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How Do You Obtain Your Continuing Education? {SHORT SURVEY}

ILCALogo_full_text (2)Each International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) is required to gain and update their knowledge of lactation and the infancy period. One of the best gifts we can give to the families we serve is to be up to date on the latest in evidence-based care. IBCLCs are required to either retake the certification exam or recertify with Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs) every five years (recertification by exam only is required every ten years). CERPS can be obtained through conference attendance, webinar viewing, study modules, in-person education, eCourses, and a variety of other means.

Please share with us...

We have developed a short survey to better understand how you are receiving your required continuing education and to learn how we can better help you to obtain it. Click on the button to participate in this quick poll. It should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

You do not need to be an ILCA member to participate in our quick poll. We are interested in hearing from everyone in the professional lactation community.

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If you have any questions about ILCA’s continuing education offerings, please email education@ilca.org.

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Working and Breastfeeding: Can we do both?

With the known benefits of breastfeeding for the infant, mother, and employer, it is discouraging that most mothers who initiate breastfeeding quit before their infants’ first birthday. Among children born in 2008, only 44% were breastfed at 6 months and 24% at 12 months, even though 75% were breastfed after birth. Work-related issues can be a major reason why women fail to start breastfeeding after the birth of their child, or stop breastfeeding before the child has received the full benefits.  With more than 50% of mothers of infants participating in the work force, we need to find ways to balance employment and breastfeeding.

Our recent study found that women who were working full-time (≥35hrs/week) were less likely to initiate breastfeeding or to continue breastfeeding beyond 6 months, compared to women who were not working. The breastfeeding experience of women who worked part time was similar to that of women who were not working. We also found that mothers in professional occupations (architecture, engineering, legal, health care practitioner, etc) were more likely to initiate breastfeeding when compared to women in administrative occupations or other occupations (namely farming, fishing, and forestry; construction and extraction; installation, maintenance, and repair; production; transportation and material moving; and military-specific occupations), even after taking into account several factors known to be associated with breastfeeding, including the amount of maternity leave time taken.

The findings from our study, and others, suggest that part-time work offers an effective strategy for successfully combining breastfeeding and employment. There has been some success with corporate lactation support programs in helping working women breastfeed longer.  However, pumping alone at work may be inadequate to maintain milk flow because direct breastfeeding stimulates the breasts more effectively than do the best electric or manual pumps. Among women who breastfed and worked, women who directly breastfed their infant during the workday persisted in breastfeeding longer than other breastfeeding women who returned to work.

We recommend that employers, in addition to providing comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs, explore strategies that allow lactating mothers have direct access to their babies. Such strategies, as promoted in the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, include having the mother keep the baby with her while she works, allowing the mother to go to the baby to breastfeed during the workday, telecommuting, offering flexible work schedules, maintaining part-time work schedules, and using on-site or nearby child care centers.  Because no single strategy will fit all employment settings, creativity is needed, especially for mothers who are not working in professional occupations. A woman’s decision to breastfeed, though personal, requires action from multiple players, if she is to succeed. Let’s act NOW!

Chinelo Ogbuanu, MD, MPH, PhD

Senior Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist

Maternal and Child Health Program

Georgia Department of Public Health

chogbuanu@dhr.state.ga.us

 More information about our work is available in:

“Balancing Work and Family: Effect of Employment Characteristics on Breastfeeding”

J Hum Lact, August 2011; vol. 27, 3: pp. 225-238.

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