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Breastfeeding Advocate to Share Insights on Communication


Durham, N.C., May 22, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Breastfeeding advocate Love Anderson, co-founder of Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities, is one of three featured speakers participating in this year’s National Breastfeeding Conference and Convening event being held June 8 to 10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, Md.

The session, themed “Raise Your Voice: Communication Strategies to Bolster Support for Breastfeeding,” will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 10. The other two speakers joining Anderson for the plenary session are Tina Sherman, senior campaign director for the maternal justice campaign at MomsRising, and Jessica Lee, senior staff attorney for the Center for Worklife Law.

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“The goal of our session is to share ideas for how breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and human milk feeding advocates can work together to educate policymakers at the national, state and local levels about the value of breastfeeding to family health and the importance of reducing the social and community pressures that stand in the way of wider acceptance of the practice,” said Anderson. “This session will be attended by hundreds of leaders in the ‘First Food Equity’ movement, which includes a mix of longtime advocates and young, emerging leaders.”

The annual conference brings together a diverse set of clinical, community, advocacy and research professionals who recognize the public health importance of breastfeeding as critical for reducing the burden of infant morbidity and mortality, childhood and adolescent obesity and chronic disease, maternal type 2 diabetes and maternal breast and ovarian cancers. This year marks the first time since the onset of Covid in 2019 that the event will be held as an in-person gathering.

Two of the speakers participating in the “Raise Your Voice” session – Sherman and Lee – work for organizations that played important roles in getting the recent expansions of the PUMP Act put into law at the national level, Anderson added. “My perspective will be more local, drawing on the work our group did with 14 community-based coalitions in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Indiana to generate support for the PUMP Act revisions.”

Building on a 2010 law that required employers to provide nursing mothers with “reasonable break time” and a private space other than a bathroom for one year after a child’s birth, the updated PUMP Act was introduced in Congress in 2021. The new bill sought to address gaps in the original law, which didn’t apply to workers who were exempt from overtime pay or work on commission, among other categories – or about nine million women of childbearing age.

Support for the expanded bill grew in the summer of 2022 as the baby formula shortage developed and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines that support breastfeeding for two years or more. The bill was signed into law, expanding the scope of coverage to nearly all employees for a year after a child’s birth, except for certain transportation workers.

“Breastfeeding is essential for maternal and child health,” Anderson said about the value of providing families with safe spaces in which to breastfeed. “We also recognize that breastfeeding is the ‘Great Equalizer,’ impacting health equity outcomes at all ages and stages of life.”

But while many parents today initiate breast/chestfeeding in the hospital, many stop within a few days or weeks of going home, Anderson says. Families cite negative attitudes about breastfeeding/chestfeeding and lack of safe places to feed their infants in the community as reasons for discontinuing.  Community advocates and volunteers have been working for years to help reverse this trend, and in 2014 with a request from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) a plan to directly address these concerns was formed and the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community (BFFC) initiative was developed.  This initiative was first piloted in Chapel Hill Carrboro and then expanded into Durham North Carolina.  The funding for this project was never secured and it became the passionate work of Anderson and local volunteers. In spring of 2020, BFFC officially filed articles of incorporation and was awarded 501c3. In 2021, BFFC expanded beyond North Carolina to Indiana and Pennsylvania. Currently, BFFC provides ongoing technical assistance and support to active communities in four states and 14 communities.

“The initiative is a community-wide program to impact health equity, as supported by the World Health Organization guidelines, by working with communities to improve breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and human milk support services,” Anderson said. “Each one of our partner communities, municipalities, cities, or towns works to bring together local stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, community groups, organizations, agencies and institutions. Stakeholders include everyone in the community – we all have a role in supporting families that choose to breastfeed.”

In her presentation at the National Breastfeeding Conference, Anderson will share proven strategies for building support for breastfeeding among local policymakers and the community members, including her group’s 10-step action plan. The first step in that plan, she said, is relatively easy to achieve but probably the most important: encouraging local policymakers to issue a proclamation of support that “this town will be a breastfeeding, family friendly community.”

By working with officials to get this type of proclamation issued, breastfeeding advocates also can get their foot in the door with public health departments and other local agencies. “Key relationships are established that can lead to many other steps being taken,” Anderson said. Those steps might include putting signage in parks and community spaces, so that these spaces are identified as being welcoming places for breastfeeding, or creating a more inviting atmosphere for breastfeeding in local businesses and schools.

“The goal is to normalize breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and human milk feeding so it becomes more a part of everyday life,” Anderson said.

Please go to: for more information about the event.

Need additional information, please contact:
Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities

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