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WHAT IS BEST? 

BEST is a coalition which includes a group of individuals and organizations who agree to work together to create breastfeeding supportive systems. Coalitions can represent broad-based, diverse, cross-sector groups that work to ensure that the systems mothers encounter every single day are designed in an equitable way to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding success.

The BEST TEAM

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President

Rosa Gardiner

RN, IBCLC

Rosa has been an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) for over a decade serving the Soo community. She is an RN and has worked as a maternal infant nurse for over two decades. She is mother of 5 breastfed children and a grandmother to another five! For over 30 years she has served the Soo community and continues to do so while also helping people all over the world online.

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Treasurer

Cynthia English

RN, IBCLC, LCCE

Cynthia is an RN with a Maternal-Infant focus, an IBCLC, and is also a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE). She teaches Prenatal, Lamaze and Breastfeeding classes at the Chippewa County Health Department. She is one of the founding members of BEST and is the person who answers the calls and texts to the Breastfeeding Helpline. Cynthia is the proud mother of six breastfed children and a grandmother to 10, all of whom have also been breastfed. It is one of the great pleasures of her life to be able to help and support families in their birthing and breastfeeding journeys.

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Former President

Nancy Heyns

RN, IBCLC

Nancy is a BSN with a MS in Family Life Education. She holds certifications as an IBCLC, FACCE (Fellow in the American College of Childbirth Education), CFLE (Certified Family Life Educator), and CLS (Certified Lactation Specialist). She is a contract Lactation Consultant with MDHHS/WIC, teaching Breastfeeding Basics and related courses. She serves as State Lactation Consultant for Peers in Upper Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. She chairs the U.P. Breastfeeding Network and is Past Chair of  BEST. She is the mother of 3 grown children and grandmother of 6 – all breastfed. 

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Secretary

Lindsay McGahey

Doula and Breastfeeding Counselor

Lindsey is an Indigenous full-spectrum doula and Indigenous breastfeeding counselor. Her specialties include lactation support and traditional postpartum support. She is studying and practicing traditional care for birthing people, families, and persons with individual reproductive needs on a full spectrum of support as a doula. Lindsey is a mother of two young children and is of Anishinaabekwe and Gaelic descendant, to whom she attributes her passion for all things reproduction and lactation.  

The BEST Work

The Eastern Upper Peninsula BEST coalition has been pursuing ways to do this through grants received from Pink in the Rink, Check/Slash/Survive event, and Superior Health Foundation.

One of the unique services provided by BEST is lactation assistance from board certified lactation consultants through the breastfeeding helpline as well as visits at home by a lactation consultant at no cost. This is made possible through grant funding so lactation consulting services are free and available 24/7, everyday of the year through the Breastfeeding Helpline. Video and/or home visits are also provided, if needed.

BEST is a non profit organization

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BEST is the best support group for mothers in need of breastfeeding support. I reached out 5 weeks postpartum and only pumping. I was miserable and really wishing I could get my baby to latch. I reached out to Rosa and she was there for me immediately! We had a successful latch within days of talking! If it wasn’t for the open arms and full support I’m not sure where we would be. Thank you BEST for being there for me from the start and still 9 months later!

Savannah Hunter

JOIN BEST

Join the BEST team in helping support our community of parents and babies on their chest/breastfreeding journeys! 

BEST Meetings are held on the second Monday of every month. Reach out to BEST for attending details.

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Community Partners

Chippewa County Health Department

Community Action Agency

Bay Mills Healthy Start Program

Early Head Start Center

Family Spirit Program

Inter-tribal Council of Michigan

Maternal and Infant Health Program (and WIC)