Author: Michelle Pensa Branco

About Michelle Pensa Branco

Michelle Pensa Branco

Michelle is a lactation consultant (IBCLC) and maternal-child advocate who has worked in hospital, community and private practice, as well as writing and teaching others about breastfeeding promotion, protection and support. She has worked as a consultant for Nurture Project International, UNICEF, Save the Children and other organizations on advocacy for breastfeeding and IYCF initiatives. Michelle is the co-founder of the non-profit SafelyFed Canada, which works to improve policy and practice for infants and their families during emergencies across Canada. She lives just outside Toronto with her family.

Chapter Motivations

Through my career in the field of breastfeeding, I have often found myself advocating for the needs and protection of infants and their families, whether within the health system or wider society. I have spent increasing time on advocacy for population-level supports for breastfeeding over the course of the past decade and there is nowhere that community preparedness matters more than during a disaster. 

From my own entry into emergency nutrition and humanitarian response, I know that there is a broad lack of awareness among those who work daily with families and the policies that affect them about the impacts of emergencies on infants and young child nutrition. However, I have also almost universally found that once policy-makers, management and staff understand what is at stake, it not only improves practices for emergencies, but also deepens their understanding in settings beyond that.