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Note: Currently only available through a bundled series of lectures

More Than Mere Milk: The Complexities of Feeding Human Milk to Human Babies

by Heather Thompson, MS, PhD
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP, 0.1 Midwifery CEU
  • Handout: No

Feeding a human infant human milk is physiologic and mammalian, but it is far from simple. Indeed, feeding human babies is a complex interplay between biology, culture, policy, practice, and access. This session will discuss the current understanding of the biologic complexity of breast/chestfeeding for parents and babies and the varying ways biology affects outcomes and satisfaction. We will explore the ways in which societal and familial culture add to the complexity of the nursing dyad and how dominant culture drives varying approaches to breastfeeding support around the globe and creates institutional forces (such as racism). This talk will investigate how access to support, supplies, milk substitutes, and definitions/measures of success play a significant role in lactation experiences. Importantly, policy often informs access, so we will examine the impact of the intersection of sociodemographics, policy, and practice on lactation experiences/outcomes. We will specifically explore times in which access and autonomy may be limited by legal or child welfare forces and the right to breastfeed becomes the central issue. Finally, the science of complex adaptive systems will be discussed and applied to specific clinical examples. This fresh, nuanced view of breast/chestfeeding complexity broadens the support provided by perinatal practitioners.

Learning Objectives:

List three ways in which breast/chestfeeding is biologically complex.

Describe one way in which culture complicates breast/chestfeeding experiences or outcomes.

Recite two of the three characteristics of a complex adaptive system (CAS).

Presentations: 15  |  Hours / CE Credits: 13.5  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks