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.

Amy Barron Smolinski

Amy Barron Smolinski, MA, ALC, CLC

Country: USA/Germany
Phone number: US: 402-557-0532 DE: +49.152.07430986
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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 #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.

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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.