About the Speaker

Amy Barron Smolinski  is the Executive Director of Mom2Mom Global, a network of breastfeeding peer support, education, and advocacy for military families.  She works with breastfeeding dyads in a variety of settings, from inpatient postpartum and NICU to home visits, telephone, and online consulting as an Advanced Lactation Consultant and Certified Lactation Counselor.  She also is a community lactation representative to the Division of Women’s Health and Newborn Care Patient Advisory Committee at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.  Amy is a founding member of the national Working Group to revitalize the Military Breastfeeding Coalition.

Lactation is an unlikely career for Amy, who worked as a freelance actor and director, then moved to arts education and management before beginning her life as a military spouse.  She resides in Germany, with her husband and four sons, all of whom have been breastfed.  Her personal breastfeeding journey includes experience breastfeeding premature twins, pumping and breastfeeding in the NICU, breastfeeding through postpartum hemorrhage, breastfeeding after pre-eclampsia, tandem-breastfeeding, and child-led weaning and breastfeeding older children.  Her personal experiences giving birth in a foreign country have heightened her awareness of the need for culturally and linguistically sensitive support for mothers.  Through her involvement with Mom2Mom KMC, a peer support group for military families stationed overseas, she became a passionate advocate and champion for normalized breastfeeding through grassroots change and empowerment of women to advocate for themselves and their babies.  From the success of this organization, Mom2Mom Global was created to replicate this model of successful support at other military communities and to advocate for military breastfeeding families on the national level.

Amy holds an MA from Union Institute and University, where her thesis explored re-emerging Sacred Feminine manifestations in the lives of contemporary women. Supporting breastfeeding families has shown her how each parent’s breastfeeding journey with each of her children is a reclamation of her connection to her inner wisdom and power.  Amy is an actress, director, and professional voice artist, and examples of her work can be found at amybarronsmolinski.com.

Official Bio for Brochure

Amy Barron Smolinski holds an MA from Union Institute and University, where her thesis explored re-emerging Sacred Feminine manifestations in the lives of contemporary women. She is the Executive Director of Mom2Mom Global, a network of breastfeeding peer support, education, and advocacy for military families. She works with breastfeeding dyads in a variety of settings, from inpatient postpartum and NICU to home visits, telephone, and online consulting as an Advanced Lactation Consultant and Certified Lactation Counselor. Supporting breastfeeding families has shown her how each parent’s breastfeeding journey with each of her children is a reclamation of her connection to her inner wisdom and power.  Amy is an actress, director, and professional voice artist in Germany, where she resides with her husband and four sons, the youngest of whom is still breastfeeding.

Bio for Introduction

Amy Barron Smolinski holds an MA from Union Institute and University, where her thesis explored re-emerging Sacred Feminine manifestations in the lives of contemporary women. She is the Executive Director of Mom2Mom Global, a network of breastfeeding peer support, education, and advocacy for military families. She works with breastfeeding dyads in a variety of settings, from inpatient postpartum and NICU to home visits, telephone, and online consulting as an Advanced Lactation Consultant and Certified Lactation Counselor. Supporting breastfeeding families has shown her how each parent’s breastfeeding journey with each of her children is a reclamation of her connection to her inner wisdom and power.  Amy is an actress, director, and professional voice artist in Germany, where she resides with her husband and four sons, the youngest of whom is still breastfeeding.




Presentations

Breastfeeding Grief in the Postpartum Patient

Time-frame: 30-60
CERP: yes

Breastfeeding is recognized as a public health issue, and parents and medical providers are aware of the importance of breastfeeding to the health of babies and mothers.  In the U.S., over 80% of women initiate breastfeeding, but less than 25% of babies are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months of age.  Breastfeeding grief can occur when the realities of breastfeeding don’t match the parent’s expectations.  Health care providers often deliver the message that breastfeeding isn’t going well, yet they are not aware of how profoundly this message impacts mothers.  Postpartum mothers are vulnerable to physical, emotional, and behavioral health issues, and breastfeeding complications or disruptions increase the risk of perinatal mood disorders.  This talk explores the application of hospice principles and a multidisciplinary approach including trained lactation supporters in order to adequately address the complexities of breastfeeding grief and to ensure the health and well-being of mother and baby.

Mom2Mom Global: A Military Model for Building Breastfeeding Communities

Time-frame: 45-60
CERP: yes

Research has established that peer support is the most effective support for breastfeeding mothers. Mom2Mom Global is a network of breastfeeding peer support, education, and advocacy for military families. Our vision is for a military-wide culture where breastfeeding is the normal and accepted way to nourish and nurture human babies. Mom2Mom Global chapters have made great progress toward that culture change through a comprehensive grassroots effort of peer mentoring, online and social media presence, and forging partnerships with the medical facilities, lactation professionals, and other community resource organizations within their respective military communities. Breastfeeding mothers have access to trained lactation professionals and peer support 24 hours a day through a closed Facebook group, regularly scheduled Breastfeeding Cafes, and trained peer mentors. Lactation professionals are rigorous in ensuring that the information offered is accurate and supported by evidence-based research. Mom2Mom chapters facilitate accredited lactation training, and maintain a database of local lactation resources for mothers with complex breastfeeding issues. In addition, each chapter works with community resources and local medical facilities to advocate for policies that follow best practices for breastfeeding support. Mom2Mom Global is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Each chapter is an entirely self-sustaining, volunteer-run organization, operating on a small budget; all services are provided free of charge. This presentation will offer a template for building a seamless network of support for breastfeeding families in any community, with a special emphasis on the specific needs of military families.

Lies and Lactation Cookies: Raising the Bar for Breastfeeding Support Groups in Social Media

Time-frame: 45-90
CERP: yes

Millennial parents live and learn on social media. Yet, much of the information available online, even through lactation “support” groups, is outdated, inaccurate, and counterproductive. Millennial parents also place pressure on themselves to get parenting “right,” which leads to a complex and dangerous blend of anxiety, guilt, and fear surrounding all of their parenting decisions. Facebook closed groups can be an effective platform for creating a virtual breastfeeding support group, but just as in real life, the groups must be properly facilitated. This presentation offers step by step guidance to creating, setting up, and maintaining a Facebook breastfeeding support group.  We’ll deconstruct common controversies that occur within social media, and analyze conflict management strategies to create safe spaces online.  At the end of the presentation, the learner will be able to: 1) Identify common language and terminology used in Facebook groups, 2) Understand the difference between harmful conflict and safe conflict, and 3) Grasp how to leverage social media to connect with, educate, and support today’s parents where they are.

When Tears Flow and Milk Doesn’t: Supporting Through Breastfeeding Grief

Time-frame: 60-120
CERP: yes

Some women who initiate breastfeeding will not meet their duration goals.  There are a number of factors that contribute to undesired weaning. For a woman who ceases breastfeeding before she desires to do so, it can be devastating.  For the lactation professional or peer supporter, this can also feel like failure.  The hospice model of grief counseling and ethical principles are applicable to supporting a mother grieving the loss of the breastfeeding relationship she desired. This presentation uses case studies to address the questions of how breastfeeding supporters ethically and compassionately support mothers who end their breastfeeding journey before they wish to, how lactation professionals and peer supporters can manage our own feelings in these situations, and what are the ramifications of these cases as we continue to share accurate breastfeeding information in the face of media-driven culture in which infant feeding is loaded with guilt, shame, and fear.

Amy Barron Smolinski

Amy Barron Smolinski, MA, ALC, CLC


Country: USA/Germany
Phone number: US: 402-557-0532 DE: +49.173.7433016
Email: amy.smolinski@mom2momglobal.org
Site: http://mom2momglobal.org http://amybarronsmolinski.com
Download CV
socialsocialsocial

Publications

#MilitaryMonday: The New Military Parental Leave–What does it really mean?

Paid Family Leave for military families has rapidly changed in the past two years, and the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act brings even more changes.  While some of these changes appear to be improvements for military parental leave, several points of the new law have left us with some serious concerns.

Regular Contributor to MomsRising.org #MilitaryMonday

Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s women and families. In addition to being a grassroots force, MomsRising also has a strong readership reach: With over 1,000 blogger, in 2013, Forbes.comnamed MomsRising‘s web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women for the fourth year in a row and Working Mother magazine included MomsRising on its “Best of the Net” list.

Regular Contributor to Mom2Mom Global Blog

Regular contributor to the Mom2Mom Global blog, with particular focus on national policies and events that impact military families and equity gaps in breastfeeding rates within military culture.

Why is it so important to give all military servicemembers paid family leave?

Guest blog post for the United States Breastfeeding Committee in support of the Military Parental Leave Modernization Act, proposed by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to give all active duty servicemembers 12 weeks of paid parental leave when a new child enters the family by birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

Taking the Village Online: Mothers, Motherhood, and Social Media (Chapter 4)

From Demeter Press: The rise of social media has changed how we understand and enact relationships across our lives, including motherhood. The meanings and practices of mothering have been significantly impacted by the availability of [online] communities…  The village that now contributes to the mothering experience has grown exponentially, granting mothers access to interactional partners and knowledge never before available. This volume of works explores the impact of social media forms on our cultural understandings of motherhood and the ways that we communicate about the experience and practice of mothering.

Chapter 4, authored by Amy Barron Smolinski, specifically explores the intersectionality of breastfeeding, military families, and social media.