United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)

Lactation Support Providers Constellation:

Representative:  Sylvia Edwards, RN, MS, IBCLC RLC, Director of External Affairs

Date: November 6 – 7, 2015

Location: Washington, DC


I had the privilege of representing USLCA at the United States Breastfeeding Committee’s constellation meeting for Lactation Support Providers.  This constellation has representatives from 13 membership organizations, community providers, USBC staff, and staff from the CDC with the intent to work collaboratively to influence opportunities for change to increase access to lactation support for all mothers and babies. The constellations goals include:

  • Expanding training and mentoring opportunities for lactation care providers, particularly to increase the number of racial/ethnic minority care providers
  • Incorporating breastfeeding support into existing public health programs (e.g., home visiting)
  • Advocating for expanded network of providers allowed to provide lactation care under Medicaid

The members completed pre-work prior to our meeting to prepare us for the work planned for our sessions including training on antitrust compliance and Medicaid regulations.  We all participated in a Knowledge Development Session presented by the Center for Social Inclusion to gain insight into how  unconscious bias impacts our shared knowledge.  We then reviewed the unique aspects of the Lactation Support Provider field and how insurers handle preventative versus diagnostic care.  We reviewed federal and state developments impacting lactation support providers.  The members worked in small groups discussing levers for change in the areas of policy development, engagement with licensed providers, innovation models that cross the continuum of care, working with state coalitions, outreach to public health programs, and mentoring models for lactation care providers.   Each small group did a root cause analysis on the priority strategy levers and developed an action plan identifying target populations, agencies and organization to engage, outstanding research questions and monthly task for the working group to take on to move forward.  It was an honor to be involved working with others committed to providing quality support and care to breastfeeding mothers and infants.