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Going retro!

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Our current acting Surgeon General, Boris Lushniak MD MPH, gave a rousing address to the attendees at the United States Breastfeeding Coalition conference held in Arlington, VA on August 4.  His main message?  Let’s go retro!

Dr Lushniak spoke about 3 “retro” actions that he believes will improve the health of the nation:

Walking, Cooking at home and Breastfeeding

Walking: What is retro?  We used to walk everywhere we went: to school, to shop, to visit friends.  Cars were for long trips.  Not anymore.  We tend to get in the car and drive everywhere we need to go.  We might even drive our car from one end of the shopping center to the other if we go to both ends for the stores we want to visit.  We could walk.  Americans need to get out of their cars and walk more.   And we can walk more just for fun and recreation. 

Cooking:  What is retro?  Home cooked meals.  And back in the day they were prepared from local ingredients.  Not anymore.   Americans are relying more and more on fast foods, precooked foods and convenience foods.  These often have been processed so they have minimal nutritional content and fiber.    They also often contain unhealthy amounts of salt, sugar and fat, and they cost more.

Home cooking affords the family the benefit of fresh foods prepared at the time of the meal to preserve the most nutrient value.   It also usually means that the family sits down to eat together.  In a busy family this may be the only time in the day that the family unit is together to talk and share. 

Breastfeeding:  What is retro?  Every baby was breastfed for extended periods of time.  The only alternative was a wet nurse.  Not anymore.  Artificial baby milk is everywhere.  We are coming out of a period when breastfeeding was in severe decline.  Thankfully, that has turned around and national breastfeeding rates are climbing to over 77%.  We know well the benefits to the health of the baby and mother.  There are also benefits to the family and cost savings to the health care system.

So let’s go retro by walking more, cooking more at home and breastfeeding!

Tagged in: breastfeeding

Vergie Hughes has a long history of experience in Maternal Child Health including labor and delivery, post-partum and pediatrics, and for the past 25 years she has been involved in lactation management. Ms. Hughes has a BSN from Pacific Lutheran University and a MS from Georgetown University. She has been a board certified lactation consultant since 1985. At Georgetown University Hospital, she was the director of the Human Milk Bank. She created and developed the National Capitol Lactation Center and the one week Lactation Consultant Training Program. This course has trained more than 4,000 Lactation Consultants since its inception in 1990.


She has been a private practice lactation consultant and business owner, and operated her own lactation center, Washington’s Families First. Lactation Education Resources On-Line is her website, offering training to professionals and information to parents as well. Ms. Hughes has served on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and has served on the IBLCE exam writing committee. Her first love is teaching and that is exemplified by the creativity of the courses she has developed. A series of courses “The In-patient Breastfeeding Specialist,” "The Out-patient Breastfeeding Specialist” and “The NICU Breastfeeding Specialist” are all designed to advance the lactation management skills of nurses at the bedside. She regularly teaches skills to labor and delivery nurses and just recently developed the course “Towards Exclusive Breastfeeding.”


Ms. Hughes is the program director and content manager for all of the on-line Lactation Education Resources courses. Ms. Hughes was recently honored with a “lifetime achievement award” as Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association (FILCA).

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Guest Wednesday, 22 November 2017