PREREQUISITES AND PLACEMENT IN THE CURRICULUM:

Completion of the following core clerkships: OB/Gyn and Pediatrics. Special circumstances (medical student with previous breastfeeding experience, student with previous doula experience, etc) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.circumstances (medical student with previous breastfeeding experience, student with previous doula experience, etc) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

PURPOSE: Although breastfeeding is supported by the medical literature as the preferred and normal way to feed the human infant, clinical practices continue to exist that serve as barriers to exclusive breastfeeding. These include deficits in prenatal education, practices in L&D and the newborn nursery that undermine breastfeeding (absence of baby friendly practices), and lack of effective follow up care from knowledgeable clinicians. Evidence has shown that implementing physician education has positive clinical outcomes on breastfeeding exclusivity and duration. (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/bfm.2012.0028, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/2/289.long)

 Presently, opportunities are extremely limited with regard to breastfeeding medicine in the United States. To date, there are only three medical schools in the country that offer breastfeeding medicine as an elective through the Visiting Student Application Service.  Furthermore, only 88 physicians worldwide have completed a fellowship in breastfeeding medicine. Given that approximately half of the population is female and with over 4 million births per year, it is highly likely that almost every physician will encounter a breastfeeding mother at some point in their medical career. Thus, all physicians need a basic understanding of the principles of lactation to appropriately manage these patients and/or effectively communicate with consultants as needed.

Upon successful completion of this elective the student will obtain a certificate of completion that will allow them to serve as a lactation educator at UIH and possibly other sites in the future. Additionally, completion of the Wellstart Self-Study Modules and a score of 80% or greater on the final exam meets the Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. criteria for 3 hours of breastfeeding management.