Development of LIFT Centre: a centre of excellence for infant feeding research, education and public engagement project

The Challenge

How parents make decisions around caring for their baby and where they get that information from is the motivation for this Research Wales Innovation Funded project. Amy Brown has been looking at how Swansea University can improve the current research surrounding maternal and child public health through innovative ways, such as providing the first ever donor milk hub bank in Wales.

Amy and her team has always had an emphasis on public engagement for their research. Allowing wider audience to access Amy's research via public resources has always been a big motivation for Amy, you can find a number of books written by Amy which provides an insight to her research area.

The Method

The LIFT Centre conducts a lot of research surrounding mothers and feeding with an emphasis on things that haven't got research evidence behind them. In the past, Amy and her team did a piece of research which shows that baby's can wake up at night... this may sound obvious but the research helped to show mothers that it's completely normal for their baby to have interrupted sleep.

Providing a scientific explanation for mothers allows them to feel "normal" in the process, especially when there hasn't been research surrounding what is right and what is wrong for the sleeping process, this is why Amy's research is helping support all new mothers find their new way of "normal" and accept the challenges that come with it.

To keep the research current, Amy reguarly speaks with new parents which allows parents to tell the researchers what they are worried about, allowing Amy to constantly be aware of the challenges that arise with pregnancy and new borns. 

Amy and her team then pass this information on to Infant Feeding Organisations that can be used to support training in the facility to ensure that the best care is provided to new mothers.

The Impact

  • A valuable insight to what mothers are really looking for regarding infant feeding
  • The research world has a better understanding of the benefits of engaging with external audiences
  • Made a difference in different policy documents surrounding Infant Feeding and Mental Health, Amy has presented her work to parliment a number of times
  • Amy was invited to speak with the Australian Government & New Zealand Government surrounding her research area
  • Designing research around what will actually benefit communities 
  • Encouraging more mothers who have recieved donar milk to become donars themselves 
  • Making sure as many babies as possible receive donar milk in Wales