LactaResearch group

Aiming to support effective lactation through the translation of research to practice

Although 96 per cent of Australian women initiate breastfeeding, less than 16 per cent of infants are exclusively breastfed to five months of age. Many of the important health outcomes associated with lactation are dose-related and extend beyond the period of lactation.

Considering the World Health Organisation recommends a minimum duration for lactation of two years and beyond, early lactation cessation represents a significant public health concern and results in an estim ated $4 billion loss to the Australian economy each year due to early weaning.

Founded and led by Melinda Boss, the LactaResearch Group aims to facilitate the translation of scientific evidence to practice through the LactaMap and LactaPedia projects. 

As Chief Investigator, Melinda Boss is joined by research officers Jennifer Turner and Kerry Whitelaw. Jennifer Turner's research area of interest is lactation and the effective support of breastfeeding women and their breastfed infants. Kerry Whitelaw is a healthcare professional with an interest in teaching and education in pharmacy and research into health-related practices. She is currently invested in the research of a lactation practice care model.

The LactaResearch group gratefully acknowledges research funding from the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation.

New lactology micro-credentials to improve breastfeeding outcomes for mums


The University of Western Australia is introducing two new online short courses in Lactology incorporating the latest in breastfeeding research, with the ultimate aim of improving the feeding experience for mums and their babies. The UWA Schools of Allied Health, Molecular Sciences and Biomedical Sciences have developed the new micro-credentials, ‘Breastfeeding, a foundation for human health’.

Senior Research Fellow with the Pharmacy Division of UWA’s School of Allied Health Melinda Boss will lead the short professional qualifications which are designed to suit anyone with an interest in how breastfeeding works. Each Lactology micro-credential is 100 per cent online and consists of pre-recorded lectures, online discussion, live questions and answer sessions, reading and assessments.

To find out more about these short courses or to apply visit:  

Our new Lactology micro-credentials deliver these latest discoveries which we hope will help strengthen current available care and improve breastfeeding outcomes for families.  MELINDA BOSS, Senior Research Fellow

What's a Breast Feed?



LactaMap is an online lactation care support system being developed with doctors to provide an evidence-informed care pathway together with over 100 clinical practice guidelines. LactaMap will be piloted in general practice in Western Australia, with national and international release and translation into multiple languages planned thereafter. It is intended that subsequent versions of LactaMap will also be developed aimed at supporting other health professionals and also families. LactaMap is planned for launch in Australia in early 2019.

LactaMap logo
LactaPedia logo


During the development of content for LactaMap, it became clear that even basic terms such as breastfeed and lactation had varying definitions in the literature. As a result, researchers developed a glossary for more than 500 lactation terms used in LactaMap. LactaPedia aims to be a globally collaborative initiative towards the standardisation of terminology for human lactation and launched internationally during world breastfeeding week August 2018.


Contact Dr Melinda Boss

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