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The Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition (NWGBC) celebrated its 30th anniversary by hosting its 18th annual professional conference. After three years of on-demand only, they were excited to be back in person. On-demand was also offered at this year’s conference.
The 2023 conference was held at the Dalton Convention Center and featured Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA. The conference title, “Is That Even Legal? Law and Ethics for Lactation Providers,” gave the attendees consisting of nurses, WIC staff, IBCLCs, dietitians/nutritionists, and community volunteers a rare look at how the law applies to protecting parents.
The Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition began on March 11, 1993, in Dalton, Georgia. The first official meeting was attended by 16 interested persons and led by Carol Srymanske. Theresa Brown and Patty Spanjer, attendees at the first meeting, are still very involved in the coalition.
Carol Srymanske, former WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator of the North Georgia Health District, and her husband, Jay, both passed away in November 2008. In memory of Carol and Jay, the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition provides scholarships to selected conference attendees each year. The primary requirement is involvement in lactation work through employment, volunteer work, or as a student.
Throughout the years, the group has met monthly to plan projects and discuss goals important to the group. Members include La Leche League Leaders, breastfeeding peer counselors, lactation consultants, IBCLCs, nurses, midwives, WIC personnel, registered dietitians, therapists, and interested community members.
The NWGBC has produced two videos titled Getting Started with Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding: A Guide to Success, available in both English and Spanish. They have been very well received and sold internationally. Breastfeeding: A Guide to Success is now free to stream at https://nwgabfcoalition.com/breastfeeding-a-guide-for-success-video/.
The NWGA Breastfeeding Coalition plans and hosts an annual conference highlighting well-known speakers in the field of lactation. Additionally, the Coalition sponsors training sessions for public health personnel and community leaders, nurses, lactation consultants, and doctors.
The Mission Statement for the NWGBC is:
The coalition serves to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding as the preferred and accepted method of infant feeding. Their activities focus on education and training, data collection, and the dissemination of current research information as well as community and public health advocacy.
The NWGBC sponsors an annual “Express Your Superpower” 5K/10K/1Mile Run/Walk. The funds raised are used to support breastfeeding education in all of Georgia. This year it will be held Saturday, September 30, 2023, at 8 AM in Canton, GA. For more information, visit www.expressyoursuperpower5k.com.
The Coalition continues to support breastfeeding advocacy and breastfeeding families in our community. We celebrate their 30 years of continual service!