Seed Fund grant awarded to Dr. Kelsey Cochrane

Research study to determine the effectiveness of prenatal milk expression kits improve breastfeeding rates

By Jason Belhumeur

Congratulations to Dr. Kelsey Cochrane of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition as the recipient of an 18-month $5,000 research grant. The Seed Grant awarded funding for the project “Does provision of prenatal milk expression kits improve breastfeeding rates and birth outcomes? A retrospective case-control chart review”.

Dr. Cochrane is looking into breastfeeding and birth outcomes of pregnant individuals before and after the standardized provision of More Milk Sooner prenatal milk expression kits at the obstetrical practice of Dr. T Yen in North Battleford, SK.

Breastfeeding is unequivocally regarded as the gold standard of infant nutrition. However, despite being the normal and natural way to infant feed, many obstacles may impact an individual’s ability to establish breastfeeding; this may include delayed secretory activation in the mammary gland, resulting in insufficient milk production following delivery. Delayed breastfeeding may have serious consequences for infant health due to possible slow weight gain, failure to thrive, or dehydration. These can contribute to significant maternal stress, and reduce the likelihood of continued breastfeeding. Prenatal milk expression is a potential intervention to improve breastfeeding initiation and continued postnatal breastfeeding success, and may be associated with improved birth outcomes, including a reduced need to medically induce labour.

More Milk Sooner is a Saskatchewan-based organization that has developed a prenatal milk expression kit for distribution at 36-week prenatal visits. This study aims to inform future research in this area, establishing whether the standard provision of milk expression kits in late gestation should be formally implemented across Saskatchewan.