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Article Version


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Lactation consultants depend on a vast multidisciplinary knowledge base to support their practices. To coincide with the 20-year anniversary of the International Lactation Consultant Association, the authors sought to highlight the knowledge base to demonstrate how practice has been affected. Using standard databases, they extracted English-language scientific literature related to breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes; factors associated with breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration; lactation physiology; common breastfeeding challenges; breastfeeding practices within vulnerable populations; health professional support of breastfeeding; and breastfeeding practices in developing countries of Africa. Summaries of research are provided to demonstrate scientific method and knowledge evolution. As the knowledge of the biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that affect breastfeeding continues to grow, researchers and lactation consultants will identify additional research areas. Thus, the cycle of describing and explaining phenomena, testing interventions to improve practice, and ultimately improving breastfeeding outcomes worldwide will continue.


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: “Clinical lactation practice: 20 years of evidence” which has been published in final form in the Journal of Human Lactation ( 21, 245-258) DOI: 10.1177/0890334405279001 – Copyright 2005 Sage Publications.

Publication Title

Journal of Human Lactation

Published Citation

Wambach, K., Campbell, S. H., Gill, S., Dodgson, J., Abiona, T., Heinig, M. J. (2005). Clinical lactation practice: 20 years of evidence. Journal of Human Lactation, 21, 245-258.