Friday, August 3, 2012

Mother-to-Mother Breastfeeding Support in Lebanon!

The first week of august is 'Breastfeeding Week' and what better way to celebrate this day, increase awareness about breastfeeding and pledge its importance than to create a solid support system for moms in Lebanon! Therefore, this guest post - by Nadiya Dragan El Chiti, a breastfeeding activist certified from the WHO in “Exclusive Breastfeeding" - is much needed!

' Since beginning of 2011 when I started working in Lebanon as a breastfeeding specialist many things have changed: the awareness about breastfeeding has increased greatly, many hospitals are currently working on receiving a title of “baby-friendly” (which means “breastfeeding-friendly), there are lactation courses offered to medical professionals, the new City Center mall being built right now will have a breastfeeding area for its customers, there was even a TV ad released recently to promote breastfeeding! And my favorite change of all is that now we have several groups in Lebanon that offer free mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and encouragement, about which I will gladly tell you in this article! '

La Leche League International is now in Lebanon

La Leche League International (LLLI) is the oldest and most reputable breastfeeding support organization around the world. For more than 50 years this organization has been growing and offering free of charge breastfeeding help and most up-to-date information on breastfeeding all over the world (see The unique aspect of this organization is that it is run by volunteering mothers! Women who have successfully breastfed for about a year and have the passion to support other breastfeeding moms can apply for leadership and start representing LLLI in their area/country. Once accredited a new leader will start her own group in the area where she lives and will have monthly meetings for mothers in her area to attend. A leader is also trained to give free consultations on different breastfeeding topics to mothers who need help.

Now we have LLLI represented in Lebanon! You can join their facebook group “La Leche League, Lebanon, Middle East” and see when and where the next monthly meeting will be held in Lebanon! All the meetings are free of charge and are informal gatherings of breastfeeding moms where attendants bring their babies and freely discuss different breastfeeding questions and share their experiences with each other! You can also email the leader in Lebanon via if you have a particular question in breastfeeding you would like to discuss.

Mama-to-Mama Beirut Breastfeeding Support group

This is another opportunity for face-to-face meetings for breastfeeding moms in Lebanon free of charge. This group is run by Tamara Drenttel Brand, MA, MPH, a newly accredited lactation educator counselor, and a mother of an adorable fully breastfed 11 month old baby boy! The group meets bimonthly and you can join their FB page “Mama to Mama Beirut Breastfeeding Support” to follow the discussions of the members and see when and where the next meeting will be held. You can also reach Tamara directly via or 70/998062.

Facebook Breastfeeding Groups in Lebanon
So there is Tamara’s “Mama to Mama Beirut” and there is mine – “Breastfeeding in Lebanon” with more than 260 members at the moment. Both groups offer a safe space for mothers to discuss their current problems and questions in breastfeeding as well as share their frustrations and achievements while mastering this beautiful art of mothering – breastfeeding.  Tamara and me monitor the discussions on the groups and contribute to them with our knowledge as breastfeeding counselors. We also constantly put links of new research findings in breastfeeding and share breastfeeding news from around the world.

Breastfeeding Peer Counselors in Lebanon

Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
will support your choice of breastfeeding
This is the most recent and most exciting advancement Lebanon has made this year in the field of mother-to-mother support – 7 passionate breastfeeding moms in Lebanon have volunteered to take the course on peer counseling offered by Tamara Drenttel Brand through AUB, and now are ready to offer free breastfeeding mother-to-mother support in their areas! Breastfeeding Peer Counselors are volunteers with personal breastfeeding experience who are trained to help mothers breastfeed by offering support, education & encouragement.
Why do I want to be a peer counsellor?
I would like to be that phone number in a new mother’s phone that always answers, listens, doesn’t judge, speaks kindly and comes to her aid with solutions and support. I want to her to know that I have no agenda other than to support her in deepening and nourishing the love she already has for her new baby.ds to communicate her needs!!! Most life-changing for me though, was that she also arrived with a hearty appetite for the breastmilk I would make. And so began a relationship that I have huge difficulty even describing without sounding clich├ęd. ‘Empowering’ is probably the word that captures best what breast-feeding has meant for me – I thought giving birth was my body performing at its best but I really no idea that it was capable of so much more. Feeding my baby with milk made from my own body has just been an incredibly intimate and loving experience.
Why do I want to be a peer counsellor?
I would like to be that phone number in a new mother’s phone that always answers, listens, doesn’t judge, speaks kindly and comes to her aid with solutions and support. I want to her to know that I have no agenda other than to support her in deepening and nourishing the love she already has for her new baby.
Contact info of all the counselors! 

Please feel free to contact any of them if you have questions about breastfeeding or need some support and encouragement to continue breastfeeding! Our breastfeeding peer counselors are waiting to hear from you!

Hayat Karanouh Naboulsi ‎  
Phone: 03/33 37 36, Email:
Languages: Arabic, French & English

Sinead O'Dea  
Phone: 76/121929, Email:
Languages: English & Spanish

Farah Barbir Ounsi 
Phone: 03/631776, Email:
Languages: Arabic, English & Some French

Brooke El-Amine  
(Ras Beirut)
Phone: 70/113051
Language: English

Elizabeth Abi Khalil 
(Jbeil, Jounieh & Batroun)
Phone: 03/187683, Email:
Languages: Arabic, French & English

Angela Bonifacio   
Phone: 70/247 747, Email:
Languages: English, French, Spanish & Italian

Carole Bourjeily Bou Habib  
(Horsh Tabet & Sin El Fil)
Phone: 03/799177, Email:
Languages:  Arabic, French & English

Breastfeeding is the most beautiful gift a mother can give to her baby and herself! Now we have so many mother-to-mother support opportunities in Lebanon! Help, advice and an encouraging word is just a phone call away and at the tips of your fingers on Facebook! We are waiting to hear from you, ladies!

Guest post by Nadiya Dragan El-Chiti

Nadiya Dragan El-Chiti is a graduate from the University of Maine, Orono (USA), with Master’s Degree in Communication and a certificate from World Vision in coordination with WHO for accomplishing an intensive training in “Exclusive Breastfeeding”. In 2009 after giving birth in Lebanon and starting to nurse her own daughter. Mrs.Nadiya developed a great passion in breastfeeding and decided to start on a new path as a breastfeeding activist spreading the knowledge about this beautiful way of mothering  to all the Lebanese women around. It started as a small informal gathering  with friends one winter evening and turned into a series of monthly seminars – intensive programs of several hours each intended for pregnant mothers and anyone interested in breastfeeding providing all the essentials tips and practical techniques to ensure that every mother in Lebanon can have a successful and enjoyable experience. In addition, Mrs. Nadiya also provides personal support and assistance to mothers who already gave birth and are facing challenges in breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is simple and natural, but only if the mother knew how to do it and what to expect.
 * This post is published in Moms and to Be magazine - June, issue 42 [Republishing authorized by Nadiya Dragan El-Chiti]