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 estimated $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.
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.
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.
LactaPedia takes the guesswork out of breastfeeding
A world-first lactation dictionary that aims to take the confusion out of breastfeeding was launched today by researchers from The University of Western Australia.Read more
What’s a breast feed?
Over the last 100 years there have been huge medical advances for pregnancy and childbirth. However, we are not seeing similar advances to treat issues relating to lactation.Read more