2019 ILCA Elections: Board of Directors

The ILCA Board of Directors presents the following ballot for ILCA voting members to:

  • select the next Board Secretary;
  • ratify one Board member’s second term; and
  • ratify the candidate for President-Elect.

Balloting commences 24 April 2019 and concludes 08 May 2019, at which time all electronic votes will be tallied by the ILCA staff.

All ILCA members who are certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) and are in good standing will receive an email from ILCA on 24 April 2019 containing a link to the ballot (subject line: Your 2019 ILCA Board of Directors Ballot).

Prior to casting a vote, all voting ILCA members are encouraged to read the profile submitted by each candidate by clicking the hyperlink in her name below. Vote carefully: Once your vote is cast, it cannot be changed, repeated, or cancelled.

Secretary Election

The ILCA Board of Directors asks that you consider the following three candidates for the Secretary position:

Dawn Baltz

MSN, BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC Pinellas Park, Florida, United States

Jeanne Mitchell

RN, MSN, IBCLC Austin, Texas, United States

Tova Ovits

BA, IBCLC Brooklyn, New York, United States

Second Term Ratification

The ILCA Board of Directors asks that you ratify the following Board member for a second term:

Geraldine Cahill

BA, IBCLC Schull, Co. Cork, Ireland

Ger was elected to serve as a Board Director from 2016-2019. She served from 2016-2017 in this role, then graciously stepped into the vacant Secretary position from 2017-2019. 

President-Elect Ratification

The ILCA Board of Directors asks that you ratify the following Board member for selection as ILCA President 2020-2022:

Sabeen Adil

MD, IBCLC Lagos, Nigeria

If you did not receive an email and you should have, please contact the ILCA Office at admin@ilca.org (or) 1+ 919-861-5577 (or) 888-452-2478. Our ILCA staff is eager to make sure you get a ballot so your vote can be counted. 

Questions about our voting process? Review our Bylaws here.


Two conferences for one

Help us celebrate that the #ILCA18 conference is now available in the Knowledge Center by enjoying two conferences for one.

For a very limited time, register for the #ILCA19 full in-person conference package and receive 60 days of online access to up to 19 select CERPs from #ILCA18.*

By registering now, your in-person registration can earn you up to 41 continuing education credits – more than half of the CERPs needed to complete recertification by continuing education!

To receive the two conferences for one, you must register for the #ILCA19 full conference by 30 April, so be sure to register now!

*Online access to the #ILCA18 content will become available immediately following the in-person conference and will be accessible for 60 days.

ILCA18 Sessions Available in this Offer:

Advocacy Needs, Strategies, and Outcomes: Applying Lessons Learned by ILCA’s Global Partner, ACCLAM, in Your Setting(Mariana Colmenares MD, IBCLC)

Deconstructing Fake Equity: Lessons Learned From a Dominant Culture Institution(Catherine Sullivan MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND)

Gender and Queer Communities 101: Building a Foundation for Culturally Humble and Inclusive Care (Trevor MacDonald)

Global Partners Panel: Furthering the Global Breastfeeding Agenda through Collaborative Advocacy at the Local, National, Regional, and International Level (Global Partners)

Lactation Support in Disasters and Emergencies: Integrating Life Course, Psychosocial, and Human Rights Perspectives (Aunchalee Palmquist PhD, IBCLC)

Length of Stay and Breastfeeding Status Associated with Type of Milk Supplementation Among Late Preterm Infants in a Mother/Baby Unit: Results of a Retrospective Chart Review (Becky Mannel BS, BA, IBCLC, FILCA)

Preparing IBLCE Exam Candidates for Success: Lessons Learned From the First CAAHEP-Accredited Pathway 2 Program (Catherine Sullivan MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND)

Safe and Sustainable Implementation of BFHI’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding: EMPower Breastfeeding and the New EMPower Training Initiative (Kathy Parry MPH, IBCLC, LMBT)

Safe Infant Sleep: Who Decides and on What Evidence? (James McKenna PhD)

SIDS and Colic: Do They Share the Same Breathing Control System Origin? (James McKenna PhD)

Skin-to-Skin Contact: Current Research and Mediating Mechanisms (Nils Bergman MB ChB, DCH, MPH, MD)

Step Up and Step Back: Guidance for Individuals and Institutions Addressing Inequity (Catherine Sullivan MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND)

The Return of Breastsleeping: Humankind’s Oldest and Most Successful Sleep and Feeding Arrangement (James McKenna PhD)

The WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes: Global Relevance and Contemporary Challenges (Terrie Wefwafwa HSC)

To Clip or Not to Clip? Clinical Dilemmas Regarding the Release of Posterior Tongue Tie and their Implications for Infant Feeding (Gina Weissman DMD, RN, IBCLC)

Using the Hazelbaker Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function: Guidance for Clinical Settings (Alison Hazelbaker PhD, IBCLC, FILCA, CST-T, RCST)

WHO Guidelines on Protection, Promotion, and Support of Breastfeeding: Current Updates and Guidance for Facilities Providing Birth and Newborn Services (Trish MacEnroe BS)

Already registered for #ILCA19?
If you registered for the full conference package at any time before 30 April, good news!
You will automatically receive the #ILCA18 online package.


ILCA Advocating for Maternity Protection at the International Labour Organization

ILCA continued its efforts to increase maternity protection, including advocacy for nursing breaks for mothers, at the recent International Labour Organization (ILO) Centennial Celebration.

The ILO, founded 100 years ago, exists to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men. Established as the first specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) in 1947, the ILO is unique in its tripartite structure, bringing together governments, employers, and workers from 187 member states.

Lisa Mandell, MBA, IBCLC, is one of ILCA’s liaisons to the United Nations. Lisa has for the last eighteen months joined other ILCA liaisons who have been working with the UN with the goal of elevating the needs of breastfeeding families in the workplace. On 10 April 2019 she attended the ILO Centennial Celebration, a High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. This meeting was held to celebrate the founding of the International Labour Organization (ILO) 100 years ago, reflect on their accomplishments, and discuss the future of work.

The High-Level Meeting included remarks from high-level UN officials, including the UN Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, and the Director-General of the ILO and representatives from 24 different member states or groups of states. The speakers emphasized the importance of working toward the goal of decent work for all, how social justice is a part of this effort, and that labor should not be viewed as a commodity. Many discussed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) on Decent Work and Economic Growth. Challenges identified include mass unemployment, discrimination, and informal work; emerging issues include digitalization, climate change, demographic change. Of importance to ILCA, many speakers mentioned a focus on women and work, increasing women’s participation in the workforce and reducing the gender pay gap.

At two interactive panels, Addressing Unfinished Commitments to Achieve Decent Work for All, and The Future of Work, the challenges and emerging issues were discussed. Women’s employment remains a priority. With discussion of the changes in the world of work through technology and other issues, consideration of meeting the needs of working and breastfeeding parents will be critical.

In her role as liaison to the UN, Lisa not only advocates for lactation-related outcomes, but also brings back to the advocacy team a deeper understanding of the ways in which ILCA can align our advocacy goals with the larger world agenda around work. This continues the work ILCA has been doing, with other organizations, to emphasize the importance of maternity protection and pumping or nursing breaks for employed mothers, as identified in this statement for the Commission on the Status of Women.


How Will #ILCA19 Change Your Practice?

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

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

Learn from the leading experts around the globe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Quickly learn new skills or practice techniques with your peers.

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

Rotation one:

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

Rotation two:

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

These highly-popular sessions fill fast!

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

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


Advocacy Update: Research to measure exposure to breastmilk substitute marketing

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about exposure to BMS marketing here:

Feeley, A. B., Ndeye Coly, A., Sy Gueye, N. Y., Diop, E. I., Pries, A. M., Champeny, M., … Huffman, S. L. (2016). Promotion and consumption of commercially produced foods among children: situation analysis in an urban setting in Senegal. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 6476. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12304

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

Pries, A. M., Huffman, S. L., Adhikary, I., Upreti, S. R., Dhungel, S., Champeny, M., & Zehner, E. (2016). High consumption of commercial food products among children less than 24 months of age and product promotion in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 12. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12267

Pries, A. M., Huffman, S. L., Mengkheang, K., Kroeun, H., Champeny, M., Roberts, M., & Zehner, E. (2016). Pervasive promotion of breastmilk substitutes in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and high usage by mothers for infant and young child feeding. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 3851. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12271

Vitta, B. S., Benjamin, M., Pries, A. M., Champeny, M., Zehner, E., & Huffman, S. L. (2016). Infant and young child feeding practices among children under 2 years of age and maternal exposure to infant and young child feeding messages and promotions in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12 Suppl 2, 7790. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12292


Human Milk in the NICU Resources

Do you provide care in the NICU setting?

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

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

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

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

Click here to become an ILCA member today.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Get Inspired By Dr. Camara Jones

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

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

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

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

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

Join us at #ILCA19!


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