From coping with breastfeeding controversies to understanding why babies refuse to "latch," attendees of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Conference recently held in Dalton gained new perspectives on how to help mothers and babies succeed with breastfeeding.
The breastfeeding conference, presented by the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, celebrated ten years as an annual event. With an audience of more than 420 participants, including medical professionals, lactation specialists, nutritionists, Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) program staff and others who work with breastfeeding mothers, this year’s conference was the largest in its history.
The featured speaker at the conference was Jack Newman, M.D., a pediatrician and author of several widely-acclaimed breastfeeding publications. Newman currently heads the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic of the International Breastfeeding Centre based at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.
“Breastfeeding is more than breast milk,” said Newman. “Breastfeeding not only gives the baby breast milk, but it is also a relationship – a close, intimate relationship between two people who are in love with each other.”
At the conference, Newman explained that infant formula is not equal to breast milk, and is, in fact, inferior. He also provided fresh insights on topics such as techniques that increase milk supply and solutions for those times when a baby may not want to take to the breast.
Judie Misner, RN, IBCLC, lactation consultant and parent educator of Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, is the former president of the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition. Misner views the annual breastfeeding conference as a vital service to the community.
“This is an opportunity to bring together breastfeeding professionals and advocates from a wide geographic area and a diverse arena of breastfeeding support services,” stated Misner. “This year, we were fortunate to have benefited from the expertise of Dr. Newman, a highly-respected professional and long-term breastfeeding champion.”
Bailey Hale, a stay-at-home mom from Signal Mountain, Tennessee found the breastfeeding conference to be enlightening, as well.
“I like to keep updated on all things concerning lactation,” said Hale, “This conference has certainly provided me with some cutting-edge information.”
North Georgia Health District’s WIC program, part of the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition, is a major contributor to the annual breastfeeding conference.
WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator, Carol Hendrix, IBCLC, RLC, said, “We know that successful breastfeeding is often achieved when mothers know where to get needed help. Attendants of these conferences are the professional helpers who desire to stay current with best breastfeeding practices and current research.”
The annual breastfeeding conference in Dalton supports the goal of the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition, which is to increase the frequency and duration of breastfeeding within the population. The coalition was established in 1993 and its members include La Leche League Leaders, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), peer counselors, nurses, midwives, WIC personnel, registered dieticians, therapists and interested community members.
For more information about breastfeeding, log onto the coalition’s website at www.nwgabfcoalition.