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How Will #ILCA19 Change Your Practice?

ENGAGE at ILCA’s 2019 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on 24 – 27 July.

How will #ILCA19 Change Your Practice? We asked past attendees and here is what they had to say:

Learn from the leading experts around the globe.

I really appreciated the opportunity to learn at this conference. There was a great mix of topics that were socially and intellectually challenging. Thank you!”

“The speakers  . . . were fantastic, they were receptive to their audience, approachable with questions and the topics were all relevant and covered a wide range of the lactation field.”

Expand and refresh the skills you need to serve families in your community.

“I appreciate the effort to increase diversity and to discuss equity. It’s a hot topic and it seems many people want to see and help make improvements and don’t know how (myself included).”

“I enjoyed the variety of speakers and ability to choose from many subjects.”

“I will send my staff next year! I love the information and feel it wonderfully benefits the newer IBCLC in practice.”

Connect with the advocates improving lactation outcomes worldwide and bring your voice to the table.

“It was refreshing to witness all the inclusion as our field is rapidly changing. I met many new folks from all over the world and was glad for the time to chat with them over the meals.”


Get Hands-On Skills: Clinical Skills Rotation at #ILCA19

Learn hands-on skills at our pre-conference Clinical Skills Rotation!

Participants will rotate between four skill stations, learning each skill from expert facilitators. All stations last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes between stations.

Quickly learn new skills or practice techniques with your peers.

Two Rotation options are available and are held as pre-conference sessions on Wednesday, 24 July.

Rotation one:

  • Clinical Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies: Skills for the Lactation Consultant
  • Slow Down the Flow: Helping Infants Overwhelmed by Milk Ejection
  • Putting the Pieces Together: An Interactive Case Review from Diverse Work Settings
  • Using Role Play to Identify Strategies to Provide Cultural Responsiveness and Sensitivity in Lactation Care

Rotation two:

  • Facial Massage Technique for a Functional Latch
  • Follow-up for Premature Babies After NICU Discharge
  • Give Yourself a Hand: Using Massage Techniques During Assessment
  • Tongue Tie: Clinical Cases to Improve Early Diagnosis and Management

These highly-popular sessions fill fast!

Pre-registration is required. The fee for these 2-hour sessions is $47 USD each and participants will earn 2 continuing education units per rotation group.

*Online registration permits selection of only one session at this time in order to accommodate all attendees who wish to register. If you wish to attend both sessions, please contact to be placed on a waiting list.


Advocacy Update: Research to measure exposure to breastmilk substitute marketing

ILCA, a NetCode partner, is advocating for research that aims to measure exposure to human/breast milk substitute (BMS) marketing in more than 90 countries worldwide.

The Demographic Health Survey program collects, analyzes and disseminates data to improve population health in more than 90 countries. Funded mainly by USAID, several surveys with various target populations measure topics such as child health, education, nutrition, maternal health and women’s empowerment among others.

ILCA is endorsing a proposed indicator that would measure exposure breast milk substitutes (BMS) marketing. As lactation professionals, we are familiar with research that demonstrates unethical marketing practices contribute to less than optimal breast/chestfeeding for families in our care. (For several recent publications from Helen Keller International, see below.) If accepted, the inclusion of this data in a representative global population would assist researchers in identifying the proportion of families exposed to breast/chest milk substitutes.

The new measure will also identify where they were exposed (in the community or health care facility as two examples), providing advocates with data to design effective advocacy interventions that reduce the influence of BMS companies on family health.

As active members of the WHO/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective and NetCode, ILCA calls upon governments to implement, monitor and enforce the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the relevant WHA resolutions. ILCA will be part of an upcoming meeting at WHO in Geneva next month to continue to advocate for Code protection for the health and well being of families worldwide. Stay tuned for updates!

Learn more about exposure to BMS marketing here:

Feeley, A. B., Ndeye Coly, A., Sy Gueye, N. Y., Diop, E. I., Pries, A. M., Champeny, M., … Huffman, S. L. (2016). Promotion and consumption of commercially produced foods among children: situation analysis in an urban setting in Senegal. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 6476.

Helen Keller International, & Ministry of Health. (2018). Breastfeeding practices and consumption of breastmilk substitutes among children under 36 months in Bandung City. Jakarta, Indonesia: Helen Keller International.

Pries, A. M., Huffman, S. L., Adhikary, I., Upreti, S. R., Dhungel, S., Champeny, M., & Zehner, E. (2016). High consumption of commercial food products among children less than 24 months of age and product promotion in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 12.

Pries, A. M., Huffman, S. L., Mengkheang, K., Kroeun, H., Champeny, M., Roberts, M., & Zehner, E. (2016). Pervasive promotion of breastmilk substitutes in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and high usage by mothers for infant and young child feeding. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 3851.

Vitta, B. S., Benjamin, M., Pries, A. M., Champeny, M., Zehner, E., & Huffman, S. L. (2016). Infant and young child feeding practices among children under 2 years of age and maternal exposure to infant and young child feeding messages and promotions in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 7790.


Human Milk in the NICU Resources

Do you provide care in the NICU setting?

The Journal of Human Lactation has made a collection of articles, Human Milk in the NICU, free for a limited time.*

Click the links below to access the articles now, available until 15 May 2019.

Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research, insights in practice and policy, commentaries, and case reports relating to research and practice in human lactation and breastfeeding. JHL is relevant to lactation professionals in clinical practice, public health, research, and a broad range of fields related to the trans-disciplinary field of human lactation.

Access to the Journal of Human Lactation is a top-ranked benefit of ILCA membership. Take advantage of year-round access to all JHL has to offer. Join or renew your ILCA membership today.

Click here to become an ILCA member today.


Protecting Breastfeeding in Legal Proceedings: Q & A with Liz Brooks

As a leading expert in the ethical, moral, and legal conundrums that lactation consultants face, we at Lactation Matters were thrilled to talk to Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA.

As the author of the only textbook focusing on IBCLC ethics and law as well as chapters and articles in several texts and journals, we spoke with her about common issues IBCLCs face when asked to serve as expert witnesses.

Want to learn more? Liz is commonly ranked as one of our most popular speakers! Hear her at the upcoming 2019 ILCA Conference, 24-27 July in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Lactation Matters (LM): We are looking forward to your session “Litigation and Lactation: Protecting Breastfeeding in Legal Proceedings.” As skilled lactation professionals, why might we be involved in legal proceedings?

Liz Brooks (LB): Sometimes breast/chestfeeding itself is the subject of legal inquiry (imagine an employee being told they cannot express milk at work, or a parent is told to leave a public place for feeding their baby). Sometimes the lactating parent is involved in a controversy, and the ability to breast/chestfeed the child is under threat (imagine a family law matter where the non-lactating parent seeks multi-day custody of the still-BFg child).  The law of most countries of the world, in matters involving minor children, is designed to protect the best interest of the child.  How breast/chestfeeding care promotes those best-interests-of-the-child are rarely well- understood by the lawyers, judges, and legal guardians involved in the case.  An expert in clinical lactation care, like an IBCLC, can offer information to help the court make a good ruling.

LM: Being an “expert witness” could feel intimidating. How can we best prepare?

LB: Be “up” on your clinical knowledge and skill, and be well-versed in what makes you an expert (hint: READ all of your practice-guiding documents at IBLCE, and be able to describe what it takes to become and stay certified).  It is the lawyer’s job to prepare you for your appearance.  They can’t tell you WHAT to say, but they can practice with you HOW you will answer direct questions and cross-examination.  You don’t have to be an expert in expert-witnessing …. you just have to be an expert in lactation!  When in doubt, repeat over-and-over in your head: “I know more about lactation that anyone else in this courtroom.”  Because it is true!  

LM: While your expertise is in American law, we suspect that these professional challenges are present for IBCLCs around the world. How will this session inform our work globally?

LB: Families with young children find themselves in need of skilled support — legally, and for lactation care — all over the world.  We’ve seen how man-made and natural disasters decimate communities.  Families are forced to migrate as refugees, seeking asylum or legal immigration across native borders.  Families split up everywhere, and the interests of the children are in play.  While customs and traditions vary in cultures around the world, the inherent need for skilled advocacy is a constant.  While the laws-on-the-ground may differ from location to location, that is something the lawyers worry about. The expertise an IBCLC will offer will be universal.

Learn more from Liz and other leading experts. Join us at #ILCA19.


ILCA and WABA Statement for the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW63)

ILCA, in partnership with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action is calling on governments, trade unions, employers and civil society to enact paid family leave and family-friendly workplace policies in a joint statement.

The statement is being released today, the first day of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). CSW, a body of the United Nations, is “instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

Held 11-22 March 2019 at the United Nations, the CSW63 theme is social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

ILCA representatives have been regularly engaging with CSW to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and highlight the importance of skilled lactation care since 1996, when ILCA became an official non-governmental organization registered with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). We will be on the ground at CSW63, distributing the statement and continuing our advocacy efforts.

As skilled lactation professionals, we know firsthand how difficult it is for families in our care to meet their own breastfeeding goals and balance work outside the home. We ask you as members and partners to share the statement here on Facebook and advocate locally, regionally, and nationally to ensure that all families are protected in the workplace.

ILCA and WABA Statement for the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW63)

The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding  Action (WABA) issue this joint statement on the occasion of the 2019 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). The CSW63 theme: “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” highlights the critical intersection between advancing women’s economic equality and supporting women’s work as mothers and family caregivers. Breastfeeding is one aspect of caregiving that requires measures such as social protection coverage, access to support through public services and sustainable infrastructure particularly in the context of women’s work. The provision of these measures promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls with long-term benefits for society at large.

ILCA represents more than 5000 skilled lactation professionals in 90 countries worldwide who provide direct clinical care and support to breastfeeding families. WABA with over 200 organisational endorsers worldwide promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding through programs such as World  Breastfeeding Week, Warm Chain and the  Empowering Parents Campaign. ILCA and WABA, with the undersigned partner organisations, believe that women’s economic empowerment is inextricably linked to their role as mothers and primary caregivers. Therefore, the purpose of this statement is to call upon governments, trade unions, employers and civil society to urgently seek collaborative action to enact paid family leave and family-friendly workplace policies according to the minimum global standards outlined by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The 2017 ILO publication “Towards a better future for women and work: Voices of women and men”  reported that among parents globally, almost 90% of fathers are employed while only 47% of mothers are employed despite that 70% of women prefer to work as well. The same report indicated that among almost 150,000 participants from 142 countries the “balance between work and family” was cited as the top challenge to achieving gender equality in the workplace. Further, ILO also reports that 830 million women workers are not adequately protected with 80% of these women in Africa and Asia. Another ILO report (2017) highlights the urgent need for universal social protection in terms of maternity benefits.

Much of the work that women do is unpaid care work. The ILO reported that women provide 3 times the unpaid care work for children and elders compared to men. This unpaid care work can be quantified as 9% of the GDP or 11 trillion USD. Unpaid care work restricts mothers from participating in the workforce and from receiving the associated employment benefits. The lack of adequate support for breastfeeding women in the context of work is also a barrier to women achieving the optimal recommendations for exclusive and continued breastfeeding. Globally, only 41% of children are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life, a long way from the 2030 global target of 70%. A robust body of research supports the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of women and children across the life-cycle. Current evidence demonstrates that optimal breastfeeding is also associated with higher educational attainment and subsequent economic productivity throughout the lifespan. This is of particular relevance to women and girls who often face discrimination at work and the subsequent lack of economic empowerment.

Addressing the existing imbalance between work and family requires the implementation of standards according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No.183) and associated Recommendations (R191). These standards are:

  • At least 14 weeks leave around childbirth
  • Health protection at the workplace for pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Cash and medical benefits
  • Employment protection and nondiscrimination
  • Breastfeeding support after the return to work

Despite these standards, according to the WHO/UNICEF 2018 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard only 12% of countries provide the recommended 18 weeks of paid leave and workplace support (as per ILO Recommendation 191). Enacting paid parental leave and breastfeeding workplace policies is a priority in the Call to Action of the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a partnership co-led by UNICEF and WHO comprised of over 20 partners, of which ILCA and WABA are actively engaged.

Several other international conventions and instruments also support the critical importance of government policies and programmes that support breastfeeding parents. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action calls upon governments to ensure that legislation, incentives and appropriate institutional support systems empower women and parents to balance breastfeeding with the demands of women’s labour. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding, the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding also call on governments to take responsibility for enacting policies that enable women to assume their caregiving roles at home, including breastfeeding without compromising their right to decent work. The International Lactation Consultant Association and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action therefore call upon governments, trade unions, employers and civil society to enact paid family leave and family-friendly workplace policies according to the minimum global standards outlined by the International Labor Organization (ILO).


Get Inspired By Dr. Camara Jones

Dr. Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, is a public health thought leader and pioneer, known for (among many things) her gift for telling stories that take your understanding of – and ability to break down – structural health inequities to the next level.

Have you heard her speak about the cliff of good health yet? Start learning from Dr. Jones today with this quick video:

Then join us at #ILCA19 to continue the conversation, where we are honored to host Dr. Jones’ presentation, Achieving Health Equity in Breastfeeding: Naming and Addressing Racism and Other Systems of Structured Inequity.

Be prepared for Dr. Jones, Past President of the American Public Health Association (2015-2016) and a Senior Fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, to both deepen your knowledge and inspire your work.

As Michele Griswold, ILCA Past President shared with us, “Hearing Dr. Jones speak on racial health inequities was so powerful that it ultimately changed the course of my academic career. Her analogies take the complexities of the structural factors that create inequities in health care and make them clear in a way that inspires systemic change.”

Join us at #ILCA19!


Five Reasons to Ask for Help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant®

We asked IBCLCs from all over world what lactation consultants do and when families should seek their help.


An IBCLC is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding and chestfeeding.

As Zoe Faulkner, an IBCLC in the United Kingdom, shared, “IBCLC lactation consultants provide experienced, expert and evidence based support to families, appropriate to the families circumstances, from establishing feeding in the early days to managing a complex situation.”

WHY should I seek the care of an IBCLC?

Lactation consultants shared with us a variety of reasons that you might seek an IBCLC. We summed them up for you here:

(click here to download)

WHEN should I consult an IBCLC?

Lactation consultants can help any time you have questions about breastfeeding and chestfeeding. From pregnancy and birth throughout your feeding relationship, an IBCLC can support you.

As Micaela Notarangelo, an IBCLC in Italy shared, “IBCLCs offer solutions, explanation, empowering,  and support. We are supported by knowledge, experience, understanding, and empathy.”

(click here to download)

WHERE can I find an IBCLC?

IBCLCs work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, pediatric offices, public health clinics, and private practice, where care is provided in your home or the consultant’s office in the community.

Looking for an IBCLC in your community?


You Belong at #ILCA19 if…

No matter your role in lactation, you will find what you need to better ENGAGE with your work at #ILCA19.

If YOU provide clinical care…

Gain practical skills at our pre-conference Clinical Skills Rotation, on topics including tongue tie, massage, and supporting families after an intensive care stay or emergency.

Find clinical skills during our Concurrent Sessions from supporting the first hours of lactation, problem solving tough cases, and strategies for supporting common – and less common – breastfeeding challenges.

If YOU are an advocate…

Keep up-to-date on the latest advocacy issues and get the tools you need to be most effective, from sessions on the international policy and advocacy “big picture” to case studies on effective strategies on the ground around the globe.

Plus, make connections with colleagues from all over the world. You never know who you will end up sitting next to!

If YOU are a leader in your community…

Bring back the latest research and trends in the field to your local community. Take advantage of sessions on body dynamics, the role of neohormones, techniques for assessing swallowing, and more.

Find the sessions, connections, and relationships you need to meet YOUR goals.

Register Today!


JHL Cover Photo Contest 2019

Every year, the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) hosts a photo contest for the coveted cover spot for the four issues published during the coming year. The annual photo contest is your opportunity to contribute to the journal and highlight your community.

JHL is seeking photos illustrating lactation professionals’ education role, which could be an individual teaching session, leading a group session or many other possibilities.

  • Photos need to meet JHL publication requirements (dpi 300 x 300; jpeg file, and at least 4” tall and wide).
  • A photo release is required from all persons in the photo and these need to be submitted with the photo.
  • The photographer will need to sign a non-exclusive copyright – in other words, allowing JHL to use the photo, but the photographer is free to use it elsewhere as one chooses.

Deadline – 1 September 2019: no exceptions

Submit to:


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