Thursday, March 17, 2016

California Breastfeeding Coalition Summit Highlights


The 2016 California Breastfeeding Coalition Summit took place in Sacramento on February 3-5 this year. This year’s summit revolved around community support, tongue/lip tie, breastfeeding in public, along with other important issues. I was not there, but SDCBC’s Dr. James Murphy (MD, IBCLC, FABM, FAAP), Vicki Wolfrum (RN, CNM, IBCLC), Rose deVigne Jackiewicz (RN, MPH, IBCLC ), Tara Hanson-Timpson (RD, IBCLC) attended the summit and shared what they learned with fellow IBCLCs of San Diego at a recent SDCBC general meeting.

Community Support Matters

Kimberly Seals Allers (BA, MS) of First Food Friendly Community Initiative presented at the summit, calling to transform the local landscape for healthier mothers and babies. She believes that whatever the question, the answer is in the community. Who is breastfeeding? Why or why not? How can we help? What does the community need?

Allers is very much annoyed with the idea of “experts” coming in and telling people what is wrong with their community. She is all about asking the community what it needs, without even mentioning breastfeeding at the first place. She feels that before outsiders could help a specific community to improve its breastfeeding rates, they need to be in the community, seeing all the challenges and successes the community experienced. It is also a way to look for strengths that can facilitate breastfeeding. Older women who are active in local churches, for one example, can be helpful with providing leadership and education in the community. New mothers can also be recruited as breastfeeding community workers.

Tongue/Lip Tie

Dr. Bobby Ghaheri (MD) of the Oregon Clinic led the workshop at the summit for primary care providers. He started of the presentation with effects of ties on breastfeeding and offered a brief history of how it was discovered by Donna Geddes and Peter Hartman. He then explained that how revision can be one solution.

Since all ties have a posterior component, a simple snip of thin anterior membrane usually doesn’t solve the problem. Dr. Ghaheri presented a “how to” with both laser and scissors, showing fellow doctors what they need to precede to get adequate results. He noted that revision by scissor or laser have the same results, neither one is better. The results depend on the correctness.

For his colleagues’ reference, Dr. Ghaheri offered the following of studies on treating tongue tie for breastfeeding problems: Hogan and colleagues (2005), Geddes and colleagues (2008), Berry Griffiths and Wescott (2011), Buryk and colleagues (2011), Steehler and Colleagues (2012), O’Callahan (2013) and Ochi (2014).

Breastfeeding in Public

Robin Kaplan (MEd, IBCLC) of San Diego Breastfeeding Center talked about nursing in public as a civil right at the summit. SDCBC created a Task Force, SDNIP, led by Kaplan to help mother harassed for breastfeeding in public. The goal of SDNIP Task Force is to educate the community about the California laws that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in public and to provide support and guidance to mothers who have face harassment or discrimination for breastfeeding in public.

Kaplan used an example of a breastfeeding mother being kicked out of a San Diego court room, stressing that the best way is to contact the company of individuals involved and use the task force or the coalition to broke a settlement, such as putting a lawful policy in place or training all of their staff to be more breastfeeding friendly. In this case, the San Diego Court House was eventually requested to train all its sheriffs. While a “nurse in” can be effective, it is the last resort.

Other resources:
California Breastfeeding Law Cards
Work Place Accommodation
Best for Babes Hotline 
Badass Breastfeeders Group

This is an original post to San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition's blog by To-wen Tseng. Photo Courtesy California Breastfeeding Coalition

Friday, March 4, 2016

What if you were born tomorrow-with no paid family leave?

What if you were born tomorrow?


Think about this: If you were born tomorrow, what are your chances of growing up healthy in a wealthy family?

Well, let me tell you. You have a 25% chance to be born in a family living in poverty and a 0.6% chance to die before turning one year old.

No, I am not presuming that you were born in a developing or an undeveloped country. I am saying if you were born tomorrow here in America, an industrialized country.

This is how. If you were born tomorrow in America, chances are both your mom and dad work. Women are now half of the entire paid labor force and moms are co or primary breadwinners in three quarters of all American families.

And your mom and dad probably have no access to paid family leave. Currently only 13% of American have access to paid family leave. Because of the lack of paid leave, your employed mom would have to go back to work only two weeks after your birth just like the 25% of all working moms.

And because both of your parents are back to work, your mom and dad have to arrange child care for you. The pay loss that happened when your mom took unpaid leave after your birth is now coupled with the sky-high cost of child care, setting your family back financially for years to come. For that very reason, one quarter of young American families are now living in poverty. That is why you have a 25% chance to grow up in a family living in poverty, should you born tomorrow here in America.

Oh, and you have a 0.6% chance to die before turning one year old because the U.S. infant mortality rate stays high at 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. There is a 25% decrease in infant mortality with paid leave, but no decrease at all with unpaid.

Now, this is why you would have a 25% chance to be born in a family living in poverty and a 0.6% chance to die before turning one year old. This is how the lack of paid family leave hurting American working family. While the U.S. rate of 6.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births seem to be small, the number is a national embarrassment—it lags behind other wealthy nations on infant mortality.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) became law 23 years ago just last month, but it is now outdated. Unlike the rest of the world’s family policies, FMLA only provides job-protected, unpaid leave for working people to welcome a new baby or take care of a family member with a serious illness. The 23-year-old policy only covers about half of the working people in the United States, and, again, it’s unpaid.

The country’s public policies haven’t caught up the modern labor force. We are the only industrialized nation in the world without some form of paid leave. While the FMLA is an important law that has helped many working people, it leaves far too many people out. It falls short of what working families in the United States in several ways: Only about half of working families in the United States are eligible to take FMLA and a significant portion of those who are eligible to take it, can’t afford to take it, because it’s unpaid.

Now think about this again: If you were born tomorrow here in America, what are your chances of growing up healthy in a wealthy family? If you want a better chance for yourself, for your children and your future, please join me today and tell the Congress to step up and update the outdated FMLA.

This is an original post to MomsRising by To-wen Tseng. Photo credit to To-wen Tseng.