Open Letter to Fed Is Best Foundation

ICEA wants you to know that we are part of a coalition of 40 organizations that sent an open letter to the co-founders of the Fed Is Best Foundation on August 15. You will find the letter below.

Dear Dr. Castillo-Hegyi and Ms. Segrave-Daly:

We write to you as fellow advocates for the health and well-being of infants and their families. We believe that we share a common goal—to ensure that every baby gets the strongest start to life. It is in that spirit that we extend an invitation to you to discuss the concerns that you and your organization, the Fed Is Best Foundation, have raised with respect to our nation’s infant feeding recommendations and associated health care practices.

We believe the ground we have in common is far greater than the areas where we may have disagreement. For the sake of all children, mothers and families, we therefore seek ways to unite in a shared vision rather than engaging in divisive messaging. For example, we all agree that the health of the baby is the ultimate goal, that infant feeding is a highly personal decision, that the mother should be fully informed of her options in making this decision, that nobody has the right to impose their beliefs or values on another, and that no infant, mother, or family should suffer as a result of ineffective support or care practices. We also agree that many physicians and other health care providers need improved training and education to ensure the competency to properly diagnose and address infant feeding issues, and that improved continuity of care is needed to enable new mothers to access timely, integrated, and continuous care throughout the prenatal and postpartum periods.

That’s a lot of common ground to build on.

Where we seem to disagree is on the root cause behind the tragic stories that Fed Is Best has recently highlighted. That is where we would hope to engage in some honest and constructive dialogue to find shared messaging focused on providing the accurate and unbiased information families need to make their personal infant feeding decisions, along with the appropriate care and support they need to implement those decisions.

We believe that we can be most effective in serving moms and babies when we attack the root causes of problems, rather than each other. For this reason, we invite you to meet with us to talk about your concerns and discuss ways we can work together to ensure that no family has to endure the pain and heartbreak of a baby who doesn’t get the nutrition they need to thrive. We hope that you will take us up on our offer and look forward to receiving your response.


1,000 Days
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
Alabama Breastfeeding Committee
American Association of Birth Centers
American Breastfeeding Institute
American Samoa Breast Feeding Coalition
Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc.
Baby Cafe USA
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
Best for Babes Foundation
Breastfeeding Task Force of Nevada
California Breastfeeding Coalition
California WIC Association
Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association
Eastern Kentucky Breastfeeding Coalition
Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition
Healthy Children Project, Inc.
Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition
International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners
International Childbirth Education Association
Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc.
La Leche League USA
Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition
Macomb County Breastfeeding Coalition
Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition
Michigan Breastfeeding Network
The Milk Mob
Mom2Mom Global
Mothers’ Milk Bank
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast
National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy
National WIC Association
Nebraska Breastfeeding Coalition
New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force
New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force
New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc.
NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council, Inc.
Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc.
Rhode Island Breastfeeding Coalition
Texas Breastfeeding Coalition
United States Lactation Consultant Association
Vermont Breastfeeding Network

Only One Month Left to Submit Your Abstract

Share Your Expertise at ICEA’s Conference

Just one month remains for you to submit an abstract for ICEA’s 2018 Conference on April 19-21, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA!

The conference theme focuses on ICEA’s newly defined core values:

  • COMPASSION: We believe approaching maternity care with compassion and a nurturing spirit improves birth outcomes for all families.
  • COLLABORATION: We practice a culture of collaboration based on the knowledge that mindful engagement with diverse groups advances positive, family-centered maternity care.
  • CHOICE: We support freedom of choice by training professionals committed to empowering expectant families through informed decision making.

If you have an idea for a presentation centered around one or more of our core values, we’d love to hear it! We’re accepting submissions for concurrent sessions, hands-on skills stations, and poster sessions.

All abstracts must be submitted through the online system by 5:00 PM EST on September 15. Abstracts will then be reviewed by the ICEA Conference Committee. Share your expertise today!

If you have any questions about submitting your abstract, please contact the office.

Tips for Successfully Submitting Your Abstract

Submitting your abstract can be easily completed by following the steps below.

  • Create a profile on the submission site– please note that all submitters will be considered First-Time Users this year
  • Complete information about the author(s)-  including bio, headshot, and contact info
  • Share information about your session- including session description, session type, session level, track, etc.
  • Upload completed EPT and COI
  • Make sure to see the submission to fruition- you will receive an email confirmation for each session that you successfully submit

Submit Your Abstract

Engorgement: An Often Misunderstood Condition

by Donna Walls, RN, ICCE, IBCLC, ANLC

When a mother tells you she’s engorged- check in and ask what she means. Too often our patients use the term meaning their breasts are fuller, heavier. Physiologically, this early filling is normal and this process, lactogenesis 2,  is the transition from colostrum to mature milk that occurs in the first days after birth.

Unfortunately, this process is too often referred to as “milk coming in”, interpreted by many new mothers as there is no milk for the newborn until they feel the filling. We know the number one concern in the first days is not having enough milk and continuing to use the “milk coming in” phrase perpetuates this myth. Changing your wording can have a major positive impact on a new mother’s confidence in her ability to make enough milk for her newborn. Referring to lactogenesis 2, when the breasts become rounder, fuller, firmer and heavier, as “milk change over” or “newborn milk changing to mature milk” can help mothers to understand the adequacy and importance of early colostrum feedings.

The condition of engorgement is actually pathological and can cause reduction or cessation of milk production if not alleviated quickly and effectively. When teaching prenatal class or helping a new mother in the postpartum days educate her as to the difference between normal filling and engorgement:

Normal Filling Engorgement
breasts warm hot, shiny
skin indentable skin unindentable
normal temp low grade temp
nipple graspable nipple flattened, tight
baby able to latch unable to latch

Factors which may increase the risk of engorgement are:

  • Use of IV fluids in labor
  • Separating mother and baby resulting in “missed feedings”
  • Scheduled rather than cue based feedings
  • Housing newborns in the nursery at night
  • Limiting or timing of length of feedings
  • Overstimulation- “extra pumping” in the first days
  • Use of “too tight” bras, wraps or clothing

Implementing effective treatments quickly is the key to resolving the discomfort and possible harm to breastfeeding. First, review baby led feeding or assure the mother understands cue feeding. Underscore the importance of non-separation of mother and baby to facilitate mothers’ observation of cues and states optimum for feeds. Ask them to discontinue if they are doing “extra” pumping, as mothers often mistakenly feel this may be helpful in having enough milk. A very effective technique is the water gravity massage, having the mother hang her breasts in tepid water (either in a clean sink or reusable tub) while doing a gentle massage from the base of the breast toward the nipple. As soon as milk begins to flow have the mother place the infant at the breast to begin nursing and effectively remove milk. This may be repeated later in the day if necessary,

As childbirth educators, doulas, nurses or midwives we can be an integral part of reducing the incidence and consequences of engorgement with education and early interventions and Including educating all caregivers in preventive care practices and implementing interventions quickly when engorgement is recognized.

Mary C. Brucker, Applying Evidence to Health Care With Archie Cochrane’s Legacy, Nursing for Women’s Health, 2016, 20, 5, 441
Anne Fallon, Deirdre Van der Putten, Cindy Dring, Edina H Moylett, Gerard Fealy, Declan Devane, Anne Fallon, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2016
BREASTFEEDING MEDICINE Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol #20, Volume 4, Number 2, 2009  Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/bfm.2009.9997
Bolman M, Saju L, Oganesyan K, Kondrashova T, Witt A. Recapturing the Art of Therapeutic Breast Massage during Breastfeeding. Journal of Human Lactation. 2013;29(3):328­331. doi:10.1177/0890334413475527
 Witt AM, Bolman M, Kredit S. “Breast Engorgement:  Clinical Course, Home Treatment and In-Office Education Breastfeed Med. 2014 Nov;9(S1)

World Breastfeeding Week 2017

In 2016, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) began the 15-year journey to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by linking each of these goals to breastfeeding. But, WABA cannot achieve sustainable development without multi-level partnerships at all levels.

The World Breastfeeding Week’s 25th year in 2017 is about working together for the common good!

World Breastfeeding Week calls on advocates, activists, decision-makers, and celebrants to forge new and purposeful partnerships. WABA wants us to attract political support, media attention, participation of young people, and widen our pool of celebrants and supporters together.

To learn more about World Breastfeeding Week, or to post an event you’re hosting in honor of the week, please visit their website.

American Holistic Nurses Association Recognizes Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, CHT, AHNBC for 2017 Holistic Nurse of the Year

Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, CHT, AHN‐BC of Nashville, Tennessee was honored with the 2017 Holistic Nurse of the Year award at the 37th Annual American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) Conference in Rancho Mirage, California, June 5 – June 10th, 2017. The Holistic Nurse of the Year (HNY) award is intended to recognize AHNA members with outstanding innovation and/or a change in the field of holistic nursing. It highlights nurses who have been working in holistic nursing for several years and have demonstrated a commitment towards the Holistic Nursing’s core values.

About Debra

Debra Rose Wilson PhD, RN, AHN‐BC, CHT, of Nashville, Tennessee has been a member of AHNA since 2000, and has been providing guided imagery certification to thousands of nurses for over 20 years. Debra is no stranger to AHNA awards. In 2016 she was the recipient of the AHNA Service Award and early in her career, she twice received the Charlotte McGuire Scholarship Award. Outside of AHNA, Debra has been recognized locally and nationally including the 2016 Faculty Engaged Scholar Award from Tennessee State University and a Commendation from the United States Army for providing workshops and training for the Department of the Army, 4203rd USA Hospital Medical Unit in Conference.

Debra’s specialties in nursing include self‐care, stress management, connections between mind and illness, trauma, and inflammatory connections between mind and body. Currently, she is working towards her second PhD in quantum physics, in an effort to discover how to better empirically describe quantum energy and its influence on health. On top of her own education, Debra is also a nurse educator herself. She has been teaching PNI to psych students for over 12 years and has developed a free online learning program called Psych Pharm, a stressless method of learning psychotropic drugs and is working on turning it into a free app for nursing students. It currently boasts 90,000 users. Debra teaches her students from a holistic paradigm and is the driving force behind the development of programs such as the MSN in Holistic Nursing, and Pain Management Training with Hypnosis for the Trigeminal Pain Association.

Debra is a regular speaker, locally, nationally, and internationally, has been a keynote speaker several times, and has over 100 publications and many more presentations. Her publications and presentations include Caring for Patients with Mental Health Issues: Strategies for all Nurses, 2nd Edition, a peer reviewed book she co‐authored and authored a chapter on ENERGY in the Holistic Nursing: Handbook for Practice, 7th Edition.

Debra is very active not only in her career and publications, but also in her local, national, and international communities. The contributions to her local community include the Nashville Sexual Abuse Center; SHARE, a grief support group for those families who have lost a baby; and Breast Feeding Support. Internationally, she was invited to be a visiting scholar for the Botswana ‘I am Proud to be a Nurse’ Pin Project, where she spoke about holistic nursing, stress management and self‐care for nurses.

Nationally with AHNA, Debra was the Nurse Planner for the 2015 AHNA Annual Conference in Branson, MO, was a member on the 2016 Conference Committee, is a member of the current 2017 Conference Committee, and will be the Nurse Planner for the 2018 Conference Committee. She has also been a member of two branches of the AHNA’s Education Committee for several years: the Education Approval Committee since 2000 and the Program Approval Committee since 2007.

About AHNA

At its founding in 1981, the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) adopted as its primary mission the advancement of holistic healthcare by increasing awareness and promoting education as well as personal community‐building among nurses, other healthcare professionals and the public. This professional specialty nursing membership organization is becoming the definitive voice for holistic nursing for registered nurses and other holistic healthcare professionals around the world. Holistic nursing focuses on integrating traditional, complementary and integrative treatment opportunities to improve the physical, mental, emotional and relational health of the whole person.

AHNA delivers valuable resources, improves educational tools, and offers superior networking opportunities to a vibrant and expanding universe of healthcare professionals. AHNA currently services approximately 4,500 members through 130 local chapters/networks in the U.S. and abroad.

Holistic nursing is recognized by the American Nurses Association as an official nursing specialty with both a defined scope and standards of practice.

For additional information, contact:

ICEA Certification FAQ


ICEA is thrilled to announce that the new certification process was officially launched on July 20, 2017.

ICEA is now your one-stop shop where you can get all of your maternal-child health certifications at an affordable price!

If you would like to view the general changes to each program, please visit our blog. If you are currently certified through ICEA, expect to see an email 90 days prior to your certification expiration with the correct fees listed. As always, you can contact with any questions.

How will the new process affect the membership I already have?
Because recertification and member renewal dates did not always line up, it was difficult for members and certificants to keep track of various expiration dates. To simplify the process, membership and certification are now bundled together and membership is granted with all certification phases.

If you have a current membership, then it is still valid until its expiration date. On your renewal date, you will be requested to pay a prorated dues fee to carry your membership through the end of your current certification cycle. Expect to see an email 90 days prior to your certification expiration with the correct fees listed. As always, you can contact with any questions.

If I have already enrolled in an ICEA certification program, is that enrollment still valid?
Yes, your enrollment is still valid and you do not need to do anything to switch to the new program.

If I enrolled prior to July 20, 2017, do I follow these new requirements or the requirements that I enrolled under?
Ideally, we would like for everyone to follow the new certification requirements as ICEA’s Board of Directors feel these are the requirements needed to ensure high-standard programs. However, if you enrolled prior to July 20, 2017, and cannot meet all of the new requirements, then you will only need to fulfill the requirements you enrolled under. Please contact the ICEA office for more specific information regarding the previous requirements.

The costs seem higher and different than when I enrolled, will I need to pay the difference?
The new fees are actually lower and more cost-effective. Under the old process, members paid an enrollment fee andannual membership fees. Because these fees were paid separately, the old processes seemed cheaper because it was broken up into numerous payments. During the transition period, prices reflected on the website for recertification are not necessarily equivalent to the fees that will be requested from you. Expect to see an email 90 days prior to your certification expiration with the correct fees listed. As always, you can contact with any questions.

I previously enrolled in the certification program, what do I need to do to switch over to the new streamlined process?
You do not need to do anything.

Will my current expiration date change with the new, streamlined process?
No, your enrollment and certification deadlines are still the same. If your membership has expired, then the ICEA office will contact you to make renewal arrangements.


What sets ICEA’s certifications apart from other certifications in the childbirth education or the doula field?
ICEA is your one-stop shop where you can get all of your maternal-child health certifications at an affordable price.

We pride ourselves on the ability to offer the programs that are most widely and easily available to maternal-child health professionals around the world. Most importantly, we believe success is found in following our core values:

  • COMPASSION:We believe approaching maternity care with compassion and a nurturing spirit improves birth outcomes for all families.
  • COLLABORATION:We practice a culture of collaboration based on the knowledge that mindful engagement with diverse groups advances positive, family-centered maternity care.
  • CHOICE:We support freedom of choice by training professionals committed to empowering expectant families through informed decision making.

Do I have to be an ICEA member to become certified?
ICEA membership is automatically granted to all certification candidates that enroll in our programs, when they become certified through our exam, and in the recertification process. All certification candidates enrolling in our programs are given up to two years to complete the necessary requirements, and, therefore, are granted up to two years of ICEA membership.  Additionally, all certified childbirth educators and doulas passing an ICEA exam or those seeking recertification will be given three years of membership to accompany their credential. This membership will ensure that all ICEA childbirth educators and doulas have access to the latest news, education, and programs needed to support the families they serve.

Does ICEA offer financial assistance to certification applicants? 
There are no scholarships available at this time.  However, ICEA’s pricing structure is a reflection of our goal to improve birth outcomes for all families in the international community. All pricing is based on data provided by the World Bank based on Gross National Income (GNI).

Why are the prices for country categories B-D so much cheaper than category A?
ICEA’s membership pricing structure is a reflection of our goal to improve birth outcomes for all families in the international community. All prices are based on the World Bank data for Gross National Income (GNI). The dollar is worth different amounts in different countries, so ICEA prices are equitable depending on the location of the member. Find your country’s category here.

If I want to transfer my certification from another organization, which organizations’ certifications are accepted through the ICEA Experienced pathways?
To qualify to apply for the experienced certification pathway for any of the ICEA certification programs, you must be certified through Lamaze International or DONA International.  Other certification programs are currently being evaluated.

If I do not have a certification with another organization, but I have been serving in my maternal-child health field for several years, can I enroll in the experienced pathway?
In order to ensure high-standard programs, ICEA believes that you must have previously obtained a certification from a recognized program to enroll through an experienced pathway. Otherwise, you need to enroll through a traditional pathway and an ICEA workshop to ensure you are abiding by ICEA standards.

What can I do if there is not an ICEA Certification Workshop in my area?
If you are considering the childbirth educator or birth doula certifications, there are online workshop options. If you are considering the postpartum doula certification or do not wish to take an online workshop for the childbirth educator or birth doula certifications, then you may reach out to an ICEA Approved Trainer to see if they may consider bringing a workshop to your local area.

Where and when are the exams given?
ICEA exams are taken online at a public facility of your choice with a confirmed proctor. You also choose the day and time of your exam that best fits your schedule.

What are the requirements for a proctor?
Proctors cannot be a family member, friend, or fellow ICEA certification candidate. Many people request to use their employer or a librarian at a public library.

Can I take the exam in another language besides English?
ICEA offers its exams in English, Spanish, and Chinese (Mandarin). Please let the ICEA office know if you need a translated exam or if you need the exam in a different language than mentioned here.

What if I need to change or cancel my exam date?
You may change or cancel your exam up to 10 days prior to the scheduled exam date.  Please contact the ICEA office at to make the appropriate arrangements.

How will I receive my exam results?
All ICEA examinations are taken online, therefore, candidates will immediately know their results upon completion. Each candidate will also receive an email from the ICEA Office within 1-2 business days of completing the exam with further details and information.

Can I retake the exam if I do not pass it the first time?
In the event a candidate fails the exam, ICEA will send the candidate a new examination application via email to retake the test. These candidates will have up to one year in which to pass the examination. They may retake the examination as many times as necessary within one year of the first fail date, providing repeat guidelines are followed and ICEA membership is maintained. Examinations ruled invalid will be treated as failed examinations and the candidate will have one year to retake the examination per guidelines. Each subsequent exam will be charged a fee based on geographic location. Please contact the ICEA Office for more information at

New Certification Process Has Launched

I am thrilled to announce that the new certification process has officially launched! Streamlining the process to better serve you has been our main priority since January’s Strategic Planning meeting, and the board and I are eager to offer these great new opportunities.

ICEA is now your one-stop shop where you can get all of your maternal-child health certifications at an affordable price!

Below are the general changes to each program. If you are currently certified through ICEA, specific changes related to what you owe will be sent in the coming weeks.

Changes for All ICEA Certification Programs

  • Membership is now included with all certification payments so you don’t have to pay ICEA several times in each certification cycle.
  • Membership and certification deadlines are now the same so it’s easier to remember when your certification is up for renewal.
  • We now offer more equitable pricing on a global scale so ICEA certificants can flourish in the international community.
  • You now get a 5% discount on all certification payments if you hold more than one ICEA certification so obtaining all your maternal-child health certifications through ICEA is more affordable.
  • You will now pay 40% less* for combined certification and membership so you save money. (*Slightly varies depending on current certification and phase of certification cycle.)
  • All forms and certification processes have been streamlined so the process is less confusing and complicated.

Changes to the Childbirth Educator Certification Program

  • Traditional Pathway: You must observe 3 births before you take the exam instead of 2.
  • Experienced Pathway: To qualify for this pathway, you must have been certified with ICEA or another recognized childbirth educator certification program within the last two years. Otherwise, you must enroll through the Traditional Pathway. Additionally, 6 position paper post-tests must be passed instead of 5.
  • Recertification: You no longer need to observe other classes, have your classes observed, observe births, or complete a self-evaluation.

Changes to the Birth Doula Certification Program

  • Exam: There is now an exam* for this certification to assure that ICEA is the GOLD standard of birth doula programs. (*If you enrolled in this program prior to July 20, 2017, you will still need to take the exam, but there will be no additional charge.)
  • Exam Application: You will now have two years from the date of enrollment to provide all documentation to take the exam and become certified.
  • Experienced Pathway: You no longer need to provide 2 letters of recommendation.

Changes to the Postpartum Doula Certification Program

  • Exam Application: A resource list is no longer necessary to apply for the exam.

If you have questions about any of these changes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, the board, or staff. We are honored you chose ICEA as your certification body, and we’re excited about your participation in our streamlined certification process.

Please Note: During the transition period, prices reflected on the website for recertification are not necessarily equivalent to the fees that will be requested from you. Expect to see an email 90 days prior to your certification expiration with the correct fees listed. As always, you can contact with any questions.

The board and I are incredibly excited for this next step, and we are certain these programs will serve your needs. We look forward to working alongside you to improve birth outcomes for all families in the international community.

In your service,

Debra Tolson, RN, BSN, ICCE, IBCLC, CPST
ICEA President, 2017-2018