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Breastfeeding Initiatives at the American Academy of Pediatrics

Luann Gilliland
Bloomsburg PA USA and
Susan Buckley
West Hartford CT USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 16 No. 6, November-December 1999, p. 205

Exciting things are happening at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Betty Crase is helping to make those things happen. In 1998, she joined the staff at the AAP as Program Manager for the Breastfeeding Promotion in Pediatric Offices Program. Before starting this job, she was the Director of the Center for Breastfeeding Information, the LLLI database of breastfeeding research. She currently serves on the LLLI Board of Directors.

During one of her sessions at the July 1999 LLLI Conference Betty talked about the past, present, and future of breastfeeding programs at the AAP. She summarized the major ideas included in the December 1997 AAP policy statement on "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk." She also described a newer program, the Breastfeeding Promotion in Pediatric Office Practices Program (BPPOP). The goal of BPPOP is to increase the number of pediatricians who promote breastfeeding. Betty's hope was that in six months' time, she could locate at least 300 pediatricians who would be interested in participating in this project. To her delight, at the time of the LLLI Conference in July 1999, there were 1400 interested participants and the enrollment period had not yet ended. Pediatricians who are interested in the program can find out more by writing to the AAP or checking out their website at http://www.aap.org/.

AAP members are encouraged to join interest groups called "sections." Currently, there is no section devoted to breastfeeding. To form a new section at least 40 members must express an interest. On a Friday, Betty sent out a letter suggesting that a breastfeeding section be formed. By the following Wednesday, 300 pediatricians had expressed their interest. The AAP is an organization that exists to serve its members and its members are demanding more breastfeeding education.

To meet this demand the 11 members of the AAP Breastfeeding Work Group (the committee that developed the new policy statement on breastfeeding) are working on a breastfeeding text for physicians and others involved with lactation support. The Work Group is also helping to design a poster called "Ten Steps to Supporting Parents' Choice to Breastfeed Their Baby." It is hoped that pediatricians will use the poster to remind themselves how best to support a breastfeeding family and to let breastfeeding families know what kind of support they should expect.

You can be an active consumer by discussing this program with your child's physician. Find out if he or she is aware that it exists and if so, whether their office has applied for enrollment in BPPOP. Let them know that you are interested in a practice that stays current on breastfeeding research and support.

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