Medela to Support Breastfeeding Advocates Who Help Moms Succeed

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A mother's breastfeeding journey can be a rewarding, though often tenuous, experience. To honor those who help moms successfully nurse and reach their breastfeeding goals, Medela is calling for nominations for its Breastfeeding Hall of Excellence program. Those eligible for recognition include lactation consultants, professionals and community advocates, including those in social media who advance breastfeeding. Inductees will be awarded grants to support breastfeeding-related research, education and charities. The Breastfeeding Hall of Excellence is part of Medela's efforts to support breastfeeding, increase initiation and duration of breastfeeding and improve the health of women and infants.

The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate introduction of foods up to one to two years and beyond. The experts recommend it, and statistics show that women want to breastfeed. Yet, for many reasons most breastfeeding moms don't reach their breastfeeding goals. In the United States about 76.9 percent of mothers will initiate breastfeeding, but only 25.5 percent will be breastfeeding at 12 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommended minimum duration.

"Support from the community is so critical to moms who are trying to breastfeed," said Carolin Archibald, president of Medela Inc. "Our nation needs to support leaders who are helping moms successfully nurse and reach their breastfeeding goals. Our hope is that recognizing advocates and other supporters will help raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and of the individuals who dedicate their lives to improving the health of women and infants in the United States." 

Those inducted into the Breastfeeding Hall of Excellence each will be awarded a $5,000 grant to fund research, sponsor continuing education, purchase equipment for use in their practice (if applicable) or donate to the breastfeeding charity of their choice.

Call for Nominations Opens March 26
Nominations will be accepted online March 26April 30, 2013. Full program guidelines and nomination forms can be found at breastfeedinghallofexcellence.com. Nominees may now be eligible in one of three categories:

--Community Breastfeeding Advocate: The community advocate is someone who works either locally, regionally or nationally to support breastfeeding. In their professional position, however, the advocate does not draw income from breastfeeding support or supplies. Community advocates can also include bloggers who are dedicated to supporting breastfeeding by sharing related news and education, and by leading discussions.  
 

--Professional Breastfeeding Advocate: The professional breastfeeding advocate is not a board-certified lactation consultant; however, they fully support breastfeeding in their professional position. Examples may include WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, RNs and MDs.
 

--Lactation Consultant (LC): A nominee in this category must be practicing and licensed by the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) in the United States.

Inductees are chosen by an independent judging panel comprised of respected lactation consultants and professional and community breastfeeding advocates. The panel is solely responsible for judging entries and selecting the program inductees.