It’s Only Natural – New Breastfeeding Campaign

Today, Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA announced the launch of It’s Only Natural, a new public education campaign that aims to raise awareness among African American women of the importance of and benefits associated with breastfeeding and provide helpful tips.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health collaborated on the breastfeeding campaign. It’s Only Natural helps African American women and their families understand the health benefits of breastfeeding — not just for babies, but for moms too. At the campaign’s website women will find information on topics such as addressing breastfeeding myths, overcoming challenges, and finding support, as well as video testimonials from breastfeeding moms.

Although recent information indicates that breastfeeding rates among African American women are increasing, there is still a significant difference in the number of African American women who begin and continue breastfeeding their children compared with other ethnicities. It’s Only Natural will help new moms make the choice to breastfeed and will encourage them to seek support.

The website also includes resources for conducting community-based breastfeeding support sessions. Posters, fact sheets, and a breastfeeding session leader’s guide will help communities provide hands-on support for breastfeeding mothers.

Please take a moment to visit the It’s Only Natural website and tell your colleagues, partners, and friends about the valuable information available to African American women and their families.

IBCLCs Help Prevent Breast Cancer

Once again, the land is awash in October pink, as the nation focuses on Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As breastfeeding experts, the members of the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) applauds efforts to raise breast cancer awareness and raise funds to explore ways to prevent and cure this disease that affects close to one in eight women.

Most research efforts to date have focused on early detection and treatment and thankfully, progress is being made. There is also evidence that many cases of breast cancer can actually be prevented. The National Cancer Institute cites two health behaviors that may reduce the risk of breast cancer—exercise and breastfeeding. The Susan G Komen foundation notes that breastfeeding appears to lower the risk of both estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative tumors with the strongest protection in premenopausal breast cancers.

A study published by the American Association for Cancer Research, concluded that breastfeeding may reduce the incidence of a particularly aggressive form of cancer found predominantly in black women in the United States. Women who give birth to more than one child but do not breastfeed are at increased risk of developing this particular type of cancer. However, the link disappears when women who give birth to multiple children breastfeed. The data suggest that black women may have a higher incidence of this aggressive form of cancer because they tend to have more children and are less likely to breastfeed.

The vast majority of women of all races enter the hospital with the intention to breastfeed. Sadly, few infants leave the hospital without being supplemented with formula, a practice which is strongly related to decreased duration and intensity of breastfeeding. Many women who do successfully establish breastfeeding wean before they had intended when they encounter breastfeeding challenges related to their return to work or school.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) can help mothers meet their own breastfeeding goals, decreasing their risk of breast cancer, as well as ovarian cancer, and blanketing their infants with protection from many communicable and chronic diseases. A report from the Institute of Medicine recommends that all pregnant and new mothers have access to professional breastfeeding assistance and the US Surgeon General recommends that mothers have access to IBCLCs. In August of this year, access to breastfeeding counseling and support became law as a provision of the Affordable Care Act, although implementation of that coverage is spotty as yet.

IBCLCs help prevent breast cancer by helping mothers succeed in breastfeeding. Every cancer prevented is a cancer that does not need a cure. IBCLCs are internationally credentialed health care professionals with the skills needed to support breastfeeding. IBCLCs provide prenatal education and timely assistance in hospitals, health clinics, and WIC agencies. For information about becoming an IBCLC or to locate an IBCLC in your area, contact USLCA at

United States Lactation Consultant Association Announces

Date: January 2012  
Contact: Scott Sherwood                                                              For immediate release
Tel. 919-861-4543 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              919-861-4543      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Morrisville, NCJanuary 20 marks the anniversary of Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin’s historic Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Dr. Benjamin challenged all Americans to do their part to remove barriers to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a key to primary prevention in public health, playing a role in preventing many infections, as well as serious non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease and some cancers. While breastfeeding is important to the health of both mothers and children, American mothers who breastfeed face significant obstacles.  Skeptical family members and a cultural norm that favors formula-feeding, outdated hospital practices and uninformed health care providers, inflexible workplaces and lack of protective policies conspire to make the road to breastfeeding success a bumpy and uncomfortable ride.
 Dr. Benjamin’s Call to Action elevated discussion of breastfeeding to a topic of national importance. A major study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the United States would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90% of infants were exclusively breastfed for six months.   Additionally, employers enjoy a significant return on investment for the dollars spent providing accommodations for nursing mothers such as private spaces and break times for mothers to express milk.  Employers with robust lactation programs are rewarded with increased employee retention and satisfaction and fewer sick days taken as their employee’s children are generally sick less frequency than those who are formula-fed.
As a new year begins, the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) encourages each and every resident to consider how they can support breastfeeding.  It could be by encouraging a pregnant family member to learn about breastfeeding, asking lawmakers to vote for protective policies, providing space for a nursing mothers’ group, graciously covering during a colleague’s nursing break, or just making a nursing mother feel comfortable and welcome wherever she may be.   
The Surgeon General identified 20 evidence-based actions, including ensuring access to services provided by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).  IBCLCs work with employers to provide guidance and technical assistance as they establish workplace lactation programs.  They advocate for policies to protect and support breastfeeding families at the local, state and national levels.  IBCLCs work directly with new mothers, helping them to enjoy the satisfaction of reaching their own goals. States USLCA President Laurie Beck, “IBCLCs support the mother’s goals. We work with the entire health care team and in our communities to be sure that mothers have an easier time with breastfeeding.”  

 IBCLCs are the only health care professionals who specialize in, and are credentialed in, lactation management. More than 11,000 IBCLCs are available nationwide, working in hospitals, community-based clinics, government agencies, and private practice.    

 For more information about the Surgeon General’s Call to Action, visit  For more information about IBCLCs or to find an IBCLC in your area, visit

Impressive Video from Canadian Nursing is Normal campaign

I invite you to view our World Breastfeeding Week Video (Canada) :

This is the first Nursing is Normal video in both French and English (the first to be produced outside the USA).

Ghislaine Reid, BA (Translation 1981), LLL (1990), IBCLC(2002)

Causes of High Incidence of Breast Cancer in African-American Women Identified

ScienceDaily (Aug. 16, 2011) —
Investigators from the Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center have
reported findings that may shed light on why African American women have a
disproportionately higher risk of developing more aggressive and
difficult-to-treat breast cancers, specifically estrogen and progesterone
receptor negative (ER-/PR-) cancers.

The study, which appears online in Cancer
Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention,
 found that high parity
(giving birth to two or more children) was associated with an increased risk of
ER-/PR- cancer, but only among women who had not breastfed.

The findings were based on the ongoing Black
Women’s Health Study, which has followed 59,000 African American women by
biennial questionnaire since 1995.

In 14 years of follow-up, 318 women developed
breast cancers negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER-/PR-),
while 457 developed breast cancers with estrogen and progesterone receptors
(ER+/PR+). Giving birth to two or more children was associated with a 50
percent increase in the incidence of ER-/PR- breast cancer, but the association
was not present among women who had breastfed.

According to the researchers, the results for
ER+/PR+ breast cancer, which is more common among white women, were strikingly
different. High parity was associated with a decreased risk, and breast feeding
had no influence on that association.

“The higher incidence of ER-/PR- breast
cancer in African American women may be explained in part by their higher
parity and lower prevalence of breastfeeding relative to white women,”
explained lead author Julie Palmer, ScD, MPH, a senior epidemiologist at the
Slone Epidemiology Center and a professor of epidemiology at Boston University
School of Public Health.

“Our results, taken together with recent
results from studies of triple negative and basal-like breast cancer, suggest
that breastfeeding can reduce risk of developing the aggressive,
difficult-to-treat breast cancers that disproportionately affect African
American women,” she said.

This study was supported by a grant from the
National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.


For further information click:

Free access to Breastfeeding Medicine Journal for August

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Liebert Publishing has offered complimentary access to Breastfeeding Medicine, the official peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine,online throughout the month of August. This is a great opportunity to access those journal articles that you have heard referenced all year!

Dr. Saenz’ August handout on Prenatal Preparation is available!!!

Dr. Becky Saenz of the Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic has come out with her newest handout for moms and this one is possibly the best one ever!!! This month the focus is on Prenatal Preparation for Breastfeeding. This handout should find its way into the hands of every expectant mother, before she visits her hospital of choice.

From the handout: “August 1-7 each year is World Breastfeeding Week.  The theme for 2010 is ‘Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps!’ In recognition of this year’s theme, we’ve prepared this handy checklist of questions to ask your obstetric provider and delivering hospital, based on the Ten Steps to Breastfeeding Success of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.  These ten steps are evidence-based practices that help get breastfeeding off to a good start.  Your hospital should know that you expect them to follow these guidelines, so ask when you go for the tour of their facility!  If they have policies that are not consistent with these guidelines, ask whether or how you can do things differently, such as having a doula or ‘private transition.’  You are the healthcare consumer, and it is your right to know whether they are following best practices for facilitating breastfeeding!”

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine – 2 Newly Revised Protocols

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has published two newly revised protocols: Protocol #7: Model Breastfeeding Policy (Revision 2010) and Protocol #8: Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Full-Term Infants (original protocol March 2004; revision #1 March 2010). Both protocols are available on the ABM website ( along with many other helpful protocols.

Survey of Domperidone and Metoclopramide Use in Breastfeeding Mothers

Thomas Hale & Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, co-investigators

We are pleased to announce our new online research study, a survey of women’s experience with the drugs metoclopramide and domperidone, which can be used to stimulate milk production. We would like to collect side effect information on both drugs from as many mothers as possible worldwide.
The survey link is: For more information about the study, contact Dr. Kendall-Tackett at:
Please let mothers know about our study. The more women we can get to participate, the more valid our findings. Thanks for your help.
The survey takes 20-30 minutes to complete and is confidential. It has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Amarillo, TX.

Talking about Breastfeeding: Why the Health Argument Isn’t Enough

This just-published Issue Brief from Berkeley Media Studies Group covers the content they presented at the United States Breastfeeding Coalition conference in January: “Talking about Breastfeeding: Why the Health Argument Isn’t Enough.”

Public health advocates have for years been trying to increase the number of women who breastfeed by educating mothers about its health benefits. Reporters have picked up advocates’ message and broadcast it widely, yet the duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding remain low.

In a new analysis, Talking about Breastfeeding: Why the Health Argument Isn’t Enough, media experts explore what’s missing from the conversation, and show how the California WIC Association is shifting the conversation to include the factors outside of health that make it hard for even the most well-informed women to breastfeed. The complete article can be downloaded for reading and passing along.

Pat Lindsey: “Love the quote on page 23 ~’A society that supports breastfeeding – in all its institutions from hospitals to workplace – is a society that supports families and healthy communities.’ “