USBC Conference 2023 was a great experience for someone so young and new in the field. The preconference grounded me. Allowing me to feel new, but be in a place to learn about how to execute program finances in a way that I understand. Being around so many different people who all have the same mission was intriguing to me, and humbling. A lot of times I feel like the only one in my area doin what I am for lactation, so to sit in the Black caucus and listen to other people who look like me and share experiences was a moment I will not forget. Lastly, learning how to be brave and bold with what I want. I am the only person who knows what my community needs, so stepping out and asking for what I need is the only way I can continue this work. I am grateful to be able to learn and explore other means of doing care and talking with stakeholders in my community whom I may not have thought about before.
This June, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Bethesda, Maryland with several other lactation support providers from Kansas to attend the 2023 National Breastfeeding Conference. What a gift to spend time hearing from and speaking with so many passionate individuals! There was so much collaboration between people from across the country, of different backgrounds and professional positions, all coming together to learn from each other to make our communities and organizations more supportive of breastfeeding families.
My biggest takeaway from the conference could be summarized with the words “be bold.” I plan to bring this attitude to my local coalition in the programs we plan, our community outreach events, and our fundraising efforts.
My favorite quote from the speakers was “you have not because you ask not.” How often in our work are we afraid to ask? What can your stakeholders provide for you? Ask! The worst that can happen if you ask for what you need is to be told “no.” And if you are told “no” from one funding source, ask someone else! If a door is unopened, perhaps it is unlocked but no one has turned the handle. Think outside the box in where you seek support. Who in your community might support you, if you would just ask? Oftentimes we know our obvious supporters, but miss potential allies by thinking too small.
Another important question is, what does your community need? Ask! It is important to remember that our programs and services are not about us, but those we serve. And don’t be afraid to pivot if you find that what your families need is different than what you are already providing. We need to be the voice for the families in our communities!
I want to thank the KBC for providing me with the chance to attend this energizing conference! The future is bright for breastfeeding in Kansas!
This was my first time attending the US Breastfeeding Committee’s Annual Conference. It was an amazing opportunity to see the field of lactation and network with others in the field. The Land Acknowledgement and Zotigh Singers were a wonderful, humbling way to ground the work and conference. The first plenary session: Partnering to Promote Continuity of Care in the First Food Field was great to learn to about the continuity of care in breastfeeding support and identifying strategies in each of the speakers’ communities. I want to more effectively utilize the blueprint. The awards ceremonies were a highlight to see how people are leading way in disrupting systems and leveraging community assets.
The Whova application provided a great resource to access resources provided by speakers and panelists. I also connected with attendees from other places, including others from Kansas that are doing great work. I plan to review and identify ways to utilize the following:
- Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)
- Continuity of Care in Breastfeeding Support Blueprint
- Sustainability through community partnerships and strategies
A newbies viewpoint…
I had the pleasure to attend the USBC this year for the first time. I am not sure of what I was expecting, but I was floored with all the information, insight, and networking done at the conference. The conference was full of guest speakers supporting lactation promotion and change to local and national initiatives to building partnerships. It was phenomenal!
One of the main highlights was the PUMP Act Celebration!! BRING IT ON!! It was such a delight to see how every single person celebrated this achievement, celebrated one another, and made sure the information was passed on to those that did not know about it. If you did not know what the PUMP Act was, you left the conference knowing about it, owing it, and spreading the news.
Another highlight was the Zotigh Singers! Learning about Zotigh singers and the culture was an eye-opener. As they sang, their voices traveled across the conference room like the wind, taking you back in time. Everyone listened to them with such attention and respect.
The last highlight was the caucus time, meet up, and virtual meets. Having the opportunity to get together, meet and greet, and discussed topics with individuals with similar interest but from different regions was great. We all have one common goal and passion: breastfeeding.
The USBC Conference is an amazing experience! From the pre-conference workshop, to the opening ceremony; which was absolutely beautiful! This conference was an amazing opportunity to connect with people all over the United States and support each other’s work in the breastfeeding Community. I learned tools that can support securing funding for Kansas breastfeeding program, which is always high priority and I learned a few new ways to build sustainability moving forward.
Thank you KBC for a wonderful experience that I will never forget!