Tag Archives | Liz Brooks

Letter from the ILCA President 2014

Every year, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) board president shares with members the strategic plans and priorities for the year ahead. This year, we’re sharing it at Lactation Matters so that everyone interested in ILCA – not just members – can be up-to-date. Share your feedback at info@ilca.org or in the comments below.

liz_brooksDear ILCA Members,

Happy IBCLC Day (Wednesday, 5 March 2014) from the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) Board of Directors!

Our social media platforms (FacebookLactation Matters blog and Twitter) are front and center this year, to honor and celebrate the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®).  We hope you take a moment to reach out and thank an IBCLC who touched your life . . . perhaps as a clinician; maybe as a mentor. Learn more here.

To our members: thank YOU! Your membership dollars are the engine driving this association, allowing us to produce the top-ranked breastfeeding research publication Journal of Human Lactation (JHL), to host the premier international lactation conference every year, and to be an important voice for IBCLCs who protect  human lactation in international policy-setting bodies. But without YOU, this professional association would not exist.

In return, ILCA offers YOU a place for advocacy, education and professional development that focuses on YOU and your credential. No other group or association looks out for the IBCLC the way ILCA and its Partner Affiliates do. Here is a snapshot of some of ILCA’s important activities in the last year:

Reducing inequities in breastfeeding support; opening the doors of the profession, and the professional association. The demographics of ILCA membership, and the pathways of entry into our profession, show there are significant race- and income-based barriers to sit for the IBCLC exam offered by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®). Accreditation of academic programs in human lactation (by the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee, LEAARC) is expanding . . . but not yet universal. The future viability of our profession is very much at stake. Thus, the three independent organizations (ILCA, IBLCE and LEAARC) are co-hosting a Summit Addressing Inequities within the Lactation Consultant Profession on 27 July 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Watch the ILCA website for details and consider a submission to the JHL issue devoted to the topic of inequity; deadline is 1 August 2014.

Operations and management. Over the past few years, ILCA has been working on a top-to-bottom governance and operational shift, which is critical for long-term association sustainability. Our restructured budgeting, accounting, and auditing processes now include an operational metrics system to better evaluate ILCA’s programs and services. Additionally, ILCA now has highly skilled, experienced staff members who have expertise in conferencing, member-association management, and financial planning and analysis.

Finances and budgeting. The ILCA Board has set several short-term budgeting and long-term financial goals that better reflect our changing member needs. ILCA has commenced an ambitious development goal to raise  membership by expanding into more countries and remote regions where English is not the primary language.

Improved affiliate relations may mean new governance at ILCA! In a matter of weeks, ILCA hopes to provide details of a year-long review and revision of the ILCA Partner Affiliate agreements, designed to better support our affiliate members.

International advocacy. ILCA recently received a three-year renewal of its coveted non-governmental organization (NGO) status with the World Health Organization (WHO), and we retain our NGO status with the United Nations (UNICEF). Additionally, several efforts are underway from our stellar United Nations Breastfeeding Action Team (UNBAT), to insert breastfeeding protection into measures involving maternal/child health, gender equity, food safety and emergency preparedness.

Strategic plan, vision and mission. As part of its on-going work concerning the ILCA Strategic Plan, the Board has begun to look anew at the vision and mission that are our association guideposts. Every breastfeeding family deserves information and support; indeed, breastfeeding and human lactation as the cultural norm is an ideal upon which we can all agree. The IBCLC plays a critical role in making that happen. While not all families need an IBCLC’s care, those that do should know who we are, what we do, and how to access our services quickly. And ILCA and its Partner Affiliates are the ideal place to find IBCLC-centered resources and advocacy.

This is not all that ILCA is doing. These are only the “big picture” efforts that define the overall tone and philosophy of your professional association. The work of our Committees, Task Forces, Liaisons, staff, and our cadre of social media ambassadors, continues, every day. We’d love your help, too.  Let us say it one more time —

Thank you! On behalf of the entire ILCA Board of Directors,

Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC FILCA

ILCA President

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ILCA Conference Speaker Highlight: Liz Brooks

During the weeks leading up to the 2013 ILCA Conference, we will be highlighting a number of conference speakers.  Watch this space every Thursday for more profiles.

We are so pleased to have Liz Brooks, our current ILCA president, as one of the speakers at our conference in Melbourne in just a few short weeks. If you’ve heard Liz speak, you know that you are in for a treat.

liz_brooksLiz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA, is a lawyer (since 1983) and private practice lactation consultant (since 1997) who brings to life the connection between lactation consultation and the law. IBCLCs face a maze of ethical, moral and legal requirements in their day-to-day practice, no matter what the work setting. With plain language and humor, Liz explains how IBCLCs can work ethically and legally. She offers pragmatic tips that can immediately be used in daily practice. She is the President of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), and serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC).

Liz will be giving the President’s Address on Friday, July 26, at 11:45am. In addition, she will also be presenting four sessions to inform and help attendees think critically about our ethical responsibilities, legal tensions found in our profession, and effective communication with mothers. Plan now to attend the following sessions, eligible for E-CERPs:

Professional Practice Workshop on Thursday, July 25

  • 8:00am: Dazed and Confused After Discharge: Cases from a Home-Visiting IBCLC
  • 10:30am: SOAP, LATCH or IDK? Law and Ethics of Lactation Documentation

Concurrent Sessions on Saturday, July 27

  • 8:45am: Who’s Your Daddy…Mommy, Surrogate or Donor? Modern Families, Lactation, Ethics and the Law
  • 2:45pm: Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and Is That Ethical? A Game Show Approach to IBCLC Ethics

For more information about our upcoming conference and to register, please visit the Conference Page on our website.

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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.

butwait

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!

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What’s In It For You at Your Professional Association? A Letter from ILCA President Liz Brooks

7220_159273157696_4699634_nIBCLCs are the essential credential for lactation support.
IBCLCs empower mothers and save babies’ lives.

Happy New Year, from the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) Board of Directors!

We close out 2012, a year when ILCA took on a heightened advocacy role, on your behalf, for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential and profession. Looking toward 2013, ILCA will continue this important work on a macro level, while offering to members the resources you will need to advocate and protect the profession — and your jobs — on a micro level. ILCA is the international professional association for IBCLCs and others who support our vision, mission and strategic plan.

IBCLC advocacy: If not us, who? If not now, when?

Some of ILCA’s recent efforts to promote and protect the work of IBCLCs:

Joint Stakeholder LetterIn a first-ever communication of its kind, ILCA joined with the certifying board (the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, IBLCE) and the education/accreditation organization (Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee, LEAARC) to send a co-signed letter to nearly 100 stakeholder-organizations and policy-makers, worldwide, describing why the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the essential credential for lactation support. This “macro” letter is available on the ILCA website for you to download, and distribute (along with the ILCA Position Paper on the Role and Impact of the IBCLC) in your “micro” professional community.

Social Media Leadership: ILCA’s Lactation Matters blog, just 18 months old, has proven the power and reach of global, on-line conversations. There have been 145,000 page views, from 174 countries, of our thought-provoking articles from dozens of invited authors. It doesn’t get more international than that. An example: The blog about acceptance of Nestle funds by World Health Organization (WHO) partner Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) spawned — within one week — an international on-line petition, garnering nearly 2,000 signatures, urging PAHO to return the funds … an example of the power of grassroots advocacy through social media. The ILCA Facebook Page has nearly 6,500 “likes,” which is MORE than our membership of 6,000 people in 85 countries! We also have a Twitter feed with over 1,500 followers.

Even if you prefer to keep up with ILCA news the traditional way (through your Association News column in JHL, the eGlobe on-line newsletter and the ILCA website), it is important to know that these newer forms of outreach expand ILCA’s presence and influence to an audience that may never otherwise have interacted with us.

Journal of Human Lactation (JHL): Have you noticed how hefty your print publication is lately, when it arrives in the mail? Under Editor Anne Merewood’s leadership, the submission rates to our highly-esteemed research journal have skyrocketed in the past year. The JHL impact factor continues to rise to remarkable levels for a specialized journal of its size. Theme-focused issues are being produced, and under consideration is the expansion to six issues a year. Are you aware JHL has free podcasts you can download, with short, intriguing interviews of article authors? Don’t miss out on the JHL Facebook Page!

Financial Strength of ILCA

ILCA continues to re-build its financial reserves, while meeting a tightly-honed budget designed to provide high-value for your membership dollars. About 85% of ILCA members are automatically “bundled” into membership with their the National/Multi-National (NMN) Affiliate (Canadian Lactation Consultant Association (CLCA), Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ), and United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA)) , providing resources geared for specific geopolitical regions. 2013 will bring a re-energized articulation of the ILCA-NMN Affiliate relationship, using a “collective impact” model (or collaborative effort, to meet shared goals), under the experienced leadership of our recently-installed Executive Director Richard Padlo.

Professional Development and Education

Have you participated in one of ILCA’s FREE on-line webinars? Well over 1,000 people around the world, from over 38 countries, have listened to ILCA webinars offered in French, Spanish, German, and English. For those who need continuing education units, these webinars (and dozens of other on-line study module offerings) can be purchased, allowing Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs) to be awarded, through our ILCA CERPs onDemand portal. 

As valuable as on-line learning is, nothing can compare with ILCA’s world-famous international conference. It is the only way to network face-to-face, and learn from, 1,000+ of your colleagues in lactation. This year’s conference in Melbourne, Australia (25-28 July 2013) will provide unparalleled education, professional development, and cultural enrichment.

Resources in Several Languages…And a Chance to Invest in Yourself

ILCA members can now access over 150 resources in ten languages (some as free downloads; some for purchase in our on-line ILCA Store), including:

ILCA is seeking to expand its multi-language offerings, guided by the Multi-Lingual Committee, with members speaking 14 different languages. Consider joining this, or any of ILCA’s 15 other committees and panels. This volunteer work will enhance your leadership skills, build your curriculum vitae, and provide unequalled access to thought leaders in our profession. Your commitment of time, talent or treasure benefits you, benefits your colleagues, and strengthens our collective voice as ILCA.

International Activities

ILCA has the coveted non-governmental organization (NGO) status with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, and we look forward to continued opportunities to collaborate on public health policy-making. As one of five Core Partners with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), ILCA works to promote and protect breastfeeding worldwide, and is pleased to co-sponsor the highly-esteemed annual Chris Mulford WABA ILCA Fellowship to support advocacy at WABA headquarters in Malaysia. ILCA liaisons at WHO, WABA (in addition to the Fellow), on our United Nations Breastfeeding Action Team, at the WHO National BFHI Coordinators Meetings and at Codex Alimentarius continue their work with breastfeeding protection, promotion, and support at the highest levels of public health policy-making.

Research

ILCA continues its commitment to providing funding, and publishing outlets, for evidence based research and writing about IBCLC practice. At the apex is our exemplary Journal of Human Lactation, a peer-reviewed journal with original research, case reports, commentaries and the popular Inside Track columns. ILCA research grants, oral presentations and poster displays (at the conference) provide members an opportunity to conduct research and exhibit their work.

What Else?

Membership in ILCA is about an investment in yourself — at the “micro” level — so that you become a part of something much larger — at the “macro” level. Visit our website to learn how you may:

IBCLC advocacy: If not us, who? If not now, when?

We look forward to having you as part of the ILCA team. Happy New Year, and remember … ILCA is YOU!

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A Response from Liz Brooks: Reaffirming the Mission and Vision of ILCA

By Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, ILCA President

“The IBCLC is the globally recognized professional authority in lactation.”

7220_159273157696_4699634_nThere it is … the Vision Statement for the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). As the President of ILCA and an IBCLC in private practice, I am proud of this important strategic objective by my professional association.

So imagine my consternation to read an e-mail from one of ILCA’s members, who expressed concern about the Joint Stakeholder Letter recently sent worldwide as part of a multi-organizational effort to promote the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential and profession. Her primary concern: a message that IBCLCs are trying to keep other breastfeeding helpers from providing care to lactating women.

Oh, dear, I thought. That isn’t ILCA’s goal at all! How could our vision be misconstrued? Yet, it is not the first time I have heard about confusion over ILCA’s efforts to market the IBCLC credential.

So let me take a stab at explaining the motivation behind ILCA’s Vision and Mission, and the sending of the “Joint Stakeholder Letter” by ILCA (and co-signed by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiers, IBLCE, our certifying arm, and the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee, LEAARC, the organization promoting excellence in lactation education and curricula).

ILCA, IBLCE and LEAARC have never espoused the notion that only IBCLCs are able to provide support to breastfeeding families. Most mothers in the world do not even need the special skill and expertise that an IBCLC can bring to bear! Indeed, in a perfect world, every woman giving birth would be surrounded by female relatives, friends and neighbors — all of whom had happily and successfully breastfed their own children. Mother-to-mother connections have been going on since the dawn of time, and the simple feat of “learning by watching” and “teaching by doing” is the quintessential practice of breastfeeding support.

We are fortunate that modern medicine has allowed families — who otherwise would not have conceived or been able to fully lactate — to be able to bear children, and boost milk supply. Premature and sick babies are going home from the neonatal intensive care unit, to live full and fruitful lives. On the flip side, in our modern day world, women of child-bearing age (who comprise the greatest segment of the working population) often are not able to be with their breastfeeding children around-the-clock.

Situations such as these create tremendous challenges for lactating women. The demand for a specialty in the allied health care field was borne precisely from the recognition (by La Leche League Leaders) that some breastfeeding mothers need more than the loving, compassionate support of friends, relatives, and mother-to-mother counselors. And they recognized that primary healthcare providers (such as pediatricians, midwives and gynecologists) were not getting training or clinical rotation in lactation support during their own education.

The IBCLC is the only international credential in breastfeeding and human lactation, awarded by an independently-accredited organization. Those with the IBCLC credential are members of the health care team, who can help (and advocate for) mothers and babies with those higher-order challenges. It is a stand-alone credential, and the requirements for it to be awarded are substantial.

Distinguishing the IBCLC from other kinds of breastfeeding support is necessary, because we also know that there is tremendous confusion (by mothers, hospital administrators, and public health regulators) about “Who Is Who” in the field of lactation support. I just typed “get help sore nipples” into Google, and got 1,070,000 results. Options included sites for nipple creams and products, anonymous chat rooms, websites by medical professionals, websites by mother-to-mother groups, makers of baby products, etc. Imagine being the tired, sore, weepy mother, typing that phrase into her laptop at 3AM. Which site should she visit? What do all those initials mean?

Thus, ILCA (IBLCE and LEAARC) identified the need for promotion of the IBCLC credential and profession. Not to the exclusion of other kinds of helpers … but as the well-understood, stand-alone allied healthcare professional credential that it is. No one group of breastfeeding helpers (doctors, midwives, IBCLCs, peer counselors, mother-to-mother counselors, those who’ve acquired specialized short-term educational training) can “corner the market” on helping mothers. That is impossible. Does anyone think breastfeeding mothers have too much help and support?

But a corollary concept is: Each kind of breastfeeding support should be well and honestly marketed to the public — to the mothers, employers, hospital administrators and public health decision-makers who seek varying levels of expertise.

Every mother, everywhere, deserves to know what went into the education and training of the person who stands before her, offering support for breastfeeding.

For ILCA, marketing the IBCLC credential and profession is the cornerstone of its Strategic Plan, Vision and Mission. For ILCA, marketing our position paper The Role and Impact of the IBCLC is one way of making sure that mothers who need an IBCLC will recognize when they are getting an IBCLC. The Joint Stakeholder Letter — first proposed in March 2011 — is an effort by all three organizations who work on behalf of our profession (ILCA, the professional association; IBLCE, the credentialing arm; LEAARC, the education component) to jointly and publicly promote the IBCLC credential.

Perhaps to close I will state the obvious: Breastfeeding is the mammalian norm and our biologic imperative … which means the true breastfeeding “authorities” are mothers and their children! When expert help and advocacy is called for … when breastfeeding issues are morphing from mothering questions into healthcare concerns … then “The IBCLC is the globally recognized professional authority in lactation.” To quote U. S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, “Everyone can help make breastfeeding easier,” to create a supportive environment for mothers, babies and families.

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Plan to Join Us at ILCA’s 2013 Conference in Melbourne, Australia

The ILCA Annual Conference, July 25-28, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia, provides a rich learning environment for lactation professionals and others who assist mothers and babies with breastfeeding. It offers current and aspiring lactation consultants information on cutting-edge lactation practices and research to equip you in giving optimal breastfeeding care and support to mothers and babies.

We have lined up some of the very best speakers in the field including:

Nils Bergman, MB, ChB, MPH, MD from Cape Town, South Africa. Nils is an expert and popular speaker on skin-to-skin contact and the underlying neuroscience.

Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA from Pennsylvania, USA. Liz is a private practice IBCLC, one of many car accident lawyers, author, and speaker on legal/ethics issues in addition to being our ILCA President.

Howard Chilton MBBS, MRCP(UK), DCH from Sydney, Australia. Dr. Chilton is a neonatal paediatrician, author, and leading baby doctor in Australia.

Patricia Martens, IBCLC, PhD, FILCA from Manitoba, Canada. She is a Professor at the University of Manitoba, public health scientist, and popular speaker on breastfeeding research.

Linda J. Smith, MPH, IBCLC, FACCE, FILCA from Ohio, USA where she is an author, teacher and popular speaker on birthing and infant sleep practices.

Watch this space for more information in the coming months. Also, join us at www.ilca.org!

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ILCA’s NEW Strategic Plan Begins With Your Elevator Speech About IBCLCs

by Liz Brooks, JD IBCLC, FILCA, ILCA President 2012-14

Can you describe your work, to a total stranger, in the time it takes to ride an elevator?

Try these:

“I’m an IBCLC. It’s the essential credential for lactation support.”

“IBCLCs empower women, and save babies’ lives.”*

Why, you wonder, would an IBCLC ever need something like that?

Because it means IBCLCs around the world can promote and advocate for our credential (and jobs!) …. starting right now, today. ILCA has nearly 6,000 members around the world; there are nearly 23,000 IBCLC certificants worldwide. That is a powerful grassroots force, promoting “what IBCLCs do,” in a marketplace that is very confused about who all the different breastfeeding helpers are.

ILCA announced its revised Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan at the Annual General Meeting held recently at its international conference in Orlando, Florida, USA. Think of the vision as “the perfect ending” at some point in the future … and the mission as the means to get there. The strategic plan then describes the specific tasks and projects that will accomplish the mission. For ILCA, they are:

Our vision is that the IBCLC is the globally recognized professional authority in lactation.

Our mission is to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

You can click here to view ILCA’s new Strategic Plan, but the five main pillars, in a
nutshell, are:

Goal One: Promote the IBCLC credential and profession.

If not us, who? If not now, when? IBCLCs around the world worry about job security by the proliferation of government and administrative rulings carving out how lactation support is defined, and reimbursed. Our members want ILCA to provide them with advocacy materials for them to use on the job, to protect their jobs.

Goal Two: Promote professional development through member services.

If not us, who? If not now, when? Our members want ILCA to give them education and professional development opportunities and tools: conferences, webinars, on-line learning, clinical protocols, position papers, and family-centered handouts so they can offer the latest in evidence-based practice … and opportunities to strengthen their resumes and expand their influence by meaningful leadership and writing opportunities within the member organization.

Goal Three: Collaborate with decision-makers to develop global, national and local policy.

If not us, who? If not now, when? Decisions are made by the people who show up. Our members want ILCA to be at the table — or to give them the materials they need at their local tables — when policy and practice decisions involving breastfeeding and public health are on the agenda.

Goal Four: Actively foster research that supports evidence-based IBCLC practice.

If not us, who? If not now, when? Our members want ILCA and its stellar publication, The
Journal of Human Lactation, to give opportunities for doing, and publishing research: by IBCLCs, about our work, about issues affecting our work.

Goal Five: Promote organizational excellence and financial stability.

If not us, who? If not now, when? Our members want ILCA to provide these services in a
manner that keeps our costs — their membership dues — carefully in check, while returning the maximum in member benefit. Their annual renewal fee is an investment in themselves… and they want their money’s worth!

Lactating women are everywhere, and almost all of them need support. Peer counselors, mother-to-mother groups, and healthcare providers who learned breastfeeding management from excellent educators (such as those approved by LEAARC, the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee) can serve most mothers’ needs. But the IBCLC is the essential credential for those families needing, instead, the specialized skill and expertise that IBCLC certification represents. (Read the ILCA Position Paper on the Role and Impact of the IBCLC here.)

IBCLCs are passionate about their work, but often the job is difficult because we are
underpaid, misunderstood, and under-appreciated. And that’s evidence-based!** The time is now for this strong new Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan, to guide the International Lactation Consultant Association in advocating for IBCLCs. And it starts with you, the IBCLC, honing your elevator speech to advocate for your profession.

* Thank you, Ursuline Singleton, for sharing this perfect phrase! We were pleased to have you, as the Public Health Analyst at the Office of Women’s Health (U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services), share greetings in your plenary to the 2012 conference on behalf of U. S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin. And we were all touched by the story of your early days as an IBCLC in a NICU, when you first described IBCLC work in this way.

** From Aimee Eden, MA, PhD(C), presenting “The challenges and benefits of practicing as an IBCLC: A qualitative study informing the [U. S. Surgeon General’s] Call to Action” at the Plenary Spotlight on Research, ILCA Annual Conference, July 28, 2012.

Please take a moment to check out the new ILCA Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan by clicking here.

Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA, is a lawyer (since 1983), private practice lactation consultant (since 1997), and leader in her professional association (since 2005.) As an IBCLC, Liz has worked in private practice (offering home visits); a hospital setting (offering prenatal education, “rounding” on breastfeeding mothers and babies in the full-term and Level III NICU nurseries, and providing in-service education to nurses, doctors and midwives); and a non-profit, community-based breastfeeding clinic (which provides IBCLC service to mothers on a sliding fee scale).

Liz is currently the president of the International Lactation Consultant Association; she is the United States Lactation Consultant Association Alternate to the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) (since 2011); she remains active in her local USLCA chapter PRO-LC. Liz was designated Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association (FILCA) in 2008, the inaugural year for the program.

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Get to Know Liz Brooks, Incoming ILCA President

Saturday’s ILCA General Meeting at the 2012 Conference welcomed Liz Brooks to her term as the ILCA President.  We caught up with Liz to get a glimpse into her history with ILCA and what motivates her to serve in this capacity.

How did you first get involved with ILCA in a volunteer capacity?  What jobs have you held before becoming president? 

I was asked.  As simple as that.

I was studying to sit the IBLCE exam in 1997 after many years as a mother-to-mother counselor with Nursing Mothers Advisory Council (NMAC). At Kay Hoover’s suggestion, I joined both ILCA, and my local affiliate Pennsylvania Resource Organization for Lactation Consultants (PRO-LC), to start networking and to acquire some of the needed hours of pre-test education.

In my early years as an IBCLC, I devoted volunteer time in leadership positions to PRO-LC (I was the newsletter editor for years, and later the board secretary).  It was a wonderful way to get to know my colleagues, get up to speed on lactation issues, and to mix-and-mingle with the greats (Kay Hoover!  Chris Mulford!  Debi Page Ferrarello!).

I presented/taught on breastfeeding, legal and ethical matters starting in 1998 … but I knew I had “hit the bigs” when my proposal to present at ILCA  2002 in Boca Raton, Florida (on conflict of interest) was accepted.  I used an overhead projector to show my “slides,” and I still have folks tell me they remember how I piled a bunch of hats on my head to open the session.

When the ILCA Board was searching for qualified candidates for the position of Secretary, I was called by the Nominations Committee Chair/Past President Maureen Fjeld to ask if I was interested in running.  Heck yeah! Secretary?  Taking minutes and tending the policy manual?  For a governance wonk like me?  I’m in!  The rest, as they say, is history.  I ran unopposed for the post, was elected in 2005, and concluded my second term (and sixth year on the ILCA Board) in July 2011.

2.  What is your highest priority for your term as president?

Marketing the credential of IBCLC.  Get to the point where any mother or healthcare institution or government official knows what that credential means, and understands it’s worth.  Individual IBCLCs, their professional association (ILCA), and the certifying organization (IBLCE), *all* have separate and distinct — but highly compatible — motives for assuring that the public knows what those five special letters “I-B-C-L-C” entail.

There is a part for everyone to play in educating mothers, healthcare professionals, public health/education officials, employers, community organizations, and policy makers about the role and impact of the IBCLC.

ILCA certainly must be a leader in the effort at the macro level: we are an international, member-based organization with 6000+ members in 85 countries around the world! ILCA can also help by developing educational and professional development tools that our individual members can use in their own work settings — at the micro level.  The truth of the matter is that there are more IBCLCs than there are ILCA members.  While ILCA exists to serve its members’ needs, an enhanced appreciation for the IBCLC profession, as a whole, is the next critical phase in its development.

3.  Why should IBCLCs get involved in ILCA?

It is the fast track for individual professional growth and development!  ILCA depends on volunteers to run *all* of the policy-related aspects of our organization, from the Board through to the Committee and Task Force structure.  Our staff  and contracted positions are paid, of course.   But members who “pull an oar” for ILCA reap personal professional development, “in the loop” access to the newest policies and research, and the satisfaction of helping shape the future of their chosen profession. Sounds like a win-win to me!

And, for just a wee bit of fun…

Liz, we look forward to your time of service to ILCA!

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Job Security and IBCLC Advocacy

Written by Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA

I read a post on a list recently, from a USA-based IBCLC, concerned about a large birth facility that contemplates cutting IBCLC services because administrators perceive lactation services as costly “extras.”  Her concerns are very real. IBCLCs are under threat of losing their jobs in a tough economy, in a culture that perceives
bottle-feeding rather than breastfeeding BF as “normal.”

IBCLCs do not need to be lactivists, or to have “clout,” to be advocates.
All it takes is a little energy to make a stab at telling administrators how wrong their thinking is.  Will you “win?”  Maybe not.  But remaining silent will surely not change the mind-set at the institution, either.

The GOOD news is the IBCLC does NOT have to go and “think up” any of the advocacy
materials to share with decision-makers. Much of it has already been done,
and nearly all of it is free.  Thus, I suggest:

(1)  Run, do not walk, to the USLCA website, to download and read ALL the
incredible IBCLC  advocacy materials that are there all day, everyday. There
are swanky-looking, FREE, evidence-based hand-outs about hospital staffing,
the IBCLC credential, etc.  The website is newly-redesigned and quite
elegant.

(2)  Run, do not walk, to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, to download and read the FREE evidence-based report by the nation’s most important public health official on the importance of having *everyone* support
breastfeeding mothers …. starting with the facilities where they birth.

(3) Run, do not walk, to the ILCA website to download the FREE Position
Paper on the Role and Impact of the IBCLC:

(4)  Run, do not walk, to the FREE “Speak Up” campaign materials written by
the Joint Commission on the topic of breastfeeding.  Does your facility
really want to be seen as doing the precise opposite of what the Joint
Commission has declared is a vital patient right … to speak up for and get qualified lactation care?

(5)  Run, do not walk, to the Centers for Disease Control website, to review
their FREE materials on the nationwide effort for hospitals to attain
Baby-Friendly status, in order to meet national public health objectives.
Does your facility really want to be seen as doing the precise opposite of
what the CDC has declared is critical to providing healthcare that improves public health?

(6)  For a quick-and-easy evidence-based document (8 pages text; 4 pages
citations), about five dollars will buy you The Risks of Not Breastfeeding,
from ILCA:

(7)  For a huge evidence-based document on maternal and child health
outcomes of breastfeeding, download the FREE 415-page “mother of them all”
by Ip, et al. and Agency for Healthcare Screen Sharing Research and Quality (AHRQ) “Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries.”  Or, download just the first 11 pages (the Executive Summary)

(8)  Report back to Lactation Matters and report on how things went … to energize, empower and embolden other IBCLCs facing the same crisis.

Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA, has been one of the leading car accident lawyers (since 1983), private practice lactation consultant (since 1997), and leader in her professional association (since 2005.)  As an IBCLC, Liz has worked in private practice (offering home visits); a hospital setting (offering prenatal education, “rounding” on breastfeeding mothers and babies in the full-term and Level III NICU nurseries, and providing in-service education to nurses, doctors and midwives); and a non-profit, community-based breastfeeding clinic (which provides IBCLC service to mothers on a sliding fee scale).

Liz has been on the Board of Directors of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA: Secretary 2005-11; will be President 2012-14); she is the United States Lactation Consultant Association Alternate to the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) (since 2011); she remains active in her local ILCA chapter PRO-LC. Liz was designated Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association (FILCA) in 2008, the inaugural year for the program.

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The Trend Towards Becoming a “Breastfeeding Friendly” University

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

For many of us here in the United States, autumn is about a cool crispness in the air, pumpkin muffins and FOOTBALL! And by football, I mean crazy fans – yell at the TV – wear your jerseys kind of football. I know that in many other parts of the world you understand this fervor, rather in support of another kind of football (i.e., soccer!)
Where I grew up in Ohio, there was one team and one team only. THE Ohio State Buckeyes. The affection and community support runs deep…very, very deep. To cheer for our chief rival, Michigan, could get you booed right out of town. At several hospitals in the area, babies are given Ohio State onsies (infant-size shirts that snap over a diaper) at birth…the indoctrination into the fandom begins early!


So, when I recently saw a press release that said that my beloved Ohio State had won an award for becoming a “breastfeeding friendly” place, my inner Buckeye jumped up and down. They have established rooms in which breastfeeding mothers can feed their children or pump all over campus with “a mini-fridge for storage, a hospital-grade breast pump, a comfortable chair with reading materials and low-light settings for a calm, quiet experience.”

I quickly tweeted my excitement over this development and was met with some healthy “trash talking” from my colleague, Liz Brooks. Liz quickly mentioned that her daughter’s school, Indiana University, a fellow school in Ohio State’s Big 10 Athletic Conference, also had lactation rooms, provided by the Office of Women’s Affairs. With both of our schools in the WIN column, Liz was quick to find out that all 12 of the schools in the conference (a group of universities that all compete together), have established lactation programs!

*The fact that there are 12 teams in conference called the Big 10 is not lost on us! 🙂

Click on the name of the school to find out more about their lactation programs!

University of Illinois

Indiana University

University of Iowa

University of Michigan

Michigan State University

University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska

Northwestern University

Ohio State University

Penn State

Purdue University

University of Wisconsin

What an awesome testament to the importance of Lactation Rooms for mothers! If you have not taken the opportunity to familiarize yourself with The Business Case for Breastfeeding, supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, I encourage you to do so. The reports contained within states,
“There is ample evidence that a supportive worksite environment with a private place to express milk and access to a quality breastpump helps women feel more confident in continuing to breastfeed after returning to work (Galtry 1997; Frank 1998) and that lack of accommodations contributes to lower breastfeeding duration (Cobett-Dick & Bezek 1997).”

WAY TO GO to the BIG 10 schools for forging the way for great breastfeeding support in the workplace!

Action Step: Does you alma mater provide lactation rooms and breastfeeding support for their students and employees? If not, as an alumni, communicate with them your desire that they provide this service and link them to The Business Case for Breastfeeding!

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