Tag Archives | Amber McCann

World Breastfeeding Week 2013: The Health Care System Circle of Support in Papua New Guinea

By Amber McCann, IBCLC

On this blog during World Breastfeeding Week, we have been highlighting the work of breastfeeding supporters in each of the 5 Circles of Support mentioned in this year’s theme. We have been honored to have interviews with support happening in the workplace, in the community, in the government, and with families in crisis. The final circle of support is the health care system.

I have been so honored to serve as the co-editor, along with Decalie Brown, of this blog for the past year. It was exciting to attend this year’s ILCA Conference in Melbourne, Australia and I came away so encouraged and excited about where our field is headed. After the conference, I was able to travel to a remote area in the highlands of Papua New Guinea to spend some time with my best friend, a family practice doctor at a mission hospital in Kudjip.

As an IBCLC who has worked in both private practice and in a private medical office, my experience with breastfeeding support within a hospital was practically zero. I have spent the past 10 days shadowing my friend as she and the nurses on the maternity ward provided compassionate care to the women who come to birth at their hospital.

IMG_3272I was quite sure when I arrived that I wouldn’t have anything to teach or any way to provide support in this culture. Papua New Guinea has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world and yet, I mistakenly assumed that breastfeeding was so a “way of life” that my help wouldn’t be needed. Culturally, breastfeeding is the assumed method of infant feeding. Formula is hard to acquire and formula marketing is outlawed. Women have been breastfeeding for generations and breastfeeding in public is the norm.

But, I came to realize that, even with so many of the things that I imagined would make breastfeeding “easier” in the United States where I live, women will always be in need of trained, evidence-based lactation care.¬†

Fortunately, for women being cared for in the Kudjp hospital and several others Papua New Guinea hospitals, there is a wonderful organization called Susu Mamas. They provide nurses and mentoring mothers who share prenatal education as well as postnatal support in breastfeeding and infant care. They come daily to the hospitals and work with new mothers to establish breastfeeding, trouble shoot challenges, and provide education to hospital staff. In addition to the hospital care they give, in some locations, they also provide family planning and HIV testing. They also established a national breastfeeding hotline in 2008.

IMG_3451While thankful for the support being provided to the women I encountered, I had to get in on the action! I was surprised one afternoon to hear Dr. Jim Radcliffe, a surgeon who has served at this hospital for over 25 years, call down the hall “Amber, you’re needed in the ER for a lactation consult!” I hurried over to find a young mother of a 7 month old who reported that she had no milk and that her baby had failed to gain weight in some time. After taking as full of a history as my understanding of their culture and my terrible Pidgin (with the help of an interpreter) allowed, I examined her breasts. She reported that she had never made any milk and had been feeding the baby bananas and pineapple since he was two months of age. I was heartbroken to examine her breasts and realize that she had insufficient glandular tissue. I quickly asked if she knew of anyone else who would be willing to breastfeed her baby (as feeding another’s child is common in PNG) and referred the baby to the doctor on call in the pediatrics ward. This mama listened intently to my counseling and offered up her dry breast to her fussy baby. Even with no milk, the baby quieted and relaxed into his mother’s arm with her breast for comfort. I praised her for the way her mothering was meeting the needs of her baby and while finding appropriate nutrition for her young child would be challenging, I’m thankful for the smile she gifted us with.

IMG_3460I also realized that many breastfeeding challenges like sore nipples, engorgement, and thrush were universal! One mother came to the hospital and required a C-section (my first surgical observation!). We followed her closely in the days after and she struggled a bit with pain. Many of the women in Papua New Guinea have very long, pliable breasts (likely from not wearing a bra regularly). They simply lay the babies in their lap and their breasts reach easily to their child…no football (or rugby!) hold here! Ronda was mimicking the positioning she had seen all her life but her breasts were much shorter, leading to a very shallow latch. We changed her position and provided some pillow support as she learned and a huge smile appeared on her face.

I am heading home soon and will carry these experiences from my time at the hospital in Kudjip into my practice in the US. I am grateful to have had the experience of observing and participating in the important work of providing breastfeeding support in a hospital setting. I am honored by the warm welcome I received from the nurses and hospital staff and also from the mothers who I encountered. Breastfeeding support literally saves lives, especially in a place like Papua New Guinea and I’m so glad to be a part.

* And on a funny note, in Pidgin (a language spoken by many in PNG), “susu” is the term used for breasts, breastfeeding…anything having to do with milk. I heard the term “kalabus belong susu” being used to describe a bra. The translation? Prison of the breast! Take that, Victoria’s Secret! ūüôā

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant with the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh. She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same. In addition to her work as the co-editor of Lactation Matters, the International Lactation Consultant Association’s official blog, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including for Hygeia, The Leaky Boob, and Best for Babes and is a regular contributor to The Boob Group, a weekly online radio program for breastfeeding moms.

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World Wide Impact in 10 Minutes or Less: Using Social Media for Powerful Change

By Amber McCann, IBCLC

One week ago, Lactation Matters posted a blog entitled If YOU Don’t Advocate forMothers & Babies, Who Will? If there was any doubt that you, the Lactation Matters readers, were willing to step up to the plate, that doubt has been squashed. Within moments of the publishing the post, the initiative to use social media to ask the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) about their acceptance of money from major industry, including Swiftmoney Nestle, was gaining ground.

In response to the blog post, over 400 readers have joined a Facebook group, Friends of the WHO Code, to discuss advocacy and activism as it relates to the WHO Code and social media. Discussions this week have centered around gaining the attention of those involved in this situation and those who have the power to influence decisions. The group has worked hard to get the message out that that acceptance of funds that constitute a conflict of interest are unacceptable for an organization whose purpose is to protect the public health of the world. The group is primarily using Twitter as a means to connect and raise a tidal wave of support. And, it has been SUCCESSFUL!

Wednesday morning, those in the group noticed that the World Health Organization was responding to our questions with the following tweets:

In addition, WHO posted the following message on their Facebook page:

The conversation is beginning in the social media space and is a perfect example of how social media has the power to quickly bring all the players to the table. Although the World Health Organization has engaged in conversation with us, there is much work still to be done.

Do you have 10 minutes?

Would you join the conversation?

In a few short minutes, you can play a significant role in this initiative. Please consider taking 10 minutes and doing the following:

  1. Join the Friends of the WHO Code Facebook group
  2. Go to Twitter* and share the following tweets (just copy and paste!):

#WHOCode protects women&babies from predatory marketing. Shame @Nestle for trying to buy seat at the @PAHOWHO table #nonestle #breastfeeding

Tell @PAHOWHO to give back @Nestle $150K #nonestle #WHOCode #breastfeeding #conflictofinterest http://t.co/nnWJCIfX @WHO

We will not be bought! @PAHOWHO please return the money to @nestle . Stand up for mothers and babies. #WHOCode #breastfeeding #nonestle

If you’ve got more than 10 minutes, would you lend your expertise, insight, and skills to the movement?

Two thoughtful ladies responded to last weeks Call to Action with this quote from Margaret Meade:

‚ÄúNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.‚ÄĚ

The time is now.  Let’s change the world.

* If Twitter feels like another language to you, we understand. Check out the support from Birth Swell and Twitter’s Help Center.

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a¬† board certified lactation consultant in private practice with¬†Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside of Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.¬† She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same. In addition to her work as the co-editor of¬†Lactation Matters, the¬†International Lactation Consultant Association’s¬†official blog, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including for¬†Hygeia,¬†The Leaky Boob,¬†and¬†Best for Babes. She also¬†serves on the Social Media Coordinator for¬†GOLD Conferences International¬†and is a regular contributor to¬†The Boob Group, a weekly online radio program for breastfeeding moms. ¬†When she‚Äôs not furiously composing tweets (follow her at¬†@iamambermccann) or updating her¬†Facebook page, she‚Äôs probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV.

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How IBCLCs Can Make an Impact Through Social Media

Written by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC

With 93% of adults born after 1982 (the Millennial Generation) communicating online and nearly 3 out of 4 using social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, breastfeeding promotion and support has been taken to an entirely new level. In the Journal of Human Lactation article, Establishing an Online and Social Media Presence for Your IBCLC Practice, authors Amber D. McCann and Jeanette E. McCulloch, present findings that encourage all of us in the breastfeeding community to step into the minds of these Millennial mothers and engage with them about breastfeeding in their preferred medium.

Why does breastfeeding promotion and support need a social media presence?

While health care providers continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, 80% of US Internet users have sought health advice online.¬† Plus, 44% of US women spend more time online after a new baby is born.¬† We live in an amazing time where we can find answers online in an instant when we used to have to wait until our doctor’s office opened the next morning.¬† The scary side of this is that there is so much misinformation online about breastfeeding and how easy it is for mothers to access this incorrect advice. Even formula companies have breastfeeding advice sections on their websites… this is NOT where new mothers should be receiving their evidence-based breastfeeding information and support‚Ķ.right next to a Enfamil advertisement!

Also, with breastfeeding being such a HOT TOPIC in the news, mothers are often bombarded with this negative press.¬† It goes viral in an instant!¬† The Time Magazine article, ‘Are You Mom Enough‘ and Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to ban the formula bags in all New York City hospitals flooded the Internet and social media networks in record time.¬† Negative comments about breastfeeding were abundant!¬† While Best for Babes and Kellymom are doing all they can to turn this bad breastfeeding press into something positive, they need our help to further provide breastfeeding education and support online.

So where are these Millennial mothers and what are they doing online?

The four most dominant social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Pinterest. What these platforms have in common is that they ALL promote engagement among Internet users.¬† This is not like reading a book for information, which is a one-sided conversation.¬† Using social media allows you the ability to comment, ask questions, and agree/disagree with the author and other commenters.¬† It’s a conversation.¬† When a mother posts a question on a Facebook page, she is actively seeking advice from her peers or an ‘expert.’¬† When a mom reads a blog article, she is looking to make connections with the author to help make sense of her world and often seek advice on a particular topic.¬† Twitter is all about conversation and engagement and Pinterest is now a hub for articles and driving more traffic to websites than Facebook.¬† We may not live in a village anymore, but the Internet is revitalizing the village mentality.¬† It’s all about the need for support and belonging.

How can an IBCLC use social media effectively, without feeling like it is a waste of his/her time?

  • Creating a social media plan can be extremely helpful or you might find yourself being led down the time-sucking social media rabbit hole.¬† As McCann and McCulloch suggest, create a plan that is appropriate for the size of your business or organization.
  • Decide who your target audience is and the purpose of your engagement.
  • Choose a social media platform or two that you feel is manageable and decide how much time you plan to dedicate to it a week.
  • Spend some time just watching and listening.¬† You will figure out pretty easily what your audience is looking for.
  • Keep in mind that social media is all about sharing information. While you don’t want to give away everything you know, the more information you benevolently share online, the more appreciative your audience will be and encouraged to return to your platform in the future.¬† You may have the chance to influence the greater masses with your positive messages about breastfeeding!

What about ethical concerns and client/patient confidentiality?

McCann and McCulloch stress the importance of upholding our Code of Professional Conduct, Scope of Practice, and Standards of Practice.¬† The authors state that while these documents ‘do not contain a specific social media policy, IBCLCs may want to review the American Medical Association’s Policy on Professionalism in the Use of Social Media’.

As an avid blogger and social media user, I have a phrase that I use very regularly when I receive a comment or question that takes information from general breastfeeding advice to specific for one mom and baby and it goes something like this…. “It definitely sounds like you have some very important questions that would be best answered in a private conversation with an IBCLC.¬† If you would like to discuss this further, please contact me at …..”¬†¬† This lets the mother know that I would love to help her, but this is not the appropriate place to discuss private, personal information and I want to protect her privacy.

So, even if you feel like you are not Internet savvy and social media gives you hives, all you have to do is start off slowly.¬† Lurk a little on these social media platforms and just listen to what mothers are saying and asking for.¬† Check out the Lactation Matters article, Great Breastfeeding Blogs to Read, and start sharing these articles on a social media platform.¬† Begin a conversation on a Business Facebook page and see where it takes you.¬† My guess is that you quickly see your calling to offer breastfeeding-supportive and evidence-based guidance to our Millennial mothers.¬† And you never know… you might just have a ton of fun, as well!

Robin Kaplan received training to be a Certified Lactation Educator and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant from UCSD. She holds a Masters in Education from UCLA, a multiple-subjects teacher credential from UCLA, and a BA in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. In 2009, Robin started her own business, the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, where she offers in-home breastfeeding consultations, free weekly support groups, breastfeeding classes, and online support through her business blog.  In addition to her private practice, Robin was the founding Co-editor of theInternational Lactation Consultant Association’s (ILCA)blog, Lactation Matters, and a regular contributor toILCA’s E-Globe newsletter.  She also is the host/producer of The Boob Group online radio show and the Director of Marketing for NaturalKidz.com.  Robin lives in her native San Diego, where she enjoys cooking, hiking, trying new trendy restaurants, and traveling with her family.

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1 Week until ILCA 2012! {Finding New Friends}

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

“You will soon be involved in many gatherings and parties”
“You will soon find new adventures in life”
“Seek new friends and you will find them”

My bags are not yet packed…

My business cards have not yet arrived…

My email box must be tackled before I head out…

But, I am READY!  I am ready to meet new people.  I am ready to learn new things.  I am ready to find new opportunities.

Are you READY?

By this time next week, we’ll all be together and the 2012 ILCA Conference will be taking over the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes.

The thing I am anticipating the most (yes, even more than the Lazy River) is connecting and building relationships with all my “friends I haven’t met yet”. ¬†Wondering where to find them? ¬†Here are two suggestions.

ILCA Lounge

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

The ILCA Lounge is new at this year’s conference and will be located in Cordova 2. ¬†Sponsored by the¬†Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau as well as the¬†Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (in anticipation of our 2013 Conference!), this will be a place to gather and connect with IBCLCs from around the world. ¬†You can grab a snack, a conversation, some electricity for your devices or a quick communication with home (2 computers will be online and available for 20 minutes of use by conference attendees). The Lounge will also be where you can find “Social Media Ambassadors” who will be able to answer questions and get you started on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Special Interest Groups

One thing I love about this field is that we encounter mothers in so many different situations. ¬†We’ve come to this career from so many different paths. ¬†We have different interests and different skills. ¬†I’ve been told that one of the greatest experiences of an ILCA Conference is being able to connect with others who are in the same “niche” as you in the field. ¬†A number of Special Interest Groups have been organized and will be meeting during the conference. ¬†These include gatherings for those interested in the Baby Friendly Hospital Intiative, Breastfeeding in the African American Community, Drop-In Support Centers, Hospital Based IBCLCs, IBCLCs in the NICU, IBCLCs working with Low Income Mothers, Private Practice IBCLCs, the Spanish Language IBCLC, Licensure and Reimbursement, ¬†World Breastfeeding Week, and Writing for Publication. ¬†Don’t forget to check the Conference Handbook for times and locations for these meetings.

Are you ready to find new friends?  See you soon!

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside of Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.  She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same.  In addition to her work here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including The Leaky Boob and Best for Babes and served on the Communications Team for GOLD Conference . She also is a regular contributor to The Boob Group, a weekly online radio program for breastfeeding moms.  When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at @iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV. 

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3 Weeks until ILCA 2012! {my stomach is growling…}

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

In addition to getting there and finding fun things to do, all ILCA 2012 Conference attendees will need to EAT! ¬†While Orlando and the surrounding area offer endless options for dining, our conference hotel, the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, offers tons of food options. ¬†I’ve spent days reading reviews and menus and we are certainly in for a treat!

Photo via JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

Dining at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

  • Primo¬†‚Äď I fashion myself a “foodie” and am only a wee bit (OK, a LOT bit) excited to dine at Primo. ¬†Chef Melissa Kelly, the co-owner and executive chef, boasts an impressive resume but what really makes my heart swoon is the fact that the restaurant has their own organic garden to supply their kitchens…that and the thought of warm goat cheese flan with herb roasted tomatoes inspires a reservation on my part. ¬†Care to join me?
  • Citron, An American Brasserie ‚Äď While a “brasserie” is typically a casual, upscale restaurant, don’t you think it is a fitting name for a place where lactation consultants will gather all week? ¬†All kidding aside, this restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and “word on the street” is that their breakfast buffet is the place to be with made-to-order omelettes, waffles and pancakes.
  • The Lobby Lounge – Need a mid-afternoon snack or a late evening drink? ¬†This spot looks to be just the right place to ask a few more questions of your favorite speaker, discuss options for new support procedures with colleagues, and get to know a new IBCLC friend.
  • Quench¬† Poolside Bar & Grill ‚Äď Too relaxed in the Lazy River to bother getting dressed and make a reservation? ¬†No problem. ¬†Food and drinks, poolside. ¬†‘Nuf said.
  • Caf√© Bodega ‚Äď Need a quick little something on your way to your next session? ¬†Hungry for a quick breakfast? ¬†This little “grab-and go caf√©” will suit your needs.
  • Starbucks Caf√© ‚Äď Starbucks coffee might as well be the national drink of the USA (and it surely flows through my veins). ¬†You’ll find me and hundreds of my closest friend there each morning! ¬†In fact, you can bid on a $30 Starbucks gift card in the ILCA silent auction¬†that has been donated by¬†Starfish Lactation¬†(surely enough to feed your addiction for the entirety of the conference!).

Photo by LancerE via Flickr

For even more dining options, conference attendees can sign up to go to Pointe Orlando on Saturday evening (July 28).  There are 16 different restaurant options there including B. B. Kings Blues Cafe, Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, Johnny Rockets, and The Capital Grill.  Round trip shuttle service is available for $15 USD and more information can be found in the conference brochure.  What a great opportunity to meet new people!

If you’d like to purchase your own food, there is a Walgreens¬†(pharmacy and convenience store) just off of the hotel property within walking distance and a Costco within 2 miles.

Make sure that you stop by the ILCA Lounge to mingle and perhaps meet up with people to make plans for dinner.  It will be open until 6pm each evening so come, meet your friends, and make dinner plans. I know I will.  Sushi anyone?

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.  She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same.  In addition to her work here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including The Leaky Boob and Best for Babes and served on the Communications Team for GOLD Conference . When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at @iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV. 

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4 Weeks until ILCA 2012! {Fun Things to Do!}

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

As I look over the 2012 ILCA Conference Brochure, I can barely fathom having the time or energy to partake in anything other than conference sessions, meals and a few precious hours of sleep. ¬†But, as many of you have let me know, taking advantage of FUN activities is an essential part of the experience. ¬†Many of you have shared how the conference was often the “springboard” for a great vacation.

Lazy River

with permission from JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

In¬†last week’s post, I shared about how the “Lazy River” at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes¬†was mentioned often to me as a highlight of the Orlando ILCA experience. ¬†I’ve already had one request to meet with a colleague while lounging, tube rafts hooked together with a heel, gliding down the river. ¬†If you have never had the opportunity to experience this kind of water feature, you are in for a treat. ¬†Typically, the river consists of shallow, heated water (approximately 3 feet or a little less than 1 meter) with a slight current. ¬†You can walk, glide, swim or ride one of the provided rafts. ¬†So, if you have a bit of time and are in need of some relaxation, come join me on the Lazy River.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa

with permission from JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

At the moment, while my house is a bit of a wreck and my schedule is jammed packed for the rest of the week, the thought of an hour or few at a spa seems like bliss.  Fortunately for those attending the 2012 ILCA Conference, there is a world class spa on the Grande Lakes property.  The Ritz-Carlton Spa is offering conference attendees 15% off all services (make reservations here). Deluxe Reflexology Pedicure, anyone?

Medieval Times

Photo by Brian Wilkins via Flickr Creative Commons

Need a bit of lighthearted fun? ¬†Need to eat with no utensils? ¬†Need to cheer on your team in a jousting battle to the death? ¬†Medieval Times is the place for you! As conference attendees, we have been offered a¬†50% off coupon¬†to Medieval Times. ¬†Go grab some friends, raise your glass and become a royal princess…if only for the evening.

Local Activities

And, if all of this isn’t enough, ILCA has partnered with Hello Florida¬ģ to provide tickets and tours to conference attendees at a discount. Tour dates and pricing can be found at here. ¬†Some of the options¬†include a Sunset Gator Hunt, Seaworld Select Tour, Backstage Safari at Disney‚Äôs Animal Kingdom, Wonderwork‚Äôs Tour, and a Dave and Buster‚Äôs Family Night! Tours will be available from Friday, July 27 through Wednesday, August 1, 2012 and the deadline is July 1st so make your reservations this week!

Photo by Miss Kels via Flickr Creative Commons

Of course, there’s always “the happiest place on earth”…

See you in 4 weeks at ILCA 2012! 

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.  She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same.  In addition to her work here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including The Leaky Boob and Best for Babes and served on the Communications Team for GOLD Conference . When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at @iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV. 

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We need your INTERNATIONAL perspective!

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

In my few short weeks as the new co-editor of Lactation Matters, I have skidded right smack dab into a wall…the wall of realization that my perspective on our profession is overwhelmingly American. ¬†Of course, this is understandable as I was born in a small farming community right smack dab in Middle America. ¬†But, I desire to have a global perspective…to understand just how different life can be for mothers on the other side of the world. ¬†And how similar.

Photo by Tareq Salahuddin via Flickr

So, we need YOU! ¬†This blog is for all of us, IBCLCs from the United States and from Australia and from Japan and from South Africa and from Ireland…and everywhere in between.

We need your STORIES.

We need your PERSPECTIVE.

We need your LEADS to innovative people who are making a difference.

If you know of someone or something that needs profiled here, please comment with how we might get in touch with you.  If there is breaking news in your country, let us know.  If you know of research being conducted or published in your part of the world, reach out so that we can include it here.

I am proud to be an INTERNATIONAL Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  Help us make this blog international as well.

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.  She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same.  In addition to her work here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including The Leaky Boob and Best for Babes and served on the Communications Team for GOLD Conference . When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at@iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV. 

5

5 Weeks until ILCA 2012! {How do I get there and where do I stay?}

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

Now that we’ve all registered for the 2012 ILCA Conference and are ready to PARTY, it is time to figure out how we’re going to actually get ourselves and suitcases there and make arrangements for where we’re going to stay.

Kuster & Wildhaber Photography via Flick

One of the things that most excites me about the conference is sharing moments with IBCLCs from all over the globe. ¬†I imagine everyone gathering together and “traveling by map”, just like in last summer’s movie about the Muppets.¬† In reality, we will come by car, by truck, by airplane, by train and even by pumpkin-turned-into-regal-coach, just like the Disney princesses who will be our neighbors for the week!

For those arriving by plane, you will touch down at the Orlando International Airport.  From there, you will need to arrange transportation to our conference hotel, the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes.  As the hotel does not provide shuttle transportation, here are some options:

  • Car Rental companies can be found in Terminal A and Terminal B on the Ground Transportation level of the airport. ¬†Avis is offering ILCA members a special rate by calling 1-800-331-1600 and using our Worldwide Discount Number (WDN)¬†B159234. ¬†You can also make a reservation on their website. ¬†Please remember, if you are renting a car, there is a daily parking fee at the hotel ($18/day for self-serve, $24/day for valet).
  • Taxis can be found on both the A and B sides of the Main Terminal on the Ground Transportation level and will charge approximately $50 (one way) to get you to the hotel. ¬†Taxis can carry up to 9 passengers for the same rate so keep your eyes peeled for others sporting ILCA lapel pins and ask if you can share a ride!
  • Shuttle Companies provide transportation from the same A and B sides of the Main Terminal as the taxis. ¬†These services offer both one-way and round-trip pricing per person. ¬†Click here for a coupon for Mears Shuttle Service from vipautoshipping.com¬†($26 round-trip)¬†but RESERVATION IS REQUIRED!

Used with permission by JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

I will freely admit that I’m kind of in love with staying in hotels. ¬†I’m perfectly happy in my own home, where sleep typically involves sharing my space with the pointy elbow of my 8 year old or with its lack of covers, stolen by a sleepy husband. ¬†But…I love to walk into the open {clean} space of a new hotel room and spread my arms out wide while tossing myself onto the bed {that I don’t have to share}. ¬†I like walking the halls, riding the elevators, exploring all the spaces. ¬†When I first saw photos of the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, ¬†I about fell over with glee.

Used with permission by JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

Hopefully, you’ve already made your reservation and, if not, there is still time (the deadline is June 26). ¬†You can do so by calling 1-800-266-9432 (be sure to tell them that you are participating in the 2012 ILCA Conference) or by using their online reservation system. ¬†This will entitle you to a special¬†US$165 single/double room discounted rate, which is valid¬†July 22 through August 1, 2012.

The discounted room rate includes:

  • High-speed and Wi-Fi Internet access (50% discount for ILCA conference attendees)
  • Work desk with lamp
  • 32″ flat-screen HD LCD Television
  • Weekday newspaper delivery
  • Complimentary in-room coffee and tea
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hairdryer
  • In-room laptop compatible safe
  • ILCA Attendees will receive a 15% discount at the¬†Ritz Carlton Spa¬†on any services booked. (I’ll be sharing more info about the spa in an upcoming post!)

As I’m coming to the conference by myself, I was interested in sharing a room with another IBCLC. ¬†Fortunately, I was able to connect with another ILCA volunteer and I’m looking forward to getting to know her. ¬†I work in private practice and she with WIC so I’m sure we’ll spend our time exploring a bit about how the other supports breastfeeding mothers. ¬†If you are interested in finding someone with whom to share a room, check out the Conference Related Items in the ILCA Forums.

And, finally, if there is one thing I have heard that I MUST NOT MISS, it is the “Lazy River” at the hotel. ¬†I will be sharing more details in an upcoming post but apparently it is THE PLACE TO BE!¬†Check out this video for just a little taste…I’m relaxed already!

Join me again for next week’s conference post when we’ll be talking about all the great activities you can choose and fun to do outside of the conference!

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a¬† board certified lactation consultant in private practice with¬†Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.¬† She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same. ¬†In addition to her work here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including¬†The Leaky Boob¬†and¬†Best for Babes¬†and served on the Communications Team for¬†GOLD Conference¬†. When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at¬†@iamambermccann) or updating her¬†Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV.¬†

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Great Breastfeeding Blogs to Read!

Photo by jeff.snodgrass via Flickr

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

Blogging has become an incredibly influential part of the media consumed by today’s mothers. In BlogHer’s 2012 Study of Women and Social Media, a sample of women were asked, “‚ÄúDo you trust the information and advice that you get from blogs?” and an overwhelming 98% said YES. ¬†The number of women, especially pregnant women and new mothers, who are seeking advice and guidance from bloggers is staggering. ¬†45% of the sample said that blogs were more influential than Facebook status updates from their friends or celebrity endorsements. ¬†Clearly, it is a medium that breastfeeding advocates and supporters should be aware of. And with nearly 4 million “mommy bloggers” on the scene, finding the best of the best can be a challenge.

I recently was involved in a conversation with other lactation consultants about what blogs we were reading to stay up to date on the current conversation about breastfeeding.  I am an active blog reader (if you are new to reading blogs, I encourage you to use an RSS Reader such as Google Reader) and enjoy hearing what other mothers, volunteers, professionals and the general public are saying. Many of my colleagues expressed that they enjoyed reading blogs as well but were a bit unsure about where to go to find the ones being most accessed by breastfeeding mothers.

What are your favorite breastfeeding blogs?  Where are the mothers you support telling you they get their information? Here are some of my favorites * (in alphabetical order) and why I love them:

  • Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine: ¬†Physicians, such as breastfeeding research Dr. Alison Stuebe, weigh in on current breastfeeding trends and “hot topics”.

    Best for Babes

  • Best for Babes: ¬†¬†Bests for Babes is a non-profit organization focused on addressing the “cultural, institutional and legal barriers to breastfeeding”. ¬†I sometimes write for their “Celebrity News” section but my favorite posts are Tanya Lieberman’s series on the “Booby Traps”, those things in the breastfeeding¬†process that a mom isn’t expecting and when she steps on them, everything blows up. ¬†Doesn’t that feel familiar?
  • Breastfeeding Reporter: ¬†Nancy Mohrbacher shares her insights on current breastfeeding issues.
  • Fearless Formula Feeder: ¬†I am well aware that some will take issue with the addition of this blog to my list but I consider it essential reading for lactation consultants. ¬†We must be very aware of how our message is perceived by many mothers and we must be willing to listen to the stories of those who have chosen/been forced down a different path than we would choose.
  • The Leaky Boob: ¬†Jessica Martin-Weber is doing really innovative work in regards to reaching breastfeeding mothers through social media. ¬†While her Facebook pageis where most of the magic happens, her blog is truly compassionate.

    The Leaky Boob

  • MamaMilkandMe: Written by Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC¬†(previously profiled in our “Clinicians in the Trenches” series)¬†¬†in Manhattan. ¬†I so enjoy her perspective, not only on her practice, but also on her own experience as a breastfeeding mother.
  • Mammals Suck: Katie Hinde is a professor of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and¬†Director of the Comparative Lactation Laboratory. ¬†I particularly enjoy her scientific perspective along side humor.
  • Milky Way: Milk sharing, through organizations such as Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies has become a very “hot topic” in our field. ¬†This blog shares the stories of those mothers who are currently either donating or receiving donor milk through milk sharing.
  • Motherwear: This is the very FIRST breastfeeding blog I ever read. ¬†Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC writes for breastfeeding mothers, interpreting new research and breastfeeding news in an accessible way.
  • Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress

    Normal, like Breathing: Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC share her wisdom and insight on her blog.  I particularly enjoyed her recent posts about breastfeeding beyond infancy.

  • PhD in Parenting: Another “must read” in my book, Annie Urban covers a variety of parenting topics and often talks about breastfeeding and specifically the WHO code.
  • Postpartum Progress: ¬†A fantastic blog about mental health issues surrounding pregnancy and birth.
  • San Diego Breastfeeding Center: ¬†Robin Kaplan, former co-editor of this blog, has really been a standout in using her blog to build her lactation consulting private practice.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list but just a taste of what is available. ¬†I add new blogging voices to my reader all the time and have found that they contribute greatly to my practice. ¬†

* These blogs are my personal favorites, not those endorsed by ILCA.  Obviously, being located in the United States gives me a bias towards blogs authored there.

Do you have a favorite breastfeeding related blog not on this list? ¬†Do you blog yourself? ¬†What are the best breastfeeding blogs NOT based in the US? We’d love to know about it! ¬†

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.  She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same.  In addition to her work here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including The Leaky Boob and Best for Babes and served on the Communications Team for GOLD Conference . When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at@iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV. 

47

A Farewell and an Introduction for Lactation Matters

Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC

Over the past 10 months, I have had the esteemed honor of acting as co-editor of Lactation Matters. When I first met with Decalie Brown, ILCA Director of Marketing, at the ILCA conference in San Diego, CA (2011), she shared with me as a member of the Marketing committee, the blog idea that had been recommended by (SAGE Rep) Courtney Pugh, ILCA’s Journal Human Lactation Publisher a day or so earlier. Courtney, Decalie and I met just as the conference started and virtually within 3 weeks created and launched ILCA’s Lactation Matters blog by publishing a blog article every day of World Breastfeeding week in August 2011, a huge and exciting task ! We had no idea what it would look like or the type of articles it would contain, but we knew that its purpose was to share pertinent, research-based information with our colleagues, the international board certified lactation consultant. Since July, I have watched Lactation Matters blossom from its infant-stage into a full-grown blog with over 60,000 hits in the first 10 months. I never imagined it would have such great success!

It is with this hope for continued success that I have decided to step down from my role as co-editor. I know that Lactation Matters has the potential to grow in ways that I, as a volunteer, do not have the time to nurture. I have had my own private practice, the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, for almost 3 years now and it is time to me to attempt to grow my business and help support my family of four. I have absolutely loved creating and maintaining Lactation Matters and I feel so lucky to have worked with my co-editor, Decalie Brown, and with such a fabulous team of writers.

Amber McCann, IBCLC

I would like to introduce my friend and colleague, Amber McCann, who will be taking my place as co-editor of Lactation Matters. As a contributor to our “Clinicians in the Trenches” posts since the launching of the blog, Amber has a real love of connecting people through the use of blogging and social media.

Amber says, “As a young mother myself, I found that connecting with other mothers online was vital to my survival in those early days. Now, 10 years later (and still friends with many who I met when my daughter was an infant), I use many of the same technologies, and a slew of new ones, to provide online support and information to breastfeeding mothers.”

When not working on a variety of online breastfeeding support projects, such as being the blogger responsible for the “Celebrity Breastfeeding News” section of the Best for Babes blog, she works as an IBCLC in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if Washington, DC . In addition to working directly with mothers online, she speaks professionally about social media to other birth and breastfeeding professionals. She also offers one-on-one social media coaching to her colleagues. When she’s not furiously composing tweets (you can follow her at @iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV.

Lastly, I would just like to thank all of my colleagues and the Lactation Matters readers for their support and guidance over these past 10 months. It has been such a pleasure to ‚Äėmeet‚Äô so many inspiring lactation consultants making a significant difference in the lives of mothers and babies. Your comments and suggestions have truly helped to create this amazing dialogue among our community. I am so thrilled you have enjoyed the blog thus far and I cannot wait to see how it continues to grow over the next few years!

Warmly,

Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC

Message from Decalie:

Not knowing what lay ahead , Robin volunteered unselfishly to support me and the process of creating and developing ILCA‚Äôs first blog. Robin’s first surprise was she had a co-pilot that didn‚Äôt really know anything about a blog, let alone writing one! The experience working together was amazing and we took up the task and the challenge to birth Lactation Matters blog in August 2011 (in just 3 weeks) and continued to tailor this social media blog to the needs of the IBCLC . Moving though the months to today we have had a core group of amazing volunteer guest bloggers. Without them, and Robin‚Äôs input and coordination, ILCA‚Äôs Lactation Matters blog success may have been different.

I can still remember Robin confidently and eagerly stating early in the process, ‚Äúwe should be able to publish 2 blogs a week, no worries!‚ÄĚ and this was actually managed most weeks.

On behalf of the ILCA Board of Directors and all ILCA members, I would like to sincerely thank Robin for her commitment, expertise, her professionalism and contribution to the Lactation Matters blog and for taking time to volunteer for ILCA. We wish her well in her IBCLC practice.

P.S. Fortunately, Robin she has agreed to be a Lactation Matters guest blogger and remain as a volunteer on ILCA’s Marketing committee. Thank you, Robin!

We are very excited to warmly welcome Amber McCann, who has kindly offered to be co-editor of ILCA’s Lactation Matters blog as of June 1, 2012 through the end of this year. After this time the ILCA Board is proposing to advertise this wonderful opportunity to members to apply.

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