The need for innovative breastfeeding research

When stratified by race and socioeconomic status, there are significant differences in infant mortality, premature birth and breastfeeding rates in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. Yet, in 2012, regardless of race on average only 18.38% of infants were breastfed exclusively until 6 months of age.

Many have written about the importance of training all health professionals in lactation so they can support and promote breastfeeding.Even though simulation-based training is used by over 80% of all medical and nursing schools and by over 40% of all physician assistant programs in the United States, lactation is not a required or available module.

Without a well-trained healthcare team, mothers rely on haphazard information from the Internet, friends, and family and stop breastfeeding. Students in medical, nursing and physician assistant training programs in the United States rarely receive training in breastfeeding procedures (1, 2, 3, 4) Hospitals and health professionals rely on lactation consultants to ensure that mothers receive accurate breastfeeding education and support. However, in 2013, there were only 3.8 international board certified lactation consultants per 1,000 newborns in the United States.

Thus, there is a pressing need to develop innovative and efficient lactation education tools to train providers and parents.

In order to train the next generation of breastfeeding researchers and innovators, LiquidGoldConcept launched the Breastfeeding Research Internship. Each intern will develop an educational, evidence-based product that fills a need in the breastfeeding research field. In December 2015, LiquidGoldConcept will bring on the inaugural internship class–four undergraduate female students at UC Davis. Check back often to see updates on their progress.