In 2005, healthcare providers from across the state met together at a “Breastfeeding Summit at the Beach” to define the strategies that would be used to promote, support, and protect breastfeeding in the state of Alabama. One of the recommendations made was to form a statewide breastfeeding coalition to address the many concerns identified at the summit and to continue to address new issues as they arose.
Dr. Lewis Doggett was named as the first chair of the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee (ABC) and committees included: Ten Steps, Daycare, Legislative, Public Policy, Business Case, and Provider Education. Many of these committees still exist presently.
The face of ABC has changed throughout the years but the group remains energized. Working relationships developed with regional breastfeeding groups throughout the state, who provide representation on the ABC Board of Directors. These groups include North Alabama Lactation Advocates (NALA), in the Huntsville area; Breastfeeding Education Support Team (BEST) in the Birmingham area; Central Alabama Breastfeeding group, in the Montgomery area; and Region IV Breastfeeding Taskforce, in the Mobile area. The Board of Directors voted in 2011, to make each of the regional groups an arm of ABC. Other breastfeeding groups within the state include Connections Breastfeeding (Huntsville) and the Alabama Lactation Consultants Association.
Baby Friendly hospital facilities and breastfeeding friendly daycares, physician’s offices, and businesses are the current focus of ABC.