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Breastfeeding and Spinal Cord Injury: Establishing guidelines for health professionals and consumers

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 300 K
Funding amount
The proposed project "Breastfeeding and spinal cord injury: Establishing guidelines for health professionals and consumers" is a novel initiative that aims to address existing systemic gaps in education and services for mothers with spinal cord injury (SCI), with the ultimate goal of improving knowledge of clinicians/consumers through validated, evidence-based guidelines. Breastfeeding and SCI is under-researched: these guidelines will help establish standards for best clinical practice, provide education on breastfeeding after SCI via consumer recommendations and facilitate breastfeeding so that mothers with SCI can benefit from improved quality of life, full community participation and optimal health outcomes for mother and child. The aims are to: 1) develop and validate clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and consumer recommendations for breastfeeding with SCI, 2) increase knowledge of medical professionals and mothers with SCI on managing SCI-related challenges to breastfeeding 3) develop sustainable dissemination plans of both guidelines and 4) improve policies/practices at international partner sites for comprehensive care to mothers with SCI, using a sustainable plan to implement and disseminate these guidelines. This project will strengthen relationships with international collaborators (SCI centres, research institutes, SCI consumer organizations) which have agreed to help develop and validate the guidelines. 8 project sites across 7 countries have committed to recruiting consumers and clinicians to share experiences (either personal or clinical expertise) with breastfeeding after SCI and critically evaluate and review guidelines at each stage of development. Another outcome is global dissemination through our partnership with SCIRE, an organization providing quality, evidence-based information to medical professionals and the community regarding SCI care. SCIRE's wide outreach and international recognition, as well as the commitment of partner sites to disseminate guidelines will result in sustainability and long-term impact beyond the 3-year grant period. Guidelines will be based on clinical expertise, consumer involvement and evidence obtained from our previously CNF-funded project "Motherhood after spinal cord injury: lactation, breastfeeding and autonomic dysreflexia" which ascertained the main SCI-related breastfeeding complications. This project evaluated many barriers to breastfeeding related to SCI, including physiological complications with lactation, mobility challenges and aspects of independent living (e.g. lack of care/assistance and balancing activities of daily living). It is vital to address these demonstrated challenges. Guidelines will increase support and knowledge needed by mothers with SCI to navigate breastfeeding challenges. This project will contribute to improved maternal services, access to care & knowledge, better quality of life and facilitation of independent living and breastfeeding success. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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    1117 Public Health and Health Services

  • RCDC

    Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects

  • RCDC

    Injury - Trauma - (Head and Spine)

  • RCDC


  • RCDC

    Spinal Cord Injury

  • RCDC


  • RCDC

    Patient Safety



  • Health Research Areas

    Health services & systems

  • Broad Research Areas

    Public Health