Breastfeeding Basics

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Course Outline
Breastfeeding Benefits & Barriers
Anatomy & Physiology
Growth & Development
Breastfeeding Around the World
The Breastfeeding Couple
The Term Infant with Problems
Breast Milk and Drugs

Important Announcement!

This web site ( will be retired effective 12/31/2015. The course has been in use since 1999 and although the content has been kept updated, computer technology has changed significantly in the past 16 years and the course is now outdated technologically.

Below is a link to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Baby Friendly Hospital Collaborative website that has a list of options for breastfeeding education for health care providers. This was created in 2013, so there may have been changes, but it can be used it as a starting point.

Colorado Baby Friendly Hospital Collaborative.

Under Tools and Resources, click on "Staff training sources table."

Site News: updated Nov, 22, 2015
Hints for site usage

Breastfeeding Basics is an academic, non-commercial, short course on the fundamentals of breastfeeding. It is geared primarily for the medical practitioner, although anyone is welcome to browse or take the course.

The content of the course is based upon lectures and short courses given by Mary O'Connor MD, Linda Lewin MD and their associates at CWRU, University Hospitals of Cleveland. Improvements and updates are continuing under Mary O'Connor MD at Denver Health & Hospital.

Our aim is to disseminate factual information on human breastfeeding. It is important to understand that one cannot become skilled in the art of helping mothers and their infants breastfeed without training with skilled practitioners and hands on experience.

At times there may be correct answers or treatment methods that we did not suggest. We do not pretend to know all the answers, and we certainly could not cover the entire topic of breastfeeding in this course. We have given references throughout the course for those who are interested in delving deeper.

If you are a parent or prospective parent looking here for more information on breastfeeding, we hope that this site is useful and informative. If there is material that you don't understand, we suggest that you print it and ask your doctor or nurse or your child's doctor or nurse about it.

Anonymous data from registrations, pre-tests and post-tests is collected and analyzed to monitor the effectiveness of the website as an educational tool.

Registration and special features

You can browse this site without registering. However, we encourage you to register. Registering will enable the special features of this site , and provide us with feedback on the effectiveness of this educational method. The registration form does not ask for any personal identifying information.

Continuing Medical Education credit

CME credit is no longer available for completing this course of study. Health care institutions may obtain CME credit through their own systems.

Hardware and software requirements

This website requires an HTML capable web browser such as Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 6.x, Opera 6, Konqueror 3.x, or internet explorer 5.x. more recent versions of these programs should also work. The new Macintosh browser might work too (haven't tried it). You probably need PC hardware with a central processor that runs at 20 Mhz or more, such as an Intel 386, or a Motorola 6810 or a Motorola or IBM PowerPC. You may need a couple of megabytes of RAM, or however much you need to run your browser. A 28 Kbit modem connection to the internet should be adequate although a higher speed connection is nice.

Ray E. Helfer Award

Breastfeeding Basics received the Ray E.Helfer Award for excellence in pediatric education from the Ambulatory Pediatric Association at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Boston on May 15, 2000.


We want to acknowledge the people and organizations that help bring this resource to the global public internet without commercial interruptions.

  • The Northern Ohio chapter of the March of Dimes provided funding for the development of this resource.

  • The University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education of Case Western Reserve University provided a grant to enhance this resource.

  • Wellstart International allowed us to use some of their breastfeeding education material.

  • Lydia Furman MD and MaryAnn Blatz RN, MSN, IBCLC provided information on breastfeeding the preterm infant. Betty Rogers RN, IBCLC provided information for the section on the breastfeeding couple.

  • University Hospitals of Cleveland for allowing the use of their drawings of breastfeeding techniques.

  • We would like to thank our friends, family and co-workers for allowing the use of photos of their lovely breastfed children.

Special Thanks to the March of Dimes - Saving babies, together

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email -- Copyright 1998 Mary O'Connor MD, MPH -- Unauthorized use prohibited