As LactaHub grows and evolves, users can look forward to:
Accessing important data and resources easily and freely
- Breastfeeding and breastmilk knowledge will be continuously curated by experts
- Expanding, evidence-based resources will include peer-reviewed articles, practitioner toolkits, implementation frameworks and more
Collaborating with peers, without physical or financial borders
- In this dedicated space, professionals will be able to meet to share experiences, expand their networks or join together on partnership projects
- Knowledge can be exchanged quickly and easily between specialists from diverse regions and backgrounds
Learning or mentoring others
- Convenient access to a growing selection of educational courses/programmes focused on practice, policy, and implementation
All LactaHub content will be scrutinised and verified by an independent scientific editorial board as third-party reviewed or from reliable sources adhering to evidence-based quality standards.
LactaHub aims to foster a thriving community of practice in the field of breastfeeding that is intended to develop and evolve with the community of health and research professionals.
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Conflicting advice is one of the most common factors that impact on a mother’s confidence in her ability to breastfeed and sustain lactation. Consistent terminology is the most basic requirement for the prevention of conflicting advice, and the foundation that supports a common understanding of this important biological function. The University of Western Australia (UWA) hopes to build this foundation with the online resource LactaPedia.
LactaPedia was developed under the leadership of Principal Investigators:
LactaPedia aims to establish a globally consistent and accepted terminology for human lactation through the collaborative LactaPedia website that invites comments on any of the suggested terminology. Ultimately, UWA hopes the easily accessible and publicly available resource will help prevent dissemination of conflicting advice for mothers and their infants.
LactaPedia can be accessed by healthcare providers, researchers and the public as a stand-alone website. It is also included in the online lactation care support system LactaMap - An online lactation care support system and in the research book published by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation, Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – From Biochemistry to Impact. A Multidisciplinary Introduction.
The BBF process was pre-tested in Mexico and Ghana in 2015 and has since been implemented again in these two countries and in six additional countries: England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Myanmar and Samoa. BBF is expected to continue expanding to other countries, such as China and Mozambique.
The human race exists in large measure because of breastfeeding. What could be more important than that?
Professor Pérez-Escamilla’s core team at the Yale School of Public Health has included:
- Amber J. Hromi-Fiedler, PhD, MHP (BBF co-Director)
- Cara Brooks Safon
- Gabriela Buccini, PhD, MPH
- Grace Jane Carroll, MPH
- Kassandra Harding
- Katie Doucet
As the name suggests, BBF is a process that helps countries make sustainable improvements to their breastfeeding outcomes based on the Breastfeeding Gear Model developed by Professor Pérez-Escamilla’s team. First, participating countries are invited to assess eight simultaneous key components, called gears:
- Political Will
- Legislation and Policies
- Funding and Resources
- Training and Program Delivery
- Research and Evaluation
- Coordination, Goals and Monitoring
The gears are measured with 54 corresponding benchmarks – which can provide valuable data for identifying specific gaps where action is needed – and then scored. The individual gear scores show the strength of a country’s current environment for scaling up breastfeeding protection, promotion and support programmes and initiatives. The eight gear scores are then used to calculate a BBF Total Score: the strength of a country’s current national enabling environment as a whole to scale up breastfeeding programmes and initiatives.
The BBF assessment takes approximately nine months to one year to complete. Detailed how-to recommendations and case studies with best practices from numerous countries, across multiple sectors, are available to help countries conduct their assessments.
Once complete, countries can draw on a suite of BBF evidence-based support tools – from how to develop communications materials to methods of conducting qualitative interviews – to help them achieve their breastfeeding objectives.
Among all health interventions, breastmilk offers one of the greatest opportunities to prevent death in young children, according to research published by the World Health Organization and medical journals such as The Lancet. Human milk banks (HMBs) provide a lifesaving alternative for high-risk babies who lack access to their own mother’s milk. Yet until recently, no universal standards for establishing and operating safe, quality-controlled and integrated HMBs existed.
The Geneva-based Foundation for Appropriate Technologies in Health (FATH) – including its parent PATH – led a group of international experts to develop Strengthening Human Milk Banking: A Resource Toolkit for Establishing and Integrating Human Milk Banks, the comprehensive package of standards and best practices to guide implementation of HMBs as integrated programmes within existing newborn and nutrition programming.
Our vision is to ensure equitable access to human milk for all infants.
Customisable for application across a range of geographies, the tools are free of charge and intended to ensure quality, safety, efficacy and sustainability in HMBs. Their creators hope they will help to protect and promote breastfeeding and support the pivotal role HMBs play in increasing global access to breastmilk.
Please download Strengthening Human Milk Banking: A Resource Toolkit for Establishing and Integrating Human Milk Banks for free, and find further information about human milk banking.
Get help with navigating the toolkit by using the decision tree.
Current breastfeeding and COVID-19 guidance for health professionals: now on LactaMap
LactaMap – the online lactation care support system - is now offering information based on what is currently known about COVID-19. Please note: additional care options for breastfeeding when mother or infant have tested positive for COVID-19 are based on limited evidence or expert opinion only.
LactaMap content has been developed by The University of Western Australia to help health professionals provide lactation support for mothers and term infants from birth to 2 years of age.
LactaMap is free; please register at www.lactamap.com.
The World Health Organization recommends mothers exclusively breastfeed infants for the first six months, and continue up to the age of two years and beyond with additional nutritious complementary foods to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Some mothers and infants may require medical support to establish and maintain effective lactation during this period of time. With LactaMap, medical practitioners now have a new source for current, evidence-based information accessible at the point of care to support breastfeeding mothers and their infants.
LactaMap functions as a decision support system, helping practitioners rapidly navigate its wealth of information with an intuitive care pathway to appropriate, evidence-based clinical information for patients.
Lactation completes the reproductive cycle. Yet doctors are reporting that they aren’t receiving enough education in this area. As an online tool that allows translation of new research into practice soon after publication, LactaMap aims to change that.
LactaMap contains over 100 evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, LactaPedia (a glossary of lactation for science and medicine), and over 20 information sheets that can be printed or emailed to patients. Its content was developed by the LactaResearch Group at UWA, under the leadership of Melinda Boss and Emeritus Professor Peter Hartmann.
Free of charge to medical practitioners everywhere, LactaMap will soon also become available as an offline-accessible app for use in places without Internet connections. UWA believes that with its capacity to enable medical practitioners quick access to evidence-based lactation information, LactaMap has the potential to positively impact the management of lactation challenges, therefore supporting mothers and infants to continue breastfeeding.
LactaMap guidelines have been appraised against the Agree II Instrument, the international gold standard for practice guidelines evaluation and development.
From the Twitter feed
Breastfeeding is one of the most under-leveraged strategies in improving children’s health, and can have a marked impact on later health and disease risks for both mothers and children. This is why the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF) embarked on a project to gather evidence-based contributions from international specialists on everything from physiology to policy, and present them in this first-of-its-kind, comprehensive reference book.
Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact is a valuable resource for decision-makers and healthcare providers alike. It presents a holistic overview of key topics surrounding the influence of breastfeeding and breastmilk on children’s health and development. With multidisciplinary expertise and perspectives, the authors encourage governments to do more to increase breastfeeding rates by creating breastfeeding-friendly environments. They also suggest a shift in focus from isolated activities to collaborative efforts through multi-stakeholder partnerships.
One example of how the book has inspired policymakers is illustrated by the COAG Health Council; they incorporated it as a source in their policy framework for all Australian governments to provide a supportive and enabling environment for breastfeeding. Called the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond, the new policy framework references two chapters from Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact:
- Sociological and Cultural Influences upon Breastfeeding
- The Psychological Effects of Breastfeeding
Ultimately, Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact aims to empower all communities with the knowledge required to increase promotion, protection and support for breastfeeding and breastmilk.
Research clearly shows that breastfeeding is vital to leading a healthier life. While it is heartening to see promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding moving higher on many governmental agendas, there is more work to be done. Therefore, it is our hope that this book will serve as a launching point by providing factual and relevant information for those eager to move forward in supporting this important topic.
The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century (INTERGROWTH-21st) is a global, multidisciplinary network of more than 300 researchers and clinicians from 27 institutions in 18 countries, coordinated from the University of Oxford. The consortium has, over the years, produced various growth standard recommendations which have been adopted globally.
The globally validated preterm infant growth standards, feeding protocols and tools and practical training materials are freely available to clinicians, researchers and policymakers – putting them into practice can help improve the health of preterm infants worldwide.
To meet the need for international growth standards to measure and improve outcomes and clinical care for preterm infants, INTERGROWTH-21st embarked on a project – under the leadership of professors José Villar and Stephen Kennedy – to create new resources specific to preterm infants. The resulting standards, tools and training materials complement existing standards for pregnancy and newborn infants, with the aim of providing continuity from conception until five years of age.
Until now, in the INTERGROWTH-21st project, growth and feeding protocols for preterm infants had been missing. The measurement of preterm growth was based upon expected fetal growth whilst in utero. These new standards of care can support optimal growth of preterm infants and help clinicians and parents avoid overfeeding, reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity, and improve the early detection of infants with suboptimal growth. The INTERGROWTH-21st project also has the potential to alter World Health Organization policy in constructing and presenting preterm growth charts.
We have the opportunity, as part of this ground-breaking project, to translate research results to practice; hence, improve the overall health, nutritional status and development of preterm infants globally.
The new, practical international tools for researchers, clinicians and policymakers include an online training module and practical support to aid their transition into practice. These standards, feeding protocols and clinical tools can make it easier to scale up adoption of the standards, and thus improve the health of preterm infants worldwide.
Global adoption of these standards is a vital tool for promoting breastfeeding in neonatal units and infant clinics around the world so as to improve the survival and health of preterm infants.
The INTERGROWTH-21st project’s growth monitoring, educational, and feeding resources have been translated into several languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Portuguese, and the training toolkit is expanding.
By the middle of 2019:
- Over 158,447 tools had been downloaded in 195 countries
- Over 16,603 preterm postnatal growth standards had been downloaded in 104 countries
- Over 1,785 participants had taken and approved the preterm postnatal growth and feeding recommendations e-learning course available in English, Spanish, Russian, Italian and Portuguese.
- A worldwide network of 174 hospitals and health institutions is presently using the preterm postnatal growth standards and feeding recommendation