Impact of Regional Collaboration to Advocate for Breastfeeding Promotion Act

Monday, October 4, 2010
Yerba Buena Salons 1-3 (San Francisco Marriott Marquis)
Jennifer AF Tender1, Sahira A. Long, MD1, Kathleen Logan, CPNP, IBCLC2 and Michal Young, MD, FAAP3, (1)Goldberg Center for Community Pediatrics, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, (2)Pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente, Washington, DC, (3)Pediatrics, Howard University, Washington, DC

Purpose Although many breastfeeding advocates may desire to lobby on behalf of breastfeeding promotion legislation, many lack formal training or a structured, supportive environment to lobby effectively. It was the purpose of this advocacy effort to equip participants with the skills and information to be effective lobbyist.

Methods The District of Columbia Breastfeeding Coalition collaborated with the DC and Virginia Chapters of the AAP, the AAP Federal Affairs Office, the USBC and regional breastfeeding coalitions to develop and support the Breastfeeding Advocacy Day.  Participants were invited via online registration to the event by utilizing AAP and Regional Breastfeeding Coalition list serves.  Preparation for the event included identifying speakers and creating a toolkit which included information about the bill, tips for lobbying and specific background about each participant’s legislators.  

Results Thirty seven breastfeeding supporters from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region encouraged 6 Senators and 16 members of the House of Representatives to Co-Sponsor the bills.  Of the 21 participants who evaluated the event, 95% felt that the information presented by the speakers and 86% felt the role playing prepared them “well” or “extremely well” for lobbying.  Overall, the Advocacy Day was rated as “excellent” by 95% of the respondents

Conclusion: A highly rated Breastfeeding Advocacy Day resulted from the collaboration between regional and national groups.  The educational training program prepared breastfeeding advocates well to lobby on behalf of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act and could be replicated by other coalitions