Sunday, January 26, 2020

Breastfeeding Conferences 2020

It has become an annual tradition for me to research lactation conferences, check registration links and put it all together in a neat package for colleagues and advocates. I was definitely NOT prepared to see the increase in offerings. There are nearly twice the number of lactation specific conferences than in 2019. With so many fabulous choices, how can one decide on which ones to attend? Let me offer 11 suggestions for narrowing down your search

1. Location. Support your local coalitions and organizations. There is a lot of effort and thought that goes into planning and executing these large events and they should be well-attended. Locals make up the majority of the audience and organizers are counting on you. Staying local will present the opportunity to meet people in your own backyard and you may find networking and collaboration opportunities. Remember, if the conference is a success, it will most likely be a reoccurring event.

2. Cost. It is no small investment to attend a conference. The options for 2020 range from around $100 to $500. A low-cost option does not mean a low-quality program. Some conference committees work hard to get sponsors to keep pricing low. Check for discounts. Many conferences offer member or student discounts and early bird pricing. If you are looking for a specialty training or attending a multi-day event, the pricing is sure to be higher. Just remember to budget for the events you would like to attend. If you want more suggestions on how to save money, check out last year's conferenceblog.

3. Contact Hours. Many professions require continuing education for re-certification. Conference organizers have to apply for these in advance. IBCLCs need 85 L-Cerps every 5 years. Nurses, Registered Dietitians, Physicians, etc. all need to meet minimum requirements. Don't just assume you will receive CEUs, BRNs, etc., double check before registering.

4. Presenters. We all have our favorites, but venture beyond the big names. There are plenty of rising stars who have a lot to share. I love to support fresh faces that come along with new ideas. Of course, I'm not ready for anyone to retire--there are still quite a few I need to learn from (looking forward to crossing a few off my bucket list in 2020). And let's be honest, there are lactation legends that could never be replaced.

5. Topics. This one gets me all the time. There is so much I want and need to learn. I often base my choice on what I am seeing in private practice or what my students want to know more about. I feel responsible to learn the new information and pass it on to others. I jump on opportunities to learn new research and absolutely love it when I get to hear from the researchers themselves.

6. Diversity. I mean this in every sense of the word. This is often the work of the organizers. Hopefully, people are realizing the value and necessity (along with urgency) of having a variety of speakers that address even the most uncomfortable topics. You will notice several conferences including this aspect this year. Choose diversity. It may seem like some groups are overcompensating, but we are making up for lost time.

7. Organizers. Who are you supporting? I like to know where my investment is going. I tend to support my friends, non-profits and small businesses. This list will look different for everyone. Sometimes people will select a conference where some proceeds go to a cause near and dear to their heart. Others like to attend conferences that offer scholarships. Some people may decide not to attend a conference that does not follow the WHO Code. You have your reasons and you get to vote with your funds. If you have a specific question, reach out to the event coordinator prior to registering.

8. Refund Policy. Many people attending breastfeeding conferences are involved in the birth world where the unexpected is expected. Know the refund policy. What is the latest to cancel without penalty? Do the organizers keep your deposit? Is there a way to receive a partial refund if an emergency arises? You can save yourself some disappointment if you know the policies ahead of time.

9. Public Transportation. This may be a deal breaker. I have looked at low-cost conferences but after budgeting airfare, rental car and/or Uber the cost became elevated. I even attended a conference where there was a $25 parking fee for each of the three days! Take into consideration ease of travel and location in regards to transportation so you can budget accordingly.

10. Exhibitors. Some conferences are market free and those may be the ones you wish to support, but I always like to see the newest gadgets and how they work. I always purchase from local vendors and support the small businesses that have invested in order to keep my cost low. I feel like I would rather purchase from them rather than pay more to register. It is a win-win for me. I also am very social, so hanging out in the exhibit area is a highlight to my day. It is so much easier to connect in a social environment than in the conference room. Some of my best ideas and most successful partnerships were birthed in the exhibit hall.

11. Attendees. Yep, I want to know who I get to connect with. I love meeting like-minded people and finally connecting in person. Social media is great, but nothing compares to grabbing a cup of coffee in person. I put this last, but personally, I get giddy when I know I will be seeing friends. I just didn't want to out myself as a fan-girl. I get motivated, inspired, excited and encouraged by the attendees as much (if not more than) the presenters. Who will I see at the 2020 Conferences? I cannot wait to connect in real life.

2020 CONFERENCES (listed in order of scheduled dates)
Click the title to follow the links to the conferences
Organization or Topic



Early Bird rates are listed, member/ group discounts may apply
Jan 14-17, 2020
Deerfield Beach, FL
$175 per day
Jan 21-23, 2020
Sacramento, Ca
February 7, 2020
Kenmore, WA
Additional locations and dates
Check the website
February 7-8, 2020
Atlanta, GA
February 9-10, 2020
Richmond Hill, NY
February 20-23, 2020
Anchorage, AK
February 29, 2020
Dallas, TX
March 4-May 4, 2020
March 5-6, 2020
Oshkosh, WI
Nursing Mother's Council of BACE March 9, 2020 Boxborough, MA $145
New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force March 12-13, 2020 Albuquerque, NM $350
LC in Private Practice March 14-15, 2020 Philadelphia, PA $475
March 16-17, 2020Atlanta, GAComing soon
March 25, 2020
Dalton, GA
March 26, 2020
Portland, CT
March 27-28, 2020
Houston, TX
March 27-28, 2020
Dublin, OH
March 28, 2020
Rock Hill, SC
March 30-June 1, 2020
AHEC North Carolina March 31, 2020 Winston-Salem, NC $115
April 2, 2020
Fairview Heights. IL
April 2, 2020
Troy, NY
Coming soon
April 17, 2020
San Joaquin County, CA
April 17, 2020
St. Paul, MN
Coming soon
May 17-20, 2020
New Orleans, LA
April 20-21
Austin, TX
April 23-24

April 24, 2020
S. Burlington, Vermont

Cleveland, OH


April 24-25
Viera, FL
April 24-27, 2020
Seattle, WA
April 25, 2020
Fayetteville, NC
April 27-28, 2020
Anchorage, AK
April 30, 2020
Raleigh, NC
May 7-8, 2020
Holyoke, MA
Coming soon
May 13-15, 2020
Detroit, MI
Coming soon
North Carolina Lactation Consultant Association
June 8, 2020
North Carolina

June 12-13 2020
Scottsdale, AZ
coming soon
June 13-17
Phoenix, AZ
Coming soon
July 8-11, 2020
Houston, TX
Coming soon
August 26-28, 2020
New Orleans, LA
Coming soon
September 11-13, 2020
San Antonio, TX
Coming soon
September 15-November 15, 2020
October 9-10, 2020
Flintstone, MD
February 19-21

February 20-22



Warmambool, VIC

traveling training



March 4 & September 15, 2020
March, 2020
5 Locations; Australia and online
March 30-June 1, 2020
April 24-25, 2020
Milton Keynes, MK17 OPH
May 14-16, 2020
Milan, Italy
ABM Australasia

November 19-20
Harrogate, UK
Coming soon
April 29-May 1, 2021 (Biennial)
Norfolk, VA

2021 (Biennial)

Canadian Lactation Consultant Association (CLCA)
Vancouver, Canada

I am sure that this list will be edited regularly. Please leave comments for any updates or additions to the 2020 calendar. Also, tell us why you choose to attend conferences. Do any of the 11 reasons above resonate with you? Which one(s) are you looking forward to attending in 2020?