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:


Call for Papers: Ethics and Lactation February 2020 Issue

The Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is soliciting manuscripts about ethical issues pertaining to lactation and breastfeeding or chestfeeding for the February 2020 issue. Ethical discussions of these topics have been limited within the professional literature, despite the short- and long-term health benefits of human milk to families and communities’ health and wellbeing. JHL welcomes articles about a broad range of ethical concerns.

The Guest Editors welcome original research, literature reviews, case studies, insights into policy and practice and other types of manuscripts. Email inquiries concerning specific ideas for manuscripts for this special issue are also welcomed (e-mail addresses below).

For more details and to submit, visit

Manuscripts due: 15 July 2019

Joan E. Dodgson, Ph.D., MPH, RN, FAAN
School of Nursing
Saint Louis University

Guest Editors:
Darcia Narvaez, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of Notre Dame

Laura Duckett, BSN, MS, PhD, MPH, RN
School of Nursing (Emerita)
University of Minnesota


An Update from Mudiwah Kadeshe, ILCA President

As the president of the board of directors of the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), I deeply value listening carefully to you, our members. I also want to be transparent with you about our organization. In 2019, I will be sharing with you the things that have excited me, the ways ILCA is stepping forward, and invite you to tell me what is and is not working for you as an ILCA member.

We have set big goals for the year ahead. We want to provide you with outstanding education and connection – whether in person or virtually. We are working to increase access to education, improve technology to serve you, and provide you with additional tools as we work together towards equity in the profession. We are excited to be doing this work together with you, our members and volunteers.

I cannot wait to see you 24 – 27 July in Atlanta, Georgia, United States for ENGAGE, our annual conference and general meeting. In addition to this great opportunity to get together, our board of directors will also be embarking on an international listening tour so that we can hear from you in your own community. Keep an eye on your weekly ILCAlert for more information.

We are working hard to increase access to member benefits. Soon, we will offer closed captioning on all recorded webinars. The expectation is that this visual word tool will allow more of our members to experience these great educational sessions, while laying the foundation for providing translations of these webinars.

To achieve all of our goals, we need your help. Soon, we will launch  a new structure for our volunteers. We have heard you. Our present way of engaging with volunteers has been challenging and we have not always made the space for you to work to the best of your ability. The  board of directors is committed to providing direction so that you, our volunteers, can put your expertise into action. Our volunteer application process will open soon!

Of course, big goals require funding. I am pleased to share that we have approved our 2019 ILCA budget. While this year’s budget may be ambitious, I believe that we can achieve our goals and be fiscally responsible. While we have not historically published our current year budgets, I encourage our members to explore our financial audits and minutes for our past Board of Directors meetings (please note that this link is available to members only). And, as always, I am happy to engage with you about ILCA’s financial health and priorities.

We are currently looking for a new member to our Board of Directors to fill the role of Secretary. You can read more about the position in our recent post at Lactation Matters. Please consider whether you or a colleague would be a good fit to help provide leadership as we work together to “transform world health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.”

I want to hear from you. It is vital that I know what joys and challenges you face in your daily work and how ILCA can better support you through our core values of knowledge, equity, and diversity. As we experienced at last year’s conference, we truly are better together. You can email me anytime at


ILCA Seeking Conference Program Task Force Chair Applicants

Do you love bringing together lactation consultants and ensuring they have the skills they need to provide high quality, evidence based care?

Consider playing a key role in the ILCA Annual Meeting and Conference by applying to become the Conference Program Task Force Chair (CPTF).

This two-year position includes an honorarium and attendance at the ILCA conference. The CPTF helps guide the selection of plenary and concurrent workshops.

While primarily focusing upon how “knowledge guides our practice, strengths our value, and supports our role in transforming global health,” all of ILCA’s three core values are essential to the tasks of this position.

The CPTP works alongside the ILCA Education Manager and coordinates closely with the members of the volunteer Conference Task members.

Learn more about the position and apply here.

Applications will be accepted until 15 February 2019.


ILCA Seeking Candidate for Board Position

Do you want to work alongside leaders from around the globe to shape the future of ILCA and your profession? Do you want to help set our path within the global breastfeeding community?

Consider becoming a candidate for a position on the ILCA Board!

The ILCA Board of Directors is seeking candidates for the Secretary position, which has been temporarily filled by Director Ger Cahill. Ger volunteered to step into the role after the term of the previous Secretary expired. The board is grateful for her time as secretary and look forward to her continued role as Director.

We asked some of our current board members to tell us a bit about what it means to them to serve the profession in this capacity:

“I feel very honoured to be part of the current ILCA Board of Directors. We know there are many IBCLCs and skilled breastfeeding supporters around the world that are yet to access the benefits of ILCA membership, including the Journal of Human Lactation, our education and professional development programs and our conference.

We are working to deepen relationships globally, to increase our advocacy work and to improve equitable and international access to our programs, while at the same time being mindful of the needs of our valued current members. It’s an exciting time to be involved!” ~ Iona Macnab, BA(Hons), LLB, IBCLC

“Working for the ILCA Board is a wonderful and satisfying experience. We are a group of people from all across the world, who get together, sometimes in person and most times while sitting in our own houses, and make decisions which in the long run can impact world health – can there be a more satisfying way to spend your time and energies?!” ~ Sabeen Adil, MD, IBCLC

“Being on the board is like being part of an international family. Everyone is far away so you look forward to the times you do get to spend with one another at meetings.

The board work – whilst not hard per se – can be challenging, making decisions that will affect the future of the organisation, bearing in mind the diverse international scope we are striving for, is not an easy task. So while the brain is definitely challenged at times, having colleagues who are fun, like-minded, brave and resilient and who I can also call friends, is the bonus that is worth the work.

Meeting so many people worldwide at various meetings and conferences has been a huge bonus for me.  Only through working on the board could I have had so many opportunities to do this. ~ Ger Cahill, BA, IBCLC

ILCA is seeking candidates who are alert to regional and cross-cultural differences as they occur within the global breastfeeding community. Candidates will be sensitive to the challenges of ensuring equitable access to positions of leadership within ILCA for currently under-represented groups.

To learn more about the Secretary position, including a detailed job description, we invite you to visit the Volunteer Opportunities page on the ILCA website. 

To apply, please complete the ILCA Secretary Application by 17 February 2019.

Please also consider sharing this with anyone you would like to help shape the future of ILCA and the profession. Thank you!


IBCLC Care Awards: Applications Now Open

Let potential clients know that your Hospital-Based Facility or Community-Based Agency recognizes the role of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) in protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding by applying for the IBCLC Care Award.

The IBCLC Care Awards are promoted to new families and the general public which means your facility can enjoy the benefits of positive public relations in your community, including:

  • Enhanced attractiveness to potential patients
  • Competitive edge in recruiting lactation consultants, nurses, midwives, mother support counselors and other medical staff
  • General goodwill in the community by providing excellent care in helping new families reach their breastfeeding goals

Visit the IBCLC Care Directory to see which Hospital-Based Facilities are already benefiting from the IBCLC Care Award program!

Hospital-Based Facilities and Community-Based Health Agencies that staff currently certified IBCLCs can apply online to become a recognized IBCLC Care Award facility. Learn more about the qualifications and complete the online application here.

The award was created by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). Learn more and apply here.

Applications will be accepted online starting 14 January 2019 through 15 February 2019. Please contact us at with any questions.

Click here to apply now!


ILCA Seeking Lead Nurse Planner

Are you a nurse who loves to ensure our education guides our best possible practice as lactation consultants? ILCA is seeking a Lead Nurse Planner (LNP). This remote position is compensated and includes attendance at the ILCA Annual Meeting and Conference.

The LNP ensures that ILCA maintains its status as a provider of professional development for healthcare professionals, which gives ILCA the ability to educate individuals worldwide.

To reach as many healthcare professionals as possible, ILCA offers education with a variety of continuing education credits, including those available to nurses. To maintain compliance with the organizations that grant those credits, the LNP must meet certain requirements (click here to learn more).

To apply, please complete the application here. Contact with any questions.


Top 10 JHL Posts of 2018

On topics ranging from breastfeeding in the workplace to co-sleeping perceptions to opioid maintenance treatment, our community tapped into the top-accessed resources of Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) nearly 23,000 times last year.

As we wrap up 2018, we compiled this list of the year’s top ten most accessed JHL articles. Planning on using research to guide your practice? Your ILCA membership ensures a full year’s access to the next year’s content, along with online, on-demand searchable access to the full database of JHL research to find the evidence you need. Not a member or time for you to renew? Click here to join or renew your membership now.

#10 Gestalt Breastfeeding: Helping Mothers and Infants Optimize Positional Stability and Intraoral Breast Tissue Volume for Effective, Pain-Free Milk Transfer

Pamela Douglas and Renee Keogh

#9 The Impact of a Prenatal Education Video on Rates of Breastfeeding Initiation and Exclusivity during the Newborn Hospital Stay in a Low-Income Population

Ann L. Kellams, Kelly K. Gurka, Paige P. Hornsby, Emily Drake, Mark Riffon, Daphne Gellerson, Gauri Gulati, and Valerie Coleman

#8 The Atlantic Divide: Contrasting U.K. and U.S. Recommendations on Cosleeping and Bed-Sharing

Helen L. Ball

#7 Systematic Review of Evidence for Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Step 3 Prenatal Breastfeeding Education

Kathryn Wouk, Kristin P. Tully, and Miriam H. Labbok

#6 About Research: Qualitative Methodologies

Joan E. Dodgson

#5 Therapeutic Breast Massage in Lactation for the Management of Engorgement, Plugged Ducts, and Mastitis

Ann M. Witt, Maya Bolman, Sheila Kredit, and Anne Vanic

#4 Breastfeeding in the Community: Sharing Stories on Implementations That Work

Sheree Holmes Keitt, Harumi Reis-Reilly, Nikia Fuller-Sankofa, and Margaret Carr

#3 Interventions to Improve Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy and Resultant Breastfeeding Rates: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Meredith Brockway, Karen Benzies, and K. Alix Hayden

#2 Efficacy of an Osteopathic Treatment Coupled With Lactation Consultations for Infants’ Biomechanical Sucking Difficulties A Randomized Controlled Trial

Juliette Herzhaft-Le Roy, Marianne Xhignesse, and Isabelle Gaboury

#1 Breastfeeding in the Community: Addressing Disparities Through Policy, Systems, and Environmental Changes Interventions

Harumi Reis-Reilly, Nikia Fuller-Sankofa, and Calondra Tibbs


Presenting the Patricia Martens Annual Award for Excellence in Breastfeeding Research: Mary Renfrew, FRSE, RGN, SCM, PhD

At #ILCA18, the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) awarded the Patricia Martens Annual Award for Excellence in Breastfeeding Research to Dr. Mary Renfrew. This award is given, in memory of Patricia Martens, to a senior researcher with a history of excellence in breastfeeding research which has had an international impact on advancing our knowledge and practice about human lactation and breastfeeding. The award recipient is chosen by the JHL Editorial Review Board. We recently caught up with Dr. Renfrew to find out more about her research and how she came to be interested in supporting families through her research.

Would you share with us your research interests and what led you to focus your efforts in this area?

Ultimately, my research has focused on ways to enable women – all women, whoever they are, whatever their circumstances – to breastfeed, including approaches to mitigating inequalities in health.

Why did I focus on this work?  I think it was a combination of factors – I came from a large family where my mother breastfed all of us, and then I trained as a midwife in the 1970s, when harmful interventions were embedded in routine practice, such as separation of mothers and babies after birth, timing feeds, test weighing babies, and routine supplementation. These routine practices didn’t make any sense to me, and it made me angry to see women who desperately wanted to be with their babies and to breastfeed, yet who were prevented from doing so.  Conducting research studies to demonstrate the harm and to identify positive strategies seemed to be a helpful contribution I could make.

What do you think the key takeaways of your research are for individual IBCLCs® working directly with families?

The barriers to breastfeeding are societal. They are a result of misleading marketing and advertising, a lack of knowledge and skills among health professionals, a lack of public support and understanding, a lack of family and community support, a lack of support in the workplace, and an over-medicalized approach that focuses on specific interventions rather than on the kind, supportive, knowledgeable care and environment that women and babies need.  Work with others to tackle these barriers, and support all women, whatever their decisions or circumstances – these societal barriers make it hard for women to breastfeed, and they may decide not to breastfeed for many reasons.

What do you think the policy implications are for this research?

We need to tackle the societal barriers to breastfeeding described above through policy change. This should include better employment protection for lactation consultant professionals, limiting marketing and advertising of formula and other commercial products for professionals and for the public, taking specific steps to provide resources and support for low-income communities where breastfeeding rates have been low for generations, and improving education on breastfeeding for all professional groups involved in the care of women and babies. Such change needs interdisciplinary and inter-professional collaboration.

Our congratulations on the award! What research should we watch for coming up from you?

I will be retiring from my university post this year, so I will not be leading new research in the future.  I will continue to publish, mostly in the field of how to implement large-scale sustainable change. I am also currently leading on work to develop new standards of education for midwives in the UK and those standards, which will include standards for infant feeding, will be published next year.

Congratulations, Mary Renfrew!

Mary Renfrew is Professor of Mother and Infant Health at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Mary has been serving mothers and babies since she began her professional career as a midwife. She later transitioned to conducting health research, specializing in  maternity care and infant feeding and nutrition. In the past 35 years, her work has helped shape midwifery and breastfeeding policy and practices internationally. Her many professional accomplishments include publishing over 200 peer-reviewed papers; co-authoring ‘Bestfeeding’; and establishing the multidisciplinary Mother and Infant Research Unit at the University of Dundee, then leading it for over 20 years.Mary’s expertise is sought-after internationally in academic and policy circles; in addition to advising The Lancet series on Midwifery, she has served UNICEF UK and WHO. Her contribution to health science was recognised in her election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014.



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