New micro-credentials aim to improve breastfeeding experience for mums and their babies

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Children's Health

The University of Western Australia is introducing two new online short courses in Lactology incorporating the latest in breastfeeding research, with the ultimate aim of improving the feeding experience for mums and their babies.

The UWA Schools of Allied Health, Molecular Sciences and Biomedical Sciences have developed the new micro-credentials, ‘Breastfeeding, a foundation for human health’, which will begin in September.

Senior Research Fellow with the Pharmacy Division of UWA’s School of Allied Health Melinda Boss will lead the short professional qualifications which are designed to suit anyone with an interest in how breastfeeding works.

“This could include anyone working with breastfeeding mothers and infants such as lactation consultants, doctors, nurses, midwives, child health nurses, speech pathologists, pharmacists and dietitians, as well as anyone interested in a career in lactation research or in developing lactation education,” she says.

Melinda leads the LactaResearch Group at UWA and developed a world-first online lactation care support system called LactaMap to support GPs help patients who have problems breastfeeding.

She says UWA research has revolutionized understanding of the function of the lactating breast.

“However, statistics show that breastfeeding is failing to function normally most of the time. It’s widely quoted that it takes 17 years for just 14 per cent of original research to reach the point of being incorporated into patient care,” she says.

“Our new Lactology micro-credentials deliver these latest discoveries which we hope will help strengthen current available care and improve breastfeeding outcomes for families.”

Each Lactology micro-credential is 100 per cent online and consists of pre-recorded lectures, online discussion, live questions and answer sessions, reading and assessments. Start dates are 6 September for micro-credential 1 and 25 October for micro-credential 2.

Each can be completed as a one-off or they can be stacked together and graduates receive an academic transcript acknowledging completion, offering a potential pathway for health professionals to specialize in the field of lactology.”

Melinda Boss, Senior Research Fellow, Pharmacy Division of UWA’s School of Allied Health

Those interested in finding out more about the courses can join a free online public panel discussion to be held on 4 August during World Breastfeeding Week.

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