Giving Thanks: The Passing of the Pen



At the end of this year, Anne Merewood PhD, MPH, IBCLC, will be stepping down as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL). In today’s guest post, ILCA Board Member Kathleen Marinelli MD, IBCLC, FABM shares her reflections on Anne’s tenure. Watch here for an upcoming announcement of the incoming JHL Editor-in-Chief.

Beginning with the February 2012 issue of the International Lactation Consultant Association’s academic journal, the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL), Anne Merewood PhD, MPH, IBCLC has served as its Editor-in-Chief. During the four years under her leadership, the journal has seen many great improvements and additions.

The one most discussed is the rise in Impact Factor (IF), which is a calculated number used as a measure in academic journals to reflect the average number of citations to recent published articles in that journal. It is used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher IFs deemed to be more influential than those with lower IFs.

In 2012 the Impact Factor was 1.638; in 2014 it had risen to 1.985 demonstrating more readership of the journal and an apparent improvement in the quality of the papers published. This increase was a continuation of the increase that had begun with our previous Editor-in-Chief Jane Heinig, PhD, IBCLC, and confirmed the continued forward motion of our organization’s journal under Anne’s leadership.

In addition to the rise in Impact Factor, under Dr. Merewood, we have seen more international submissions and publications in keeping with ILCA’s commitment to our global mission to advance the profession of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. We have also seen more themed issues instituted, most recently the November 2015 edition entitled Special Issue on a CDC Initiative to Improve Community-Based Support for Breastfeeding. The current cover design template, with four small modern photographs chosen yearly from a photo contest among our members, began with her inaugural February 2012 issue. She changed the format of accepted papers to include longer, structured abstracts. By adding the Student Research section she opened JHL to young and new researchers in our field to have a place to submit their work and a chance to not only begin to learn the difficult process and methods of research itself, but the publication process as well, with a real opportunity at seeing their investigations published. Additionally by adding the easily understandable “Well Established/Newly Expressed” sections to each paper which are written in layman’s terms, the research published in JHL has become clear and available to all who read English, even if they are not familiar with research techniques or statistics.

The year Anne became Editor-in-Chief (2012) there were less than 150 submissions for consideration to JHL. To date in 2015 that figure has already doubled with more than 295 original submissions received thus far. This upswing in numbers has resulted in a 2-fold increase in the actual size of the journal. The February 2012 issue had less than 100 pages; the August 2015 issue had over 220! These many changes under her care have facilitated the JHL often being cited as a top ILCA member benefit.

The publication of the November 2015 issue of the Journal of Human Lactation was Anne’s final as the Editor-in-Chief, completing four full years in that position. The pen is being passed. Or maybe more appropriately in this day and age, the computer, the smart pad. However her work will remain as a testament to all she has done while JHL was under her care. We will still see remnants of that work in the papers reviewed under her strong leadership that are still to be published. These papers will be acknowledged as such as they are published in upcoming issues.

The February 2016 Journal of Human Lactation will have a new look. Something to be on the lookout for! The interim Co-Editors are Sara Gill PhD, RN, IBCLC, FAAN and myself, Kathleen A. Marinelli MD, IBCLC, FABM. Our new Editor-in-Chief has been hired—look for her announcement next week. Her first issue will be May 2016.

We wish to offer our heartfelt thanks from the ILCA Board of Directors, the Executive Staff, and our members to Anne, her Editorial staff, and the Editorial Review Board for their service under Anne’s leadership to the Journal of Human Lactation and ILCA over these past four years. We wish Anne continued success in her career endeavors. She has the gratitude of this Board, the staff, and the ILCA membership worldwide for the enduring contributions she has made to our field.

Kathleen Marinelli MD, IBCLC, FABM has been a neonatologist for over 25 years, an IBCLC since 2000 and is a Fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (FABM). She has continued her life-long commitment to improving breastfeeding, the use of human milk and donor milk, especially in the NICU through her volunteer roles, research, teaching globally, and publishing papers, monographs and chapters.

She is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of CT Medical School, and a member of the Human Milk Research Center at CT Children’s Medical Center, in Hartford, CT. She graduated from Cornell University & Cornell University School of Medicine; trained at Children’s National Medical Center, George Washington University, Washington DC; is co-Medical Director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes; member of the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition; served on the Board of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine for many years, and chairs its Protocol Committee.  She has served as Chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, and Chairs the US Baby-Friendly Hospital NICU Initiative.




Website Launch Blog and General Images (3)

As International Board Certified Lactation Consultants , we are well versed on the intense physical, emotional, and cultural preparations that come as a family prepares to welcome a new child to the world. At the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), we’ve been experiencing a bit of that ourselves as we prepare to launch a brand new website which will significantly change how you engage with our values, our vision, our programs, and our member benefits. Together, we seek to transform world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care and, with a new website, we’ll be better able to communicate exactly what ILCA is all about and engage meaningfully with our members, partners, and the global breastfeeding community.

We’ve heard you. Our current website is challenging to navigate, search, and accessing our learning opportunities has caused many of you to simply throw your hands up in frustration. We’ve spent much of the past year critically looking at our systems, conducting surveys to find out what works and what doesn’t, and exploring options to find THE VERY BEST for our members and all of those who support ILCA.

We are proud to announce that, VERY SOON, we’ll be inviting you into our new space.

You’ll find a number of brand new features, including our KNOWLEDGE CENTER and our private social network as well as a significant updating of some of our most used features, such our Find a Lactation Consultant Directory and access to the Journal of Human Lactation.

So, keep encouraging us along in these final weeks of our website “pregnancy”. And, as any good IBCLC knows, once we experience our birth, there is more hard work which will require your patience, your wisdom, and your eagle-eyed problem solving skills! Even with extremely careful planning, there are always challenges to be worked out. We’ll need you! We’ll be announcing just before our launch a special contest to help us find broken links, features which could use further tweaking, and helpful, encouraging feedback.

So, forgive us while we do a little nesting, a little stressing, and a lot of looking forward to what is to come over the next few weeks.

Join Us in Our Excitement and Stay Tuned for More Details Soon!


I Am an ILCA Member Because…

We believe that International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) membership gives you what you need to provide the best breastfeeding support. But don’t trust us – listen to your fellow members! We reached out to members from all over the world and asked them to finish the following sentence:

I am an ILCA member because…

I want mothers to receive up-to-date, accurate information from me when I see them, and I want to support the organization that supports my practice.

Let me count the ways! 10 CERPS per year! Free advertising with the Find a Lactation Consultant Directory! The Journal of Human Lactation! Inside Tracks! To show my pride in my profession and the strength in our international community!

Because as an IBCLC in private practice, it is really important to me to be part of the larger IBCLC community.

It keeps me connected to IBCLCs around the world and keeps me current and connected.

2016 Membership Blog ImagesMy international professional association provides me access to excellent research and professional development opportunities. As an IBCLC, I am proud that ILCA has a broad public health vision “World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care” and has organizational values of knowledge, diversity and equity.

I am a premie of the 1970’s who received the best possible care and the golden gift of breast milk from my mother and support from the health professionals. I grew up to be a maternity nurse by speciality with passion to be with mothers and babies.

ILCA gives you what you need to provide the best breastfeeding support.

The membership package for 2016 includes benefits that allow you to:

If you are new to ILCA and are joining for the first time, you will have full access to all of ILCA’s member benefits as soon as you join.

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ILCA Introduces a NEW Look and a NEW Logo!

Website Launch Blog ImagesIn the past year, the International Lactation Consultant Association ® (ILCA®) has taken a critical look at our values, embraced a new strategic vision, and introduced our Partners Program, impacting the way ILCA engages with the global breastfeeding community.

With these changes, we recognized that it was time for a new look that better reflects our global nature and the many powerful parts that make up our organization.

In the past months, the Logo Redesign Task Force has been hard at work. This international group of members closely examined our values and direction, considered what was most vital to communicate about what ILCA is and gave design direction to a gifted professional graphic designer (learn more about Adriana Lozada below). After reviewing multiple design directions, the Task Force unanimously recommended the design we are presenting here now. Our board enthusiastically accepted their proposal and a new logo for our organization was accepted.

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We selected this logo because it represents ILCA’s expanding impact in the global breastfeeding community. It also depicts the collaboration between many different communities, work settings, backgrounds, and cultures that are needed to bring about great change. Plus, we loved the feel of a “swirl” where you mix parts of something and come up with something greater.

We officially begin using this logo 4 January, 2016 along with our BRAND NEW WEBSITE (watch for more details very soon!) which will launch with a WHOLE NEW LOOK for the organization.

We want to extend our gratitude to the hard work of the Logo Redesign Task Force and to our graphic designer!

adriana and annikaAbout the designer: Adriana Lozada is a graphic designer and birth professional currently living in Rochester, New York. After graduating in Communication Studies in Montreal, Canada, she co-founded a newspaper and media company in Venezuela. In the late 90’s she co-founded a network of youth sites in Spanish and was named one of CNN en Español 20 “Latin American Leaders of the Internet” for 2000.  Adriana has lived all around the world and can communicate in 5 languages. She is the mother of ten-year old Annika (pictured here). We chose her because of her unique understanding of graphic design, birth and breastfeeding, and international communities.

It is an exciting time for ILCA and we look forward to all that 2016 holds in store! If you have not yet joined or renewed your membership, NOW IS THE TIME! You can find information on our website or by emailing



Mulford/WABA Fellow Update: The WABA/UNICEF Stockholm Symposium

We are proud to welcome Dr. Genevieve Becker to Lactation Matters. Dr. Becker is currently serving in Penang, Malaysia as the Chris Mulford World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) ILCA Fellow, where she is working with WABA at their headquarters on outreach and advocacy projects. She was recently able to attend the WABA/UNICEF Symposium in Stockholm, Sweden and reflects on her experience here.

By Dr. Genevieve Becker, IBCLC, FILCA

As health workers, ILCA members are important advocates for a supportive environment that protects and promotes breastfeeding as the norm. Maternity protection has improved for some women, though challenges still remain for many mothers, in all parts of the world, to balance their mother-work and paid work.

As part of my Chris Mulford WABA-ILCA Fellowship, I was privileged to be included among the 50 invited participants from 23 countries discussing the challenges and actions to improve maternity protection at the WABA/UNICEF Stockholm Symposium which focused on “Contemporary solutions to an age-old challenge: Breastfeeding and work,” held 26-28 September 2015. At least a dozen IBCLCs and ILCA members participated in this symposium as contributors, presenters, panelists, and rapporteurs, and shared their expertise and commitment to working together with others as advocates for maternity protection.


Representatives from a number of worldwide health agencies, including those who are ILCA members, work together on global breastfeeding initiatives.

Three main themes related to Maternity Protection ran through the symposium: Economics and Financing, Gender Equity, and the Informal/Short-Term Contract Sector.

Economics and Financing

Julie Smith, an Australian economist who has spoken at ILCA conferences and published in the JHL, provided numbers and analogies to help us understand how valuable mothers are in the economic system. These vital contributions by women may be lost if they are not widely recognised and protected. Women’s skills and knowledge are valuable to retain in the workplace and their milk ensures their children are well nourished, nurtured, and protected from illness to grow into productive future workers.

Labour policies in the absence of paid maternity protection can have negative effects on health behaviours with resulting decline in the wellbeing of mother and child. The database (McMaster University Canada) has data on policies and their effects. States need to commit to women and child rights as an investment in the future. The tools of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) and the associated World Breastfeeding Costing Initiative (WBCi) can be used to study costs of not breastfeeding at national level.

If an employer asked you how paying maternity entitlements would benefit his company, could you provide information? Is the value of breastfeeding and costs of not breastfeeding counted in economic data for your country, state or region? Have a look at the World Breastfeeding Trends web site and see how you can become part of gathering data on the costs and gaps in protection.

Gender Equity

Gender equitable maternity protection includes recognition of the importance of fathers as nurturers, their need for paid parental leave, and the overall aim of family friendly workplaces. Actions recommended at the symposium towards achieving this included spaces for men to talk to men, highlighting positive role models in media, school books, and antenatal services, as well as providing evidence to employers of the value of paid parental leave.

In your work setting or locality, is workplace childcare equally accessible to men and to women employees? Can a father have his baby at his desk? Is flexible working available to both fathers and mothers?

Look at the images portrayed about men. Are they shown as competent to care for a baby and nurturing? Or are the images of the macho man linked with violence and power?

Review the images in antenatal and new parent information that you use. Are fathers behind the mother who is holding the baby or are parents beside each other as equal?

Informal Sector

Women working in the informal or short term contract sector may have no access to maternity protection and many are less visible and hard to reach and organise to seek protection. This is a global issue. We may think of informal workers as migrant fruit pickers, home-based garment workers paid a piece rate, domestic cleaners, or self-employed women. However with the increasing casualization of labour, jobs that were previously formal jobs may now be short term contracts and can include nurses, school teachers, journalists, software programmers, and many more. These women may work in the formal setting of a hospital or office of a multi-national information technology company but have no entitlement to maternity protection (or health care, or job protection if they say they are pregnant) that co-workers may receive who are formally employed.

Look around you – who are formal workers with entitlements and who are informal workers? Are the informal workers counted in labour surveys? Are there organisations advocating for maternity protection for women in the informal sector? What allies in other sectors can you find to advocate with you?

Genevieve Becker, IBCLC, Ireland (WABA-ILCA Fellow), Maryse Arendt, IBCLC, Luxemburg (WABA Steering Committee), and Michele Griswold, IBCLC, USA (ILCA Board of Directors)

In addition to these three areas for thought, there were additional issues raised that I thought were particularly relevant to lactation consultants such as:

  • Concerns were expressed about how many families rely on pumping as the main provision of milk. Challenges can arise if expression/pumping is prioritised over direct breastfeeding. Are we going against human biology?
  • We must encourage families to not assume that the short length of paid maternity leave is viewed as the expected length of exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Maternity protection on its own may not increase breastfeeding rates. Breastfeeding families need the whole package of support and protection for sustaining breastfeeding.
  • It is not enough to have a maternity protection law, the laws need to be strong and to be implemented for ALL women. Worldwide, only 28.4 % of employed women (330 million) are effectively protected.
  • We should encourage the use of  phrases such as “PAID maternity leave” and “balancing family responsibilities and breastfeeding with PAID work” to emphasize that maternity entitlements means money.
  • In addition to generating additional tax income for the state through increased labour participation, maternity protection contributes to improved health and development outcomes and reduce companies’ and nation’s healthcare costs. The value of breastfeeding and the costs of not breastfeeding need to be counted in economic data.
  • At all levels, engage in advocacy around the actions from different sectors – nutrition, social protection, labour, anti-poverty, rural development, education, like-minded private sector employers, manpower agencies, reproductive health, child health, men’s initiatives, women and gender programmes, trade unions, financial institutions, religious groups, media and more. We should also aim for universal rights/social protection not linked to particular employment sector.

A draft Framework for Action is being discussed by the symposium participants over the coming weeks aiming for a version with wider distribution early in 2016.

“Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make It Work!”

G Becker headGenevieve Becker is a registered dietitian and an IBCLC who has worked in maternal, infant and young child feeding for over 30 years. Her main interest is the education and performance of health workers. She has earned a Masters of Science (Community Health), a Masters in Education and a PhD, all which examined aspects of assessment of health worker performance in assisting mothers to learn skills related to breastfeeding. She is the lead author for the Cochrane systematic review on methods of milk expression. She was a volunteer counsellor with a mother-to-mother support group for 20 years.

Her business, BEST Services, provides consultancy services related to breastfeeding education, support and training nationally and internationally. Some current contracts include the coordination of the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in Ireland and assisting countries to revitalise their BFHI activities. Genevieve was the lead for the updating and revision of the UNICEF/WHO BFHI global materials in 2006-2009.

Genevieve served for 6 years on the ILCA Board and is currently the only FILCA in Europe. Genevieve lives in Galway city, on the west coast of Ireland with her husband. Their daughter currently works in Boston and their son and two granddaughters live in Ireland.


2016 Memberships: Introducing our NEW FREE CERPs

2016 Membership Blog Images (1)In 2015, you were overwhelmingly clear: You want and need quality, accessible continuing education and you were glad that ILCA provided you with the opportunity to earn FREE CERPs. A record number of our members accessed FREE CERPs in 2015!

ILCA helps you get what you need to provide the best breastfeeding support.

International Lactation Consultant Association® offers many ways members can obtain Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs):

Beginning 1 January 2016, members will be eligible to earn up to 10 free CERPs:

  • Standard Members: 10 free CERPs
  • Clinical Professional Members: 10 free CERPs
  • Breastfeeding Supporter Members: 5 free CERPs
  • Student Members: 5 free CERPs

See all ILCA member benefits here.

FREE CERPS for 2016

The list was chosen to provide content on the issues that impact the IBCLC community worldwide. We also chose a variety of session types, including conference presentations, webinars, and JHL study modules. The offerings, all of which will be active for the entire 2016 calendar year, include:

Breastfeeding Interventions: What We Do and Do Not Know (1 L CERP)*: This session, presented by Miriam Labbok, MD, MPH, IBCLC, provides an excellent overview of the history of breastfeeding research, including a basic definition of breastfeeding as well as highlights the necessity of understanding research for clinical work as an IBCLC. In addition, it explains how to create a research project, for those who may contemplate diving into the research field.

Donor Milk and the NICU: Challenges and Opportunities (1 L CERP): This session, presented by Nancy Wight, MC, IBCLC, FABM, FAAP, provides a good overview of the process of milk banking and the use of donor milk in the NICU. It reviews the history of milk banking as well as the regulations and guidelines for milk banks. Two types of for-profit milk banks are described, as well as uses for processed banked human milk (PBHM) and why it is important for babies who need it. Policy statements from major institutions on use of human milk are reviewed, as well as the challenge of cooperation between those who informally share human milk and milk banks.

Breastfeeding Without Birthing: Adoption, Surrogacy, and Foster Care (1 L CERP)*: This session, presented by Alyssa Schnell, MS, IBCLC, describes those who may be interested in nursing a baby they did not birth.  It includes practical, step-by-step suggestions and processes for attempting breastfeeding. There are beneficial anecdotes and suggestions for those who are going through the process. 

Breastfeeding and Not Thriving (1 L CERP):  This session, presented by Sallie Page-Goertz, MN, APRN, IBCLC, reviews the various current definitions of clinical failure to thrive in the breastfeeding infant. It briefly reviews current practices including the use of galactagolagues and supplementation and includes several case studies which describe the application of the materials covered.

Theory on Feeding Frequency (1 L CERP): This presentation, presented by Nils Bergman, MBChB, MPH, MD, addresses fascinating research on the topic of feeding frequency. It includes evidence-based research to promote frequent feedings for breastfed infants.

He’s Home…Now What? Transitioning NICU Graduates to the Breast Post-Discharge (1 L CERP): This session, presented by Regina Maria Roig-Romero MPH, MCHES, IBCLC, highlights the fact that the transition of a premature infant to full and direct breastfeeding is most easily achieved in settings where mothers and infants are supported and assisted to practice breastfeeding frequently well before hospital discharge. Evidence shows that infants who do not make the transition to direct breastfeeding are at risk of premature weaning. Simple and easy-to-follow instructions are described. This session is available in both English and Spanish. Members may choose in which language they would like to view the FREE CERP.

Ethics in Lactation Practice (1 E CERP)*: This session, presented by Bridget Roache, RN, RM, IBCLC, Grad Dip CBE, looks at why ethical behavior is vital in ensuring the protection of clients who utilize the services of an IBCLC. The presentation explores the basic points of ethics in the area of health care provision and how these ethical parameters can be applied to clinical practice. There are in-depth explorations of informed consent, documentation, conflict of interest, and how to manage professional boundaries.

Breastfeeding and Neonatal Weight Loss in Healthy Term Infants (1 L CERP): This module from the Journal of Human Lactation focuses on the paper by Riccardo Davanzo, PhD, MD, et al. Neonatal weight loss is universally recognized, yet poorly understood and limited professional consensus exists on the definition of lower limit of safe weight loss. The author’s aim was to assess the extent of neonatal weight loss and its association with selected clinical variables in a population of healthy term infants cared for using a specific protocol on weight loss.

Maternal and Breastpump Factors Associated with Breast Pump Problems and Injuries (1 L CERP)*: This module from the Journal of Human Lactation focuses on a paper by Youlin Qi, MD, MPH, et al. The benefits of using a breast pump are well documented, but pump-related problems and injuries and the associated risk factors have not been reported. This study aimed to describe breast pump-related problems and injuries and identify factors associated with these problems and injuries.

Help us choose the final CERP!

studentWe’ve chosen 9 units of CERP offerings and we need YOU to help choose the final one. The chosen session can be viewed by those ILCA members who have the opportunity to access free CERPs*. You can vote in the poll below, which will be open until 30 November 2015. The CERP with the most votes will be added to the final list and become available as a free CERP for members on 1 January 2016. Your choices are:

  • Why Does It Hurt? A Differential Diagnosis for Breastfeeding Associated Pain (1 L CERP): This session, presented by Alison Stuebe, MD, MSc, FACOG, is an excellent review of potential causative factors for maternal nipple and breast pain. This session is easy to listen to, contains practical flow charts which are easily adaptable to a variety of breastfeeding support settings.
  • Antenatal Expression of Colostrum (1 L CERP):  This session, presented by Marianne Idle, BSc, RM, IBCLC, is an overview of the expression of colostrum in pregnancy, starting around 34 weeks. It includes the effect on the mother’s confidence in breastfeeding and how long she will continue. Recommendations and effects on mothers with type II diabetes is also discussed.
  • Perinatal Obesity and Breastfeeding (1 L CERP): This session, presented by Jennifer Weddig, PhD, RD, focuses on the effects of obesity on breastfeeding initiation and duration, with particular attention to the possible etiology of breastfeeding issues.  Research-based solutions and interventions are discussed, with recommendations for close follow-up and a multi-disciplinary approach to improve outcomes.


Our poll is now closed and you OVERWHELMINGLY choose Alison Stuebe’s Why Does It Hurt? A Differential Diagnosis for Breastfeeding Associated Pain to be added to our list of FREE available CERPs for 2016 ILCA Members. Thank you for taking part and we appreciate all of your votes.

If you have questions or concerns, please comment below or email us at

*indicates those CERPs included in the Breastfeeding Supporter and Student Memberships which offer the opportunity to earn up to 5 free CERPs.

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Call for ILCA Annual Conference Facilitators, Session Speakers, and Task Force Chair

#ILCA16 HomePage BannerYour expertise is needed!

ILCA is seeking presenters and facilitators for the 2016 ILCA Annual Conference as well as calling for applications for the 2017 ILCA Annual Conference Task Force Chair.

Are you a seasoned lactation specialist with a knack for demonstrating clinical skills? Are you passionate about providing training on issues of equity, diversity, or cultural humility? Do you love to teach others how to navigate the complexities of ethical dilemmas? Then ILCA wants YOU to apply to facilitate or present these in-demand topics at the 2016 ILCA Annual Conference!

Last Call for Concurrent Sessions
Don’t miss your opportunity to submit a proposal for a one- or two-hour presentation. The Conference planners are especially interested in concurrent sessions focused on equity, ethics, and clinical topics! The Speaker Submission Site will be open until midnight 30 October 2015 (US Eastern Standard Time).

Clinical Skills Facilitators Needed
The Conference planners are also seeking seasoned IBCLCs to facilitate our popular Clinical Skills Rotation at the 2016 conference. Facilitators provide demonstrations and support hands-on skill practice for beginning practitioners and experienced consultants during rotations between skill stations in each two-hour session. If you are interested in being a Clinical Skills Facilitator or would like to recommend a Facilitator, please contact Cynthia Good Mojab, Education Manager, at by 25 November 2015.

Though the speakers and workshop presenters are a cornerstone of the ILCA Annual Conference, not everyone integral in making the Annual Conference so successful is as visible. There are many ILCA staff members and willing volunteers who provide the vision and nuts-and-bolts support needed to co-create the Annual Conference every year. We invite you to apply to join our team for 2017!

Invitation to Apply: 2017 ILCA Annual Conference Task Force Chair
ILCA is seeking applicants interested in serving as the Chair of the 2017 ILCA Annual Conference Task Force. The responsibilities of this compensated staff position include, but are not limited to, recruiting Task Force members representing global and social diversity, conference planning and scheduling, coordinating the review of and contributing to the selection of speaker abstracts, program preparation, and attendance of the 2016 and 2017 ILCA Annual Conference. To apply, please contact Cynthia Good Mojab, ILCA Education Manager, at by 15 December 2015.


Join or Renew NOW for 2016 ILCA Membership!

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2015 has been an exciting year for the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®). Together, we’ve been working hard to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. And in 2016, ILCA is poised to be better than ever.

We invite you to consider becoming an ILCA member!

ILCA membership gives you what you need to provide the best possible breastfeeding care, including benefits that will help:

GROW YOUR KNOWLEDGE by taking advantage of the opportunity to earn up to 10 FREE CERPs. This benefit was first offered in 2015 and an overwhelming number of our members worked to earn their free CERPs, increasing their knowledge, and expanding their understanding of lactation so they could better serve breastfeeding families.

GUIDE YOUR PRACTICE with the Journal of Human Lactation. For the first time ever, you will have the opportunity to “Go Green” and receive ONLY the online edition to save money! The print edition will continue to be available with the regular standard membership price.

HELP FAMILIES FIND YOU with the Find a Lactation Consultant Directory (Standard Membership – IBCLCs only). We surveyed you to find out what worked and what didn’t work with this directory and you spoke loud and clear! We’ll soon be launching a brand new directory, with increased features and search capabilities along with a marketing plan designed to significantly increase traffic. We’re working hard to make sure that this directory works FOR YOU!

SAVE YOU MONEY with discounts on educational opportunities in ILCA’s NEW Knowledge Center (launching in November) such as live and recorded webinars and registration for our annual conference, this year in Chicago, Illinois, USA!

BUILD YOUR PRACTICE with access to share Inside Tracks with your clients. ILCA offers expert, evidence based research interpreted just for breastfeeding families.

STAY CONNECTED through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and the ILCAlert, our weekly newsletter!

ILCA Membership – Not Just For IBCLCs

ILCA membership is not just for IBCLCs! ILCA has benefit packages to meet the unique needs of both clinical care providers – like physicians, midwives, nurses, and dietitians – and breastfeeding supporters – like volunteers with new family support groups, peer counselors, and those with other lactation certifications. Click HERE to learn more about our new membership categories and benefits. Group memberships are no longer available.

New Equity-Based Pricing

If you live in a country where the cost of ILCA membership has felt out of reach, please look again. As a part of our commitment to knowledge, equity, and diversity, ILCA has reassessed its fee structure. Learn more about how and why we made these changes HERE, and find the fee for your country HERE.

ILCA helps you get what you need to provide the best breastfeeding support.

Please consider joining ILCA in 2016. Click below to join or renew now!

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If you have questions or need more information concerning ILCA member benefits, please contact us at


ILCA 2016 Membership Pricing: Understanding Our Equity Approach

Lactation Matters-the official blog of (2)In 2016, ILCA is significantly reworking the membership pricing structure to better reflect our commitment to knowledge, diversity, and equity. We want to share with you the new pricing, the values behind the shift, and how we determined the new structure.

Our 2016 Standard Membership Fees:

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As we’ve done for many years, each member is placed in a category based on the World Bank Economy Indicators list. However, what is different this year is how we calculated each category’s fee structure.

Member fees seen through our core values: knowledge, diversity, and equity

ILCA, as a part of its new strategic direction, has adopted three core values:

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

The ILCA Board of Directors has taken a hard look at every aspect of our work  – including our membership structure, benefits, and pricing – to determine how it is aligned with these values.

We have been aware for many years that, even though ILCA employed a tiered pricing structure, membership fees were still out of reach for many people worldwide who are otherwise committed to improving global health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. By taking a close look at the numbers, we saw a clearer picture of just how great the disparities actually are.

For many years, we’ve based our pricing on the World Bank Economy Indicators list. Members from countries that the World Bank rated as “high income” were charged our full membership fee, while those within lower resource countries (upper middle income, lower middle income, and low income) paid less — an 18%, 33%, and 43% discount (respectively). While the general thinking behind this strategy  — lower rates for lower resource countries — made sense, the percentage discount did not take into account the full impact of worldwide disparities.

Using World Bank data, we compared the average salary to the ILCA dues for each country. The results helped us to see that, although we were adjusting the scale, we weren’t doing so in an equitable way. For people in the lowest resource countries, the ILCA membership fee represented as much as 12% of their annual income, yet it was only 0.3% of the annual income for someone in a high resource country. Our 43% discount for low resource countries simply wasn’t low enough to ensure that the benefits of ILCA membership were accessible worldwide.

The ILCA Board realized that something needed to change. If we want to achieve our vision of world health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care, we must make membership accessible to all of those committed to this vision.

Our new fee structure in each resource level calculates the fee based on the average income of all countries in that category. Now, members around the world will pay approximately the same percentage of the annual salary for their World Bank category.

ILCA recognizes that this new fee structure will not relieve the financial burden of membership from every potential member. We understand that, even in countries named “high income” by the World Bank, significant and inequitable financial structures still exist. We will continue to examine and address this concern. With this in mind, we are increasing our efforts to fundraise for scholarships and hope to offer an increased number of scholarships in 2016 and beyond. In addition, we will continue to offer scholarships for those in need. 

In addition to our Standard Membership, we will also continue to offer Student and Retired memberships as well as Clinical Care Professional and Breastfeeding Supporter membership for those who are not IBCLCs. Watch for more information on pricing and benefits for these membership types soon.

You have told us, both formally through our membership survey and informally through phone calls, emails, social media communications and face-to-face conversations that you highly value ILCA membership. You’ve overwhelmingly taken advantage of the opportunity to earn FREE CERPs, expressed your deep appreciation for the Journal of Human Lactation, and shared with us how being listed in the Find a Lactation Consultant directory impacts your community.

Our new fee structure will not impact your member benefits. We are committed to making sure that you continue to have access to the benefits that you have come to value. The more members we have worldwide, the greater our capacity to impact global health. The more our profession impacts global health, the more IBCLCs will be recognized as integral to health care systems worldwide.

We want to continue to help our current members  get what you need to provide the best breastfeeding support. And, we want to make sure these same benefits have the worldwide impact our vision calls upon us to achieve.

Be watching on 15 October 2015 for more information about how you can LATCH ON TO ILCA for 2016!


Reflections from the 2015 Lactation Equity Action Seminar: Addressing Mentoring Challenges

Lactation Matters-the official blog of (5)By Norma Escobar, IBCLC, RLC

Part of the Lactation Equity Action Seminar this year focused on finding solutions to identified barriers to enter the IBCLC profession. One of the key themes that emerged is the need for mentors in the profession for underrepresented groups. But what does mentoring mean? Why do established IBCLCs sometimes cringe at the thought of mentoring an aspiring exam candidate even while recognizing the need to secure the future of the profession?

There are two kinds of mentoring: Formal and informal. By formal mentoring we may point to IBLCE’s Pathway 3, where an IBCLC takes on the task of making sure the exam candidate has the competencies needed to be a good lactation consultant. There are clear guidelines, expectations and costs involved to be a part of this type of relationship. The IBLCE web site has very specific guidance on this HERE and there are also publications that are available to those IBCLCs who want to make this a part of their practice model, which can be found HERE and HERE.

The formal mentoring programs and clinical internships have an important place in helping people enter the profession and hone their skills. But what about the aspiring candidate who perhaps is geographically isolated, or the IBCLC who does 2-3 home visits per week and some weeks sees no one as she works part-time around the needs of her family. Pathway 3 options are not practical in these cases. Then there are IBCLCs who work in teaching settings or research who may not necessarily be able to give the aspiring candidate the exposure to mothers and babies that a traditional mentoring program might. Does that mean that they are not able to mentor the next generation?

2014 PC Training Graduation

On the contrary, anyone who has passed the rigorous IBCLC examination can be a mentor to another person seeking to enter the lactation profession. Consider finding someone from an underrepresented population and see what you can do to encourage them to explore their options. Here are some simple (and more complex) ideas that have worked in various practice settings:

  • Be available to answer questions about the certification process and share your experience on how you became certified. Even though requirements may have changed over the years, the basics are the same: clinical experience, basic knowledge set, lactation education hours.
  • Encourage mothers who are breastfeeding “stars” to become volunteers in established mother-to-mother support organizations, such as La Leche League International, Breastfeeding USA, and the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
  • Participate or start a breastfeeding coalition in your community. Talk about the need for more IBCLCs and provide opportunities for networking and sharing.
  • Consider loaning out some of your professional books or back issues of professional publications such as JHL to aspiring IBCLCs.
  • Join a facebook group of aspiring IBCLCs such as “Want to be an IBCLC” to see what the concerns are and see if you can provide assistance.
  • Invite interested candidates to shadow you for a day or a client interaction.
  • Establish a volunteer program in your hospital or public health setting to help interested individuals get clinical hours and experience in a supervised setting.
  • Offer to pay someone’s way (or partial way) to a breastfeeding conference
  • If you offer education events for lactation, consider a scholarship (or several) for participants from underrepresented populations
  • Educate yourself on sources for funding for aspiring IBCLCs, such as the MILCC Scholarship, and DONATE! Every little bit helps!

2013 May pc

During my time as a breastfeeding supporter I’ve mentored many women into the field of breastfeeding, first as an LLL Leader, now as an IBCLC. In my IBCLC role, I have been privileged to be able to partner with my local hospital and WIC agency establishing a Peer Counselor Volunteer Program. Many of these volunteers are interested in becoming IBCLCs and are willing to give us their time in order to accumulate the clinical hours that they need to sit for the exam. Some of them have already gone on to become IBCLCs. While establishing these programs can be challenging, the pay-off is more skilled breastfeeding helpers.

What are your ideas for mentoring the next generation? I know there are innovative ideas you’ve come up with or have dreamed of. Please share with the rest of us so we can be inspired!

normaOriginally from Mexico City, Norma Escobar originally trained as an English as a Second Language Instructor.  After moving to the United States and having children, she found her passion in helping breastfeeding mothers. Norma has been working with breastfeeding women since 1994 as a Leader with La Leche League, where she served in a multitude of roles.  She became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2002.  She currently serves as the Breastfeeding Coordinator and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Manager for the New Hanover County WIC program in North Carolina as well as the Perinatal Region V WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator.   She believes this is the role she was made for as she is responsible to mentoring the next generation of breastfeeding helpers, be they Peer Counselors, health care professionals or community volunteers. She is the mother of two grown sons without whom she would have never discovered the joys and challenges of breastfeeding.


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