Almost Wordless Wednesday…
I am digitizing over 25+ years of memories. Today I came across one of my favorite thank-you cards. The layers of meaning were not lost upon this mother, or me, her lactation consultant. Tongue-in-cheek, but so powerful. Her cups, her breasts and both of our hearts runneth over.
There are so many challenges that face modern breastfeeding mothers; quality lactation support can make such a profound difference.
Your successes are what keep us going. We are here to assist you. Getting “feed”-back from families is priceless for those of us who have dedicated our lives to protecting and supporting breastfeeding!
Your positive stories and comments are welcome here. And…
Don’t forget to let your IBCLC know she/he made a difference for you!
February 22, 2012 No Comments
March 7. 2012 is World IBCLC Day
I have decided to join Connie Ragen Green’s 21 Day Productivity Challenge leading up to this occasion. It will give me an opportunity to review how I can better serve and foster conscious breastfeeding connections here on the blog and through The Breastfeeding Salon.
Teaching prenatal classes and coaching mothers after they have begun to breastfeed has been my passion for more than a quarter century. Sadly, breastfeeding remains a challenge for many modern moms, despite the ever increasing number of lactation consultants. Ironically, for many of these new mothers, their “productivity” is often at issue.
It takes approximately 21 days to install a new habit or change a mindset. Thus, I am doing this challenge with high hopes for my online/offline business makeover. What makes it even more powerful for me is the awareness that this is the same timeline during which a pregnant woman makes her transformation to becoming a breastfeeding mom.
I invite you to join me on this journey of growth and change and be here to celebrate with me and my fellow IBCLC’s in early March.
February 16, 2012 No Comments
This is the 19′th annual celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. The Theme of 2010 is commemorating the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
In the past 20 years there has been some progress in the rates of initiation of breastfeeding. Yet, only 28% of Maternity facilities world-wide have fully implemented the Ten Steps and have been certified by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. Were this an analysis of anything else, this would not be a passing grade.
I’ve been in the trenches throughout this period and beyond. At first glance, it appears as though we have made great strides. According to the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene report put out in April 2009, an impressive 85% of women initiate breastfeeding. However, after 2 months the number falls to 32% who are still exclusively breastfeeding their babies. Surveys reveal that the top two reasons for stopping were related to concerns about the milk supply either having enough (39%) or that it was adequately satisfying their babies (39%).
The fall off rate here in NYC is quite dramatic, but not surprising to me. Despite health code regulations that prohibit formula discharge packs, many families will leave the hospital with generous samples of formula in tow. Mothers who have had cesarean sections report that their babies were given at least one bottle, if not more, of formula during the first few days after delivery.
Many of the New York hospitals have lactation consultants on staff or nurses “trained” to support breastfeeding. Nonetheless, their focus seems to increasingly be on feeding a measurable amount of fluid to the newborns. They get moms to sit on the pump getting drops of colostrum and encourage them to give their babies formula until the “milk comes in”.
Using the pump as a first line of breastfeeding support relegates direct breastfeeding to the back seat. New mothers leave the hospital knowing how to pump rather than how to achieve a deep, pain-free latch.
New parents are set up to believe that artificial baby milk or formula and human milk can be exchanged ounce for ounce in bottles without consequence . Unwittingly they are weaning from the beginning or setting themselves up to experience the top two reasons many of them will choose not to breastfeed beyond two months.
Without a doubt, the Ten Steps are a helpful tool to focus our attention on the importance of consistent breastfeeding education and support.
To pack a punch and ensure successful breastfeeding beyond the first few weeks, the Ten Steps must be embraced by unequivocal and truly breastfeeding-friendly health care workers: nurses, doctors and lactation consultants.
To be continued…
August 2, 2010 2 Comments
I spend a lot of time at my local Starbucks. It is a very spacious, well-appointed location on the upper westside of New York City which attracts a diverse crowd from all walks of life. It is a common meeting place for many who live in, or are passing through, my neighborhood. On any given day there are various business people, artists, writers, moms with babies or children, students and tourists conducting business or socializing within my Starbucks.
I particularily liked the Starbucks “The Way I See It” cups from a few years ago. They featured inspirational or thought provoking quotes to add a jolt to the java.
“In my career I”ve found that ‘thinking outside the box’ works better if I know what’s ‘inside the box.’ In music (as in life) we need to understnad our pertinent history…and moving on is so much easier when we know where we’ve been.”
~Dave Grusin, Award winning composer & jazz musician
Starbucks has become my incubator where I research, hatch, and often demo, my conscious breastfeeding marketing ideas. I strike up conversations with fellow bloggers, tech-savvy guys, other self-employed regulars, or virtually any friendly soul I meet on line or seated near me. Invariably they are curious and intrigued by the “business of lactation”. We open a dialogue where “Isn’t it natural?” is a common question. Many of them share with me some of their own personal breastfeeding stories or those of their relations or co-workers.
These coffee “klatches” are a fun way to do research and marketing. I get a pulse on what the locals and tourists are currently thinking about breastfeeding. I can plant seeds or add a different point of view that may empower a current or prospective breastfeeding family. What I learn from these encounters become the fodder for future articles, blog posts and are woven in as anecdotes during my breastfeeding classes. They ultimately become user, or potential user, generated content.
So I invite you to think outside the box on your next trip to Starbucks and view it as a marketing opportunity.
June 20, 2010 2 Comments
Women, mothers, health professionals, lactation consultants, breastfeeding alumni and other interested parties have gathered forces in the past 50+ years to bring back breastfeeding to its rightful place as the foundation of human nutrition. Yet there has been only modest improvement despite the fervor of breastfeeding advocacy initiatives.
As a nurse and lactation consultant, I still feel like a salmon swimming up stream. Consciousness has been raised, but we are doing little more than treading water. Many women choose not to breastfeed or greatly modify their goals to breastfeed based upon the thin veneer of support they receive in the hospital and community.
It is not politically correct to steer a mother to choose breastfeeding. Says who? It’s just how you do it that matters. Some of the current marketing strategies may be missing the mark because they are not looking at the reality of breastfeeding in a modern life. Perhaps we should take a page from the marketing phenom Oprah who endorses a book and it hits the best seller list within hours. We need to get out a positive message that would make a woman ask, “Why wouldn’t I join in the fun?”
The only way that breastfeeding can become the gold standard again and reach back to the tipping point where it is the norm, rather than the exception, is to make it like a Honda commercial….It sells itself because it truly fits into the mother’s lifestyle.
Conscious Breastfeeding is intentional and puts the mother in charge! It is practical and unromantic, but a very empowering approach which has been the cornerstone of my private practice and is the fundamental message of The Breastfeeding Salon.
I invite you to join me over the next 30 days. Your input and questions will be most welcome. There is strength in numbers!
June 1, 2010 5 Comments