What Would You Tell the 525 #Doctors at the Academy of #Breastfeeding Medicine?

by Bettina Forbes, CLC | November 2, 2009 6:56 pm

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

We are very, very excited and honored to be speaking at the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine‘s 14th Annual International Meeting, held in Williamsburg, Virginia from November 5-8th, 2009.   You can see the complete meeting program here.   If you have been hanging around the boob world for a little while, you will notice that many titans of the breastfeeding movement will be there . . . such as Ruth Lawrence, MD, FABM, Breastfeeding Section Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics;  Suzanne Haynes; Department of Health and Human Services (we idolize her for her tough comments when the government’s ad campaign buckled under formula lobbyist influence); Lawrence Grummer-Strawn, PhD, Chief of the Nutrition Branch of the Centers for Disease Control; Audrey Naylor, MD, DrPH, FABM, Marshall Klaus, MD, to name just a few!   We are in awe of these pioneers and leaders.

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) was founded by a group of physicians who met at an International Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA) Meeting in 1993.

“Physicians identified several common needs, including sharing resources on physician education and breastfeeding management issues.  . . . [The] drive to establish an organization was fueled by the many case reports presented by LC’s in training, which were able to illustrate situations where physicians participated in barriers preventing breastfeeding success. Several LCs were so enthusiastic about the start-up of a physician breastfeeding organization that they donated money on the spot, to ignite its beginning.”

The ABM’s  Position Statement (which is worth reading) explains that

“in order to optimize breastfeeding practices universally, physicians must learn evidence-based breastfeeding medicine, skills, and attitudes.   There have been relatively few physicians committed to these goals . . . physicians play a central role in the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding.   We stress that breastfeeding and human lactation warrant serious,  increased and significant attention in medical training, practice and research, given the substantial and longitudinal impact of breastfeeding on maternal, child and societal health, as well as the influence healthcare policies and practices have on women’s breastfeeding decisions and success in achieving their goals.”

In talking to hundreds of mothers about their breastfeeding experiences, we have heard wonderful stories of physicians who have encouraged their patients without pressure, judgment or guilt, but we have also heard horror stories of physicians who undermined a mother’s feeding decision, or her breastfeeding success, often unknowingly, thereby becoming one of the “booby traps!”     Jack Newman, MD has been very outspoken about how to spot a doctor who is not breastfeeding-friendly.    Finding an ob-gyn and pediatrician for your baby that is truly supportive of your decision to breastfeed is part of our Ultimate Breastfeeding Preparation Checklist and is discussed in “Your A-Team:  Finding a Pre-Natal Care Provider, Hospital, and Pediatrician. ”

Best for Babes believes that the work of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) is critically important.  Do you agree?   If so, how can we help the ABM grow and succeed?   The ABM has a membership of 525.   The American Academy of Pediatrics has a membership of 60,000.   Should all pediatricians be required to be educated in the basics of lactation management, even if it is just how encourage and appropriately refer patients?   Should ob/gyns be similarly required to attend a basic training?    The ABM offers a one-day course “What Every Physician Needs to Know about Breastfeeding” on the first day of the conference.  Do you think your child’s pediatrician, or your ob/gyn, or your allergist, or cardiologist, would be willing to take such a course?  Would your pediatrician or ob/gyn be willing to become a Fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (FABM), much as many doctors are fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP)?  What would be helpful to you in talking to your various physicians about breastfeeding support?   What experiences have you had?

We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts!



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