"Oh, we do that?" has been my common refrain during my first ten months at USBC.
The breadth and depth of the work done by this eight-woman team is stupefying. A recent "oh, we do that?" was when I realized that USBC founded National Breastfeeding Month (NBM) in 2011 and defines the year's theme. Every year, NBM is an important opportunity to build awareness of and celebrate breastfeeding promotion, protection, and support efforts across the nation. It is also a time to act and promote meaningful policy, system, and environmental changes for all lactating families.
This year our NBM theme is Many Voices United, and nothing could be more apropos as Team USBC is diligently promoting global and community leadership for World Breastfeeding Week, Native Breastfeeding Week, and Black Breastfeeding Week. We are also celebrating the recently proclaimed Asian and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Week (Aug 16 to 24) in Los Angeles County, the heart child of the Asian and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Task Force.
In late June, USBC hosted "A Conversation with Organizers of August Breastfeeding Events," a webinar featuring speakers from Black Breastfeeding Week, Native Breastfeeding Week, and World Breastfeeding Week who came together to share 2020 themes, plans, and engagement opportunities.
We are continuing our National Breastfeeding Month activities all through August! Please visit USBC's National Breastfeeding Month 2020 webpage, and engage with our #NBM20 Social Media Toolkit. This resource provides a treasure trove of information and sample content that you can use across multiple social media platforms.
National Breastfeeding Month also brings with it updated data that we all can use to raise our voices about the policy, systems, and environmental changes lactating families need. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the results of the 2018-2019 National Immunization Survey (NIS) available online. The NIS results include updated national, state, and socio-demographic breastfeeding rates for infants born in 2017.
Although National Breastfeeding Month is a single month out of the year, we all know that the work of the First Food field to transform systems and communities to make breastfeeding a viable option for families happens year-round. It happens via legislation, advocacy, and legal suits against companies for not accommodating lactating employees. It happens via print and social media campaigns to normalize an ancient practice, as well as virtual and in-person breastfeeding support and mommy groups. It happens on late night calls and early morning visits with distressed parents who worry that their baby is not getting enough milk.
This year, our collective work has continued with increased urgency to ensure that no baby goes hungry as we face this global pandemic. This transformative work happens each and every day as heroes from all walks of life put on their masks to visit families who may not get to see anyone else because of quarantines and ongoing social distancing requirements. It happens when we continue to promote equity in the field and build the capacity of a racially and ethnically diverse lactation workforce to meet the support needs of the families and communities we serve.
It happens every day in all the things that each of you do.
YOU are an inspiration! That's why we are here to amplify your "oh, we do that?" moments this month and every month. Thank you for your service and commitment to the health of babies, families, and communities.
U.S. Breastfeeding Committee