Breastfeeding is Always the First Line of Defense!
This slogan was born at the first meeting of USBC’s Emergency Preparedness Task Force on January 23, 2010. Our hearts were newly filled with images from the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but in fact a group of USBC members had been working on the issue since the previous spring, inspired by WABA’s World Breastfeeding Week 2009 theme “Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response. Are you ready?” The brand new USBC task force offered a breakfast table topic (#17) at the conference in order to connect with interested representatives from the state coalitions.
What have we learned so far?
Everyone needs a personal and family emergency plan. Everyone also should know the emergency plan at their workplace and at any places their children spend time—school and/or child care.
An emergency has three phases: planning, rescue/response, and recovery. Breastfeeding advocates must get involved, trained, and credentialed during the planning phase if they want to be able to help in the rescue phase.
As spring begins to bloom all around us, we are excited to announce the rebirth of our e-newsletter, with a new name and a new look! Congratulations to the co-winners of our newsletter naming contest: Nancy Holtzman and Christina Trottier.
The beginning of 2011 marked an historic opportunity for breastfeeding—the launch of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding identified breastfeeding as a proven primary prevention strategy for health. Prior to this release, USBC updated its own strategic plan to better reflect the significant activities we are undertaking. These two documents have many commonalities and together will provide us with a road map to further breastfeeding support for families in this country. USBC and state breastfeeding coalitions are recognized as key partners in implementation of the Call to Action, and USBC leadership is actively discussing our role in national leadership and coordination.
We are making our voice heard: with partners, stakeholders, policymakers, and the media. A letter, with over 130 organizational signatories, was sent to Congressional leadership requesting appropriations for breastfeeding support in Fiscal Year 2012.
Coalition Spotlight: West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance
Formed in 2008, the West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance (WVBA) works to improve the health of West Virginians by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and educate our community about breastfeeding. WVBA membership is growing and more local coalitions are being built to support our efforts and enhance our initiatives.
Current membership includes 50+ paid members, consisting of IBCLCs and other health care providers; WIC counselors and nutritionists; representatives of health insurance companies, the WV Hospital Association and the WV State Medical Association; advocates; and mothers. Additionally, WVBA maintains an electronic database of more than 600 interested parties, and continues to build relationships with other organizations to expand our network of allies.