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Theurich, Melissa Ann and McCool, Megan Elizabeth (2016): Moving National Breastfeeding Policies into Practice: A Plea to Integrate Lactation Education and Training into Nutrition and Dietetics Programs in the United States. In: Journal of Human Lactation, Vol. 32, No. 3: pp. 563-567 [PDF, 163kB]


In 2011, the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding called on all health professional organizations, medical schools, and credentialing boards to establish and incorporate minimum lactation education and training requirements into their credentialing, licensing, and certification processes and to include breastfeeding education in undergraduate and graduate education and training programs. Given the commonalities between the fields of nutrition and breastfeeding, it has been proposed that nutrition professionals are an underutilized resource in the field of lactation management. Considering the lack of breastfeeding knowledge and skills among health professionals, nutrition professionals should be afforded opportunities to learn lactation management during their studies. The United States Breastfeeding Committee published Core Competencies in Breastfeeding Care and Services for All Health Professionals in 2010. However, professional nutrition and lactation credentialing boards should cooperate to integrate mandatory minimum standards of lactation education for nutrition professionals. Undergraduate and graduate programs in nutrition and dietetics should incorporate lactation content into their core curricula to comply with such standards. In addition, dietetics programs should offer optional clinical lactation experiences for students who aspire to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

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