Busy Moms Breastfeed!
Kathy Abbott, IBCLC
Certified Lactation Consultant

About Kathy Abbott, IBCLC:


Whether I'm scheduled to be in the comfort of a client's living room helping a new mother, or at the State House testifying before a room full of politicians, I wake up happy each morning because I know that I'm following my passion.  It doesn't matter if I’m doing research for an upcoming lecture, gathering material for my blog, interviewing a colleague, teaching a class, leading a support group, or working one-on-one with a mom, I'm happy because I'm continually learning..  From the politics of breastfeeding, to the physical benefits, right down to what's happening at the cellular level; I am fascinated by all of it! 

My interest in breastfeeding began when I first nursed my own daughter.  After a relatively easy birth (no drugs – not even a Tylenol!) I went home and to my surprise the effort it took to breastfeed hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was engorged and in pain, both of which I should point out could have been avoided if I had known what I know today.  I owned my own business at the time  (just 3 days after the birth I was sitting at my kitchen table writing out the payroll checks!) and I was in a hurry to get back into my “normal” routines. 

Like a lot of mothers I had
chosen to breastfeed because it was good for my baby.  What I didn’t know was that breastfeeding would actually make mothering easier for me.  What I didn't know was that it would keep my daughter and me connected in a way that nothing else ever could.  What I also didn’t know was that my definition of “normal” would be totally redefined. 

When my daughter was only two years old, I attended my first international breastfeeding conferences (the first of many) and eventually I became a La Leche League Leader.  Today I’m an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant) with my own private practice and I still love learning about breastfeeding!  No matter how many books I read or conferences I attend (I'm something of a conference "junkie"), over the years I‘ve found that the lessons that I have learned best are the ones that I've learned from the mothers whom I've met along the way.  To this day they continue to be my best teachers!

"Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative” 

In 2006, during a cruise to Scandinavia, I had an opportunity to visit "Baby Friendly" hospitals in Norway, Sweden, & Denmark.  Back in the 1960’s the breastfeeding rates in Scandinavia were as low as those here in the US.  At that time all babies were placed on the same strict feeding schedule regardless of whether they were breast or bottle-fed. It was the adoption of the “Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative”  that enabled Scandinavians to raise their breastfeeding rates to become the highest in the world.

The “Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative” was started by the World Health Organization & Unicef back in 1991.  It is a ten-step program designed to make hospitals more supportive of breastfeeding.  This unique initiative has been voluntarily adopted by over 19,000 hospitals around the world.  In Sweden, 100% of all birthing hospitals are “Baby Friendly,” but here in the US less than 3% of our hospitals have qualified.

In 2009, in order to find out more about the "Baby Friendly" movement here in the US, I began researching “Baby Friendly” hospitals in New England.  I began this journey because I wanted to know why Massachusetts only had one "Baby Friendly" hospital while Maine and even tiny Rhode Island had at least three. Today I have visited more than ten “Baby Friendly” facilities stretching from Rhode Island to Vermont. The main lesson that I have learned from the “Baby Friendly” movement is that initial breastfeeding failure is very much tied to barriers created by our American attitudes toward birth.  Remove those barriers and more mothers will have an easier breastfeeding start!

Fact:  When Boston Medical Center went "Baby Friendly," the breastfeeding initiation rates for their African-American mothers rose from 34% to 74%!






















































"I believe that every mother and every baby deserve the right to connect to each other through breastfeeding.  I believe that mothers should breastfeed not because it is the right thing to do, they should breastfeed because they enjoy it!  Our society routinely puts barriers in between mothers and their babies.  These subtle barriers are what cause breastfeeding to fail. 

I believe that no woman should ever feel guilty about not having met her breastfeeding goals; far too many hidden barriers have been placed in her way!  My job is to remove those barriers and simply allow the mother and her baby to connect with each other in a way that feels right to them."

                                              Kathy Abbott, IBCLC

Credentials & Affiliations:

·        Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (since 2006

·        La Leche League Leader (since 2001)    

·        Former Board Member of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition

·        Active Member of the North Shore Postpartum Depression Taskforce  

·        Author of the blog "The Curious Lactivist"

·        Founder of the Facebook group "Breastfeeding in the News"

Kathy Abbott has been quoted in "Mothering" magazine and has published breastfeeding articles in "Breastfeeding Today," "New Beginnings," and "Leaven".


Is your hospital "Baby Friendly"?
Unfortunately if you're giving birth in Massachusetts and you're not delivering at Boston Medical Center, the Cambridge Birth Center, or at Tobey Hospital in Wareham, the answer is no.

"Ten Steps to "Baby Friendly"

1) Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.

2) Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.

3) Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

4) Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

5) Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.

6) Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically inidicated.

7) Practice "rooming in" - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

8) Encourage breastfeeding on demand.

9) Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.

10) Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

How many of these steps does your hospital comply with today? 





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