Does your State have a Breastfeeding Coalition?

What: State and Local breastfeeding coalitions are there to support, educate and advocate for families, healthcare providers, childbirth educators and doulas. Check in your state or county to see what they are up to for 2021! Many Coalitions are supported by The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) which  is an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 100 influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations that share a common mission to drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States. At the USBC they help facilitate continuing education training and give national support to the State Coalitions.

Who: The Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition (COBFC) is a 501 c nonprofit organization, with over 100 members. Founded in 1990, the COBFC is 100% volunteer run organization made up of Lactation professionals, pediatricians, nurses, doulas, public health advocates and families. At the COBFC our mission is to increase access to breastfeeding support for everyone in CO. Take a look at our new 2021 vision, mission, and equity statement:

  • Vision: Human milk feeding is achievable for all in Colorado.
  • Mission: To educate, advocate and collaborate to reduce barriers so that all families are able to access support to achieve their human milk feeding goals.
  • Equity Statement: COBFC is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion to create and empower just, inclusive and equitable policies and practices supportive of human milk feeding.

The coalition is made up of a volunteer Board of Directors and 4 workgroup team leads covering Healthcare, Community, Workplace/ Child care and Advocacy/Legislation . Our 4 working groups helped to co create the 3 Breastfeeding Laws in Colorado. 

  • The Workplace Accommodation for nursing Mother’s Act (Colorado Revised Statutes 8-13.5-104) This law protects a mom at work  for up to 2 years
  • Public Breastfeeding Law (Colorado Revised Statutes 25-6-302) 
  • Postponement of Jury Service for a Person Who is Breastfeeding a Child Act (Colorado Revised Statutes 13-71-119.5) This law postpones jury duty for 2 years with a providers letter emailed to the county clerk.

The COBFC and Le Leche League of Mountain plains hosts a conference together every other year. The Colorado Lactation Conference 2020:  Building Resilience to Navigate the Future was hosted virtually with speakers Felisha Floyd IBCLC,  Dr. Anne Eglash M.D, IBCLC, Robin Kaplan IBCLC, and Laurel Wilson IBCLC, CLE. 

As the Chair of the COBFC for the past 4 years, I am heading into my 3rd term. This year we are focusing on increasing our Equity work , training more Lactation professionals of color, funding our 2nd year Indegienous Breastfeeding Coalition of Colorado,  supporting 10 statewide projects through our COBFC Mini Grant funds,  continuing to recognize Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care facilities and hosting the 5th Annual Breastival this summer. I encourage you to contact your local state or county coalition and find out how you can volunteer!

About the Author

Katie Halverstadt is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Registered Nurse who is part of the Lactation team at Lutheran Medical Center. Katie teaches prenatal breastfeeding classes at Mountain Midwifery Birth Center, Lutheran Medical Center, and the Regional RN Obstetric Lactation Class. Katie, the Chair of the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition, oversaw the creation of the Colorado Breastival, one of the nation’s largest breastfeeding events, where over 500 families attend annually to enjoy a free day of activities, education and family connections. Katie holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Northern Colorado.

After the birth of her first child, she attended Regis University in 2010 to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. As a 2014 nominee for the Florence Nightingale Nursing award, she understands that the implementation of a strong Breastfeeding Community is an integral part for hospitals, birthing centers, and employers in Colorado to help families reach their breastfeeding goals. Katie is the proud mom of two amazing kids and loves leading her FREE weekly Breastfeeding Support group at Lutheran Medical Center.

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