Transitioning vulnerable infants to breastfeeding prior to discharge

Infants born with congenital surgical anomalies face significant challenges within the new-born period, and human milk/breastfeeding may not be viewed as a priority. In many hospitals, nurses refer families to lactation consultants for all breastfeeding assistance and support.

Wednesday, 16 August 2023

The Transition to Breast Pathway was developed on the basis of the evidence-based standards and protocols at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The pathway consists of (1) initiation of pumping and maintenance of milk supply, (2) mouth care with human milk, (3) skin-to-skin care, (4) non-nutritive sucking at the breast, and (5) transitioning to breastfeeds.

Learning objectives

On completion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify vulnerable infants in which the Transition to Breast Pathway can be applied.
  • Describe the five interventions of the Transition to Breast Pathway.
  • Utilize current breastfeeding rates to facilitate ongoing quality improvement in vulnerable populations.


Event details

Date           16 August 2023

Duration    1 hour

Time          20:00 – 21:00 Central European Summer Time (13:00 – 14:00 Central Standard Time)


Taryn Edwards, MSN, APRN, NNP-BC

Taryn Edwards, MSN, APRN, NNP-BC

Taryn Edwards graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004 with her BSN and from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 with her MSN. She has been a neonatal nurse for 19 years and works as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Nemours Children's Health Delaware and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her passions include the surgical neonate, human milk and breastfeeding science, nutrition, and quality improvement.

Taryn participated in Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing's Maternal Child Health Leadership Academy as a leadership fellow in 2008 and as a mentor in 2012.

She is active at the national level by previously serving on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. She is currently serving on the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Council. Taryn recently joined Medela USA's Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board.

Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN

Prof. Diane Spatz (US)

Diane L. Spatz, Ph.D., RN-BC, FAAN, is a Professor of Perinatal Nursing & the Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, sharing a joint appointment as a nurse scientist in lactation at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the Center for Pediatric Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice. Dr. Spatz is the Founder of the CHOP Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Dr. Spatz is an active researcher, clinician, and educator internationally recognized for her work surrounding human milk and breastfeeding, particularly in vulnerable populations. Dr. Spatz has been PI or co-investigator on over 60 research grants, including several from the NIH.  She has authored and co-authored over 210 peer-reviewed publications and has written numerous book chapters related to human milk and breastfeeding. Dr. Spatz has authored or co-authored position statements for the International Lactation Consultant Association, the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric & Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), and the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. She has also written the clinical practice guidelines on human milk and breastfeeding for AHWONN and SPN, as well as a technical brief for the USAID on human milk and breastfeeding in developing countries.

In 2004, Dr. Spatz develop her 10-step model for human milk and breastfeeding in vulnerable infants.  This model has been implemented in NICUs throughout the United States and other countries worldwide (Thailand, India, China, Mexico, Japan, Chile). Dr. Spatz has been named a prestigious “Edge Runner” for the American Academy of Nursing related to the outcomes of her model.  Her nurse-driven models of care are critical in improving human milk & breastfeeding outcomes and, thus, the health of women and children globally.  Dr. Spatz is the only Ph.D.-prepared nurse appointed to the Congressional Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women.  Dr. Spatz has also been appointed to a World Health Organization Task Force on human milk and milk banking globally. Dr. Spatz was elected to the Executive Committee of the International Society of Research in Human Milk and Lactation in April 2020.

Dr. Spatz is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Research Utilization Award from Sigma Theta Tau International and from the University of Pennsylvania: the Dean’s Award for Exemplary Professional Practice, the Expert Alumni Award and the Family and Community Department’s Academic Practice Award   She is also the recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Dr. Spatz received the Distinguished Lang Award for her impact on scholarship, policy & practice. In 2019, Dr. Spatz received AWHONN’s Distinguished Researcher Award and was named Nurse of the Year by the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2023 she has been honoured as an inaugural fellow in the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

In the university portion of her job, she teaches an entire semester course on breastfeeding and human lactation to undergraduate nursing students, and in the hospital portion of her job, she developed the Breastfeeding Resource Nurse program.  Dr. Spatz is the Past Chair of the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Breastfeeding and their representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee.