Cindy-Lee Dennis, PhD


Research Focus 1: Improving Breastfeeding Outcomes

Brief Overview of Clinical Problem

Although the value of providing infants with human milk has long been understood, a torrent of studies published in the past decade have provided undeniable evidence that breastfeeding reduces morbidity and mortality during the first year of life, not only in developing countries but in North America and Europe as well. Current World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund (WHO/UNICEF) recommendations for optimal infant feeding are exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first 6 months postpartum, after which complementary food should be introduced gradually, with the continuation of breastfeeding until 2 years or beyond. In the past decade, there has been a myriad of research into the factors affecting breastfeeding duration and exclusivity to identify risk factors for failure. Despite the significant research on the barriers to breastfeeding and the many efforts to promote and support it, almost every country in the world fails to meet the WHO recommendations for breastfeeding.