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Presentation Information

Heather Thompson

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

  • Speaker: Heather Thompson , MS, PhD
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU

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.

Live Presentation Schedule

Oct 15, 2019