Our legislative efforts continue. This year, we have two bills in the legislature. Both bills have the same content, though the titles of the bills are different.

Our heartfelt thank you for the support of: Representative Marjorie Decker. She introduced: H3496: An Act to improve breastfeeding care.And to Senator Adam Hinds. He introduced S.1270 An Act promoting the health and well-being of mothers and infants. Those titles are very apt.

These two bills address the issue of access to breastfeeding care for all Massachusetts families. The Affordable Care Act already mandates that insurance pay for breastfeeding support. The catch is that licensure is often required by insurance companies, and certainly Medicaid, in order to pay for lactation support and services. Our bills would provide licensure for IBCLCS so that every insurance company will provide this level of care. This real issue is: what is support?

The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) certification is recognized as the most rigorous standard of lactation education. Every family needs and deserves timely and consistent expert advice. Waiting a few weeks or having only one consultation can compromise the mother’s milk supply and the well being of both mother and baby. This is especially true for a preterm or SGA (small for gestational age) infant, a mother with a metabolic disorder and mothers/babies who had a difficult birth.

As with the bill we filed last legislative session, all others who provide breastfeeding support can continue to provide breastfeeding support as they are currently doing. An IBCLC, to be clear, is a lactation specialist who will observe and guide both the mother and the baby. An IBCLC is thoroughly versed in basic and complex situations that affect the breastfeeding pair. The point of licensure is to provide a consistent, thorough standard of care. This is assurance for families, other health care providers and insurance companies.

Let your representative and senator know why support from an IBCLC is important to you. (Find your legislator here.)

Timely, consistent and thorough care is an investment in family health. Thank you to Representative Decker and Senator Hinds for their support.