The San Antonio Breastfeeding Coalition (SABC) is the central coordinating resource for breastfeeding support, advocacy and education in San Antonio, Texas. Their bilingual website is an excellent tool for families and professionals to access education, information, as well as current breastfeeding news and events. They support local events, such as the upcoming La Leche League of Texas conference and the Miracle Milk® stroll. Latch On San Antonio usually boasts an attendance of 500+ people, including 150+ mother/baby couplets! In May 2017, the United States Lactation Consultants Association will be hosting a conference in San Antonio with SABC as local chapter support. In addition to promoting and supporting these events, SABC provides quarterly scholarships to qualifying members needing assistance for lactation specific education, conferences or the IBCLC exam.
According to SABC President, Karen Bohr, RN, IBCLC, SABC’s current focus is to reestablish its diversity across race/ethnicity/socioecomonic divides in their breastfeeding community. Their ideal is to be a coaltion where all breastfeeding supporters—child birth educators, doulas, dieticians, SLT, OT, WIC agencies, doctors, nurses, midwives, CLC and IBCLCs—are active, participatory members. SABC strives to assess community needs and offer diverse topics/educational offerings at their general membership meetings at the San Antonio Baby Café.
Deanna Denise (“Dee”) Huerta, IBCLC, Certification of Nutrition, WCS, is the Breastfeeding Coordinator at Christus Health WIC in San Antonio, Texas. She has worked for Texas WIC for 9 years and for Christus Health WIC for 4. Christus Health WIC has 3 clinics in San Antonio, including one across the street from CHAMPS hospital, Christus Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Dee’s dream for the breastfeeding peer counseling program at Children’s Hospital is a model of collaborative care between hospital and community!
Christus Health WIC has 1 full-time and 3 part-time employees, and they are in the process of adding another full-time position. At their Children’s Hospital location, Dee and her team educate WIC enrolled and eligible families prenatally and support them post-discharge individually and in breastfeeding support groups. Currently, they are seeing patients at the WIC clinic across the street from the hospital. Hospital staff often refer families to the WIC clinic, where they may see Dee and her peer counselors on a drop-in basis without needing to make an appointment. WIC also staffs a 24-hour breastfeeding warm-line.
Dee’s dream for this program is to begin seeing patients within Children’s Hospital, so that WIC can partner with hospital staff more fully, screen patients for WIC eligibility, and support patients during their postpartum stays in-hospital. This would strengthen the relationship between hospital and community breastfeeding support, create a seamless referral system post-discharge, and increase the hospital’s capacity to provide infant feeding and support. Another of Dee’s goals over the next few years is to help Children’s Hospital become Baby-Friendly. They are currently in the Development phase of the 4-D pathway. Christus Health WIC maintains an average of 95% breastfeeding initiation rates between their 3 clinics; their Lackland Air Force Base clinic’s breastfeeding initiation rate is 100% most months.
In addition to supporting moms, Christus Health WIC has initiated San Antonio’s first ever “Peer Dad” program. This program educates fathers and the mother’s support system on what to expect during the breastfeeding process and how the family can support the mother in her breastfeeding journey.
In her spare time, Dee serves as Social Media Chair and is the incoming 2017 President for the San Antonio Breastfeeding Coalition. She also teaches free breastfeeding classes as part of the “The Lact Pack” hosted by Brian the Birth Guy, a local dude-la (doula). She is a member of USLCA and ILCA and was involved with San Antonio’s Baby Café program as their IBCLC for almost 2 years.
What does Dee love most about supporting breastfeeding moms? “The warm fuzzy feeling you get when a client searches you out on social media to friend you because you have left such an impression.” What personally motivates her to advocate for breastfeeding? “Knowing I am able to positively impact someone’s life.”
Congratulations, Dee, we wish you the best!
Note: This post has been transferred from CHAMPSbreastfeed.org. There were originally 2 comments. You can view it in this document.
Laura María Gruber, IBCLC, RLC is a rising star in the breastfeeding field! Based out of San Antonio, Texas, Laura is a private practice IBCLC and the owner of Breastfeeding Housecalls, LLC. She is also involved in multiple special projects. She participates in media and advocacy projects; is the founder of the San Antonio Breastfeeds! support group; has designed and implemented the LECHE (Lactation Education for Caregivers & Home-based Educators) program; is the writer of the Lactancia-Latina website; and is often relied upon by professional lactation organizations for translation services.
Laura beautifully expressed her experiences as a teen mom and later as an older mom who desired to breastfeed but received little to no support at the 2016 W.K. Kellogg Foundation First Food Forum. These personal experiences fuel her work. Laura shares: “One of the biggest motivators for me is simply remembering the rawness I felt in being mostly unsupported as a new breastfeeding mom—and the joy I felt in overcoming and owning my motherhood via breastfeeding. What I found through mothering at the breast and forgiving previous breastfeeding loss is something I'd like to help every mother who is looking for it be able to find.”
Through Breastfeeding Housecalls, LLC, Laura works daily with new families in San Antonio and the surrounding area, helping them overcome breastfeeding issues. In addition, she teaches classes to new parents and teaches a class specifically for moms seeking to overcome breastfeeding-loss from previous babies, so they can avoid breastfeeding barriers following their new pregnancy. Community organizations, businesses and special initiatives often consult Laura to increase their breastfeeding support to clients and patrons.
The Center for New Communities Early Head Start program hired Laura to design and implement the LECHE program. The program augments breastfeeding supportiveness in childcare settings, and helps to assure families that their caregivers have received special training in milk handling, local breastfeeding navigation, and in starting solids in ways that encourage a hearty milk supply. The development of this program was made possible by a grant from the Kellogg Foundation.
As a native Puerto Rican raised in San Antonio, Laura has a heart for the San Antonio Latino breastfeeding community. Her vision for this community is that all Latina moms, regardless of socio-economic status, receive culturally appropriate access to clinical lactation support, and that more Latinas become lactation professionals. Laura states: “In San Antonio, I work with all socio-economic classes of Latinos, yet, breastfeeding care delivery is interestingly different depending on the culture and social class the family is a member of. I feel that a better understanding of this uncommonly-discussed aspect of care-delivery among breastfeeding advocates is strongly needed.” Four San Antonio hospitals are enrolled in CHAMPS.
Look for Laura as host of a bilingual TV series on breastfeeding filmed through the Texas Department of Health, to be aired in late 2016. Congratulations, Laura, you are a true CHAMPion!
Note: This post has been transferred from CHAMPSbreastfeed.org. There was originally 1 comment. You can view it in this document.
Euphemia John, IBCLC, CLC and Twila Whitekiller, IBCLC, CLC help to run an outstanding lactation program at Cherokee Nation WIC! Euphemia, Lactation Coordinator, has worked there for 31 years, and Twila, Lactation Supervisor, has worked there for 11 years. Both women are members of the Cherokee tribe.
Cherokee Nation’s WIC program serves approximately 7,000 people monthly across 14 counties in Cherokee Nation in the state of Oklahoma. WIC has 12 clinic sites; 3 are satellite clinics and 7 are located in Cherokee Nation clinics. WIC also has sites within Indian Health Service hospital Claremore Indian hospital in Claremore, OK and within tribally operated Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, OK. Both hospitals are Baby-Friendly. Euphemia coordinates and supervises Cherokee Nation WIC’s breastfeeding program. WIC’s 3 Peer Counselors are located next door to Hastings Hospital and supervised by Twila. The WIC program and Hastings Hospital collaborate closely, and an easy referral system is in place. Pregnant women go to WIC for one-on-one prenatal counseling, and WIC lactation staff participate in OB hospital rounds and provide follow-up postnatal care for up to one year for mothers enrolled with WIC.
Other services and programs Euphemia, Twila and their teams offer include home visits; hospital visits to families whose babies are in the NICU; a breast pump loan program for NICU, student and working moms; an annual Mother’s Day reception; and annual World Breastfeeding Week and Big Latch celebrations. Both women also served on Baby-Friendly committees at nearby hospitals—Twila on Hastings Hospital’s committee and Euphemia on Claremore Indian Hospital’s. Claremore Indian Hospital was the first hospital in Oklahoma to become Baby-Friendly, and Hastings Hospital was the first tribally operated hospital in Oklahoma to become Baby-Friendly! Read more about Hastings here. The highlight of Twila’s work with Cherokee Nation WIC has been seeing Hastings Hospital become Baby-Friendly.
Euphemia shared: “I’ve been very fortunate in my job. I didn’t think I would stay there as long as I have. I really love the job. I guess that’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I couldn’t go anywhere else.” Euphemia would like to thank their WIC Director, Brenda Carter, who trusts them to do their work and makes this work possible.
Note: This post has been transferred from CHAMPSbreastfeed.org. There was originally 1 comments. You can view it in this document.
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the support they have provided for CHEER, CHAMPS, or the general public.