Learning Center > Resources > Exploring the Latest Frontiers in Breastfeeding Medicine: Insights from the International Lactation Consultant Association’s Annual Conference

Exploring the Latest Frontiers in Breastfeeding Medicine: Insights from the International Lactation Consultant Association’s Annual Conference

Blue eyed baby looks at mom while breastfeeding

Payal Adhikari, M.D.


As the field of healthcare continues to evolve, staying updated with the latest advancements is crucial for healthcare professionals.  

This month, Dr. Payal Adhikari and Sharon Witter, Sales Director, had the privilege of attending the International Lactation Consultant Association’s Annual Conference. This event proved to be an invaluable opportunity for them to engage in enlightening conversations with lactation consultants and nurses, gaining profound insights into the ever-evolving landscape of breastfeeding medicine.  

From groundbreaking discoveries to policy shifts, here are some key takeaways from their enriching experience: 

1) Global Recognition of Breastfeeding Benefits:

One of the most encouraging trends discussed at the conference was the increasing global recognition of the profound benefits of breastfeeding. As Dr. Payal Adhikari and Sharon Witter interacted with professionals from various countries, they discovered that governments and healthcare organizations worldwide are investing resources into supporting parents on their breastfeeding journeys.  

This commitment not only highlights the advantages of breastfeeding for both infants and mothers but also underscores the societal and economic impact of these efforts. Lisa Mandell, MBA, IBCLC, emphasized the importance of creating an enabling environment that empowers parents to make informed choices for the well-being of their children. 

2. Evolution of Childcare Policies:

The conference shed light on the pivotal role that clinicians play in influencing childcare policies. Dr. Adhikari and Sharon Witter learned about new policy initiatives that are striving to integrate essential elements like parental leave, breastfeeding support, and childcare into comprehensive parental leave packages.  

Laura Addati from the International Labour Organization discussed the far-reaching implications of these policies, not only for individual families but also for broader society. This shift demonstrates a holistic approach that acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between maternal health, infant care, and workforce productivity.

3. Unveiling the Mysteries of Breast Milk Microbiome:

A particularly exciting highlight of the conference was the discourse surrounding the intricate world of breast milk microbiome. Emmanuel Gonzalez, PhD, from McGill University in Canada, shared groundbreaking insights into the significant changes that occur in the human breast milk microbiome during the transition from early to established stages of breastfeeding.  

4. Mutual Influence: Mom’s Milk and Baby’s Oral Cavity:

The interplay between the baby’s oral cavity and the composition of the mother’s milk microbiome was a revelation that left attendees intrigued. Tamara T. Ajeeb, a PhD candidate at McGill University, highlighted this relationship, underscoring how the baby’s oral microbiota can influence the types of bacteria present in the mother’s milk microbiome.  

This discovery adds a new dimension to our comprehension of breastfeeding dynamics and opens doors to potential ways that could optimize the mutual benefits for both mother and child. 

5. HMO Absorption: A Gateway to Healthy Early Life:

Dr. Adhikari and Sharon Witter were also intrigued by discussions centered around the importance of Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) absorption. The consensus among experts was that understanding the role of HMO absorption is crucial for establishing a foundation for a healthier lifestyle, especially when initiated early in infancy. This emphasized the significance of continuous education in clinical settings to equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge and tools needed to provide optimal support in fostering a healthy gut environment for term babies. 

 In conclusion, the International Lactation Consultant Association’s Annual Conference provided a rich platform for Dr. Payal Adhikari and Sharon Witter to delve into the forefront of breastfeeding medicine. From global trends to scientific breakthroughs, this event showcased the remarkable strides being made to enhance the understanding of breastfeeding’s impact on both infant and maternal health. As healthcare professionals, embracing these insights and incorporating them into practice can contribute to a brighter, healthier future for mothers and babies worldwide. 



About the Author
Payal Adhikari, MD, Pediatrician

Dr. Adhikari is a board-certified pediatrician and responsible for educating physicians and health systems about Infinant Health’s scientific mission, helping them adopt advances like Evivo to protect the most precious patients. Prior to medical school, Dr. Adhikari was a strategic consultant in the Healthcare division of Huron Consulting Group and later became a pediatrician in Chicago, IL. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Adhikari enjoys spending time with her husband and two kiddos.