Whether an infant is breastfed or not is important for short- and long-term health in childhood. Breastfeeding in the first half year of life is clearly the best choice for children’s nourishment and well-being. Therefore, our second module focuses on breastfeeding, subdivided into three units in order to provide the user with comprehensive up-to-date information on breastfeeding issues.

This module has received accreditation by the German Medical Association with 9 CME credits.

This module has received accreditation by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) with 6 CME credits.

Module overview
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The provision of information to new mothers and their families on breastfeeding, as well as practical support from health care professionals with breastfeeding expertise is necessary in order to foster successful breastfeeding. The aim of Unit 1 is to deliver evidence-based education and training regarding the practice of breastfeeding. A basic understanding of breast anatomy, lactation physiology, breast milk composition and nutrition during lactation is subdivided into different lectures. In addition, Unit 1 features a huge amount of practical knowledge on the practice and promotion of breastfeeding that enables the user to provide informed counselling and guidance to breastfeeding women.

The second unit focuses on the protective effects of breastfeeding for maternal and child health. Today, there is a large body of scientific evidence for a preventive potential with respect to different disorders including among others, overweight and obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. For other diseases such as atopic or inflammatory bowel diseases, further research appears necessary to gather more evidence on the protective effects of breastfeeding. This unit also stresses other benefits for the child such as better cognitive development of breast-fed children, or with regard to the mother, a faster and easier return to pre-pregnancy weight. In this unit, methodological information provides the user with knowledge about the classification of scientific evidence and this is combined with a comprehensive overview of the scientific evaluation of the effects of breastfeeding on maternal and child health.

Breastfeeding during the first months after birth is not always easily achieved. Unit 3 helps to provide up-to-date information and guidance for parents in difficult breastfeeding situations. Medical contraindications of breastfeeding for developed and developing countries are discussed. Potential problems like previous negative experiences, premature birth, presence of maternal infectious diseases and maternal and child undernutrition are explored. Unit 3 also presents current findings on breastfeeding promotion programs and discusses the association between socio-economic and societal factors and breastfeeding success. Approaches to protection of breastfeeding including regulations on commercial advertising, for example as advised by the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, are further important points. Unit 3 provides the user with an overview of how health care professionals can actively promote, protect and support breastfeeding in professional settings.

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