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

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