International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Statement on Ongoing Humanitarian Crises

The impact of conflicts on vulnerable populations, especially mothers, infants, and young children, is significant and deeply distressing, and the  International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) extends our deepest sympathy to all those affected. We also extend a message of heartfelt support to our members and healthcare colleagues who continue to aid ongoing humanitarian crises and think of our fellow lactation consultants who themselves may be victims of violence.

ILCA® reaffirms its commitment to advocating for essential lactation care and support, especially in emergency situations. Increased breastfeeding and safe Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) practices are vital to the health and well-being of infants and young children when food security, clean water, and sanitation may be unpredictable.

To aid those in need during emergencies, ILCA®  offers resources for lactation care providers on how to support breastfeeding during emergencies and disasters. We also strongly promote the importance of sustaining breastfeeding, relactation, and nurturing maternal-infant bonds, as much as possible. 

At the heart of lactation consulting lies dedication to advancing global health and supporting and caring for diverse communities. We continue to advocate for skilled lactation care during emergencies and support those affected by conflicts. Together, we can make a difference in safeguarding the well-being of mothers, infants, and young children. Please visit the ILCA Emergency Resource Page for more information and access to emergency resources.

Maryse Arendt, IBCLC

Maryse Arendt was born in Luxembourg where she lives still today. She trained as a teacher and came to breastfeeding trough her personal experience and her active engagement in founding an organization in Luxembourg to improve birth and breastfeeding conditions. As an active member she trained as a child birth educator and a lactation consultant IBCLC. She is an IBCLC since 1992 and the actual Board chair of the Luxembourg lactation consultant organization. Maryse Arendt is a member of the national breastfeeding committee in Luxembourg since the beginning.

As a person interested in sound breastfeeding support from birth she brought the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative to Luxembourg and is the national BFHI coordinator and an external assessor for BFHI with international experience. As a member of the BFHI Network, an International Network of BFHI Coordinators and their board of directors she is attending the Global Breastfeeding Collective meetings.

Her Luxembourg association is a member of the IBFAN Network and as such she is involved in coordinating the European region under the lead of Patti Rundall.

She is the assistant editor to the Journal of Human lactation JHL for the WHO International Code – She has long experience as the ILCA delegate to Codey Alimentarius and the World Health Assembly.

She has published numerous articles in JHL and some examples from other journals.

Chertok, I. A., Artzi-Medvedik, R., Arendt, M., Sacks, E., Otelea, M. R., Rodrigues, C., Costa, R., Linden, K., Zaigham, M., Elden, H., Drandic, D., Grylka-Baeschlin, S., Miani, C., Valente, E. P., Covi, B., Lazzerini, M., & Mariani, I. (2022). Factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding at discharge during the COVID-19 pandemic in 17 WHO European Region countries. International breastfeeding journal, 17(1), 83. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13006-022-00517-1

Zakarija-Grković, I., Cattaneo, A., Bettinelli, M. E., Pilato, C., Vassallo, C., Borg Buontempo, M., Gray, H., Meynell, C., Wise, P., Harutyunyan, S., Rosin, S., Hemmelmayr, A., Šniukaitė-Adner, D., Arendt, M., & Gupta, A. (2020). Are our babies off to a healthy start? The state of implementation of the Global strategy for infant and young child feeding in Europe. International breastfeeding journal, 15(1), 51. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13006-020-00282-z

Arendt, M. (2008). Communicating human biomonitoring results to ensure policy coherence with public health recommendations: analysing breastmilk whilst protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. Environmental Health 2008, 7(Suppl 1):S6. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-7-S1-S6

Angela Love-Zaranka, IBCLC

Angela Love-Zaranka has over 30 years of dedicated service as a lactation consultant to promote and improve maternal-child health practices in her community and around the world.

As Program Director, Instructor, and Clinical Instructor at an international lactation training program, Angela’s expertise in program development and course design has been instrumental in positioning LER training courses as leaders in the field.

During her tenure as lead IBCLC at a Washington DC area hospital, Angela established the in-patient service, outpatient clinic, and chaired the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. Her leadership ensured the highest standard of care for lactating families, implementing evidence-based care plans, and educating fellow staff members.

Beyond her hospital clinical practice, Angela founded and managed an outpatient private practice to provide personalized counseling and support for lactating individuals. With her deep understanding of complex breastfeeding situations and unwavering commitment to supporting parents to meet their breastfeeding goals, she has become a trusted resource in the community.

As a consultant, Angela’s expertise extends to collaborating with organizations like USAID’s Advancing Nutrition Technical Team, where she contributed her extensive experience and knowledge to implement breastfeeding counseling best practices and global guidelines.

Angela’s dedication to the lactation field is exemplified by her volunteer work as a La Leche League Leader for 30 years. She has served on the boards of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and the International Lactation Consultant Association.

Angela’s ongoing efforts shape the lactation profession and positively impact the lives of mothers, parents, infants, and families worldwide.

Ann Calandro, RN, IBCLC

I am an RN who spent five years in the US ARMY NURSE CORPS as a pediatric nurse. I married my husband Jim whom I met in the Army in El Paso, Texas, in 1974. Our first child was born in 1976. I sought help from LLL in New Jersey and was so impressed that I became a Leader in 1977. I breastfed all four of my children for several years, and my six grandchildren have also been breastfed successfully. I am still an active Leader in North Carolina, USA. I love the mother to mother aspect of LLL. I have served on the LLLI Board of Directors and have been Chair of the LLLI Board, as well as a short time as interim Executive Director in 2014.

I became an IBCLC in 1989 and have worked mainly in hospitals and with my private practice. I really love working with mothers and babies. Working to help my last hospital achieve the Baby Friendly status last year was amazing!

I served on the IBLCE Board of Directors for 6 years as well. I found writing the 7 exams I was involved with very interesting. Item writing is definitely a skill. Becoming a Fellow of the ILCA makes me very proud of my lactation consulting career.

Maya Bolman RN, BA, BSN, IBCLC

Maya Bolman was born and raised in Minsk, Belarus. She was certified as IBCLC in 2001 and currently works as a lactation consultant at Senders Pediatrics and Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio. She has over 25 years of experience as a nurse, doula and Lactation consultant.

Maya is well known internationally for her work promoting hand expression and breast massage to health professionals and parents. Breast pain is one of the major causes of weaning. The likelihood of weaning increases the longer pain persists. Engorgement, plugged ducts, and mastitis are commonly associated with acute breast pain. Simple gentle manual techniques can help in the treatment of acute breast pain in breastfeeding parents.

Maya recognizes that teaching parents these techniques will empower them to work through breastfeeding challenges including engorgement, plugged ducts, separation from the infant, and milk supply concerns.

She has worked with Dr. Ann Witt to create an instructional video “The Basics of Breast Massage and Hand Expression” and conducted research on the effectiveness of Therapeutic Breast Massage in Lactation (TBML) both in the office and as a treatment at home for mothers.

Maya Bolman is the proud owner of “BreastKindness” LLC which is dedicated to empowering parents and consultants through education; supporting their goals; teaching simple and effective techniques.

Publications

Bolman M, Saju L, Oganesyan K, Kondrashova T, Witt AM. “Recapturing the art of therapeutic breast massage during breastfeeding.” Journal of Human Lactation.  2013 Aug;29(3):328-31

Witt AM, Bolman M, Kredit S, Vanic A. “Therapeutic Breast Massage in Lactation for the Management of Engorgement, Plugged Ducts, and Mastitis” Journal of Human Lactation. 2016 Feb;32(1):123-31.

Witt AM, Bolman M, Kredit S., “Mothers Value and Utilize Early Outpatient Education on Breast Massage and Hand Expression in Their Self-Management of Engorgement. ” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2016 Nov; 11:433-439

Hilary English BA, IBCLC

When Hilary English first qualified as a voluntary breastfeeding counsellor in 1983, there were virtually no illustrations of breastfeeding in the UK, other than those supplied by the formula milk manufacturers in their brochures, which were unlikely to help new mothers attach their babies successfully, so she began taking photographs to illustrate as many aspects of breastfeeding as she could find, especially those which could be used with antenatal breastfeeding sessions.  Further to these pictures becoming available she was asked to advise on several photoshoots, and also to join the working group reviewing the latest edition of the Royal College of Midwives’ textbook ‘Successful Breastfeeding’*.  This resulted in her developing the positioning concept and the illustrations for what became known as the ‘angle of dangle’, first published in ‘Successful Breastfeeding’ 1992, and later in other midwifery textbooks, such as Myles Textbook for Midwives.  These graphics were later used with permission and credits in the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative training courses in the UK, and in various parenting apps.   Further photographs and graphics have also been used to illustrate various other UK breastfeeding books.  Before the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative discouraged the donation of formula samples every mother in Great Britain was given a ‘Bounty Bag’ with various samples calculated to encourage formula feeding.  With the promotion of the WHO International Code this was replaced by a ‘Welcome Pack’.  Hilary was asked to author and illustrate a booklet on breastfeeding ‘Welcome to your Breastfed Baby’ and this was distributed through the National Health Service to every mother who gave birth in the UK for several years.

In 1986 she started to train breastfeeding counsellors and health professionals, both in workshops and as a lecturer.  Over the last twenty years she has been involved in helping to organise the annual Conference for Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, bringing top class education and international speakers to breastfeeding workers and IBCLCs to in-person conferences in the UK, and during the pandemic, producing virtual events.  In 2023 an in-person event was offered, but unsure whether delegates were ready to return in-person it was decided to pursue the possibility of live streaming and making recordings available for three to four months as had been done with the virtual events.  This hybrid approach has enabled the usual net-working opportunities together with the presence of the international speakers at the in-person event.   It has made it available to those who are not ready to move away from their screens, and also to those who might have difficulty affording or accessing such an event, not least over sixty IBCLCs and lactation colleagues working in the Ukraine and Poland and with IYCFE personnel who have accepted the offer of the event at no cost, thus helping to fulfil the charitable aims of providing education in line with LCGB’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policies.

Hilary sits on the LCGB Board of Trustees and has served as Deputy Chair for seven years.

* Successful Breastfeeding, 3rd edition, Royal College of Midwives , 2002, pub Churchill Liingstone

Georgeta Mușat

Georgeta Musat is the first IBCLC Midwife in Romania. After research studies, internships and practice at the World Health Organization, Copenhagen, Denmark and the Georgetown University, Washington D.C. USA, Georgeta organized “Breastfeeding Days”, first Continuing Education Program in Breastfeeding and Lactation in Romania, dedicated those who want be recertified or become IBCLC, program accredited by the International Board of Lactation Examiners (IBLCE).

Georgeta founded the Association Academia de Alaptare / ADA, concept based on research and in-depth studies, practice and counseling, supporting breastfeeding and healthy birth. She is currently advocates protecting and supporting breastfeeding, sharing knowledge and practices with parents and professionals.

Dr. Zaharah Sulaiman

Zaharah Sulaiman obtained her medical degree from the University of Adelaide and her PhD from La Trobe University in Australia. She is a medical doctor and lecturer at the School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Zaharah has been a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) since 2007 and heads the Lactation Clinic at the USM Hospital. As an ILCA member, she has presented at the ILCA conference in Melbourne and was awarded an ILCA scholarship to attend the ILCA conference in the USA. Zaharah has served on a number of committees, including the ILCA Conference Scholarship Application Assessor, the Global Collaboration Committee, and the WABA-ILCA Fellowship Task Force. Zaharah has been on the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) Local Governance Committee since 2014.

Ana Maria Linares, DNS, RN, IBCLC, FAAN

Dr. Ana Maria Linares is a national and international expert in human lactation and has worked in maternal-child and women’s health for 40 years in Chile and the U.S. She has a program of research to improve health and achieve health equity through the development of a culturally appropriate exclusive breastfeeding intervention among Hispanic women.  Dr. Linares coordinates three international studies sponsored by the International Child Health Nursing Network to determine cultural factors influencing breastfeeding.

Dr. Linares has published over 47 publications in multiple indexed journals and presented her research findings at international and national conferences.  Dr. Linares has received multiple awards in recognition of her research and advocacy for breastfeeding in vulnerable groups; she was the recipient of the Minority Health Researcher of the Year, Southern Nursing Research Society 2020; she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Nursing Association in 2022; and in 2023 she was awarded Hispanic Nurse of the Year, National Hispanic Nurse Association.  As a bilingual/bicultural immigrant doctoral-prepared nurse-midwife/IBCLC, Dr. Linares has a global perspective on the discipline of nursing and human lactation and has trained and mentored more than 350 faculty members, health professionals, and students in countries like Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador.  Dr. Linares is an active member of ILCA, has served on the Research Committee, and is an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Human Lactation.

Lisa Akers PhD, RDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND

Dr. Lisa Akers has been working in the field of public health nutrition and human lactation for over 20 years.  Lisa is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND), and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).  She began her career in the WIC program working directly with new families and later transitioned to academia where she became passionate about developing new IBCLCs and RDNs.  Lisa is a currently Research Scientist with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition where she advances the field of measurement, evaluation, and statistical analysis for nutrition-related programs.  The focus of her current research is related to data equity and the intersection of dietetics and human lactation.

Lisa has served on numerous national and international boards and committees including the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group (WH DPG) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC).  Aside from her background in human lactation and nutrition, Lisa’s expertise in nonprofit leadership has afforded her the opportunity to work as a consultant with numerous organizations in areas such as change management, fundraising, governance, grant writing, program evaluation, and strategic planning.