, but existing policies do not support a full range of options for families.

How can we as IBCLCs support the creation of more and better skilled breastfeeding counselling programs? IBCLCs are critical to ensuring improved options, by advocating for high-quality care, training others, and helping to implement programs where IBCLCs are a critical part of the warm chain of support. 

The recent webinar from the Global Breastfeeding Collective (GBC), including ILCA, WHO and UNICEF was created to update you on new tools and resources to increase access to high quality breastfeeding counselling programs. Recordings of the event are available in five languages (Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish).

Implementation Guidance on Counselling Women to Improve Breastfeeding Practices

In 2018, WHO released its ground-breaking guideline, “Counselling of Women to Improve Breastfeeding Practices.”

The 2018 guideline represented a paradigm shift in thinking about breastfeeding counselling, explains Laurence M. Grummer-Strawn, MPA, MA, PhD the unit head of the Food and Nutrition Actions in Health Systems unit at WHO. 

Key recommendations of the 2018 guideline include counselling for all pregnant women and mothers of young children during both the antenatal and postnatal period; at least six contacts, ideally face-to-face; and offering counselling that anticipates and addresses key challenges.

Now, there is new guidance available on how to carry out these important guidelines.

In chapter format, the document describes the stages of breastfeeding counselling program implementation and includes case studies from around the globe.

From gathering initial data to providing services to designing, implementing, and monitoring a skilled breastfeeding counselling training program—as well as evaluating, advocating, and sustaining it—this document provides a wealth of applicable advice. 

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling: Training Course

Now available: the second edition of a curriculum that “aims to address the practices that address childhood malnutrition as well as those that lead to the accumulation of excessive weight,” according to Dr. Ma del Carmen Casanovas Vargas, MPH.

Tied to the WHO Child Nutrition Standards, this curriculum covers breastfeeding, advanced breastfeeding, complementary feeling, growth assessment, and HIV and infant feeding.

With modules for each area and eight clinical practice sessions, it combines lecture with hands-on learning, with the goal of giving health care workers basic counselling skills so they can help mothers and caregivers more effectively.

The curriculum also includes materials for course directors, course trainers, and participants, such as manuals, handouts, and counselling cards with guides for use.

The curriculum is designed for lay counselors, community health workers, primary healthcare nurses and physicians, pediatricians, nutritionists, and many other professionals.

No prior knowledge of infant feeding is assumed, and guidance is given for adapting it to your own setting.

“We hope that [this course] will be useful for different countries and different regions, considering the wide type of uses we are expecting for it,” Cassanova notes.

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Operational Guidance: Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies

The newly released document “Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies: Operational Guidance” offers pragmatic guidance on how to apply the 2018 WHO Counselling of Women to Improve Breastfeeding Guideline specifically in emergency settings.

“When systems are disrupted, breastfeeding continues to offer nutrition and hydration, comfort and connection, and protects babies from infectious disease … yet just when it’s needed the most, good breastfeeding practices are often eroded and undermined by misinformation, formula donations, and other Code violations,” notes Isabelle Modigell, Lead Researcher of the Operational Guidance.

Parents need “urgent reassurance and skilled support so they can continue to nurture and nourish … their babies under difficult circumstances,” Modigell continues.

Skilled breastfeeding counselling can make a critical difference during emergencies, but real-world guidance is needed to operationalize effective support.

“When there are hundreds affected, how to reach them all?” Modigell says. “How do we provide six sessions of counselling, when they are constantly changing locations to escape violence? Do we continue to provide face-to-face care, even during an infectious disease outbreak?”

The IFE Core Group conducted a desk review of 80 papers and case studies and conducted interviews with key informants around the world.

“We explored the successes, challenges, gaps, required resources, compromises, and adaptations for implementing counselling interventions in emergency settings, guided by an expert peer review group,” Modigell says.

The end result is Implementation Guidance: Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies.

The document “elaborates on several recommendations,” providing “challenges, solutions, adaptations, and compromises.”  

For example, Modigell says, one of the WHO guidelines recommends that all pregnant parents and parents of children under two receive skilled BF counselling.

But this is not always possible in an emergency, when needs tend to rise and systems are overwhelmed.

“So a compromise is to prioritize particular groups, through rapid triage and screening,” Modigell explains.

The new guidance contains specific suggestions on who to prioritize—sick and malnourished infants, for example.

“Despite the perceived difficulty … experiences have shown that it is possible to establish or reestablish breastfeeding counselling services and even to improve breastfeeding practices, even in the midst of a crisis,” Modigell shared. “This guidance will tell you how to do it!”

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Advocacy Brief: The Role of Midwives and Nurses in Protecting, Promoting, and Supporting Breastfeeding

Nurses and midwives are “key health providers who care for women and children before and during pregnancy and birth, and throughout early childhood.”

A new advocacy brief by the Global Breastfeeding Collective highlights the role of nurses and midwives in protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding.

To produce the document, authors first conducted a survey to gather the experiences of nurses, neonatal nurses, and midwives in the area of breastfeeding.

“Why is this important?” asks Carole Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, ANEF, the Chief Executive Officer, Council of International Neonatal Nurses, Inc., who worked on the document.

Kenner’s answer: Nurses and midwives must be empowered to provide skilled breastfeeding support because we know that when breastfeeding mothers and infants are not supported, there is an increase in mortality rates and childhood infections, cognitive development is compromised, and rates of lifelong illnesses increase in both mothers and children.

“All midwives and nurses, including neonatal nurses, must endorse the importance of breastfeeding and be competent in providing support as well as protect mothers and newborns from barriers to breastfeeding,” Kenner adds.

This new tool provides a key opportunity to advocate for this reality.

“We’re asking all of you to join us in this call of action,” says Theresa Shaver, USAID, GHSI-III contractor.

“Please invest in midwives. We need to fully integrate critical competencies, funds to develop a comprehensive specialized training for midwives, nurses, and neonatal nurses, and to fully integrate quality and respectful maternal and newborn care. We need to establish and enforce legislation to protect breastfeeding.”

“And most importantly, we need time,” she continues, urging professionals to advocate in their settings for the allocation of “adequate staffing levels so there is time to dedicate to breastfeeding and supporting women and their babies.”

This is an ideal tool if you are in a position to “strengthen the leadership role of midwives and nurses at a national, local, and facility level,” she concludes.

Find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

Case Studies Compendium

See the development of skilled breastfeeding counselling programs in action with the newly released Case Studies Compendium.  

“Last year, the Global Breastfeeding Collective released an advocacy brief on skilled breastfeeding counselling, which outlined seven key actions stakeholders, donors, and governments can take to improve access to skilled breastfeeding counselling,” explains Lesley Oot, MPH, an Associate Director of Alive & Thrive.

“In support of the call to action, the GBC worked with authors around the world to document case studies of how individual countries, programs and initiatives have successfully answered this call to action, with practical guidance and lessons learned that others can use to duplicate their successes,” she continues.

The result is a compendium of eight case studies.

Geographically diverse, these case studies represent a robust set of examples that are applicable around the globe.

To conclude the webinar, four of the case study authors share their stories about supporting skilled breastfeeding counselling with videos and interactive sessions.

Watch the webinar to learn from and be inspired by stories from eight countries (four in each webinar), highlighting work with government agencies, peer support groups, university midwifery training programs, and hospitals in implementing BFHI. 

Coming soon! When available, you will be able to find the document in the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s Breastfeeding Advocacy Toolkit here.

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JHL Offers Open Access Articles During World Breastfeeding Month


How can you stay up-to-date on changes at BFHI, learn the history of the lactation field, and take in new approaches about the language we use when we talk about breastfeeding and chestfeeding care? By staying up-to-date with the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL)

Now through the end of the month, the following articles are available open access. Please share widely with your colleagues who may not be ILCA members, and so may not be able to take advantage of all that JHL has to offer.

Marie-Elise Kayser (1885-1950): Pioneer of Milk Banking. Florian Steger, PhD, Oxana Kosenko, PhD.

Watch Your Step. Diane Wiessinger, MS.

An interview with Gabrielle Palmer, Campaigner Author, Nutritionist. Palmer & Arendt.

The Paradigm Shift in BFHI Step 2. Elise M. Chapin, MEd et al.

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Celebrate and Share: Pass this Video On to Your Audience During World Breastfeeding Week


If you had a way to communicate the role and importance of IBCLCs in a compelling, encouraging one-minute explanation, would you share it far and wide?

Now you do!

As part of our celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2021, the International Lactation Consultant Association is re-releasing its video “How a Lactation Consultant Can Help You”, along with new versions in Spanish and French. 

The video offers an easy way to connect with the theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week: Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) chose this year’s theme to emphasize the importance of providers and professionals at every level collaborating to help families reach their lactation goals.

You know that IBCLCs are a critical link in this chain.

Now you can share that message effectively and easily with your own audience during August by sharing this video.

Find the video in English:

Facebook

Instagram

Vimeo

And in French:

Facebook

Instagram

Vimeo

And in Spanish:

Facebook

Instagram

Vimeo

Please join us in thanking the Asociación de Consultores Certificados en Lactancia Materna de Mexico (Association of Certified Lactation Consultants of Mexico, ACCLAM) and the Association Québécoise des Consultantes en Lactation Diplômées de l’IBCLC (Quebec Lactation Consultant Association, AQC) for their assistance in reviewing the translations.

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Eight Easy Ways to Get Involved with World Breastfeeding Week


World Breastfeeding Week begins today, 1 August!

Interested, but not sure how to get involved? 

This post is for you.

World Breastfeeding Week has been celebrated every August since 1992.

But this year, it has a special importance.

As COVID-19 continues to pose enormous challenges across the globe, helping parents provide human milk for their babies and children is more critical than ever.

That’s why the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) chose “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility” as this year’s theme.

Like links in a chain, everyone’s participation is needed.

Regardless of your setting, you can connect with and show support for World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) in several ways, big and small. Here are eight suggestions.

1. Frame the issue. Put a WBW frame around your Facebook profile.

2. Hashtag/support. Use relevant hashtags – like #WBW2021 #ProtectBreastfeeding and #SharedResponsibility – to communicate about WBW on your social media. Visit these links for more suggestions from WABA (scroll to the bottom).

3. Educate yourself. Take advantage of WABA’s Take Action Folder. This information-packed publication, written specifically for WBW 2021, details specific challenges and solutions for supporting human milk feeding at the national, health systems, workplace, and community levels.

4. Tweet it out. Be part of a 48-hour Twitter Storm led by WABA! Get the details here.

5. Get Graphic. Educate and inspire your readers by downloading and sharing World Breastfeeding Week graphics, available here.

6. Join the conversation. Attend the WABA’s 48-hour “ask me anything” session. Learn more in the social media toolkit.

7. Go local. Check out the Pledge Map and find out about World Breastfeeding Week events you can attend and support in your local area.

8. Take the lead. Plan your own World Breastfeeding Week event and put yourself on the map.

Ready to get involved?

WABA points out that World Breastfeeding Week offers a chance to “include health systems, workplaces and communities at all levels of society” in building back better after the impacts of COVID-19, highlighting the importance of human milk in short- and long-term health.

For more ways you can connect, explore the World Breastfeeding Week page here.

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Promote World Breastfeeding Week: Add a Frame to Your Profile Image


Sunday 1 August through Saturday 7 August is World Breastfeeding Week! Show your support by changing your profile frame on Facebook.

How to Add a Profile Frame on Desktop 

UPDATE: Skip the steps below and add the frame easily by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/profilepicframes/?selected_overlay_id=520314699052088

  1. Navigate to your profile page by clicking your name on top blue bar. 
  2. Hover over your profile picture. 
  3. Click “Update”. 
  4. Click “Add Frame”. 
  5. In the search box, type “Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week”. 
  6. Click the frame to select it. 
  7. Use the editing box on the right to adjust the size and placement of your profile picture. 
  8. On the bottom row, next to “Switch back to previous profile in”, click on the drop down menu. 
  9. Choose how long you would like to keep your frame. 
  10. Click “set”. 
  11. Click “Use as Profile Picture”. 
  12. You’re all done! If you want, make a post about your new profile frame to your followers. 

How to Add a Profile Frame on Mobile (iOS)

  1. Navigate to your profile by tapping the person icon on the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap the photo icon on your profile picture. 
  3. On the menu that pops up at the bottom of the screen, tap “Add Frame”. 
  4. At the top of the screen, click on the search bar. 
  5. Search “Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week”. 
  6. Choose your style by tapping on it. 
  7. Tap the button that says “Make Temporary” and choose “Custom” in the drop-down menu. 
  8. Choose how long you would like to keep your frame. 
  9. Tap “Set”. 
  10. Tap “Save” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. 
  11. You’re all done! If you want, make a post about your new profile frame to your followers. 
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World Breastfeeding Week 2021: Lactation Consultants Critical to the Chain of Support


As a lactation professional, you know that successful breastfeeding or chestfeeding rarely happens in isolation.

Parents providing human milk to their babies need the support of healthcare providers, partners and extended families, employers, and wider communities to thrive. 

Every person a parent contacts forms a link in the chain. The more solid the links, the greater the likelihood they will meet their goals.

This year, World Breastfeeding Week will focus on how to create stronger links for a better chain. 

WBW 2021

Where do you fit into the chain that protects and promotes breastfeeding worldwide?

As the globe is preparing to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2021, 1 August through 7 August, lactation support professionals are being invited to think about that question.

The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.  

The celebration’s organizers, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), chose this theme to emphasize that efforts and collaboration across all levels are needed to support and protect human milk feeding, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As WABA shares, “Although support at the individual level is very important, breastfeeding must be considered a public health issue that requires investment at all levels.” 

WABA stresses that efforts are needed at the national, health systems, workplace, and community levels.

WABA has outlined goals at each level, from strengthening enforcement of the WHO Code to improving parental leave and workplace lactation support to scaling up implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to implementing a continuing education curriculum for healthcare workers and building the capacity of community-based breastfeeding support programs and much, much more.

(To read a detailed discussion of the challenges and action steps WABA is calling for at each level, and learn more about WBW, head here.)

The Warm Chain

By focusing on shared responsibility, WBW aims to inspire each person to find their spot in the warm chain.

The warm chain WABA envisions includes people across levels and settings—those working in health systems, workplaces, and in the community.

“A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding and protect against industry influence,” WABA writes. “It is time to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action to protect breastfeeding at all levels.”

Put Yourself on the Map

IBCLCs connect with parents and influence policy across all settings around the globe—hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, in private practice, as policy makers and as advocates and educators.

IBCLCs are a critical link in the chain with a unique ability to move the goal of protecting human milk feeding forward.

How can you get involved with World Breastfeeding Week 2021?

For one thing, you can put yourself on the map.

WABA offers a Pledge Form and a Pledge.

Use the map and form to add your community or workplace’s plans and to find events near you.

Watch the ILCA blog for more details on how you can take action for World Breastfeeding Week.

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Questions about Cannabis: Thomas Hale to Discuss New Research at Upcoming Conference

Data indicates that as many as 10 to 15 percent of lactating parents use some kind of cannabis product while they are breastfeeding or chestfeeding.

Chances are, this includes some of the parents you care for.

When it comes to the safety of cannabis use during lactation, what do we really know for sure?

At the upcoming ILCA Conference 2021, Dr. Thomas Hale, Professor of Pediatrics, Assistant Dean of Research, and Director of the Clinical Research Unit at Texas Tech School of Medicine in Amarillo, Texas, USA, will address this important topic.

Hale has spent the last 20 years teaching pediatric drug therapy in pregnant and breastfeeding parents and is considered by most to be the world’s leading authority on the use of medications and human milk.

In this Q&A, Hale provides a preview of his upcoming talk—and shares thoughts on the critical importance of basing the cannabis discussion on kinetics, not hysteria.

Thirty-six states in the United States have legalized marijuana in some form. Are you getting more questions about its use in lactating parents?

Hale: Many, many hospitals are having discussions about this topic right now, and I get calls every week.

What do lactation professionals need to understand about cannabis use and human milk?

They need to know that right now, many of the suggestions and recommendations are based on hysteria, not reality.

When it comes to drugs in human milk, the real story about kinetics.

If a person has a positive urine test for marijuana, it tells you that there is a little bit in the urine. This does not tell you much of anything.

It’s like looking at the Mississippi River and seeing that a stone has been tossed in.

When someone smokes marijuana, it goes into the plasma compartment. It peaks in the plasma at about six to eight minutes. It troughs and is completely gone at about 22 minutes.

The vast majority of it goes to adipose tissue, where it resides for up to a month. It is inactive. It doesn’t do anything. It just leaks out a drop every now and then.

In low to moderate use, the levels that pass into the milk are exceedingly, exceedingly low.

The rest of the story is, when you take marijuana orally, as a baby would in breastmilk, only one to five percent is absorbed. Ninety-nine percent is picked up by the liver and never gets to the plasma.

What is real is that even if the baby nurses right after the parent smokes marijuana, the baby will get at very most 8.7 percent of the parent’s dose. And they will only absorb one percent of that.

What are the downsides of healthcare professionals not understanding the level of risk?

Recently, I was recruited to give a lecture about cannabis and other drugs and breastfeeding at a big NICU in the Northeast. The hospital had a policy that if you were drug-screened positive for marijuana, you could not breastfeed. The policy was causing disagreement among the doctors, the neonatologists, and the nursing staff.

The doctors, like me, realized that just because a mother drug-screens positive doesn’t mean there is a clinical amount in the milk. They also know that, with premature babies, if you breastfeed, you reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis by fourteenfold.

The doctors said, “We know that we can save babies’ lives simply by giving them mom’s milk. We want to give them mom’s milk.”

But the policy said no.

If you were an IBCLC advising a client on the safety of marijuana use, what would you tell them?

I am not trying to promote its use.

I think what I would say is, it is not advisable to use it while you are breastfeeding at all. We do not know all of the long-term consequences.

But I am a pharmacologist. My work is based on reality: How much is absorbed by the parent, how much gets into breastmilk, and what is the dose to the baby?

Our data shows that five to 15 percent of breastfeeding mothers use cannabis. Seventy percent of those in our sample use it for an anxiety disorder, and others use it for chronic pain.

If a parent is told they cannot breastfeed and use cannabis, and they discontinue breastfeeding, that is a significant loss with big risks.

If you are working in a hospital setting with premature babies, it can be the difference between life and death.

It is a judgement call. If a mother uses it moderately, if she can wait a few hours afterward to breastfeed, the risks are relatively low.

What are your thoughts on the L-level of marijuana in the next edition of Hale’s Medications in Mother’s Milk?

Right now, it is an L4. I think I will probably drop it to an L3.

What will you and your team be sharing at the ILCA Conference?

Some of my crew will share much more about the data on marijuana, including new research we have done and more that is underway.

Another will present about breastfeeding and nutrition.

And, we are going to present something so brand new that no one even knows about it yet! It has to do with the endocannabinoid system and human milk. We have made a tremendously exciting new discovery and I am excited to unveil it at the conference.

It’s a wonderful area to be in. It’s really a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to showing you my whole team!

Learn more about Dr. Hale and his team and their role at #ILCA21 and the Infant Risk Symposium here.

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Call for Videos: Impacts of Skilled Breastfeeding Counselling

The Global Breastfeeding Collective is creating a video highlighting the impact of skilled breastfeeding counselling on mothers’ ability to start breastfeeding, breastfeed exclusively (avoid formula), or keep breastfeeding their babies for as long as they planned or wanted to and we need your help.

Research shows that more mothers breastfeed when they receive good breastfeeding counselling at least six times in their breastfeeding journeys. Sadly, breastfeeding counselling is not available everywhere and many mothers find that the health workers they work with do not have the knowledge and skills they need to help mothers overcome common breastfeeding challenges.  

We need you to help us change this by telling us your story. 

What advice were you given by health workers when you sought help for breastfeeding? Did breastfeeding counselling help you? How do you think it affected your ability to breastfeed, breastfeed exclusively, or breastfeed for as long as you planned? Did it affect the advice or support you received from others? What do you wish your health workers had known? If you didn’t get breastfeeding counselling, how do you think it would have helped you? 

We want to make a video to show governments and other health policy makers how receiving breastfeeding counselling helps families and what happens when it is not provided. We want to inspire governments and health services to provide good breastfeeding counselling to every family for the first two years of their children’s lives. 

We will edit the video submissions and bring them together to tell a global story about why breastfeeding counselling is important to families all around the world. We will use the video in a webinar and on social media.

You can help by recording a short video (no more than 2 minutes) telling us about your experience of breastfeeding counselling. We’ve created a list of questions to help you tell us your story.   

Questions to help tell your story

Please say the following:

My name is [first name/given name] and I live in [country name].

Please tell us your story. Please include these details:

Why did you need skilled breastfeeding care? What challenges were you experiencing?

If you received care:

Who helped you? (For example, your midwife, a peer supporter, an IBCLC)

How many times did you have breastfeeding counselling? 

Where did you have breastfeeding counselling? (For example, at a health care facility, at your home, in the community)

How did receiving/not receiving breastfeeding counselling impact your ability to breastfeed?

Why was breastfeeding counselling important to you?

How did breastfeeding counselling make you feel? OR How did you feel when you couldn’t access breastfeeding counselling? 

Please tell us in one word:

What did having skilled breastfeeding counselling mean to you?

How to submit your video

Please note that all participants will also need to complete a release form. You can download a copy of the release form here.  

Questions? Please contact Jeanette McCulloch at the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) at media@ilca.org.

Please send your video and a video release form to media@ilca.org by 25 June 2021 [EDITED TO ADD: deadline extended to 1 July]. Please also find our tips for making your own videos using a phone or tablet here.

The Global Breastfeeding Collective is a partnership of prominent international agencies, including ILCA, calling on donors, policymakers, philanthropists and civil society to increase investment in breastfeeding worldwide.

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A Letter from the ILCA President: Our Shared Obligation to the Code


As we honor how much has been accomplished in the 40 years since the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (“the Code”), we must also recognize that our work to enact and enforce the Code is far from complete.

Of the 194 countries in the world, only 25 countries have enacted laws that are substantially aligned with the Code. Even where the Code is enacted, enforcement of the Code continues to be uneven. Commercial milk formula companies are exploiting these gaps and using their massive marketing budgets to spread their influence at an ever-increasing scale. The recent video by Global Breastfeeding Collective partner Save the Children highlights how sales of commercial milk formula is growing eight times as quickly as the world’s population.

The Code recognizes the critical role that healthcare workers play in “guiding infant feeding practices, encouraging and facilitating breast-feeding, and providing objective and consistent advice to mothers and families” and provides guidance on how we can help avoid being influenced by the marketing of commercial milk formula.

One insidious way that formula companies attempt to influence healthcare workers is through “free” educational opportunities. These so-called “free” opportunities represent a Conflict of Interest on the part of formula companies, as described in one of the subsequent resolutions to the Code.

Recently, an ILCA member alerted us that a formula company is posing as a “health institute,” offering no-cost CME and nursing credits to health care providers, and using ILCA’s name to confer legitimacy to their efforts. 

We immediately investigated, and learned that the Abbott Health Nutrition Institute had taken advantage of a relationship ILCA shares with InJoy, with whom we had partnered to educate healthcare workers that serve breastfeeding and chestfeeding families. (InJoy Health Education is a company in the field of maternity education that produces and provides educational videos and other multi-media content to health care facilities and health educators.) 

InJoy was unaware that Abbott Health Nutrition Institute is a subsidiary of Abbott Global, maker of Similac, a longtime code violator. Abbott recently failed to make any commitments to improve their marketing policies and practices to bring them more closely into line with the Code. InJoy allowed Abbott to purchase licenses for the course. We are deeply frustrated to see that Abbott has been offering it for free to healthcare workers, alongside courses like “Handling Human Milk and Formula in Healthcare Facilities: Tried & True and What’s New.”

Based on our efforts, InJoy is now severing its ties with Abbott. ILCA will be donating the proceeds that resulted from InJoy’s license with Abbott. We are doing so out of our deep commitment to upholding the Code, including avoiding conflicts of interest. 

ILCA has a number of processes in place designed to help us ensure that ILCA – and our vendors – are free from Code violations and conflicts of interest. We also recognize that, just as formula companies’ strategies are constantly evolving, so must we. 

We are particularly grateful to our member who brought this matter to our attention. Your ongoing vigilance in spotting and reporting these issues is essential as a part of our efforts to uphold the Code and all subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions. This action is completely inline with the call to health workers and all of civil society to uphold the Code and to address violations through reporting mechanisms.

ILCA and IBCLCs alone cannot stop formula companies from influencing health care providers. We call on all professional health care organizations to stop accepting funding from companies that don’t meet their Code obligations in the form of advertising, sponsorship, and the awarding of CME and other educational credits. We recognize that there are challenges in holding conferences and funding membership benefits without this funding. We believe that you cannot put a price on ensuring that families are served by health care workers that are free from influence from companies that are spending billions to put formula samples into the hands of new families.

Sabeen Adil, MBBS, IBCLC
President, ILCA

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