After the United States Breastfeeding Committee conference in Arlington, we made our way to Washington DC to lobby for 4 days. We walked endlessly from meeting to meeting and talked to the staffers of senators and congressmen about making breastfeeding promotion more of a public health priority. For the most part, we were well received (there were a few young, male staffers that blushed hot and red every time we said “breast”).
We were in DC the week Scott Brown won Massachusetts and the Health Care bill died. Members of the health care committees were feeling dejected and discouraged, realizing all their work had been futile. We met with members of the house and senate that are on health care committees because chances are, any new legislation pertaining to breastfeeding will be referred to one of these committees. My impression was that every senior staffer with any influence in the office had at least some knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding and agreed it was important to promote breastfeeding as much as possible.
We will continue to lobby Washington law makers to make real and measurable progress in raising awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.