March 2016 - In This Issue:


The BCW newsletter is sent to BCW members and partners every other month. Please feel free to forward our newsletter to other coalition members, groups or individuals. 



Contact the Breastfeeding Promotion Manager:

Alex Sosa at or  206-838-8655


For more information about the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington:










APRIL 11-12, 2016
Orlando, FL

MAY 9-10, 2016
Albuquerque, NM

MAY 3, 2016
Seattle, WA

MAY 6, 2016
BCW General Meeting
9:30 AM, Location TBD
MAY 12, 2016
Seattle, WA
MAY 24, 2016 
BCW Breastfeeding Equity Webinar

JUNE 17, 2016
Kenmore, WA     
JUNE 20-24, 2016
Seattle, WA
JULY 13, 2016
Kenmore, WA

JULY 20-23, 2016
Chicago, IL
March has been a month of celebrations: IBCLC Celebration Day (March 2), Women's History Month, National Nutrition Month, International Women's Day, Pi Day, Easter and the arrival of the Spring Season!  Celebrations are important because they make us feel we are part of a community, and give us a sense of purpose and belonging. Research has shown that when we celebrate we tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity and have a stronger immune system and stronger social relationships.  

The BCW would like to acknowledge and celebrate all IBCLCs in Washington State for empowering mothers to reach their breastfeeding goals, for promoting human milk as the first nutrition standard for all babies, and for providing leadership to protect and promote breastfeeding in our communities. We celebrate and thank you!
On the topic of celebrations, the BCW is celebrating the arrival of a baby in late February. Chris Gray (BCW staff) gave birth to baby George on February 20th. George is now one month old, and mom reports that he is a pretty mellow baby with a giant appetite.  
And finally, I want to share some upcoming events that the BCW has been planning for in the next couple weeks. These events are free and everyone is welcome to participate.

BCW General Meeting
The BCW general meeting will be hosted on Friday May 6th from 9:30am-12pm at the Yakima Neighborhood Health Services in Sunnyside. This meeting will be hosted in-person with a special presentation by Sheila Schweiger, Public Health Nutritionist from the Benton-Franklin Health District. Sheila will do a short presentation on community engagement with an opportunity for Q&A. As always there will be an opportunity for networking and group sharing. Everyone is welcome--bring a colleague or friend!

If you are unable to join this meeting, but would like to participate, we will also set up our conference call line, so you can call in.  For more information about our BCW meetings, you can reach me (Alex) at 206-838-8655. 

Breastfeeding Equity Webinar: Challenging Bias in Hiring
Early this year, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health-WIC Program, we hosted a Breastfeeding Equity Community Engagement Webinar titled, "Challenging Implicit Biases to Achieve Equity and Justice." 144 participants joined the live webinar and were engaged in a chat box discussion on the impact of explicit and implicit bias on interpersonal interactions and organizational policy and practice, as well as identifying strategies and tools to lessen the impact and to help work toward achieving racial equity and justice. For our upcoming May webinar, "Challenging Bias in Hiring," we will take a closer look at how bias can impact hiring practices and the tools to create a diverse workplace. Please register for the webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 @ 11:00 AM PDT. 
Thank you for being a part of the breastfeeding community here in Washington state. Keep in touch-we would love to hear about your efforts and successes in your breastfeeding communities.
Kay Scamahorn retires from the breastfeeding community
Kay Scamahorn has been a member of the BCW community since its founding over 20 years ago, specifically as a member and supporter of the Stevens County Breastfeeding Coalition. As a Public Health Nurse (her "dream job"), an IBCLC, and a breastfeeding mother herself, Kay has been a champion for breastfeeding in Washington. Her work in Washington State WIC clinics and Northeast Tri County Health District made a difference in the lives of breastfeeding mothers. We will miss her and wish her all the best in her retirement. In her own words...

"The joy I've received from working closely with moms and babies and building community awareness of the importance of breastfeeding has been beyond words.  As I ride off  to my new future I know my community is in great hands and I will still be talking and sharing with those young families I meet!  It is with a grateful heart I extend my appreciation to all those that have encouraged and supported my journey!  Thank you."
DOH Breastfeeding Friendly Program Launch: Birth Centers

It's with great excitement that we share that the Department of Health, in partnership with the Midwives' Association of Washington State, launched Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Birth Centers on March 21st. This voluntary program recognizes free standing birth centers that support breastfeeding and is part of the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative.
This program is based on the World Health Organization's Ten Steps to Successful Birth Centers. DOH and partners adapted these steps for free standing birth centers in Washington, using three tiers of recognition (Bronze, Silver and Gold). Successful applicants will receive window decals, a letter and certificate of achievement from Secretary of Health John Wiesman, and a CD with logo files and a sample press release. Birth centers that qualify for the Gold Recognition Level will also receive a plaque. 
This program is not only about recognition for birth centers, but it is also a vehicle for families to learn about how birth centers are supporting breastfeeding. The promotional package birth centers receive will help with this awareness. Prospective parents can also search the DOH website for a Breastfeeding Friendly Birth Center nearby.
We look forward to celebrating all the participating birth centers in the months and years to come!
Thank you for all of your ongoing efforts to help all babies have a healthy start.
To learn more about the program, contact Michele Lord, Breastfeeding Coordinator at or (360) 236-3474. 

Is Licensure important when it comes to lactation support?

Written by Bat-Sheva Stein RN, MSN
Perinatal Nurse Consultant
Washington State Dept. of Health
Licensure protects the public's health and safety
Washington State has no requirements for licensing lactation consultants. This means anyone can provide lactation services without formal education or training, without consequences. Licensure is important as it ensures a standard of training and education, background checks, and a code of ethics for those providing services as lactation consultants.
While we in the breastfeeding world are familiar with the training requirements for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), the public isn't.  Anyone looking for a lactation consultant doesn't have a standard to use as they do with other licensed professionals such as nurses, dietitians or doctors. There's also no means or recourse in the event of negative outcomes from poor service. State licensing of health care professionals protects the health and safety of the public.

Licensure increases access to breastfeeding support
Currently, families have limited access to professional breastfeeding help after they leave the hospital. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to cover certain preventive services (including breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling) without any cost-sharing. But because the law is vague, insurance companies interpret the ACA in a variety of ways. Most insurance companies and Medicaid follow state licensing standards like those for Certified Dietitians and Registered Nurses and require providers to be licensed before reimbursing them.
This cuts out IBCLCs who don't have another licensed credential from getting third party reimbursement for their services.  To stay in business, they have to charge upfront for their services.  These costs can be prohibitive for many families.  If families seek help from a licensed provider, there's no knowing what kind of lactation training the provider received and no knowing if the provider uses evidence-based care, unless he or she is an IBCLC. This situation causes families, particularly low-income families, to lose out on getting access to quality breastfeeding support. 
Breastfeeding provides life-long health benefits for mothers and babies, and saves families money by not having to buy expensive infant formula.  Access to quality lactation support helps mothers be successful with breastfeeding.  Fifty-three percent of new mothers are still breastfeeding at 4-6 months, compared to only 23% of mothers who didn't see an IBCLC. If all babies were breastfed according to what experts recommend, exclusively breastfeed the first 6 months, and then through the first year as babies learn to eat solid foods, the U.S. would save a minimum of $3.6 billion according to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The public is best protected and supported when lactation consultants are licensed and regulated to practice safely, like all other health professionals. 

World Breastfeeding Week
August 1-7, 2016
This year's theme BREASTFEEDING: A Key to Sustainable Development, highlights how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value well-being from the start of life, and how to respect each other and care for the world we share.
The logo represents a "triad" of two adults and an infant which reinforces how important support is. The proportion and forms of the two adults symbolizes equality, equity and the collaborative act of nurturing.
If your coalition, organization or community will be hosting events centered around World Breastfeeding Week, share the events with us.  We will get them posted at our community event website calendar. Email Chris Gray at

News and Resources from CDC

State Health Departments Provide Community Based Breastfeeding Support
Community-based strategies are an effective way to promote and provide support for breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity recently developed a fact sheet on community-based support for breastfeeding. The fact sheet outlines program successes and lessons learned from the CDC Breastfeeding Supplement grant. CDC grantees and breastfeeding practitioners can use this document when implementing community-based breastfeeding programs or strategies.
Zika Virus Guidelines During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
The CDC has issued information about pregnancy and the Zika virus, discussing how to prevent infection, how infection could harm your baby, and what you should do if you are pregnant and think you may have been exposed to the virus. CDC also has released interim guidelines for infants with possible congenital Zika virus infection, encouraging breastfeeding of infants even in areas where the Zika virus is active, citing available evidence demonstrating that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any theoretical harm associated with transmission in human milk.

WithinReach 2016 Luncheon

If you have not received an invitation to this year's WithinReach Healthy Connections Luncheon, please accept this invitation and join Alex at the Breastfeeding Table.

This year's program will feature a dynamic conversation between Tara Haelle, mother, blogger, and co-author of The Informed Parent, and Dr. Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH from Seattle Children's Hospital. Margaret Larson of New Day Northwest and KING 5 will facilitate as they discuss our shared responsibility to build thriving communities, and the role that vaccinations play in keeping those communities healthy. Thank you for your support; I hope to see you on Tuesday, May 3rd from 11am-1pm at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle. 

Alex Sosa & Chris Gray


Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington

A Program of WithinReach


Promoting, protecting & supporting breastfeeding as a vital part
of the health and development of children and families. 

WithinReach | 155 N.E. 100th St., Suite 500 | Seattle | WA | 98125