#WBW2015: Protecting ALL Women in ALL Types of Work

6In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), Lactation Matters is running a series of posts on this year’s WBW theme, Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work! 

This week’s series addresses the importance of recognizing and supporting all types of work (this post), the fundamental three pillars of maternity protection, shorter term workplace solutions that support working women throughout breastfeeding, and worldwide examples of paid maternity leave in action.

Women’s work and women’s workplaces can vary immensely. Broadly defined, the work of women can take the form of paid employment, self-employment, and seasonal and contract work, as well as unpaid home and care work. The sheer diversity of women’s occupations make the task of indicating needed maternity protections daunting, but labor can be seen as being part of one of two main types: the formal/organized sector or the informal/unorganized sector.

The Formal/Organized Sector
The formal sector encompasses women workers and workplaces commonly thought of in regard to employment. This work is generally paid, full- or part-time, and likely involves a place of employment other than the home. Examples of work that falls within this sector are office or clerical positions, retail, professional healthcare, and public service.

We often think of maternity protections mainly in terms of maternity leave, but it is much more than that. True maternity protection includes seven key areas:

  1. scope
  2. maternity leave
  3. maternity/cash benefits
  4. health protection
  5. job protection and nondiscrimination
  6. breastfeeding breaks
  7. breastfeeding facilities

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), in 2012, less than one-third of countries’ national legislation satisfies even two of the seven provisions of ILO Convention No.183. These include the length of maternity leave, paid benefits, and payment schemes. Regarding length of leave, the majority of countries (85%) provide 12 weeks or more, in line with ILO Conventions No.3 and No.103, but only 53% of these countries provide more than 14 weeks, as stipulated in ILO Convention No. 183. Less than 20 countries provide 6 months or more postnatally (immediately after birth), which is important for exclusive breastfeeding. (For more on maternity leave, see this Lactation Matters post.)

Legalized breastfeeding breaks fare better, with 122 out of 182 countries having such a provision, but fewer countries have paid breaks (114 out of 182). Even taking legal breaks is a challenge and depends on effective enforcement, the working environment, and staff attitudes. Globally, this provision has progressed modestly since 1995, with only 15 more countries providing guaranteed breaks by 2015 .

The Informal/Unorganized Sector
Most global and national responses to maternity protection are policy based through maternity protection laws and practices. However, the majority of women needing such support work outside the formal work environment where such policies do not cover them. The home front is an especially challenging domain. Women do huge amounts of work but often face gender discrimination, violence, and/or abuse. This makes it doubly difficult for women to successfully integrate productive and reproductive work without cost to their own health and well-being.

The range of women working in vulnerable situations includes domestic workers, migrant workers (who also suffer from human trafficking), women in agriculture, and displaced people in conflict situations. In the world’s poorest regions, over 50% of the women work in vulnerable employment, characterized by low pay, long hours of work, and informal working arrangements.

Interestingly, there have always been women and communities that have found resourceful ways to support women who work and breastfeed in these informal settings. For example, women in many markets in Latin America and the Caribbean have created support networks to look after their children through informal care systems. Women in migrant and non-legal situations support each other to care for children left in their home country, and to ensure communication and solidarity mechanisms.

In the Philippines, the Alliance of Leaders of Workers in the Informal Economy/Sector (ALLWIES), representing about 700,000 vendors, sellers, transport drivers, waste pickers, etc. have organized lactation stations at their work sites following Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Training in 2014, using ARUGAAN’s Peer Counseling manual.
The group, PARE, who are garbage scavengers, was set up in Quezon City with the collaboration of UNICEF, ILO, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the province of Naga City, Camarines Sur, NAMASFED, a federation of vendors and sellers in the public market, set up a lactation room where people can avail themselves of the breastfeeding counseling and facility. It is run by the vendors themselves, who are also now involved in lawmaking to protect breastfeeding rights for workers through local ordinance.

There are also examples where governments have extended maternity protection laws to cover certain vulnerable populations, such as in Costa Rica, where all women, including migrants and those working in the informal sector, have access to health services.

With the increasing feminization of labor, countries need to strengthen maternity protection, especially for women working in the informal sector, and provide support services if rates of optimal infant and young child feeding are to increase. It is therefore urgent that breastfeeding advocates, together with women’s health, gender and rights advocates, trade unionists, and others seek collaborative ways to respond. Working with men, youth, and men’s groups is also important in order to sensitize men so as to increase their awareness and active involvement in supporting women, in fathering, and fatherhood. This will also help to build greater gender equality at the home, in the workplace, and in public spaces.

Whether a woman is working in the formal, informal, or home setting, it is necessary that she be empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed. It may be easier for women to claim their maternity entitlements in more formal work settings. However, in less formal work and home settings, women need to know about their rights to reproductive health, food, and safety. Any approach that supports women to combine employment and unpaid work with reproductive work must do so from an empowerment approach, so that women do not feel they are the recipients of charity. Maternity rights are the rights of all women and need to be supported, facilitated, and upheld as such.

What can you do to support women and families in both sectors gain the maternity protections they need?

  • Share your experiences as inspiration for other women.
  • Find out about your maternity entitlements and general rights to health, safety, work, and livelihood.
  • Join a support group that offers help with motherhood, childcare, and breastfeeding.
  • Forge partnerships with young people and youth groups to support young mothers to breastfeed and care for their children.
  • As fathers or partners, get information on breastfeeding prenatally, and find out how you can better support your wife/partner in breastfeeding.
  • Look for gender inequalities at home and give proactive support, like helping with household chores.
  • Introduce decent work and childcare policies and practices that address marginalized women and those displaced by wars, poverty, and environmental degradation.
  • Restore and/or build breastfeeding support measures for migrant and refugee women, where family or communal support systems are broken.
  • Partner with the International Labor Organization (ILO) on their maternity protection campaign.

Want to learn more? These posts excerpt information found in the World Breastfeeding Week 2015 Action Folder, which is available for download here.

Photo credit: WABA, Arati Banset

#ILCA15 Conference Wrap-Up!

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More than 1,000 members of our community came together at #ILCA15 for four days of learning the latest concepts in lactation, connecting with leaders and changemakers, and bringing our voices together to transform world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care!

We hope that you had as much fun as we did.

If you were not able to join us, it’s not too late to catch the highlights! You can still search the hashtag #ILCA15 on all of our social media platforms and join the conversation. In addition, you can follow the twitter conversation streams from our plenary sessions by clicking on the following Storify links:

Dr. Gail Christopher

Dr. Howard Chilton

Dr. Jane Morton

Dr. Daniel Sellen

Dr. Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg

Dr. Chessa Lutter

Dr. Donna Geddes

Dr. Katherine Dettwyler

Thirty Years of Lactation Research Informing Practice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeveral of ILCA’s Past Presidents gathered to be honored at our Opening Ceremony.

We heard from dynamic speakers from all over the world who pointed us towards new research and new ways of thinking.We heard from dynamic speakers from all over the world who pointed us towards new research and new ways of thinking.

Our Founders were our guests at a reception thrown in their honor.Our Founders were our guests at a reception thrown in their honor.

We had the opportunity to host the first US screening of the stunning film, MILK.We had the opportunity to host the first US screening of the stunning film, MILK.

Our first ever Global Partners Meeting gave us the opportunity to hear from emerging organizations supporting breastfeeding all over the world.Our first ever Global Partners Meeting gave us the opportunity to hear from emerging organizations supporting breastfeeding all over the world.

We had the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research all throughout the conference.We were able to engage with cutting-edge research all throughout the conference.

And our President, Decalie Brown, made sure we got a "selfie" of the whole crowd during her President's Address.And our President, Decalie Brown, made sure we got a “selfie” with the whole crowd during her President’s Address.

What was your favorite moment? The most impactful moment? The new idea you’ll take to your practice?


#ILCA15: Update from the President’s Address

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During yesterday’s President’s Address at the 30th Annual ILCA Conference, Board President Decalie Brown unveiled a major strategic shift that will drive ILCA’s future. We wanted to share with you, here on Lactation Matters, these highlights of the new strategy guiding our profession.

Thirty years ago, our founders laid the foundations for the profession that we enjoy today. Since then, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® has certified over 27,450 IBCLCs in over 101 countries. IBCLCs all over the world have supported and provided guidance to breastfeeding families. We know that breastfeeding saves lives and, thanks to our founders, countless lives have been changed.

As our profession was birthed, so was ILCA. We’ve used the past 30 years to advance the IBCLC profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

One year ago, ILCA announced its new vision: World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. This vision speaks to the powerful IMPACT of the IBCLCs working daily around the globe. Embracing the IMPACT of our work has also enabled us to better align with many global organizations who share this common vision.

Adopting a new vision led to an exciting and important year. We took a hard look at every aspect of ILCA’s work to determine how it  aligned with the vision. We emerged with three Core Values, the driving forces behind why we do what we do:

Knowledge: We believe knowledge guides our practice, strengthens our value, and supports our role in transforming world health.

Diversity: We foster an inclusive environment that supports leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research from varied perspectives.

Equity: We support global access to skilled lactation care and the IBCLC profession.

As we move forward, we will test each idea, decision, program, and initiative against these values and determine how they will impact our three primary areas of impact: our members, the IBCLC profession, and the world.

Our members are the heart of our organization. We will continue to place our highest value on providing you with quality benefits that help you to be better at what you do. As a result, there are a few changes coming soon which will impact the way you interact with ILCA. Be on the lookout for more information about our new website, which will include an updated Find a Lactation Consultant feature and a private social network specifically designed to meet the needs of our members. We’re also overhauling our learning management system where you view webinars and live streaming events and obtain your continuing education units.

We have also asked the critical question:”How do we connect our members to global breastfeeding advocacy?” We need a stronger focus on workforce development, encouraging and empowering new practitioners to join us in this important work. Did you know that, according to our recent member survey, forty-five percent of members intend to retire in the next 10 years? We need to work NOW to encourage more practitioners to support their communities as IBCLCs. A significant  gap will exist if we don’t start working now to fill it.

We have also challenged ourselves to look critically at how equity – or a lack of it – impacts our profession. Earlier this week, ILCA participated in the Lactation Equity Action Seminar, addressing how we can work together to break down barriers to our profession. As we hold equity as a core value, ILCA is committed to rigorously examining our own systems and structures and taking action to increase equity.

One of the most influential ways we can impact our profession and encourage a great swelling of the impact of IBCLCs worldwide is our BRAND NEW GLOBAL PARTNERS INITIATIVE. Just a few days ago, on 22 July 2015, ILCA hosted the Inaugural ILCA Partners Meeting. ILCA committed to expanding formal partnerships with like-minded membership organizations throughout the global breastfeeding community. These national and regional partner organizations are vital to the work of supporting breastfeeding families. In addition, ILCA recognized an urgent need to facilitate the growth and development of small groups of breastfeeding advocates who were not yet self-sufficient. By partnering with ILCA, these organizations will be able to tap into global strategies already established, engage in expert mentoring, and have better access to resources.

We are also developing partnerships with international, public health organizations to connect them with YOU. What if YOU could combine your talents, your skills, and your expertise to their strategies and resources? ILCA is growing the capacity and capability to provide that much-needed infrastructure to bridge global intentions with local needs. We have recognized a new and unique opportunity to significantly impact breastfeeding and skilled lactation care on a global scale—bridging the gap between vision and reality.

Through the creation of our Global Partners Initiative, ILCA is ready to play a major role in promoting breastfeeding worldwide. We are uniquely placed as a bridge between the IBCLCs who are doing the important work “on the ground” and the global organizations who are directing policy and resources. Currently, our ILCA members are an “untapped resource” for these global changemakers. ILCA membership is vitally important because it puts you at the front line of worldwide, life saving work. You can read more about this initiative in our recent Lactation Matters post.

Our mission remains the same: To advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. Now, we are expanding the means and the network to make sure it happens on a global scale.

As we reflect back over our past 30 years, we’re so grateful for the strong foundations that were laid that allowed relationships to be built, expertise to be established, and compassionate care to be the norm. If it wasn’t for the strong work of ILCA for the past 30 years, we wouldn’t be here to launch this new chapter of our influence. You have to know where you’ve come from TO KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING. We’ve come from a strong, passionate place and we’re headed down a new path towards changing the world.

Be watching over the next several weeks for further communication about specific changes to ILCA and your role in the global breastfeeding community!


#ILCA15: Excitement is Building!

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We are counting down the days and before we know it, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Conference and Annual Meeting will be here. Our staff and Board of Directors are already in Washington, DC, USA making the last minute preparations necessary to knock your socks off as we celebrate Leadership in Lactation: 30 Years and Moving Forward!

As you pack your bags and make your way to us, we want to remind you of a few important events that you won’t want to miss:

Opening Ceremony and Parade of Flags: We’ll be kicking things off with an exciting event on Wednesday, 22 July. Join us as we introduce some of our past ILCA presidents, celebrate the global reach of ILCA, hear from the local breastfeeding community in Washington, DC, USA and get a glimpse of what the conference has to offer.

Our FIRST EVER Partners Meeting: Come and be part of the  ILCA’s new Partners Initiative. Welcome ILCA’s 12 new national-regional partners, listen to international leaders speak to the global breastfeeding agenda, hear first hand how members can help grow emerging breastfeeding organizations, and help set the course for future collaborations.

Founders’ Reception: It’s our 30th birthday and we’ll be opening up our Exhibit Hall with a party! You’ll have the opportunity to meet our Founders and find out a bit more about their role in building the IBCLC profession. And don’t forget the birthday cake!

Screening of the film, MILK: We are so excited to be able to offer two different private screenings (intended only for Conference attendees) of the film, MILK, by Noemi Weis. You can read more about the film and view the trailer HERE.

Annual General Meeting: Come and hear about all ILCA has accomplished in the past year and help us to recognize the individuals who have been outstanding in research and advancing the profession. We’ll induct two new Fellows of ILCA and give away a FREE iPad (you must be present to win)!

President’s Address: There are exciting changes on the horizon for ILCA and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. Be the first to know about the new ways we’ll be communicating, the new ways we’ll be learning, and the new ways we’ll be engaging with the breastfeeding community across the globe.

An ILCA First! Live Streaming, from the Conference: While we’re excited to welcome everyone to Washington, DC, USA, we’re also thrilled to join with IBCLCs and ILCA members from around the globe as we host our first live streaming event. Share this event with your friends so they can “virtually” join you on this exciting day! Look HERE for more details.

What are you most looking forward to during #ILCA15? 


Engage with #ILCA15 – from DC and around the world

World Breastfeeding Week-2What brings you to #ILCA15? Connecting with the leaders in the field? Keeping up to date on the latest research? Building your skills?

Whether you are participating in #ILCA15 face-to-face or live streaming, social media can help you reach your goals without distracting from your conference experience.

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

At The Conference

Before you go:

Note that the main conference space does NOT have wifi. We’re hopeful that there will be sufficient reception in the main room so that you can use your cellular data on your phones and tablets. Now might be a good time to check your data plan, especially if you are travelling internationally.

ILCA Facebook fans:

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

Help us find your posts: use the hashtag! Sharing pictures on your facebook page of you with your favorite speaker? New insights? Favorite quotes? Be sure to mark your posts with the hashtag: #ILCA15

ILCA Tweeps:

Join the backchannel conversation! Share your insights – and hear what others are saying – on Twitter. We’ll all be tweeting the ILCA conference on the hashtag #ILCA15, and the Lactation Equity Action Seminar at #LactEquity15.

BONUS! Wednesday – Saturday, we’ll pick a tweet of the day at random from the #ILCA15 stream. Each winner will be eligible for a FREE 1-CERP-eligible webinar from the ILCA Knowledge Center, our soon-to-be-released learning management system.

Tools we use:

TweetChat keeps you focused. This great tool isolates the tweets on the hashtag you choose, which can keep you from feeling distracted by other topics during a talk. Follow along at the conference in the #ILCA15 room here or Lactation Equity Action Seminar in the #LactEquity15 room here.

Hootsuite for following it all. Ready to multitask? Hootsuite allows you to follow multiple streams (like #ILCA15 and #LactEquity15).

Following From Afar

Every year, the ILCA community around the globe follows along and joins the conversation!

On Facebook: Find others posts about the conference: during the conference, enter #ILCA15 in the Facebook search bar. You’ll find all the conference-specific news! You can do the same for the Lactation Equity Action Seminar at #LactEquity15.

On Twitter: We’ll be live tweeting the plenary talks! Follow along at #ILCA15.

On Pinterest: Check out our #ILCA2015 conference board here, where we’ll share insights and pictures from the conference.

On Instagram: We’ll share conference image highlights at #ILCA15. Tag your images too!

Amber McCann, IBCLC and Jeanette McCulloch, IBCLC, are the #socmed junkies on the ILCA marketing team. You’ll find one of us at the roving #ILCA15 sign in the Marriott Ballroom, where the plenary sessions are held.

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


NetCode: WHO’s New Global Code Monitoring Initiative

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Michelle Pensa-Branco, RLC, IBCLC, LLL, Toronto, noticed a UNICEF Canada infographic in her Facebook feed and realized the use of a bottle image to idealize bottle-feeding was a violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Michelle had attended a three day Code training workshop held by International Baby Food Network (IBFAN) in Toronto in 2012 and knew the ad was a violation of the Code. Michelle reached out to UNICEF Canada, and, as a result, UNICEF Canada will be training all its staff on the Code.

UNICEF's infograpic, in clear violation of the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes.

UNICEF’s infographic, a violation of the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes

This is an important outcome.

The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is one of our main tools to protect breastfeeding families from infant feeding product marketing that erodes breastfeeding. The Code was first adopted in 1981, over 30 years ago, and there are ongoing initiatives to extend the impact of the Code and help keep it relevant in both the developing and the developed world.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, introduced in 1991, has resulted in hundreds of hospitals adopting the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, and the Innocenti Declaration moved efforts into the 21st century in 2005. Additionally, more than a dozen resolutions have been passed at World Health Assemblies that expand and enhance the Code. It is a living document, and still very relevant in today’s world, working to address current marketing practices like the introduction of follow-on formulas or breast pump company marketing of bottles and teats.

As health professionals, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs®) have a responsibility under the Code to both be aware of the Code, and to draw attention to Code violations. Some of the most flagrant violations are often those committed knowingly by multinational manufacturers who pay lip service to the Code, even in countries where the Code has the force of law. The film MILK, by Noemi Weis, provides a stunning exposé of current Code violations in several countries around the world—from ongoing marketing of Nestlé’s infamous coffee whitener Bear Brand to the families of hungry babies in the slums after the typhoon in the Philippines to the excess of tins and tins of formula sent unasked to mothers in modern kitchens in Canada. (A private screening will be available at the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®)’s Annual Conference – learn more here.)

International Code Document Center legal updateCode monitoring is an ongoing process, and IBCLC reports of Code violations to the IBFAN network over the years have contributed greatly to IBFAN’s International Code Documentation Center reports and legal updates, which are widely used to document and publicize Code violations, including those in well-regulated countries like Ireland, Canada, and the United States.

A key World Health Organization (WHO) report in 2011 on country-by-country implementation of the Code has found that, while 37 of 165 countries have full Code legislation, with many more implementing parts of the Code, few countries have functioning Code monitoring and enforcement mechanisms in place. At the World Health Assembly in 2012, member states were urged to put plans in place to improve implementation and monitoring, and WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan was requested to support the member state efforts. WHO is responding with activities to strengthen both implementation and monitoring of the Code. One initiative is the creation of a network for global monitoring of the Code called NetCode.

This initiative is still being rolled out, and many questions remain about how it will be enacted. What countries will be part of the initiative? What will the role be of the existing IBFAN network and the International Code Document Center in this new initiative? Will efforts be made to ensure partnership opportunities are not infiltrated by industry (such as the co-opting of UNICEF’s 1000 Days initiative by Nestlé in the City of Toronto recently, and the acceptance of money in 2013 from Nestlé to fund Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) initiatives to prevent and control obesity and chronic non-communicable disease)?

In striving to answer some of these questions and provide an opportunity for a greater understanding of NetCode, ILCA invites you to a plenary address by Chessa Lutter, PhD at #ILCA15. Dr. Lutter’s address, WHO UNICEF Network for Global Monitoring and Support: Implementation of the International Code, will be presented Saturday, 25 July 2015, 10-11am EDT and will help attenders clarify the relationship between breastfeeding promotion and changes in current breastfeeding practices, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, and implementation of the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. (NOTE: This plenary address will also be available via #ILCA15’s Live Streaming option.)

We look forward to learning with you at Dr. Lutter’s presentation and at all of our informative plenary events!

Jodine Chase owns a public relations firm that specializes in news analysis for a select clientele. She is the curator of Human Milk News and with her husband has parented eleven children and stepchildren. She has five grandchildren and wants infant food product companies to stop targeting her daughters and daughters in law, and her grandchildren with unethical marketing campaigns. She joined the Best for Babes Foundation board in 2014 to support the BfB C.A.R.E.-Code Alliance, and she helps run INFACT Canada ‘s Facebook page. She is a founding member of the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton (BACE).

This talk will be just one exciting part of this year’s LIVE STREAMING EVENT!

To learn more (including new features and pricing options) visit here for details.


New Pricing and New Features for #ILCA15 Live Streaming

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You spoke and we listened!

You told us that you were excited to participate in the live streaming at #ILCA15 because of all these top speakers have to offer:

      • Kerstin Uvnas Moberg on Oxytocin and adaptations in breastfeeding
      • Chessa Lutter on NetCode, WHO’s new global code monitoring initiative
      • Donna Geddes on Appetite control hormones in breastmilk
      • Katherine Dettwyler on the natural age of weaning in modern humans
      • Cynthia Howard, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, and Trish MacEnroe on Thirty years of lactation research informing practice
      • Decalie Brown, in ILCA’s President’s Address, on Strategic changes at ILCA

(Click here and scroll to the Saturday schedule for full program titles and schedule for the day)

New Pricing Structure To Reflect ILCA’s Community

You also told us that you wanted to ensure that our members could access these sessions worldwide, including those in low-resource countries. And that you wanted students to be learning the very latest evidence-based breastfeeding information.

Thanks to your input, we have restructured the pricing. Our new pricing reflects the typical cost of a CERP at ILCA as well as international and student pricing. Attendees will be awarded 5.5 CERPs, Contact Hours, and CMEs:

        • Category A: $97 members/$133 non-members
        • Category B: $80 members/$110 non-members
        • Category C: $65 members/$89 non-members
        • Category D: $55 members/$76 non-members
        • Students: $52 members/$72 non-members
        • Retired:  $52 members/$72 non-members

(visit here to view a table of your country’s category)

Two ways to watch:

Join us live! During the live streaming, you can chat with other live streaming conference attendees, participate in live tweeting with the entire conference community, and select questions can be brought to the podium for a full conference experience.

Watch on your time! We know that some of you will be unable to join us at our scheduled time or may miss some sessions. Within 4 hours of the close of the last session, every live streaming registrant will have access to watch all of the sessions of the day, as often as you’d like, for up to 90 days!

Get a taste of our ILCA Knowledge Center!

Our NEW learning management system is COMING SOON! The ILCA Knowledge Center is being completely redesigned with the goal of making online learning simple, including plenty of tech support if you need it. You’ll be able to use your computer or tablet – whatever is easiest for you!


* Please note that all those who had previously registered for the live stream event at the higher price will be refunded the difference.


We Need YOU to Help Us Improve the “Find a Lactation Consultant” Feature!

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 3.43.06 PMThe Find a Lactation Consultant (FALC) feature on the International Lactation Consultant Association’s® (ILCA®) website has long been a significant benefit to ILCA membership. In last year’s Member Survey, you told us it was a valuable way to connect with families who needed the care of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLC®) and helped you establish strong connections for support in your communities.

However, you also told us that the feature was challenging to find on our website, frustrating to have updated properly, and confusing for families to find the type of care that they truly needed.

We have heard you and we are in the midst of a major overhaul of the FALC. With our new system, users will be able to search by:

  • Location: As an international organization, we are committed to finding ways for this feature to be truly useful all over the world. Users will be able to search for practitioners in cities, states, provinces, regions, and countries.
  • Practice Setting: The new system allows us to better help users find the kind of help that will be beneficial for their needs. The search function will allow entries to be sorted by those who work in a variety of settings including hospital-based, private practice, community support, and research.
  • Areas of Expertise: Members with a listing in the FALC will be able to select up to 6 areas of special expertise. Users will be able to use this feature to find support for their specific needs.
  • Profession: While we will continue to only offer the benefit of being included in this directory to our IBCLC members, users will also be able to search to find directory members who are midwives, doulas, dietitians, nurses, etc in addition to being an IBCLC.

But, even with these planned changes, we still need YOU to help us make the FALC useful within every community. We’ve created a survey to find out what is working for you and what is not working for you with the FALC. Please click the button below to participate.

Find a Lactation Consultant Survey (1)



World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2015

World Breastfeeding Week_We are one month from World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2015. We hope you will join us in learning about the theme, sharing the World Breastfeeding Week materials, and checking out the ILCA WBW popup store!

This year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’s (WABA) World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) theme is “Let’s Make it Work!” This theme revisits the 1993 WBW theme “Women, Work, and Breastfeeding.” Both campaigns focus on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative and seek to rally global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work.

Much has been achieved in 22 years, such as the adoption of the revised International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 183 and Recommendation 191 on maternity protection in 2000—enacting stronger maternity entitlements, more country initiatives, and improving national laws and practices. There are also more breastfeeding- and mother-friendly workplaces and accreditation. Despite these advances, further progress to increase support for women working in non-formal sectors to breastfeed is minimal.

2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration of 1990, where four targets were adopted by the international community. The declaration stated that all governments, by the year 1995, should have:

  1. appointed a national breastfeeding coordinator of appropriate authority, and established a multisectoral national breastfeeding committee composed of representatives from relevant government departments, non-governmental organizations, and health professional associations;
  2. ensured that every facility providing maternity services fully practices all ten of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding set out in the joint WHO/UNICEF statement Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding: the special role of maternity services;
  3. taken action to give effect to the principles and aim of all Articles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions in their entirety; and
  4. enacted imaginative legislation protecting the breastfeeding rights of working women and established means for its enforcement.

Over 20 years later, all targets need more attention. After over two decades, global monitoring of infant and young child feeding progress shows that this fourth Innocenti Declaration target is still the most difficult to meet. This is a complex and multilevel task, requiring diverse strategies and the engagement of different partners on shared agendas. It is the intent of this year’s theme to help draw the international eye to the ongoing struggle for human rights protections for women in the workplace.

The Goals for WBW 2015 are to:

  • galvanize multidimensional support from all sectors to enable women everywhere to work and breastfeed safely and adequately.
  • promote actions by employers to become Family-, Parent-, Baby-, and Mother-Friendly, and to actively facilitate and support employed women to continue breastfeeding their children.
  • inform people about the latest in global maternity protection entitlements and raise awareness of the need to strengthen related national legislation and implementation.
  • strengthen, facilitate and showcase supportive practices that enable women working in the informal sector to breastfeed.
  • engage with target groups, e.g. trade unions, workers rights organizations, human rights agencies, occupational health organizations, and women’s and youth groups, to protect the breastfeeding rights of women in the workplace.

This year’s theme involves EVERYONE, not just breastfeeding women. Balancing work and family life, including breastfeeding, is increasingly necessary for women’s rights and a strong, healthy, and vibrant workforce—and a better society. Today’s global economic and labor conditions are changing rapidly, with some positive, but many negative implications for women’s health and livelihoods, as well as that of their children and families.

By adequately integrating women’s and men’s productive and reproductive work and lives, all sectors of society will benefit. Benefits include productivity, family income and job security, women’s and children’s health and well-being, employers’ long-term profits, and national socioeconomic health and stability.

It is time to fully recognize, protect and support the unpaid care work and breastfeeding that women all over the world do. Together, WE CAN MAKE IT WORK!

For the most up-to-date information about World Breastfeeding Week 2015 and to download and purchase promotional materials, please visit the World Breastfeeding Week website by clicking HERE.

Please note that ILCA is not producing its own WBW kit. We are working with WABA to assist in the development of their materials. We are offering a small number of items in our Zazzle Store, with proceeds going towards the ILCA Conference Scholarship Fund. In addition, logo files are available for download on the WBW website that you may use to create your own promotional items.

photo credit: Sudipto Das, During Work Hours, copyright WABA2015. View all of the photo contest winning images here.


#ILCA15 Invites YOU to a Live Streaming Event!

ILCAConferencemainimageFor the first time ever, ILCA will offer a one day, live streaming event for those unable to attend the conference in person!

Can’t join us for #ILCA15, but still want to hear from our cutting-edge researchers and inspiring plenaries? Register for our live streaming event! This exciting event will happen on Saturday, 25 July 2015 and will include the opportunity to hear all of the exciting speakers for the day, including our ILCA President, Decalie Brown, as she shares exciting updates about the organization and our vision for the future.

Live streaming will run from 8:00am EDT – 3:45pm EDT. Click here to find out what time the event will be in your timezone. You won’t want to miss it!

Live Streaming Schedule:

Plenary: Physiological and Behavioral Oxytocin: Adaptations that occur in connection with breastfeeding. Kerstin Uvnas Moberg, MD, PhD

President’s Address: Decalie Brown, RN, CM, IBCLC, CFHM, BHMtg, FILCA


Plenary: WHO UNICEF Network for Global Monitoring and Support: Implementation of the International Code. Chessa Lutter, PhD

Plenary: The Origin of Appetite Control Hormones in Breastmilk. Donna Geddes, PhD


Plenary: A Time to Wean: The hominid blueprint for a natural age of weaning in modern humans. Katherine Dettwyler, PhD

Plenary: Thirty Years of Lactation Research Informing Practice. Cynthia Howard, MD, MPH; Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA; Trish MacEnroe, BS, CDN, CLC

The cost for this live streaming event is $200 (members) and $275 (non-members) and it will qualify for 5.5 CERPs, Contact Hours, and CMEs.

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