by Elizabeth Kirts, MPH, ICCE, IBCLC, RLC
August has a lot of focus on breastfeeding. The first week is World Breastfeeding Week. This year, the focus was on the shared responsibility of protecting breastfeeding for more information; WABA. The second week of August is Native Breastfeeding Week. Starting on the second Sunday in August, the health week is to act as a reminder that there are inequities in breastfeeding for Native people. For more information, see this article. The month ends with Black Breastfeeding Week. Similar to Native Breastfeeding Week, it is a reminder that past practices had an impact on people today. More information can be found here. As an organizational member of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), ICEA seeks to protect and promote breastfeeding as the optimal, natural, and first choice for feeding a baby. We recognize that there are instances where breastfeeding is not possible or the best choice for all families, and in those instances, education on the best alternatives using evidence based information should be taught. Last month, the Board of Directors met to work through the strategic planning process to set goals and objectives so that ICEA will continue to certify top notch childbirth educators and doulas. We really focused on how we can offer quality certification worldwide. We continue to meet in small groups to finalize the strategic plan and be able to present it this fall. You will notice in communications this month that nominations for a few board positions are being accepted. Being on the Board is a way that you can serve your organization and make your voice heard. I hope that you will consider what being on the board could do for you. For me, it has been a chance to meet other people who are passionate about birth, breastfeeding, support, and education. I recently attended a retreat with members of my hospital leadership team. In our time together, we were discussing the benefits and challenges of each of the units, labor and delivery, postpartum, and newborn intensive care. Each of the managers in those areas were talking about how they really loved their unit but didn’t think they could work in the other areas. As I sat listening, feeling like each area is dear to my heart, my supervisor said that she loved being a part of the most exciting day in a person’s life. That being able to make it the best experience for the family will always be dear to her heart. This brought joy to me and I thought about how being in education, I have the opportunity to be a part of all the areas of birth and postpartum. That I am lucky to work in a field where I get to be a part of this special time. It brings me joy and renewed passion knowing that I can make an impact. I hope that you too, continue to find joy in working with families. As always, I, along with the rest of the Board are here to serve you. We offer our support and are able to answer your questions. Let us know what we can do for you.