History

History of Nursing Mothers Counsel

1977      Founded by Vincent and Beverly Degric as a satellite group of Prepared Childbirth Association.  This group functioned primarily as a support group known as “Bosom Buddies”.

1979      “Bosom Buddies” became affiliated with the national Nursing Mothers Counsel organization based in California.

1981      Officially became “Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon” and received non-profit status from the State of Oregon.  The primary emphasis became one of teaching breastfeeding classes.

1982      Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon established pump rental stations and became associated with Medela, Inc.

1983      Phone counseling became the primary emphasis of the organization.

1984      The central phone line system was established.

1985      For financial reasons, ties were broken with the national Nursing Mothers Counsel organization.

1988      A new logo was adopted.

1989      The “Breastfeeding Triage Tool” manual from Seattle-King County, Washington was adopted when “Counseling the Nursing Mother” became unavailable.

1991      NMC developed regular programs and activities including phone counseling through a central phone line system; Medela breast pump rentals as a revenue source; distributed to area hospitals updated NMC information flyers in English and Spanish; quality continuing education programs on timely breastfeeding topics for NMC members.  Continued to teach “Basics of Breastfeeding” to WIC clients and participated in the Washington County Breastfeeding Task Force established in early 1991.

1999      Oregon Senate Bill 744 was signed into law giving all Oregon women the right to breastfeed in public.  NMC received an award recognizing the organization as “Outstanding Breastfeeding Advocates” from Hanna Andersson and the Oregon DHS for the role NMC played in lobbying for this breastfeeding bill.

2002      NMC received a 3 year grant from the U.S. Office of Women’s Health.  Designated as one of 18 Community Demonstration Projects in their National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign, which involved a national launch of public service announcements by the Ad Council.

2003              A new logo was adopted.  NMC live line phone technology was established.  New class curriculum for the free breastfeeding classes was developed by NMC.   Mother support groups for parents of babies in the NICU were begun.  NMC contracted with Beyond Birth Lactation Services to provide in-home lactation consultant visits to breastfeeding mothers with no other access to care.  Efforts to build a community coalition were increased, leading to the organization of the Portland Area Breastfeeding Coalition (PABC) and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon (BCO).

2004      A volunteer Executive Director position was established. OWH grant funds were extended four times.  Campaign ad play is minimal, but there is great success in promoting breastfeeding in the media.

2005      NMC sponsors and lobbies for SB 618 which describes appropriate workplace accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. NMC’s Board engages in strategic planning and the new “three pillar” Support, Promote and Protect Mission is adopted.  Brochures and website are redesigned to reflect the Mission. OWH funds related to breastfeeding campaign are ending and the NICU support groups are not sustainable. NMC continues Lactation Services Program.  Oregon DHS awards NMC 3-year contract to 1) support PABC, 2) build a Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon (BCO) by 2008, and 3) promote the Breastfeeding Mother-Friendly Employer Project.  PABC is going strong; chief activities of 2005 include research into a NW region community based human milk bank.  The BCO plan is drafted, distributed and reviewed by statewide contacts.

2007      NMC and Oregon DHS launch the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon.  NMC finishes its contract with DHS for establishing the BCO.  NMC joins with Community Health Partnership:  Oregon’s Public Health Institute to oversee the BCO.  NMC sponsors, lobbies for and passes the most comprehensive breastfeeding and return to work legislation in the country.  Providence Health System donates $1000 toward NMC’s Lactation Services Program and pledges to cover all printing costs for NMC’s quarterly newsletter In Mother Words for 2008.  New Seasons Market pledges to cover the costs of NMC’s peer counseling phone line and becomes NMC’s first corporate breast pump renter.  NMC is awarded a $1000 grant from PGE Foundation for the Lactation Services Program.

2008      Oregon’s breastfeeding and return to work legislation is law effective Jan. 1, 2008.  NMC continues working with BOLI to implement the new law.  NMC is awarded a $5000 grant from the Hoover Family Foundation for their Lactation Services Program, which allows for its expansion to include frenectomies.  In May, NMC organizes its first Mother’s Day Tea fundraiser, and in Sept. holds its 3rd Annual Breastfeeding Month Fundraising Luncheon, raising an unprecedented $10,000.  A new logo is adopted, updating NMC’s image.

2009      NMC dissolves the volunteer Executive Director position and contracts a Volunteer Coordinator for approximately 20 hours per month.  Community Health Partnership (CHP) takes on the majority of the financial responsibility for the BCO, but NMC holds a seat on the Executive Committee and serves as the breastfeeding content experts.  NMC increases outreach with more brochure distribution to hospitals and birthing centers, more free breastfeeding classes aimed at underserved populations, and an increased presence at health fairs and events.  Cranio-sacral therapy is added to the services provided for under the Lactation Services program.  NMC creates the Amelia Psmythe Leadership Award in honor of Amelia’s nearly 12,000 volunteer hours and 10 years of service to NMC.

2010      NMC launches the Workplace Lactation Support Services program to work with employers to support nursing mothers return to work. NMC names its breastfeeding classes “The Building Blocks of Breastfeeding.” The Healthcare Reform Law is passed establishing a national mandate requiring employers provide nursing mothers with protections to successfully breastfeed after returning to work.

2011      NMC’s Board engages in policy planning and adopts a number of key policies including an Equal Opportunity Policy Statement. The Board also adopts a Vision statement for the organization.