Sean Keohane / Arts Director

Tim Wagner

Student Life Editor


Keene State College professor Becky Dunn presented information via a webinar she gained from a decade-long study on the effects of breastfeeding within the New Hampshire community.

Before coming to Keene State, Dunn said she was a pediatric clinical dietitian at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She continued saying this background began her interest in the topic of breastfeeding. Dunn said she gained interest in the topic while studying for her P.H.D. at U.N.H. where she met a scientist who was conducting research on breastfeeding at one of their research labs. Once Dunn finished her P.H.D., she started working with a group of collaborators to further her research on breastfeeding.

The research revealed some of the reasons why some women decide not to breastfeed. Dunn suggested some reasons for this could be due to pain, lack of lactation and food insecurity. According to Dunn, the team decided to address these reasons by providing early childhood healthcare workers with the information on how to breastfeed in a way that keeps the pain low and lactation high. Dunn said breastfeeding could be a vital piece in the future of American Healthcare.

According to Dunn, “When you look at the economic benefits, especially to a family… it’s free.” Dunn also said “the plentiful health benefits to infants and to families that’s certainly going to save on healthcare costs.” Dunn said their research showed that infants who were breastfed contract less infectious illnesses compared to infants who were not breastfed. Dunn continued, “When you have less incidents of infection that’s going to result in savings in not only healthcare, but will save money for employers.” When it comes to breastfeeding there seems to be a litany of health and financial benefits. However, if an individual would like to go a different route, there are products similar to breastmilk.

According to Dunn, “There are formulas that try to mimic the gold standard of breast milk.” However, Dunn said breastmilk is dependent on the mother’s diet. Dunn recognized how food shortages could be a major factor for this aspect of breastfeeding, but continued saying, “Interestingly enough, what a woman’s body is going to do is it’s going to direct all the nutrition into the production of breastmilk. So let’s say a mother does not have a sufficient amount of a particular nutrient for herself, that is going to go into the breastmilk.” Working with local early childhood centers lead the group into directly aiding the perception and popularity of breastfeeding.

According to Dunn the research team was able to set up lactation centers around Cheshire county. Dunn said being able to recognize the issues and being a part of the solution has made her incredibly proud of the work done by her and her team.

Keene State College’s Assistant Dean of the School of Science and Sustainability Michael Welsh invited Professor Dunn to speak at one of these webinars. According to Welsh, this webinar/seminar was another installment in Keene State’s webinar/seminar series. Welsh said the seminar program has been a longstanding tradition at Keene State that has about twelve talks per semester. Welsh said the guest is chosen from an invitation that they put out so that for anyone who wants to speak, can. Welsh said Dr. Dunn reached out to speak regarding her sabbatical at the Children’s Hospital of Philidelpia. Welsh said Dunn was first “because she expressed a willingness to go first.” Welsch said he was thankful for Dr. Dunn’s willingness to pilot the series and go first. According to Welsh, this is not the only talk of the semester.

Next week there is a talk with economist Armon Gazeki. Welsh says members will have to register for the seminar but once they are registered for one, they are registered for all. If you would like to attend any of the webinar/seminars it is on MyKSC as well as advertised on posters all around campus with a QR code registration printed on the flyers.


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