Tag Archives | Catherine Watson Genna

Meet Me in St. Louis: USLCA’s Upcoming Conference

After a long, cold winter, St. Louis, MO is preparing for spring’s cherry blossoms, Cardinals baseball, and USLCA inaugural conference Gateway to Excellence!

USLCA has put together a fabulous line up of speakers including inspiring veterans and innovative newcomers for this May 3-5 event at the historic Union Station Hotel.  With seven plenary sessions and seven different tracks for concurrent sessions, there is something for every lactation professional.  The greatest challenge will be deciding which sessions to attend, so I suggest coming with friends and sharing what you learn over refreshments in one of the many local establishments.

For example…

marshawalkerMarsha Walker, RN, IBCLC will warm the crowd with the opening plenary session “The State of Breastfeeding in the US: We’ve Come a Long Way with ‘Miles To Go Before We Sleep.’”  Marsha, an internationally acclaimed speaker and author, sits on the Board of Directors of USLCA, Baby Friendly USA, Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition, and Best for Babes. She represents USLCA to the US Department of Agriculture’s Breastfeeding Promotion Consortium and represents NABA to the US Breastfeeding Committee. She is the co-chair of the Ban the Bags campaign, a national effort to eliminate the hospital distribution of formula company discharge bags.

cathyCatherine Watson Genna BS, IBCLC, will be speaking on Reflux, GERD, and Breastfeeding.

Cathy has been in private practice in New York City since 1992, and currently addresses health care professionals all over the world on her specialty area helping medically challenged mothers and babies to breastfeed.  Her lively presentations are enhanced by her widely published clinical photographs.  Cathy has authored numerous publications and also serves as Associate Editor for the United States Lactation Consultant Association journal Clinical Lactation.

haleThomas Hale, PhD, one of the world’s leading authorities in the use of medications in breastfeeding women,  will enlighten the crowd with “How to Evaluate Drug Usage in Breastfeeding Mothers.”

Tom is the founder and director of the Infant Risk Center, a national  call center for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. He is a well known international lecturer in the pharmacology of lactation and is  the author of five books including: Medications and Mothers’ Milk, the top-selling drug reference manual.

Liz Brooks (1)Elizabeth Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA,  will draw from her legal background with her boundless energy and humor to bring us the timely,   “Who’s Your Daddy…Mommy, Surrogate or Donor? Modern Families and Lactation.”

With plain language and humor, Liz helps keep us honest as she offers explains pragmatic tips and ethical perspectives that can immediately be used in daily practice.

Liz is the President of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), and works with breastfeeding families both in private practice and the hospital setting.

Sound interesting?  There are still more plenary sessions from the National Breastfeeding Center’s Dr. Todd Wolynn, infant oral motor specialists Robin Glass & Lynn Wolf, and The Joint Commission’s Celeste Milton.


The plenary sessions are compelling enough to click the registration tab right now, but wait!  There is more!  The concurrent session tracks have something for everyone.  Is your hospital pursuing Baby-Friendly status?  Got it!  Finding exclusive breastfeeding elusive?  Got a track on that, too.  Advocacy, community, preterm infants, and WIC, check, check, check, and check.  There is also the Mosaic- the assortment pack of timely topics.

Gateway to Excellence will let you network with speakers, authors, and peers, learn cutting edge skills, see what new tools and texts exhibitors have to offer, and come away refreshed and energized with knowledge you can immediately put into action.

So what do you do now?  REGISTER, of course.  Bring friends.  Click here for more information and to register.  See you in St. Louis!


The Top Lactation Matters Blog Posts of 2012!

As we wind up 2012, we thought we’d take a look back at our most read blog posts of the year. It has been an exciting year at Lactation Matters, as we have passed our 100,000 views mark. We are well on our way to our second 100K and we’re looking forward to adding new regular features and bringing in dozens of new writers in 2013. If you are doing something new and innovative in your practice, have a tip or technique to share, or want to tell us about how IBCLCs are impacting breastfeeding families around the world, please send us an email to lactationmatters@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Here are our top 5 blog posts of 2012!

5464706246_6acccd82f6A Closer Look at Cultural Issues Surrounding Breastfeeding: This fantastic post, by Emma Pickett, an IBCLC in the UK, highlighted not only some of the unique cultural beliefs surrounding breastfeeding around the world but also turned some of our most common beliefs on their ears.

gennaAn Interview with Catherine Watson Genna: As IBCLCs, we are constantly on the look out for new insights into infant behavior that will help us to educate and encourage new mothers. Cathy’s observations of how infants use their hands in regards to feeding has changed practice and helped parents to work WITH their infants and not against them. In this interview, she explains why allowing infants to use their hands is important.

Pic for Jennie post 4

Synthetic Oxytocin and Depressed Newborn Feeding Behaviors – Could There Be a Link?Jennie Bever Babendure explores how birth practices can impact breastfeeding and how labor induction and augmentations can be sabotaging neonatal feeding reflexes, which can throw road blocks down in front of even the most committed breastfeeding efforts.

KimberlyPublicity-300x200Why Beyonce Nursing in Public is So Significant: Robin Kaplan interviewed Kimberly Seals Allers about the impact of an African American celebrity (let’s face it…Beyonce is THE African American celebrity!) on breastfeeding. “Celebrities can help create a lifestyle cache and trendiness, particularly among young women, that helps broaden our ideas about who breastfeeds in the black community.”

imagePumping Strategies for the Working MotherOur most popular post of the year (by over 6,000 page views!) was this practical one by Wendy Wright, of Lactation Navigation in San Diego. In it, she highlights why workplace lactation support is so vital as well as answers the critical questions from mothers going back to their place of employment like “How often should I pump once I return to work?” and “How much milk will I need each day?” .

We give a HUGE thank you to all of our contributors this year. 2012 was an absolutely stellar year for Lactation Matters and we look forward to watching this blog grow in 2013!


An Interview with Catherine Watson Genna

Written by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, and Co-editor of Lactation Matters

Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of listening to Catherine Watson Genna speak about the topic of an infant’s use of his/her hands while latching.  I constantly share this new information with the breastfeeding mothers I work with and I have seen it completely transform a nursing session from a ‘battle of wills’ to one where the baby latches with ease and grace.  Here’s hoping this information will do the same for you!

Robin:  How do breastfeeding infants typically use their hands while latching?

Catherine: Babies use their hands to help them locate the nipple and define a nice mouthful of breast. You may notice the baby often finds the nipple with his hands and then starts to suck his hands. At this point, many moms
pull the baby’s hands away and he gets upset, because he knew what he was doing. If you encourage mom to wait a few minutes, the baby will move his hand and latch onto the breast where his hand was a moment before.

Robin: How does this hand use help the baby latch?

Catherine: If the baby’s face is not close enough to the breast to find the nipple by feel with her lips and cheeks, she’ll bring her hands into the action. I’ve also seen babies whose faces were close to the breast, but were not in the exact right spot to latch well, move the breast around with their hands until they got just the right ‘mouthful’ lined up. Some babies even push or pull the breast into their mouths, or shape it like we sometimes teach moms to!

Robin:  What techniques should Lactation Consultants and parents use to help facilitate the baby’s hand use while latching?

Catherine: First off, I like to see what the baby will do if we place him or her skin to skin with mom and encourage mom to lean back so gravity supports baby against her body. Most babies find their way to the breast if they are calm enough. If mom has sore nipples, cuddling baby so her arms encircle and ‘hug’ the breast, and her chin and lips touch just below the nipple, lets her find the breast with her mouth and not her hands. Basically the Lactation Consultant should help the mom see how baby is working toward latching and let baby try unless they are getting frustrated or getting in their own way. Sometimes babies do get caught in a ‘reflex loop’ of sucking their hand, moving away, and then sucking their hands again. Moving the baby slightly so his face touches mom’s breast can interrupt this loop and get the baby to move his hands away and look for the breast with his mouth again.

For more detailed information about this topic, please see Catherine Watson Genna’s article in Clinical Lactation, Facilitating Autonomous Infant Hand Use During Breastfeeding.

Catherine Watson Genna has been an IBCLC in private practice in NYC since 1992. She has a special interest in the anatomical, genetic and neurological influences on infant sucking skills, and writes and speaks on these topics. She serves as associate editor of Clinical Lactation. Catherine has performed research using ultrasound and cervical auscultation to study sucking and suck:swallow coordination in infants with ankyloglossia. Her clinical photographs have been published in both lay and scholarly venues. She is the author of Supporting Sucking Skills in Breastfeeding Infants (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2008 and 2012) and Selecting and Using Breastfeeding Tools (Hale Publishing, 2009).


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