Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact

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Published by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation at Thieme, the evidence-based reference book, Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact, presents a holistic, scientifically robust overview of key topics written by experts from a range of disciplines, including medicine, sociology, political science, culture and economics. The book explores factors surrounding the influence of breastfeeding and breastmilk on children’s health and development, and is a valuable resource for decision-makers and healthcare providers alike.
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Breastfeeding is one of the most under-leveraged strategies in improving children’s health, and can have a marked impact on later health and disease risks for both mothers and children. This is why the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF) embarked on a project to gather evidence-based contributions from international specialists on everything from physiology to policy, and present them in this first-of-its-kind, comprehensive reference book.

Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact is a valuable resource for decision-makers and healthcare providers alike. It presents a holistic overview of key topics surrounding the influence of breastfeeding and breastmilk on children’s health and development. With multidisciplinary expertise and perspectives, the authors encourage governments to do more to increase breastfeeding rates by creating breastfeeding-friendly environments. They also suggest a shift in focus from isolated activities to collaborative efforts through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

One example of how the book has inspired policymakers is illustrated by the COAG Health Council; they incorporated it as a source in their policy framework for all Australian governments to provide a supportive and enabling environment for breastfeeding. Called the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond, the new policy framework references two chapters from Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact:

  • Sociological and Cultural Influences upon Breastfeeding
  • The Psychological Effects of Breastfeeding


Research clearly shows that breastfeeding is vital to leading a healthier life. While it is heartening to see promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding moving higher on many governmental agendas, there is more work to be done. Therefore, it is our hope that this book will serve as a launching point by providing factual and relevant information for those eager to move forward in supporting this important topic.


Breastfeeding and Breast Milk – from Biochemistry to Impact aims to empower all communities with the knowledge required to increase promotion, protection and support for breastfeeding and breastmilk.

Access the ebook for free in English or German.

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The book is presented in five sections, and explores the following topics:

Part 1: Setting the Scene

  • Breast Milk, Global Health and Sustainable Development
  • Data Collection on Infant Feeding
  • How Breastfeeding Works: Anatomy and Physiology of Human Lactation
  • Why Breastfeeding?

Part 2: Different Perspectives

  • Human Milk: Bioactive Components and Their Effects on the Infant and Beyond
  • The Psychological Effects of Breastfeeding
  • Sociological and Cultural Influences upon Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding Promotion: Politics and Policy
  • Human Milk in Economics Context
  • Commercial Aspects of Breastfeeding: Products and Services
  • The Promotion of Breastfeeding
  • Infant Feeding in History: an Outline

Part 3: Human Milk in Special Circumstances

  • Human Milk in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • A Collective View of Human Milk Banking
  • Pasteurisation
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Breastfeeding and the Use of Medications

Part 4: The Ways Forward

  • Scaling-up Breastfeeding Protection, Promotion, and Support Programmes

Part 5: Addendum

  • Epilogue
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Index of Authors
  • Index
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Recommendations for more useful content on LactaHub

Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) is an evidence-based programme from the Yale School of Public Health targeting data-driven, concrete measures countries can take to sustainably increase breastfeeding rates.

EFBRI – An Evolving Ethical Framework Informing Breastfeeding Research and Interventions is an open access compilation of ethical principles to guide biomedical research in breastfeeding and lactation. Built on established international standards by the University of Zurich (UZH), it was created to streamline research processes for people working with breastfeeding mothers and children. With EFBRI, researchers and other stakeholders can align their work to universal research ethics standards – confidently and efficiently.

A Resource Toolkit for Establishing and Integrating Human Milk Banks. Compiled by a group of international experts, the toolkit is a compendium of standards and best practices that communities can follow to set up and operate safe, high-quality and sustainable human milk banks – a lifesaving alternative for babies that lack access to their own mothers' milk.

PROVIDE – A Training Compendium on Providing Mothers’ Own Milk in NICU Settings. This open access, evidence-based resource was produced by Rush University Medical Center to help healthcare professionals implement lifesaving mothers’ own milk feeding practices for infants in intensive care worldwide.

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