by Elizabeth Kirts, MPH, ICCE, IBCLC, RLC
For many of us, August represents lactation and breastfeeding. As an IBCLC, this is a month that is frequently filled with planning events, promoting human milk, education, and some fun with exactly what treats are the best to take to the unit breakrooms. Many of us have made “breast cookies,” taken milk duds/milky ways or the like, or just gone with milk and cookies. Regardless, it’s a fun way to remember to promote and celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, National Breastfeeding Month, and Black Breastfeeding Week. It’s also a time to remember that breastfeeding is not easy for everyone and that there are negative associations for some. As with any health recognition, we want to celebrate the good, recognize the challenges, and work for better education and support. From the Board of Directors, I am happy to remind you all that our virtual conference registration is now open. We are very excited about a diverse set of topics and speakers. We know that there will be topics you have been waiting for and those you didn’t know you wanted to learn about. The joy of a conference is so much information that it rejuvenates the desire for education. Although we will still be remote this year, we are putting together some fun activities to help connect you all. The Annual Meeting will be held during the conference after my presentation on Saturday, 28 October. For those not attending the conference, you will still be able to attend the meeting. But you won’t want to miss the conference either. Watch the newsletter and our social media for more information on Annual Meeting. Something I have been working on and would like to share is Micro-Mindfulness. We hear the phrase “stop and smell the flowers” but do we actually think about what that really is For me, that is a constant. I love flowers! I love them all! And I love to smell the roses I have planted in my front yard. When I am driving in or out of my garage, I remind myself to take a moment to look at the beauty in my garden. That is a micro-mindfulness moment for me. Another is the sunrise. I am an early riser and I love to tease people about how wonderful the morning is. Those who don’t agree, tend to get grumpy and then I tease them more. I’m often in a rush in the morning to get to the hospital or my office. But in the past year, I’ve made it a practice to not wait for the days I can linger and enjoy the morning on my deck but rather to take 1-5 minutes to stand out there and really take in the beauty of it all- sight, sound, smell, feel, and taste…that’s usually coffee. The micro-mindfulness is knowing that we can’t always take full advantage of those things that fill our cup so we can find shorter versions to help keep us going until we can get the full experience. The ocean is another for me. There is no way to bring the beach to my house; I live in a desert. But I do have some beach sand and a couple recordings from trips I’ve had. I can use those for those short moments while I await the next adventure when I can really be there. My boss loves the outdoors. So for her, she will take off her shoes and stand outside in the grass for a couple minutes. She says this helps ground her and get her back to being centered in all the chaos. What grounds your or fills you up? How can you find those moments to rejuvenate and reenergize? Don’t let the moments slip away uncaptured because the present is what we have. Mindfulness teaches us that the past is gone and the future isn’t here yet. We need to remember the present is our gift. In the next couple of months, we the Board will be finalizing the conference and rolling out our updated website. We will also be working on a few other projects to help make ICEA even better. As always, please let us know if there is anything we can do to support you in your certification.