Milk ducks on a mission

Backed by insubstantial but irrefutable evidence,  plastic ducks benefit greatly from skin-to-skin contact. Holding plastic ducks skin-to-skin has been shown to increase their likelihood of performing well at the International Breastfeeding Conference’s Milk Duck Races, according to past participants. 

Here’s a breakdown of the race: 

A swarm of buzzing maternal child health advocates surrounds the hotel pool. Guests inconspicuously and perhaps somewhat anxiously glance over their shoulders wondering what could be about to happen. The anticipation lies thick despite a nearby, gentle ocean breeze.

A woman named Kristin raises a loud speaker proudly. She passionately announces Healthy Children Project’s (HCP) International Breastfeeding Conference famous Milk Duck Race.

What follows: A blow up pool filled with well over 100 sleek, plastic ducks is hurled into the water.

The crowd erupts into fervorous cheer, encouraging the ducks to “Swim! Swim faster!”

Hotel guests can’t help but become captivated by the excitement and utter silliness. They create forceful waves urging the ducks closer and closer to their undetermined finish line, although the ducks held skin-to-skin hardly need the extra oomph. 

Former Milk Duck Queens Sheri Garner and Nikki Lee crown the 2016 Milk Duck Queen Cathy Holland.

Alas, only one of the ducks bobs sideways to victory. The duck’s holder is donned Milk Duck Queen or King or their chosen title of nobility. 

Milk Ducks can be purchased each year at the conference for five-bucks-a-duck or five for $20. All proceeds are donated to a cause with a mission of improving maternal child health. Participants have consistently raised around $1,000 each year. Past causes include breast cancer prevention through breastfeeding, solving iron deficiency with Lucky Iron Fish and improving maternity care in Uganda with headlamps.   

This year, the ducks will swim for Our Dream Initiative which aims to optimize early childhood development. More specifically, the ducks will raise money for Our Dream Initiative’s Warm Hug Care which encourages Kangaroo Mother Care as an intervention to reduce infant mortality in Egypt. 

The initiative was created by Dr. Abla Al Alfy, a plenary speaker at the upcoming conference. Dr. Al Alfy will present The First 1000 Days: Our Dream Initiative’s Plan for Transforming Egypt and Kangaroo Care in the Egyptian NICU.

Find out where Milk Ducks are migrating these days here

The early water fowl discount for the International Breastfeeding Conference is just a few weeks away. Register here

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