Why You Should Have a Facebook Business Page?

When I started my private practice business a few years ago, Facebook had just started to really take off.  I only had a personal page, which I used to post pictures of my kids and talk about my life as a mother of two young boys.  I also wanted to connect with my breastfeeding clients, but felt awkward sharing my personal life with them, at least on a semi-daily basis.  That’s when I knew that it was time to launch my business Facebook page.

You may ask, “How important is it to have a Facebook presence?”

My answer is: Extremely important! 

While you may not connect with your friends and family through Facebook, your clients and patients do…. And on a regular basis!  So, why miss this opportunity to continue your conversation with them?

Who should have a business Facebook page?
• Anyone or any business that wants more patients and clients.
• Private practice Lactation Consultants, Lactation Consultants in non-profits, lactation organizations, anyone who is looking to increase business through marketing
• It is imperative if you have a blog and/or private business.

Why Facebook could be good for your business?
• The new generation of mothers is not getting their information from traditional marketing arenas (i.e. newspapers, TV, radio, email blast).  Instead, they are looking to engage with content.  They want something interactive, engaging, and informal (hence, Facebook)
• When Lactation Matters posted Jane Morton’s article on Hand Expression of the 384 views to the article, 224 were ‘referred’ from Facebook.  It is a way to share your message.
• When I posted an article about Creating a Breastfeeding Basket , it got picked up by Kellymom and Hygeiababy, all because they found the article mentioned on my Facebook business page.  My San Diego Breastfeeding Center blog also received over 700 unique hits that day.  These are all potential people talking about my business and breastfeeding support.
• You can engage with your audience, clients, and followers in your niche groups by posting articles, questions, surveys.
• You can share great information with your followers.  You can follow others in your niche group.  You can enable a conversation.

A Few Key Rules to Keep in Mind:
• Keep your Facebook posts on a professional level, not a personal level.  Think about what you want your clients and colleagues to know about you.  They don’t need to see pictures of your grandkids’ birthday party, unless it is pertinent to an article you are posting.
• NEVER share info about clients, patients, etc.  Remember your HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ) laws and keep your posts out of other people’s personal lives.
• Don’t post the same content or links over and over again.  Your followers will ‘hide’ you, or worse, stop ‘liking’ you.
• Share great, pertinent information that you think your followers will find useful.
• Answer followers comments
• Follow other business pages that are using Facebook well.  Share their information and comment on their pages.

Examples of businesses and organizations that have a great Facebook business presence:
Kellymom.com and Best for Babes

So, take that first step into Social Media.  Create your Facebook business page.  Start engaging with your clients and colleagues in a meaningful way.  It’s amazing what you will learn!

Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC is the owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center.  She can be found playing around with social media on her website’s blog, her San Diego Breastfeeding Center Facebook page, and SanDiegoBFC Twitter account.   She is also the co-editor of ILCA’s blog, Lactation Matters.

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Hands-Free Breastfeeding

Most breastfeeding talks and support groups eventually get to the question – “How long should I breastfeed?” As an IBCLC, I offer the AAP Guidelines (American Academy of Pediatrics) as the basis for my answer, as I imagine most of you do. We are recommending a minimum of six months and up to two years and beyond – sounds great,  however, in order to make this work for the average busy mother – we should also provide some tools to assist her in accomplishing her goal.

This is where Hands-Free Breastfeeding comes in. The ability to feed baby and accomplish another task at the same time (talk on the phone, type, cook or care for another baby) can offer breastfeeding mothers the needed support they will require at some point during their nursing career.

How can you demonstrate hands-free breastfeeding and stay on schedule with appointments and rounds?

YouTube is the perfect classroom for the breastfeeding mother. She can watch at her leisure, in the privacy of her own home, pause, review and watch some more. We offer several videos here – some are more professional than others. Watch them all and select the one that “speaks” to your clients. We also encourage you to look for additional videos (there are new ones posted every day!) and share on this blog!

Pros: Simple, short and anyone can do this
Cons: Mothers may not have this type of wrap
I see LC’s referring mothers to this video in newborn classes, in newsletters and on their blogs. A great, simple resource.

Bonus Video:  (another mother breastfeeding in the Moby)

Hands-free pumping bras also come to mind when I think of hands-free breastfeeding, a guide on these can be found here at mommasbaby.com So, next time you have a mother ask “How long should I breastfeed?” you will not only have a medically supported (AAP) factual answer – but you’ll also have some mother-to-mother videos to share and improve her likelihood of breastfeeding for six months and beyond.. Enabling the pumping mother to go hands-free will allow for breast massage, compression and multi-tasking.  A snug fit is best, and if pumping frequently, encourage her to purchase two bras, if possible, so there can always be one in the laundry.

Are you currently incorporating YouTube video recommendations into your practice?

If so, which ones? and When?

What are your favorite videos?

What other ideas do you have to share about YouTube videos and our important work?

Wendy Wright MBA, IBCLC
Guest Blogger – Utilizing the web to reach our breastfeeding target market
Co-owner Lactation Navigation – Workplace Lactation Consultants, LLC
www.LactationNav.com

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Clinicians in the Trenches – Leigh Anne O’Connor

Written by: Amber McCann, IBCLC, Owner of Nourish Breastfeeding Support

I had the privilege of meeting Leigh Anne O’Connor at a conference last spring. The enthusiasm and confidence that drew me to her translates into the work she does with mothers and babies in Manhattan. We are honored, at Lactation Matters, to be able to share with you about the work Leigh Anne is doing.

Leigh Ann O’Connor lives in Manhattan, with her husband and their three children. She has spent more than 9 years as an IBCLC lecturing for professional organizations, setting up Corporate Lactation programs, teaching breastfeeding classes, leading support groups and seeing private clients all over New York City. You might have seen her on Bravo’s Pregnant in Heels, The Doctors and TLC’s Bringing Home Baby as an expert and advocate for breastfeeding. She has also been a Guest Lecturer at Columbia University Teachers College.

How did you come to be an IBCLC?

After struggling for a few days with breastfeeding, I fell in love with it. It was amazing watching my daughter, Phoebe, grow so big, happy and healthy – all at my breast.
My sister-in-law encouraged me to attend a La Leche League (LLL) Meeting, where I felt right at home. I became a leader with the organization and since many of the Leaders whom I respected were also IBCLCs, they encouraged me to work toward that goal.

What does a typical week of working with mothers look like for you?

I take my two younger children to school every morning and then I usually head off to see mothers and babies in their homes. If you were with me, you would see me on my phone answering questions and cheerleading a mom. In the park, I have been known to do quick consults and to touch my breasts as I demonstrate how to hand express over the phone. I pepper the time at home with e-mails and phone calls to clients in between dinner and homework with the kids.

In addition to leading LLL Meetings (including a Toddler meeting that I adore), I also have a support group/clinic twice a month. This is a great way for me to follow up with clients and to help mothers. The beauty of it is the mother-to-mother support. They really get into supporting each other and encouraging each other. They talk parenting philosophy. I answer more technical questions, but it is really about them finding their voices and owning their mothering.

What are your biggest challenges of working in Manhattan?

One of the biggest challenges is the weather. When it is nice, Manhattan is a pleasure. Toting around my scale can be tough. When I have my scale and my bag and I have to go to a fifth or sixth floor walk-up apartment, that is challenging. When there is rain or snow, it is hard to carry my supplies and an umbrella. My scale is on a cart with wheels, which I pull along behind me, but in snow it is a real drag. Also, toting my supplies up and down the stairs of the subway or on the bus is tiresome. Sometimes I spring for a taxi, but it really gets costly. I love when a client is nearby and I can walk to her home on a nice sunny day.

Also, we live in a highly competitive atmosphere. Many women are returning to work early or they are trying to create an idyllic life and that just does not mesh with young baby feeding. There is a big environment of sleep training and heavy scheduling. Often, I am helping a mother to learn to trust her instincts, to trust her baby and to not try to fit her round baby into a square hole.

What advice would you offer to other private practice IBCLCs?

I had one intern ask me, “How did you know you really want to be a Lactation Consultant?” I laughed because I live and breathe breastfeeding. I can always turn a cocktail party conversation into a breastfeeding conversation. I relate most of life back to breastfeeding. I think that the start is having a passion for breastfeeding, babies and families. You study hard and volunteer. Put yourself into the breastfeeding world. I like mother-to-mother support meetings because they help me know what is normal. A Private Practice Lactation Consultant often sees only problematic breastfeeding and her ideas about breastfeeding can become skewed, so, being in the company of normal is so important. I think that is why I love my Toddler Meeting so much. Breastfeeding a toddler is normal.

Also, if possible, shadow as many different IBCLC’s as possible. We are all a bit different but we all have something to teach.

I think I learned the most from nursing my three children – two of whom were tongue-tied!  And, I continue to learn from every mother I see.

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IBCLCs Traveling the Globe: Conference in Uppsala, Sweden: Part 2

On September 14-16, 2011, 215 participants from 26 countries around the world took part in a 3 day Neo-BFHI program in Uppsala, Sweden. Ten Australians, from New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria were amongst the multidisciplinary group.

The purpose of the conference and workshop was to present and discuss evidence for adaption of the WHO/UNICEF 10 steps to Successful Breastfeeding for neonatal intensive and intermediate care and to discuss a draft document prepared by a working group from the Nordic countries and Quebec.

IBCLCs at the Uppsala Workshop

Day One of the conference was opened by Professor Paula Meier from the United States. She spoke of breastfeeding support for infants in neonatal units. Human milk banking was the norm in many units and Professor Meier stated ‘that by giving the at-risk premature infant artificial milk, it was putting them at further risk of complications’. The predominantly female lineup of speakers spoke on varying aspects of care with Renee Flacking, a health care worker and mother of a premature infant, discussing the U.K. and Swedish experience.

Randa Saadeh gave the WHO perspective on adaption of the ten steps, while Yvette Sheehy, from Sydney, discussed their Hospital in the Home: ‘The Discharge on Tubes – DOTS program’-infants discharged home on tube feeds with health care support.
The closing speaker for Day One, Birgitte L Ekeberg, spoke of ‘Moving towards family centered care , the first Family Centered Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Norway’.

On days two and three, participants chose workshop groups to attend, and discussed the draft BFHI Initiative in Neonatal Units document and the Ten Steps, and came together in the afternoon of the final day to present the outcomes of their discussions. The final document, which is a Global document, will need to be representative of all participants and there was considerable debate on how this could be implemented worldwide. As bottle feeding and pumping is the norm in some parts of the Western world the impact of including this in developing countries was an issue.

Uppsala University hosted the meeting and welcomed participants with a welcome reception opened by Vice-Chancellor Anders Hallberg followed by the conference dinner which was held at the Norrlands Student Club. Participants were serenaded by the student choir during the dinner.

Kersten Hedberg Nyqvist

Kersten Hedberg Nyqvist, one of the conference organizers, was overwhelmed by the number of participants who wished to visit the Uppsala Family centered neonatal unit and after discussions with the unit managers decided the numbers were too many. With the interests of those within the unit in mind and the interest shown by conference participants she opted on a presentation that was to challenge the practice of many. Parents live in the neonatal units with the babies and infants from 32 weeks. They are given the opportunity to have Kangaroo Mother Care, 24 hours a day, while parents are taught to recognize the cues of the baby and breastfeed them when they are ready. Babies are discharged at 34 weeks partially breastfeeding, partially tube-feeding. Kersten stated ‘that there is no such thing as non-nutritive sucking’. She also said that the program has taken time to implement and one of the biggest problems is staff attitudes to change.

While walking to the bus to leave Uppsala for home, the chilly wind was blowing as winter was closing in. Thousands of bikes were chained up in this university town and I thought how lucky these babies are to be cared for in a society so socially aware.

Susanna Scurry
RN,RM, BFHI Educator & Assessor, LCANZ Board of Director, IBCLC

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IBCLCs Traveling the Globe: Uppsala, Sweden: Part 1

Baby-Friendly Neonatal Care Conference and Workshop Uppsala, Sweden, Sept 14-16, 2011

L to R is Yvette Sheehy, Anne Merewood, Annette Wright, Susanna Scurry

IBCLCs, hospital clinicians, researchers, and lactation professionals from around the world met at the Baby Friendly Neonatal Care Conference and Workshop in Uppsala, Sweden, for a groundbreaking meeting on a proposed expansion of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The conference was the brainchild of the Nordic expert group, in response to the document “Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Revised, Updated and Expanded for Integrated Care”, UNICEF/WHO 2009.

On a packed first day in the beautiful and historic Uppsala University, 220 attendees from 27 nations listened to internationally representative presentations on the importance of breastfeeding in intensive care, and about innovatory programs and guidelines that are making NICUs more Baby-Friendly. Many speakers and participants were leaders of the Baby-Friendly initiative in their home countries.

On days 2 and 3, attendees met in workshops to discuss each of the Ten Steps, and their potential adaptation to the NICU. Participants also made suggestions for monitoring progress and standards. In the final session, group leaders summarized suggestions for all attendees.

Uppsala was an appropriate location for this conference, with its hospital NICU standing out as one of the world’s most family centered units. The working group will take conference suggestions and use them to create a final document to present to the World Health Organization for approval in the future.

Abstracts from oral, poster, and workshop presentations will be published online by the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) in early 2012. JHL aims to publish the recommendations in full when they are finalized.

The conference was not all hard work. The Conference Dinner at Norrlands Student Nation included student singing and other musical entertainment, and the meeting opened with Swedish-style sing-alongs to “We are Family, Baby-Friendly Centered Family” and – but, of course – Abba’s Mama Mia…..

Anne Merewood PhD MPH IBCLC
Director, The Breastfeeding Center, Boston Medical Center
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine
Division of General Pediatrics
Boston, MA 02118

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Get Ready for ILCA 2012!

Start planning today to come and celebrate the 27th ILCA Annual Conference in beautiful Orlando, Florida.

This 2012 ILCA Annual Conference will provide a rich learning environment for lactation professionals and others who assist mothers and babies with breastfeeding. It will offer current and aspiring lactation consultants information on cutting-edge lactation practices and research to equip you in giving optimal breastfeeding care and support to mothers and babies.

Registration opens December 2011
Check back at the ILCA 2012 conference page often as more information will be available soon.

ILCA Discounts Galore!

Orlando might be home to some of the nation’s greatest theme parks, but there’s a lot more the great City of Orlando has to offer!

See ILCA’s special page for specialty discount attraction tickets, shopping, dining and more information for you and your family vacation.

It’s back again ….Exam Review at ILCA!
Are you new to the lactation consultant profession and taking the IBLCE exam for the first time?
Are you recertifying next year?

The IBLCE exam will be offered at the JW Marriott immediately following the 2012 ILCA conference. The final day of the conference will present an opportunity for last-minute review of key information and clinical slides along with tips on test taking.

What a great opportunity to be able to have a hassle free exam preparation, no traffic delays or stressful situations , cruise down the lazy river and into your exam, cool and calm!

There are so many exciting places to visit…. Let us know what you’re planning, share your ideas.

Abstracts for the conference are now open, what an opportunity to get your message out there, share your exciting projects you’re working on …

Start planning your next summer with ILCA in Orlando today….

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ILCA Conference 2011 – Reflections

I absolutely love going to ILCA conferences!  While San Diego was quite a treat with its gorgeous weather and fabulous beaches, even the heat of San Antonio and Las Vegas couldn’t diminish the way an ILCA conference re-energizes and makes me feel so proud to be a part of this valuable profession.

Planning my trip to ILCA 2011 was not too challenging, since I live about 10 minutes from where the conference was hosted.  Yet, I still had to juggle clients and my son’s 6th birthday to make it to all of my favorite sessions.  It was so worth it!

The week before the conference, I started to create my ‘plan of attack.’  Which sessions would I attend Thursday through Sunday?  Would I finally learn how to deal with those flat heads and stiff necks?  Is pumping really out of hand?  Where would I meet my friends and colleagues that I met at previous conferences?  Would I have time to peruse the exhibition hall?

I started the conference by attending the Wednesday Clinical Rotations and the rumors from past conferences were all true: What an amazing experience!  It was like having a private session with my favorite experts in the field.  Alison Hazelbaker went through her entire Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function.  Marsha Walker was so lovely I could just listen to her speak for hours and hours.  The day just flew by!

Thursday through Sunday was a whirlwind, but so many of the things I learned and people I met have influenced my daily practice as a lactation consultant.  At the poster session I met Lenore Goldfarb, who since then has been helping me with a client who is inducing lactation with her adopted son.  I have now mentioned Jane Morton’s video on Hand Expression at least twice a week with new clients and prenatal breastfeeding students.  I have shown samples of the Danish Wool breast pads to several clients with Reynaud’s.  I finally met my fellow marketing committee members face to face for the first time.  I have stayed connected with colleagues I met during lunch and breaks over Facebook and email, which allows us to further our conversations and support one another.

The energy at an ILCA conference is colossal!  The amount of knowledge I obtain in those 4-5 days is immeasurable!  When I leave an ICLA conference I feel smarter, revitalized, invigorated, and supported.  And I can’t wait for the next conference to arrive.  Stay tuned for exciting information about ILCA2012 in Orlando, Florida.

Now it’s your turn to share:

What was your favorite part about ILCA2011?

Who was your favorite speaker? 

What feedback would you like to share?

Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC
Co-Editor, Lactation Matters
Owner, San Diego Breastfeeding Center
www.sdbfc.com

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Tell Us About Your Amazing Colleagues!

Lactation Matters has just launched a feature called “Clinicians in the Trenches”.  It is our hope that with this, we can both highlight those who are doing outstanding work in our field and also encourage each other, give us new ideas, and cheer each other on!

Here is our first entry, focusing on Colette Acker and The Breastfeeding Resource Center.    But, we need YOU to tell us about your colleagues.

Who is bringing to light a new idea with their practice?
Who is paving the way with techniques that we could all benefit from?
Who has a really great story to tell about what lactation practice has meant in her/his life?

Please contact Robin Kaplan and Amber McCann with your suggestions at lactationmatters@gmail.com.  Please use the subject ‘Clinician in the Trenches.’ Include a brief paragraph with the name of the clinician you are recommending, her/his contact information, and a short explanation of why she/he should be highlighted in Lactation Matters.

Look for new stories about these amazing clinicians every 2 weeks on the blog!

Amber McCann, IBCLC, Lactation Matters Volunteer
Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Lactation Matters Co-Editor

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A BFHI Update – ‘Call to Action for Breastfeeding Support from the Surgeon General ‘

How do you see the Call to Action impacting Baby Friendly in the United States? (Maybe even internationally?)

The United States now has a strong, evidence based national policy on infant and young child feeding that specifically calls for expanding implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). This is an extremely important turn of events and status change.  BFHI is also specifically mentioned in the White House Obesity Report, and possibly even more importantly, in The Joint Commission’s recent Speak Out campaign. Internationally, Baby Friendly USA (BFUSA) has always been a strong collaborator with other nations’ BFHI Authorities and I would expect this collaboration to increase.

What changes are you hoping to see?

The Director of Health of my state met with our state Lactation Consultant chapter in early August, and within two weeks convened a high-level meeting of organizations to begin discussions on moving BFHI ahead. That’s amazing progress! Several states have conducted in-depth surveys of maternity facilities (in addition to encouraging hospitals to respond to the Center for Disease Control’s mPINC surveys), developed interim goals and local incentive programs, held Hospital Summits, and more.  Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) is a national survey of maternity care practices and policies that is conducted by the CDC every 2 years beginning in 2007. The survey is mailed to all facilities with registered maternity beds in the United States and Territories.  I expect the Call to Action will resonate with and inspire the entire public health professional community, at every level.

Why is this Call to Action coming at a critical time?

I’m tempted to say “It’s about TIME!” The momentum for breastfeeding has escalated in the past ten years in the US, partly due to the collaborative work of the US Breastfeeding Committee. The economic conditions are encouraging everyone (individuals and companies) to re-think spending patterns; health decision-making is becoming more transparent; and virtually everyone is calling for better health outcomes. Over 40,000 IBCLCs around the world are working with other health care providers to provide the up-close one-to-one clinical support for mothers and babies. Without this rich network of support, mothers would face far more avoidable problems.

How will the Call to Action impact not only hospital-based lactation consultants, but lactation consultants in private practice, as well?

There’s something in the Call to Action for everyone. As an lactation consultant in private practice myself, I was thrilled to see a call for appropriate reimbursement for my services as an LC, regardless of other credentials or licenses. I’m currently in graduate school and was very excited to see a call for more research on breastfeeding. The Call to Action’s recognition of lactation consultants as important players on the health care team was extremely gratifying.

Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC, FILCA
Bright Future Lactation Resource Centre Ltd.
6540 Cedarview Ct., Dayton OH 45459-1214
Phone (937) 438-9458   Fax (937)-438-3229
www.BFLRC.com

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United States Lactation Consultant Association’s Response to the Call to Action for Breastfeeding

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action for Breastfeeding offers opportunities for US-based IBCLCs in virtually every one of its twenty action steps. From #1, give mothers the support they need to breastfeed their babies to #20 improve national leadership on the promotion and support of breastfeeding. IBCLCs play key roles and the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) is actively involved to promote, equip, and empower members. USLCA is working hard to ensure that IBCLCs are represented in discussions with both policymakers and caregivers in a variety of venues. The Call to Action strengthens the voice of the lactation professional and gives IBCLCs the credibility and clout to do what they do best for mothers, for babies, and the health of the nation.

USLCA is responding to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action by networking and relationship-building with organizations such as the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, AWHONN, the American Academy of Pediatrics, United States Breastfeeding Committee, National WIC, and Texas WIC Association. In every discussion, language is emphatically clarified so that a breastfeeding support person translates directly into IBCLC, as per the Surgeon General’s specific and strategic recommendation.

USLCA recognizes the responsibility for IBCLCs to provide the best care possible as they work with employers to develop breastfeeding-friendly workplaces, with hospitals as they move along on the Baby-Friendly journey, with educational institutions creating curricula to incorporate lactation care into health care education, with public health entities as they expand services for maternal and infant care, and for individual families as they seek to achieve their breastfeeding goals. To that end, USLCA publishes its peer-reviewed Clinical Lactation and presents cutting-edge educational programs each month via webinar technology.

USLCA encourages its members to be politically engaged at community, state, and national levels, participating in state Breastfeeding Coalitions and advocating for IBCLCs in a wide cross-section of settings. As Milk for Thought traveled the nation in the Big Pink Bus, USLCA members participated in community rallies at every stop. USLCA President, Laurie Beck, MSN, RN, IBCLC, participated in the documentary chronicling the tour and promoting breastfeeding.

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action is a wonderful tool to advocate for communities that support breastfeeding at every juncture with the goal of health care that begins with breastfeeding. IBCLCs are key figures in the Call to Action and USLCA is responding to the call by providing education, support, and advocacy for IBCLCs.

Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC, RLC
President of USLCA on behalf of the USLCA Board of Directors

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