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El Código Internacional: ¿Sigue siendo relevante en la era de la información? {Parte 2}

We are proud to offer this Spanish translation to our popular post “The International Code: Is It Still Relevant in the Information Age? {Part 2}“.

Estamos orgullosos de presentar la segunda de dos entradas al blog sobre el Código Internacional de Comercialización de Sucedáneos de la Leche Materna (Puede leer la primera parte aquí). Este documento es vital para nuestro trabajo y es una pieza clave de apoyo a las familias que servimos. Después de nuestro post anterior, que era un “Código 101 de la OMS ” básico, la entrada de hoy cuestiona “¿Y ahora qué?”, ​​ Se discute cómo nuestras interpretaciones y aplicaciones del código tienen que cambiar con la llegada de nuevos estilos de marketing, incluido el uso de los medios sociales.

Por Norma O. Escobar, IBCLC (Con el aporte de Annelies Allain del Centro de Documentación del Código Internacional)

La mayoría de nosotros estamos familiarizados con las violaciones más comunes al código, publicidad directa en los medios impresos, muestras gratuitas en los hospitales y consultorios médicos, cupones para descuentos. Pero ¿qué pasa con los métodos de marketing que han surgido con el advenimiento de las redes sociales y el teléfono inteligente (smart phone) “siempre presente”?

¿Qué hay de nuevo?

Los mayores cambios en los últimos años han sido la explosión de los medios sociales y la ampliación del uso de los teléfonos inteligentes. Los medios sociales ocupan un estimado de 20% del tiempo que los estadounidenses gastan en línea en sus computadoras y el 30% de su tiempo en sus dispositivos móviles.

Las mujeres, y las personas de 18-34 años, son más propensas que otros grupos a visitar los sitios de medios sociales. Por ejemplo, las mujeres representan el 62% de todas las visitas de páginas en Facebook. Estas estadísticas sugieren que para muchas mujeres estadounidenses, los acontecimientos importantes de la vida como el embarazo, el parto y la maternidad están siendo influenciados por los medios de comunicación social. Y estas cifras crecen cada año. Según el informe de Nielsen, el tiempo que se gastó en los medios sociales en 2011 fue de 88 minutos al mes. En 2012, ese número había aumentado a 121 minutos.

De acuerdo con Nielsen: “Los días en que las empresas podían controlar muy bien los mensajes de la marca y su avance en los consumidores a lo largo de un línea de compra ordenada, hace tiempo que terminó. Los medios sociales han cambiado fundamentalmente la decisión del consumidor. Las decisiones de consumo y comportamientos cada vez están más impulsados por las opiniones, gustos y preferencias de una manera exponencial, grupo de amigos, compañeros y personas influyentes “.

sherylabrahamsComo resultado de estos cambios, la comercialización de los productos dentro del ámbito del código también ha cambiado. Sheryl Abrahams, una estudiante graduada en el Instituto Global de Lactancia Materna de Carolina, pensó que sería un buen proyecto de investigación averiguar cómo el código se está siguiendo, o no, en los campos de juego de los medios sociales. Sus resultados han sido publicados en el Journal of Human Lactation, agosto de 2012. Yo estaba haciendo mi propia investigación informal cuando tuve la oportunidad de hablar con ella en el otoño de 2011.

Los intereses comerciales tienen una presencia muy fuerte en los medios sociales: Varios fabricantes han establecido una presencia en Facebook y Twitter, incluyendo Gerber y productos PBM, el mayor fabricante de marcas de fórmulas en EE.UU., el cual ha lanzado páginas para sus diversos nombres: Bright Beginnings, Parent’s Choice, Vermont Organics y Member’s Mark. Earth’s Best, que fabrica fórmula, también tiene una página en Facebook. Todas estas páginas están configuradas para permitir comentarios de los miembros y permitir a los usuarios a darle “me gusta” o “seguir” a la página. Después, los usuarios quedan en el registro como “gustando” la página, un hecho que da motivo a sus  propios contactos de revisar estos sitios.

gerberLa página de Facebook de Gerber, en una sección dirigida a embarazadas, contiene un enlace a la información sobre una bolsa de regalo para cuando esté de alta del hospital, incluyendo un enlace para ver los hospitales participantes que están repartiendo la bolsa. También contiene biografías de dietistas registrados “expertos” que están a su disposición para responder a las preguntas publicadas. Hace un tiempo el sitio tenía un vínculo a cupones de fórmula.

Gerber, Parent’s Choice, Bright Beginnings y Member’s Mark de tiempo en tiempo patrocinan concursos de fotografías, en el que los usuarios envían fotos de sus hijos al sitio para oportunidades de ganar tarjetas de regalo y otros premios. Los usuarios a menudo tienen que  dar clic al “me gusta” o convertirse en un fan de la página para poder ganar. Estas fotos o las ganadoras, son publicadas en el sitio para que otros las puedan ver.

No hay datos sobre la superioridad de la leche materna en ninguna de estas páginas, excepto la página de Facebook de Earth’s Best, que son fabricantes de fórmula y alimentos complementarios. Ninguna de estas páginas contiene la lista completa de los avisos requeridos en el Código, como la información sobre los efectos adversos sobre la lactancia materna con la introducción parcial de la alimentación con biberón.

similacLuego están las “aplicaciones”. ¿No todas las mamás desean añadir una mayor previsibilidad a su vida? ¿Y quién no quiere ser una “madre fuerte”?

¿Qué tipo de información están estas madres recibiendo? Una de las seguidoras de Unlatched, una página de Facebook de apoyo a la lactancia, envió este correo electrónico que recibió cuando su bebé tenía 5 semanas de edad.

containterSe puede ver que la intención es promover un producto, no promover la lactancia materna. ¡Y usted puede conseguir fórmula GRATIS para que pueda empezar!

Otro aspecto de los medios de comunicación social son los blogs, “celebridades” en línea que las personas siguen y leen para obtener gran parte de su información. Para mi gran sorpresa, hay patrocinio de estos bloggers, se les paga para revisar productos y servicios. Muchas madres creen que estas son opiniones “independientes”, pero en realidad están muy sesgadas. La fuente de estos pagos es a través de terceros. Uno de estos terceros, se llama Collective Bias.

¿Y quiénes son estos clientes de Collective Bias? Su sitio web dice:

“Collective Bias es una empresa de marketing de contenido que asocia contenido social orgánico con historias reales para crear millones de impresiones, la unidad orgánica de SEO y en última instancia, las ventas de marcas y minoristas como Starbucks, Nestlé, Elmer’s y Walgreens.”

¿Quiénes son las personas que desean crear comunidades dedicadas a fomentar conversaciones compartidas, crear una plataforma que fomente la promoción en un diálogo orgánico. . . en última instancia, mejorar la lealtad y las VENTAS? Son las empresas multinacionales que ponen las ganancias por delante de la salud de millones de madres y bebés.

Las redes sociales se están utilizando en clara violación del Código Internacional.

Algunas prácticas, tales como la activación de contenido generado por usuarios, como fotos, vídeos, comentarios, endorso con un solo clic, y patrocinio a blogs de terceros, plantea cuestiones no previstas por el Código original.

Abraham concluye su investigación diciendo: “Las futuras revisiones del Código deberían considerar nuevas estrategias de marketing permitido por los medios sociales, incluyendo el uso de contenidos generados por usuarios, divulgación de patrocinio de críticos, bloggers y creadores de otros medios de comunicación y vínculos financieros que proporcionan educación a las madres y familias”.

Por lo tanto, ¿sigue siendo el Código relevante?

SÍ. El hecho de que la comercialización sea menos transparente y obvia que antes, no significa que nos vamos a rendir. Mientras a la Asamblea Mundial de la Salud puede que le tome un tiempo para aclarar las nuevas cuestiones que los medios sociales han generado para el Código, no tenemos que esperar hasta la próxima resolución. ¡Aun así, podemos y debemos hacer una diferencia! De hecho, propongo que, gracias a los medios de comunicación social, sea aún más fácil hacer que su voz se escuche.

¿Qué puede usted hacer?

  • ¡Ya hace mucho! Ayudar a las madres a amamantar es una gran manera de ayudar a derrotar a los intereses comerciales. Hable con las madres sobre los riesgos de los suplementos innecesarios y su impacto en la producción de leche incluyendo la dificultad de restablecer el amamantamiento
  • Familiarizarse con el Código. La Red Mundial de Grupos Pro Alimentación Infantil (IBFAN) es un recurso maravilloso y su sitio web contiene una gran cantidad de información.
  • Comprometerse a cumplir con las disposiciones del Código para “Trabajadores de la Salud” al hablar con las madres, profesionales de la salud, y cualquier persona involucrada con las madres y los bebés de la importancia del Código. Escribir cartas a revistas, páginas de Facebook y medios de comunicación que violan el Código. No aceptar comidas, regalos o patrocinio para su educación o conferencias que sean patrocinadas por compañías que violan el código.
  • Supervisar mediante la recopilación de muestras de revistas, exposiciones, tiendas, sitios web y consultorios médicos. Tome fotos de tiendas y exhibiciones en conferencias.
  • Informe violaciones a IBFAN o su red local “Vigilantes del Código” como la Alianza Nacional para la Defensa de la Lactancia Materna (NABA) o la Coalición para la acción en alimentación infantil (INFACT).
  • Asegúrese de no utilizar o proporcionar afiches, materiales educativos, libretitas, revistas, bolígrafos, imanes, etc. que le hayan obsequiado o que llevan el logotipo de los infractores del código.
  • Utilice los medios sociales, ¡tweet, post, me gusta y compartir!

benkenobiUsted puede hacer una diferencia. Tenemos que hacer una diferencia. Siempre me gusta contar la historia de los bebés del río cuando se habla del código, es una historia común que se aplica a muchos problemas de salud pública, pero creo que vale la pena repetirlo aquí. Es algo parecido a esto:

Un verano en un pueblo, la gente de la ciudad se reunieron para un picnic. Mientras compartían comida y conversación tranquilamente, alguien se dio cuenta de un bebé en el río, luchando y llorando. ¡El bebé se iba a ahogar! Alguien corrió a salvar al bebé. Entonces, se dieron cuenta de otro bebé gritando en el río, y sacaron a ese bebé. Pronto, vieron más bebés ahogándose en el río, y la gente del pueblo los sacaban tan rápido como podían. Tomó un gran esfuerzo, y comenzaron a organizar sus actividades con el fin de salvar a los bebés que llegaban por el río. Mientras todos estaban ocupados en las tareas de rescate para salvar a los bebés, dos personas del pueblo empezaron a correr por la orilla del río.

“¿A dónde van?”, Gritó uno de los rescatistas. “¡Los necesitamos aquí para ayudarnos a salvar a estos bebés!”

¡Vamos río arriba para detener a quien los está lanzando!”

El Código fue puesto en marcha para detener a los bebés de ser arrojados al río de la avaricia corporativa. Por favor ayude a detenerlos y a darle seguimiento y ojalá algún día todos nuestros países tengan una legislación gubernamental fuerte que pueda ayudarnos. Hasta entonces, no podemos renunciar y debemos seguir educándonos y a las madres que servimos para que no caigan presa de los intereses comerciales. Tienes una voz, utilízala.

 normaOriginaria de la Ciudad de México, Norma Escobar ha estado trabajando con las mujeres que amamantan a partir de 1994, primero como líder de La Liga de la Leche, y luego como consultora de lactancia certificada por la Junta (2002). Su trabajo actual se centra en atender a madres de bajos ingresos en Wilmington, Carolina del Norte. Ella es la madre de dos hijos sin lo cual nunca habría descubierto las alegrías y los retos de la lactancia materna. Norma postea mensajes en Facebook a través de la Tri-County Breastfeeding Coalition  y La Leche League of Wilmington NC.

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The International Code: Is It Still Relevant in an Information Age? {Part 2}

We are proud to present the second of two blog posts about the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (You can read the first part HERE). This document is vital to our work and is a critical piece of advocacy for the families we serve. After our previous post, which was a basic “WHO Code 101”, today’s posts asks “What Now?” as we discuss how our interpretations and applications of the Code have to change with the advent of new styles of marketing, including in the use of social media.

By Norma O. Escobar, IBCLC
(with input from Annelies Allain from the International Code Documentation Center)

Most of us are familiar with the most common Code violations, direct advertising in print media, free samples in hospitals and doctor’s offices, coupons for discounts. But what about the marketing methods that have popped up with the advent of social media and the “ever present” smartphone?

What is new?

The biggest changes in the last few years have been the explosion of social media and the expanded use of smart phones. Social media use accounts for an estimated 20% of all time Americans spend online on their computers and 30% of their time on their mobile device.

Women, and people aged 18-34, are more likely than other groups to visit social media sites.  For example, women account for 62% of all page views on Facebook.  These statistics suggest that for many American women, important life events like pregnancy, birth and early motherhood are playing out against a backdrop of social media use. And these figures are growing yearly.  According to the Nielsen report, time spent in social media in 2011 was 88 minutes per month.  In 2012 that number had jumped to 121 minutes.

According to Nielsen: “The days when companies could tightly control brand messaging and progress consumers along a linear purchase funnel have long ended. Social media has fundamentally changed the consumer decision journey. Consumer decisions and behaviors are increasingly driven by the opinions, tastes and preferences of an exponentially larger, global pool of friends, peers and influencers.”

sherylabrahams

Sheryl Abrahams

As a result of these changes, marketing of products within the scope of the code has also changed.  Enter Sheryl Abrahams,a graduate student with the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, who thought it would be a good research project to find out how the code is being followed, or not, in the social media playing field.  Her results have been published in the Journal of Human Lactation, August 2012.  I was doing my own informal research when I was able to talk to her in the fall of 2011.

Commercial interests have a very strong presence in social media: Several manufacturers have established a Facebook and Twitter presence, including Gerber and PBM products, the largest US manufacturer of store brand formulas, which has launched pages for its various labels: Bright Beginnings, Parent’s Choice, Vermont Organics and Member’s Mark.  Earth’s Best, which manufactures formula, also has a Facebook page.  All of these pages are set up to enable member comments and to allow users to “like” or “follow” the page.  Users would then be on record as “liking” the page, a fact which might give their own contacts reason to check it out.

gerberThe Gerber Facebook page, in a section marked for pregnant moms, contains a link to information about a hospital discharge bag, including a feature to search for participating hospitals that are currently giving out the bag.   It also contains bios of registered dietician “experts” who are on hand to answer posted questions.  The site in the past has linked to formula coupons.

Gerber, Parent’s Choice, Bright Beginnings and Member’s Mark at certain times sponsor photo contests, wherein users submit photos of their children to the site for chances to win gift cards and other prizes.   Users are often required to “like” or become a fan of the page to be eligible to win.  These user-posted photos, or the winners, are then posted on the site for others to view.

No information on superiority of breast milk found on any of these pages, except the Facebook page of Earth’s Best, which manufacturers formula and complementary foods.  None of these pages contained the full list of warnings called for in the Code, such as information on the adverse effects on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottle feeding.

similacThen there are the “apps”.  Doesn’t every mom wish to add more predictability to their life?  And who does not want to be a “strong mom”?

What kind of information are these moms receiving?  One of the fans of the Unlatched, a breastfeeding support Facebook page, sent this email she received when her baby was 5 weeks old.

containter

You can see that the intention is to promote a product, not to promote breastfeeding. And you can get a FREE container of formula to get you started!

Another aspect of social media are blogs – on-line “celebrities” that people follow and read to get much of their information.  Much to my surprise – there is quite a bit of sponsorship of these bloggers – they get paid to review products and services.  Many moms believe that these are ‘independent’ opinions, but they are in fact, very biased.  The source of these payments is through third parties.  One such third party is called Collective Bias.

And who are these Collective Bias clients?  Their website says,

“Collective Bias is a content marketing company that weaves organic social content into real-life stories to create millions of impressions, drive organic SEO and ultimately sales for brands and retailers like Starbucks, Nestlé, Elmer’s and Walgreens.”

Who are the people wishing to build dedicated communities to foster shared conversations, creating and advocacy platform that fosters organic dialogue. . . ultimately enhanced loyalty and SALES? They are the multi-national companies that put profit ahead of the health of millions of mothers and babies.

Social media is being used in clear violation of the International Code.

Several practices, such as enabling of user-generated content like photos, videos, comments, one-click endorsements, and sponsorship of third-party blogs, raise issues not anticipated by the original Code.

Abraham concludes her research by stating: “Future revisions of the Code should consider new marketing strategies enabled by social media, including  use of user-generated content, disclosure of sponsorship  of reviewers, bloggers and other media creators, and financial ties to those providing education to mothers and families.”

So, is the Code still relevant?

YES.  Just because the marketing is less transparent and obvious than before, does not mean we give up.  While the Wold Health Assembly may take the time to clarify the new issues that social media has generated for the Code, we don’t have to wait around for the next resolution.  We can and should still make a difference! In fact, I propose that thanks to social media, it is even easier to make your voice heard.

What can you do?

  • You already do a lot! Helping moms breastfeed is a great way to help defeat commercial interests! Talk to mothers about the risks of unnecessary supplementation and their impact on milk production including the difficulty of reestablishing breastfeeding
  • Become familiar with the Code. The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) is a wonderful resource and their website contains a wealth of information.
  • Commit to abide by the Code provisions for “Health Workers” by talking to mothers, health professionals, and anyone involved with mothers and babies about the importance of the Code.  Write letters to magazines, Facebook pages and media outlets that violate the Code.  Don’t eat lunches provided by Code violating companies, take their gifts, or accept their sponsorship for your education or conference.
  • Monitor by collecting samples from magazines, exhibits, stores, web sites and doctor’s offices. Take pictures of store and conference displays.
  • Report violations to IBFAN or your local “Code Watcher” like the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) or the Infant Feeding Action Coalition (INFACT).
  • Make sure you do not use or provide posters, educational materials, pads, magazines, pens, magnets, etc. that are given to you by or that bear the logo of code violators.
  • Use social media yourself – tweet, post, like and share!

benkenobi

You can make a difference.  We must make a difference.  I always like to tell the story of the River Babies when talking about the Code– it is a common story that applies to many  public health issues lots of public health issues, but I believe it bears repeating here. It goes something like this:

One summer in a village, the people in the town gathered for a picnic. As they leisurely shared food and conversation, someone noticed a baby in the river, struggling and crying. The baby was going to drown! Someone rushed to save the baby. Then, they noticed another screaming baby in the river, and they pulled that baby out. Soon, more babies were seen drowning in the river, and the townspeople were pulling them out as fast as they could. It took great effort, and they began to organize their activities in order to save the babies as they came down the river. As everyone else was busy in the rescue efforts to save the babies, two of the townspeople started to run away along the shore of the river. 

“Where are you going?” shouted one of the rescuers. “We need you here to help us save these babies!” 

“We are going upstream to stop whoever is throwing them in!” 

The Code was set in place to stop the babies from being thrown into the river of corporate greed.  Please help by upholding it and monitoring and hopefully one day all our countries will have strong government legislation that can help us.  Until then, we cannot give up and we must continue educating ourselves and the mothers we serve so that they do not fall prey to commercial interests.  You have a voice, use it.

normaOriginally from Mexico City, Norma Escobar has been working with breastfeeding women since 1994, first as a Leader with La Leche League, then as a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (2002).  Her current work focuses on serving low-income mothers in Wilmington, North Carolina.  She is the mother of two sons without whom she would have never discovered the joys and challenges of breastfeeding. Norma posts avidly on facebook through the Tri-County Breastfeeding Coalition  and La Leche League of Wilmington NC.

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Nursing in Public: When Did It Become So Controversial?

Written by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC

When I look back at 2012 and recall the variety of breastfeeding stories that were covered by American media, I can’t help, but grimace and wonder,

“When did breastfeeding become so controversial?”

News story after news story depicts a breastfeeding mother being harassed for breastfeeding in public:

Charlotte Dirkes was asked to stop, cover up, or go somewhere else when she breastfed her 10-month old at a water park in Englewood, Colorado.

Tiffany Morgan was asked to stop breastfeeding her 6-month old, cover up, or leave Denny’s in Sedalia, Missouri.

Dawn Holland was asked to finish breastfeeding her 20-month old son in the bathroom of Applebee’s in Georgia.

Photo via Nurse-In @ Hollister Facebook Page

Photo via Nurse-In @ Hollister Facebook Page

Most recently, Brittany Warfield was screamed at and forced to leave a Hollister store in the Galleria Mall in Houston, Texas, when she breastfed her 7-month old, sparking a nurse-in across the United States and Canada of over 1,000 breastfeeding mothers, children, and friends on Jan 5th, 2013.

What ensued during this most recent nurse-in was truly shocking.

Three women participating in the Hollister nurse-in at Wilmington, Delaware’s Concord Mall were asked to remove their signs (written about normalizing nursing in public) and move to another part of the mall.  After taking down their signs, they continued to nurse in front of the Hollister store.  The mall’s security guards called the local police, who ended up not taking any action with the mothers once they showed them a copy of Delaware’s law that protects a woman breastfeeding in public.  The security officers took it upon themselves to continue to harass the mothers by threatening them with removal from the mall and then followed the mothers throughout the mall.

Photo via Nurse-In @ Hollister Facebook Page

Photo via Nurse-In @ Hollister Facebook Page

When other mothers heard about what happened at the mall, they posted on the Concord Mall’s Facebook page that they should be ashamed for calling the police when mothers were just feeding their babies.  In response, the Concord Mall responded that the breastfeeding was an ‘eyesore’ and that they ‘hope you guys don’t mind if I suck on my wife’s breasts in public.’

Since this Facebook exchange, The Concord Mall has disabled their Facebook Page (and denies that it ever had a Facebook page).  They also have apologized to the three mothers, yet the apology never admitted wrongdoing or that the women were treated improperly.

By the way, all of these harassment stories took place in states where breastfeeding women are protected by law to breastfeed in a public space.

While this type of harassment ruffles my IBCLC-feathers, it truly upsets me as an avid advocate for a breastfeeding mother’s right to meet her personal breastfeeding goals.  How can we expect mothers to breastfeed for any decent amount of time if they are relegated to their homes, cars, and public restrooms whenever their babies are hungry, just to avoid degradation and humiliation?

How can we, as mothers and IBCLCs, create the necessary change in our society where women will be able to feed their babies as nature intended?

I asked these questions to a group of mothers at my breastfeeding support group today, as well as of the followers on my business Facebook page, and their answers were honest and insightful.  Here’s what they had to say:

  • More women need to breastfeed in public so that people become desensitized to it, just like ‘we’ (Americans, in general) are desensitized to the sexualization of the breast and to violence on TV.
  • More breastfeeding on television shows and in movies, rather than always bottle feeding.
  • Public service announcements about how breastfeeding protects the health of the baby and of mom.
  • Have easier access to the laws that protect breastfeeding mothers, to use as a defense when asked to stop breastfeeding in public, cover up, or leave a public place.
  • In addition to the laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, there is a need for laws that involve recourse for those who harass a woman for breastfeeding in public.

Fortunately, breastfeeding advocates are already thinking these same ideas!

Thanks to the Breastfeeding Law website, breastfeeding mothers can find all of the laws in the United States that protect their rights to breastfeed in public.

In California, on September 28, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB2386, which states that it is unlawful to engage in specified discriminatory practices in employment or housing accommodations on the basis of breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding.  What this means for breastfeeding moms… they are now considered a ‘protected class’ of citizens and will receive a full spectrum of workplace discrimination protection.

In October, 2012, Best for Babes announced the launch of their Nursing in Public Harassment Hotline.  Now, breastfeeding mothers can report incidents of nursing in public harassment, document them, and receive guidance on how to deal with the situation and approach the offending institution.  The goal… to have enough documentation to influence policy makers to create laws that require enforcement of existing breastfeeding in public laws, the creation of laws that cover harassment and discrimination against breastfeeding in public, and educational and sensitivity trainings for employees.

Even MTV is changing their stance on breastfeeding.  While season 2 of Teen Mom removed scenes showing Kailyn Lowry breastfeeding, season 3 star, Katie Yeager, stated on Facebook and twitter that the show “will show me breastfeeding for a year.  I’m breaking the stigma and normalizing it again.”  That’s quite a commitment for a 16 year old!

For me, I plan to hand out a business card-sized copy of the California state laws that protect breastfeeding in public and prohibit discrimination in the workplace and housing to every breastfeeding mother I work with.  Hopefully having it in her wallet will provide some comfort that the law is on her side.  I also plan to submit an editorial to my local newspaper every time I hear a story about a mother being harassed for nursing in public.  I figure, it’s my job to educate my community about a mother’s right to feed her baby in public, without fear of persecution.  Lastly, I plan to promote Best for Babes Nursing in Public Harassment Hotline.  The more documentation they can collect, the better chance we have of creating a REAL change in our communities to help mothers meet their personal breastfeeding goals!

What plans do YOU have to create change in your communities for protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public?

RobinRobin 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 to ILCA’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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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:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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 HygeiaThe 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’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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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….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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American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding Launches New Facebook Page

By Jennifer Thomas, MD, MPH, IBCLC, FAAP, FABM

The internet has increasingly become a tool for people seeking health By Jennifer Thomas, MD, MPH, IBCLC, FAAP, FABM
information. A Pew Internet and American Life survey in 2011 showed that 80% of internet users have visited a website for information or support for a specific health problem, 19% of whom searched for information on pregnancy and childbirth.

Social media has increasingly become a tool for organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), to share information pertinent to the goals, mission, vision, publications and achievements. It has become a way to promote new products. It increases awareness about current issues, and can, unfortunately, generate misinformation which can be quickly disseminated widely. As the AAP is the recognized authority on the care of children, in addition to provide accurate information to physicians and breastfeeding mothers, we see this misinformation as a problem which needs to be addressed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding recently launched a new Facebook page.  It was created to:

    • Raise awareness of activities, products, and resources produced by the Section on Breastfeeding.
    • Highlight our members achievements.
    • Recruit new pediatricians to our membership.
    • Highlight pertinent evidence-based practices and publications.
    • Present evidence-based information in response to trends on social media which may be detrimental to the experience of new breastfeeding mothers.
    • Join in the discussions, currently occurring in social media about breastfeeding.

The Facebook page has the potential to be many things but it will not be a place for our section’s members to offer clinical advice.  It will be for the dissemination of information only. 

We invite IBCLCs and other breastfeeding professionals and volunteers to come “like” our page and engage in the conversation with us. A strong collaboration between pediatricians and other members of a baby and their family’s health care team is vital to their breastfeeding success.

Click HERE to connect with the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding’s new Facebook page.

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Journal of Human Lactation launches Facebook Page!

By Anne Merewood, PhD, MPH, IBCLC

The Journal of Human Lactation recently published two papers on our Online First page about use of telehealth equipment in lactation consulting. Those 2 papers will be printed in November, alongside a Round Table Discussion about computer technology in daily IBCLC practice, and an Insights in Practice paper, co-authored by Lactation Matters’ own Amber McCann and Jeanette McCulloch, about lactation consulting and social media. Their bottom line?

New mothers are using social media.

IBCLCs had better get with the program. (And don’t worry, they tell you how!). With this techno-heavy issue due in November, JHL’s editorial staff, egged on by those incorrigible, born again social media-ites on ILCA’s Marketing Committee, resolved to take our own messages to heart, and thus, a week ago, JHL “arrived” on Facebook.

According to Amber and Jeanette, I’m a “digital immigrant”, compared to New Young Things born into the computer era and thus, “digital natives.” As an immigrant learning the lingo (use of that dated word alone would presumably raise howls of derision from my teenage sons, who watch my efforts from a safe distance, with indulgent contempt), my plan was to take it slow and build the page, but of course there is no slow …within minutes “likes” materialized like magic; within days we had over 100 of them and the “thing” had developed a life of its own. As the “young mother” (young in the figurative sense, yes) of this site, I hover anxiously over its development, ever anxious of hitting the wrong button and sending very public errors into the etherspace. But I have a team of student caretakers, and so far, it’s been nothing but fun!

Come LIKE us and spread the word!

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Social Media Highlight: Nevada Breastfeeds Facebook Page

At Lactation Matters, we love having the opportunity to hear from YOU about innovative ideas to reach and support breastfeeding mothers.  We were recently encouraged to check out the Nevada Breastfeeds Facebook page.  We had the privilege of interviewing Sarah Ortega, founder of the page that is currently supporting almost 2,500 “friends”, about why she thinks online support is essential to today’s mothers. Sarah and her family are long-time residents of the Reno, Nevada area and she has four breastfed children.  Her experience with Robin Hollen, IBCLC of Starfish Lactation after the birth of her youngest child, who was born with a severe cleft palate, put her on her current path towards becoming an IBCLC.

1.  How did the Nevada Breastfeeds FB get started?

I started the Nevada Breastfeeds Facebook page after many talks with Robin Hollen, the IBCLC with whom I work. We decided that it was in our community’s best interest to have a page for breastfeeding women to find information, support and encouragement. I created Nevada Breastfeeds as a “friends” page, meaning I would have to send and/or receive friend requests. The main reason for approaching it this way was so that women could send a personal message to me if they didn’t want their question publicized. (Editor’s note:  Facebook recently added a “private messaging” feature to business pages.) When I first started, I had a small group of women that I knew from other breastfeeding projects, so I sent them friend requests and the page grew from there. It was a slow start, but I dedicate a lot of time and effort to make sure I “friend” people that would benefit from this page.

Used with permission from Amen Photography

2.  How is it moderated? Do you personally answer questions or do the mothers on the page respond to each other?

I monitor the page almost 24/7…just ask my husband. 🙂 I am a Certified Lactation Educator (CLE) and am training to be an IBCLC.  There are several different options that women have to get their questions or concerns addressed. Friends of the page can post directly to the wall. If they want a direct answer from me, they can send me a personal message.  I try my hardest to answer all questions within 24 hours. Depending on the question, I will comment or ask for additional detail, then repost so everyone can see the question. This seems to be the most effective way to get people to comment. If I determine that the person posting needs more one-on-one help, I will remove the question from the wall and send a personal message to address the issue or concern. I am very careful to not go outside of my scope, which can be very limited as a CLE and I always refer to ILCA’s Find A Lactation Consultant page or help them find an IBCLC when I feel they need more professional help.

Used with permission from Amen Photography

3.  Why do you feel this is an essential opportunity for mothers?

You must be a part of the conversation to have any impact on people. I work very hard to establish relationships on Facebook. I believe that women are hearing information from many different people (friends, family, doctors, strangers etc..). For me to come along and offer advice doesn’t set me apart from all of the others. It is about building relationships. If someone has had a question or concern, I try to follow-up with them to make sure they received what they needed. If they need additional follow-up with a professional, I refer. If they just need some more support, I am there for them. This page is very close to my heart and I want people to know that they are cared about.

Used with permission from Amen Photography

4.  Any great success stories?

One friend of the page wasn’t planning to breastfeed because she had tried with her first two children and was not successful. We had many conversations during her pregnancy and she decided that she would start out with a goal of breastfeeding for 6 weeks.  She had a little bit of a rough start and she sent me many messages because she thought things were going terrible. With the information she would give me, I could tell she was doing GREAT! Her baby was gaining really well and she wasn’t in pain, so I just kept encouraging and reassuring her. Her goal quickly changed to 4 months, then 6 and so on. She is now in the process of weaning him at 14 months. I am so proud of her and she is proud of herself! In my heart and mind, this is what my page is all about.

In addition, here is a message that I received this past week from a women who is a friend of the page and attended a few support groups…

I just wanted to say thank you for all your support and help with breast feeding! My son is soon to be five months old and is healthier than ever. In his first few months of life, he had respiratory, sinus and weight gain issues but I am pleased to say those have all subsided. He is a chunky, happy, healthy baby and I truly believe it is because of breastfeeding! You gave us a gift for a lifetime and I couldn’t have lasted this long exclusively breastfeeding without your support. Your FB page gave me hope when I was in tears and the posts from other moms gave me confidence that I could do it. When I had a question, no matter how personal or minimal, it was answered! So again I thank you!

We thank Sarah for her commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers and encourage all ILCA members to check out Nevada Breastfeeds on Facebook.

*Special thanks goes to Amen Photography for allowing us to share these photographs which will be used in the 2013 Nevada Breastfeeds Calendar.  Look for a future post about this great project!

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