Sample Letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar

Email Secretary Azar today to demand that the USA promote, protect, and support breastfeeding. Please feel free to edit this script. Thanks to Heather Harris for the script!

Dear Secretary Azar,
I have read today in the NYTimes about the US delegation to the World Health Assembly concerning the International Code Of Marketing for Breast-milk Substances. I was appalled at learning that not only did the US delegation not support wording calling on the government to “protect, promote, and support breastfeeding” and restrict food products other than breastmilk, it in fact bullied (threatening removing aid and introducing punishing trade measures) the sponsoring country of Ecuador into dropping the resolution.

Breastfeeding is a public health issue. It affects everyone and is important for our world and our countries’ health. On our government’s own site is listed the many benefits including lower asthma, diabetes, SIDS, and many more. https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/making-decision-breastfeed. As a country we should be doing everything we can to promote and protect breastfeeding.

Please speak against this action by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Sincerely,

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Our Values

Milky Mommas Inc has established the following eight values as the heart of our organization’s purpose.

 

Equity

Accessibility

Inclusivity

Compassion

Kindness

Respect

Accountability

Excellence

Equity – Increasing representation on our team of trained lactation supporters and working to dismantle barriers for individuals from communities experiencing lactation inequities.

 

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Accessibility – Using technology to innovate lactation support and pioneer new communities and resources in the digital world, and working towards resolving first food deserts by sponsoring new lactation professionals in communities of greatest need.

 

Inclusivity – Offering support in cultural humility to LGBTIQA+ parents and families, and honoring their unique path to breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or any form of human-milk feeding.

 

Compassion – Honoring the right of each family unit to pursue and preserve their best health through breast, chest, or human-milk-feeding, and meeting each family where they are to provide nonjudgmental counseling and support.

 

Kindness – Fostering goodwill within the culture of our community and promoting the protection of human dignity in lactation support.

 

Respect – Working in collaboration with health, medical, legal, government, and fellow lactation professionals to promote breast, chest, or human-milk-feeding, and treating all interactions within our digital community with the same tact as we would an in-person interaction.

 

Accountability – Staying abreast of current research which involves or impacts the field of lactation support, and reflect the best available evidence in counseling practices, advocacy, and education.

 

Excellence – Training volunteers to exhibit professionalism in all affairs of the organization, exemplify the highest level of integrity, and adhere to an established Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Updated: November 12, 2018

Milky Mommas and the WHO Code

 

  • Milky Mommas, Inc. affirms the importance of the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes as a beacon of public health policy.

     

  • Milky Mommas, Inc. strives to align with the spirit and the letter of the WHO Code in all of its affairs.

     

  • Milky Mommas, Inc. commits to reasonable due diligence in determining that any potential partnership is free from ethical conflicts of interest in terms of interpreting and applying the Code and otherwise.

     

  • Any potential partnerships, sponsorships, donations, grants or support of any kind, both financial and otherwise, will be investigated, discussed, and voted upon at the discretion of the Board of Directors of Milky Mommas, Inc. to determine current eligibility with the criteria outlined in the WHO Code, and any internal criteria. The Board of Directors reserves the right to revisit the results of this determination at any time.

*NEW* Idaho Breastfeeding Protection Law!

Congratulations Idaho on joining the rest of the states, and passing a law to protect breastfeeding mothers from prosecution for public indecency for nursing or expressing milk in public. This is a HUGE victory for Idaho Mommas, and for all of us supporters nationwide. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2018.

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This law is really special because it specifies that mothers expressing milk for the purpose of feeding a child is protected. Pumping mommas- do your thing!

Idahoan Mommas – be sure to download our business-card-sized Breastfeeding Rights card. This simple tool can give you confidence while breastfeeding in public, and allow you to educate others on your (and their!) rights to breastfeed Anytime, Anywhere. Print, share, and keep a couple copies in your wallet to empower breastfeeding mommas you may meet!

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Did you know we have these Breastfeeding Rights cards for all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico? You can check out the full album to print and download your state’s card here.

Nurse and Pump on, Milky Mommas – you rock!

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Nationwide Nurse-In 2018 – {Free Printables}

Nationwide Nurse-In Scheduled at locations across the country Friday, April 27, 2018!

Find the info for an event in your state here!

In the United States, mothers have the right to breastfeed their babies ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. Period.

So why are we still being asked to cover? To go to the car or the bathroom? To “just pump” or “stay home to do that in private”?

We’ve created a simple tool to help YOU feel confident in your rights when breastfeeding in public. These FREE business card-sized printables will fit right in your wallet, so that if you’re challenged, you can present the card to educate and inform the public.

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Print these out for your milky friends and co-workers, for  your OBGYN or WIC office, or have extra copies with you to share with nursing moms you meet!  You can even take these files to VistaPrint or your local office supply store to have the cards printed front and back, with our sleek “I am a Milky Momma” design on the reverse side.

Every state is included in our album, as well as the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico!

Download the card for your state HERE: https://photos.app.goo.gl/lqlOv5i7hpEEunuw2

 

The info for this year’s Nationwide Nurse-In is below… check it out, and don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet other nursing moms and assemble to advocate for our rights!

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The 4th annual Nationwide Nurse-In brings attention to breastfeeding laws to help end discrimination and harassment associated with public breastfeeding and the workplace pumping needs of mothers.

This year’s event is particularly relevant given the ongoing executive action to repeal the ACA, which provides mothers with time and accommodations to express breastmilk at work. Mothers may again be dependent on state laws to provide workplace pumping time and accommodations. Unfortunately nearly HALF of our states do not have workplace pumping laws and even fewer have laws that provide adequate protections. This leaves many thousands of working mothers vulnerable! Without appropriate advocacy and protection of these needs, the ability of mothers to continue to breastfeed is compromised. This is a critical and costly public health issue; according to the CDC, low rates of breastfeeding add more than $3 billion a year to medical costs for mothers and children in the United States.

Nationwide Nurse-In is partnering with Milky Mommas Inc. non-profit, a global community dedicated to helping women meet their breastmilk feeding goals by providing online support & current, evidence-based information. With the help of Milky Mommas, Nationwide Nurse-In is striving to help families through their entire breastmilk feeding journeys.

This event takes place across the United States at State Capitols and other law enforcement locations. This year’s theme is “Spread the Word!” Nationwide Nurse-In is working to educate as many people about the laws protecting mothers to nurse in public and express milk in the workplace. Nursing/pumping mothers and their allies are invited to attend and show their support and educate the public and government representatives.

Mothers & allies will be at their respective locations, nursing their babies and spreading the word about the laws that protect nursing in public and the workplace and advocating for adequate enforcement of these protections.

 

“Given the importance of breastfeeding on the health of mothers and children, it is critical that we take action to support breastfeeding. Women who choose to breastfeed face numerous barriers—only through the support of family, communities, clinicians, healthcare systems, and employers will we be able to make breastfeeding the easy choice.”

Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH U.S. Surgeon General

 

Never Again, Here it Comes

I’m 38 years old; I have 5 yo twins and a 10 month old; I’m a Certified Lactation Counselor and an advocate for equitable and accessible lactation support; and I have breast cancer.

In late January my husband felt a lump in my breast.

On Friday, February 9th, pathology confirmed that I have triple negative breast cancer.

In 2 days, I start chemo. That’s 41 hours until I can never nurse this baby — any baby — ever again. Today I’m laying around soaking up every last second, with our bodies curled into one another.

 

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As the clock ticks down and the details fall into place so there’s nothing left to arrange and no tasks to focus on, I’m left to sit with terrible grief and anxiety.

Nursing my 10 month old has not been very pleasant the last several days. My chemo port site is still sore; he’s jet lagged and fussy and out of his routine; he’s started standing on his head and waving his behind around to fight sleep at the breast. A few times a dark and ugly part of myself has thought, at least this will be over in a few days. But at my core — the part that’s not worn down by terror and exhaustion — I’m devastated that this stage of our relationship is coming to a screeching halt and that there will be no last-minute reprieve. This is happening. It’s real.

Never again will I comfort him at the breast. Never again will I feed him from my own body. Yes, we’ll still be bonded and of course he’ll still be nurtured and nourished, but I’ve never *not* mothered through breastfeeding and nothing short of an actual life or death crisis could have made me stop before he was at least two years old. Neither one of us is ready.

Ready or not, here it comes. 💔

Meeting Milestones ~ {Free Downloads!}

There is no greater feeling than when you reach your goal, especially in breastfeeding. The early days can be so hard, and for some the trials don’t end there. It takes commitment, perseverance, and passion to continue breastfeeding in the face of challenges.

So lets celebrate!

We have designed this set of beautiful phone backgrounds to help you show off your breastfeeding achievements. Whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, combo feeding, pumping and nursing, exclusively pumping, chestfeeding, donating breast milk, feeding donor breast milk, you deserve to be celebrated! You’ve given your baby breast milk, and #everydropcounts.

So show off. You’ve earned it! Download these gorgeous images and update them as you persevere through the weeks, months, and years of your journey. You go Momma! ❤

Download the whole set here, or click to save individual images that celebrate your latest milestone.

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Check in with us again soon, as we start rolling out more fun free pretty things to celebrate YOU and your journey ❤

Black Women Breastfeeding – Jasmine

Today we’re hanging out with Jasmine! Thanks for celebrating Black HERstory month with us! Check it out ❤

 

What has your breastfeeding journey been like?

My breastfeeding journey has been challenging mentally but manageable physically.

I feel like that is the perfect way to say it. Breastfeeding can be challenging! Did the women in your family breastfeed?

My mother said she tried to nurse me for one day but was in too much pain from c-section recovery. Then she nursed my little brother for 3 months. My Aunt said she pumped for 6 weeks until her youngest was released from the hospital. My sister in law nursed both of her children for over a year, she is white.

 

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It sounds like you’re blazing a trail for the next generation! What made you want to breastfeed?

My sister in law was the first person I really noticed and learned about breastfeeding from. I think she sparked my interest in learning about it. I learned more about it in college because I’m a birth-kindergarten education major. I learned about all the benefits of breastfeeding in college child development courses mostly.

 

Its awesome that you have your SIL to support you! What is the biggest bf challenge you’ve overcome?

The biggest breastfeeding challenge I have overcome was when I had to put my son in daycare and they had such strict rules about the way they handled breastfed babies. My son cluster fed at home at random times. Sometimes he would drink 1 ounce at a time other times 2.5 ounces. They needed to feed him on a schedule and if he didn’t finish a bottle they would dump my precious milk and it was very hard to keep my supply up because I only produce what my son would eat and nothing more. I ended up having to change daycares that would meet our needs and it was very stressful.

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How frustrating! I’m glad you found a childcare provider who would support your breastfeeding relationship. Who are your biggest supporters?

My mother supported me all the way with breastfeeding she always sent anything she thought would make us more comfortable , whether it be nursing clothes, pillows, lactation tea & cookies. She was my cut man during the process.

My husband cooked all my meals and kept me comfortable, despite his uncertainty about me nursing in public he never discouraged me breastfeeding. Any decision I made regarding breastfeeding he supported the best way he knew how.

Supportive partners are worth their weight in gold! Tell us your favorite story about an experience with breastfeeding.

I don’t have a favorite story but I do remember always dreading going out in public with my baby because I was worried people would say something when I nursed him. So far no one has ever said anything to me or even seemed to notice when I nurse him. It made going out a little less stressful.

That is so common. Good for you for pushing through it! Is there anything else you’d like to share or encourage other moms?

I had to advocate for myself a lot during my breastfeeding journey. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. The more confident you are ,then more than likely, no one will even think to question you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all have to stick together. I wouldn’t have made it this far if I didn’t have some milk donated to me because my freezer supply diminished when I started taking my son to daycare and I couldn’t keep up by pumping. Just asking for 50 ounces every now and then helped relieve so much stress and increased my supply!

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Thanks for checking in with Jasmine and our blog team today. Happy Black History Month! Or should we say- Black HERStory ❤

The Elephants

The sun beats down, dust swirling as pain surges through your body. Vulnerable and wounded, you’re unable to stand. Predators have left you torn, and vultures begin to circle overhead. Gathering strength, you try to stand but collapse again. The thunder of feet causes you to open your clenched eyes, lurching to awareness. Shadows pass over you as huge figures block out the light. Have the enemies returned? No. Allies have arrived.

Side by side, backs to you, your community encircles to protect you. No predator stands a chance against this impenetrable ring of females. Stomping, trumpeting, tusks brandishing, it is clear that no danger is a match for these fearless defenders. Rescued, relief washes over you as you rest and heal. When your strength returns, upheld by this sisterhood, together you march proudly home.

This is the scene as an elephant faces a predator, soothes an injury, or gives birth to her baby. Protected by a ring of others, elephants experience these life changing moments safely surrounded by their community. They guard each other, support one another, reinforce each other in weakness, and celebrate together in victory.

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Milky Mommas is built on the foundation of this Elephant story.

We encircle our sisters as they pass through the most challenging hours, days, and seasons of life. None of us is ever alone, no matter how grueling the trial. There is nothing as formidable as a community of women, committed to doing life together.

When you bring your baby home and feel completely overwhelmed? We’ve been there.

When you’re up at 3am with a child who just won’t nurse to sleep? Your sisters are up too.

When you reach an important milestone and nobody else understands? We get it.

We show up.
We protect.
We defend.
We stick around through the hard stuff.

We lock arms to protect the momma in pain.

We lift up the momma in the midst of trials.

We laugh, we mourn, and we celebrate- together.

 

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One of our sisters is in the midst of a dark season- something no woman should face. We will not let her face it alone. Please join us in support and love of this momma, as we walk with her through the darkness- as we surround her with protection, support, and love.

 

 

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Subscribe to this blog to be notified as we host this momma as a guest blogger. She’ll share her heart with us while she bravely takes on a challenge no woman ever should.

She is walking through the fire- please join us as we walk with her.

 

 

(Featured Image Credit – David Yarrow)

Black Women Breastfeeding – Queen-Tiffaney’s Story

In honor of Black History Month, we are featuring some amazing Black mommas here on the blog! Check out this interview with Queen Tiffaney 🙂

 

Hey Tiffaney! So, what has your breastfeeding journey been like?

My breastfeeding journey has been actually a wonderful experience! I haven’t had any cases of mastitis or low supply. I’ve been blessed, kept up my oatmeal and water intake, and my daughter and I have thrived well!

Thats amazing! Congratulations! Did any of the women in your family breastfeed?

I have a few older cousins and aunts that did breastfeed, but my mom did not. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers have passed away, so I honestly don’t know if they did.

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So if it wasn’t in the family, what was it that made you want to breastfeed?

I attempted breastfeeding my son who is 5 now, but I had little to no education about successfully breastfeeding. This time around my sister had exclusively pumped and my best friend had successfully breastfeed her son. I researched the entire 9 months I was pregnant, made Pinterest folders for breastfeeding, talked to other moms who successfully or unsuccessfully breastfeed, and I also joined maybe Facebook groups including Milky Mommas! This time I knew what I was doing, knew what negative signs to look for, and felt so much more prepared!

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Communities are so important for support, thats awesome. What is the biggest bf challenge you’ve overcome?

When my daughter was a month old, my kids dad decided he no longer wanted to be with me and left with no warning. I had no money for rent, bills were 2 months behind, and I had two kids to now care for alone. It was the hardest time of my life. I had seen nothing but darkness and tending to my beautiful daughter was no longer a wonderful blessing, but now a mistake and burden. I almost blamed her for his departure. My supply TANKED! I had to eat so much and drink so much water to keep up, and I honestly wanted to quit. Her smile no longer made my heart skip a beat. I felt like a failure to myself and my daughter. Breastfeeding was the only thing that kept us connected, it literally saved me and my relationship with my baby. I now would never second guess anything in my life!

Thats incredible! I’m sorry you went through that, but you’re amazing for pushing through it. Who are your biggest breastfeeding supporters?

My mom is my rock! Even though she didn’t breastfeed she’s such a great supporter. She has bought me so much to assist with breastfeeding, and even helped me buy a pump on the go.

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Tell us your favorite story about an experience with breastfeeding.

Every time the kids and I eat out my son says “Is sissy going to eat your chest?!”

Oh my gosh thats awesome, kids say the craziest stuff! Especially in public!  Last question- Is there anything else you’d like to share or encourage other moms?

I tell new mom’s “never doubt your body!”. Our bodies are amazing and they never let us down!! When in doubt latch, latch, latch!!

So true. Just keep nursing 🙂 Thanks for hanging out Queen-Tiffaney!