Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The US Breastfeeding Committee Conference I

Where do I begin. That conference was freaking awesome. I made some great contacts, found some wonderful new research, sat in on some thought provoking sessions, got some great ideas for my breastfeeding committee, ate some great Maryland crabcakes, found a mentor, bought a book, won two door prizes, got compliments on my new glasses and new hair-do, and saw lots of presidential and wartime memorials. What more could a breastfeeding conference atttending lactivist ask for? I got to talk to two pioneers in the biz, Marion Thompson and Marsha Walker. I attend a lot of conferences and this one had a very upbeat, hopeful tone to it. Lots of talk about advocacy and legislative action. It was so wonderful to be in a room with over 200 lactation advocates from all over the US (and US territories and tribal agencies). The energy was infectious and the content, worth the plane ride (including the layover in Detroit!). Here's a few things I learned:

I loved the two sessions I attended on presentation skills by Joan Detz, professional speaker and speech writer. I got away with two of her books and read them both on the plane ride home.

There was a State Breastfeeding Report Card. We looked at state data gathered by the CDC. (Center for Disease Control) Though the numbers look decent, I got a real appreciation for the challenges of how to measure breastfeeding rates. Do you measure intent to breastfeed or actual breastfeeding? How do you define 'exclusive' breastfeeding? How do you count supplemental nursing, what constitutes supplementing? Do you count it as breastfeeding if the mother only did it once? So on and so forth.

I want to mention some others but it will have to wait until the next post, I'm out of time.

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