The mission of San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation (SDBFCF) is to reduce socioeconomic disparities in breastfeeding support by increasing access to qualified lactation consultants for low-income families. The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies heavily on donations from our friends, clients, and local community members.
From our president, Robin Kaplan, IBCLC
Becoming a mother is life changing. There are truly no words to describe it. We have all experienced those moments when we felt like our hearts could burst with joy, as well as the times when self-doubt felt unbearable and overwhelming. Having access to breastfeeding support in those early days can be critical in building a mother’s self confidence, as well as guide her through those early stages of motherhood. My lactation consultant was a lifesaver, in my eyes, because she gave me the tools and the confidence to breastfeed my children. She was one of the reasons that I wanted to become a lactation consultant.
What has become extremely apparent since I started the San Diego Breastfeeding Center in 2009 is the lack of access to lactation consultants for women and families of color and lower socioeconomic status. Breastfeeding support from a qualified and educated practitioner has become a benefit for those who can afford it, while those with limited funds are not able to access this crucial feeding support.
I thought that lack of access would be ameliorated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2014, as it clearly states that insurance companies are required by law to pay for lactation consultations by a qualified practitioner. Instead, as many of you have found out, families are being told that they have coverage for lactation services, but that there is no one in network. Therefore lactation support still remains an out of pocket expense. Lactation services may be reimbursed for the lucky few with excellent comprehensive health insurance. For most, especially those with less inclusive HMO’s, insurance companies have found extensive loopholes to deny these services, so much so that the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) is filing a class-action lawsuit again the major national insurance companies on behalf of women who have been denied coverage for lactation counseling under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
I have become saddened and angered that mothers often choose to stop breastfeeding because they are unable to get the breastfeeding assistance to help resolve their challenges. I am furious that socioeconomic status significantly determines who has access to lactation support and who doesn’t. Rather than get frustrated and enraged with the system, I have decided to take action and change what is happening to our local mothers.
In March 2016, I filed the articles of incorporation for the San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation (SDBFC Foundation.) The mission of San Diego Breastfeeding Center Foundation (SDBFCF) is to reduce socioeconomic disparities in breastfeeding support by increasing access to qualified lactation consultants for low-income families. We plan to accomplish this through: (1) subsidized lactation visits with International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center (SDBFC), (2) collaborations and trainings to improve culturally-relevant breastfeeding knowledge among community practitioners, and (3) providing scholarships and internships for culturally diverse women to support them in becoming IBCLCs.
Will you help us raise money so that ALL mothers in San Diego have access to the breastfeeding support they deserve?