top of page

We celebrated National Breastfeeding Week! With speakers from coast-to-coast, we covered a whole range of topics including feeding in NICU, newest research on the impact of breastmilk on neurodevelopment, emotional/relational side of pumping and breastfeeding and one mother’s breastfeeding journey during the pandemic. Watch the discussion as we explored the good, the bad and the beautiful side of breastfeeding/chestfeeding.

Watch recording here:

Purple Background with Bubbles


Doris Dickson:   Precious as Gold: safe handling of mother's milk 

Doris Dickson.JPG

Doris Dickson will present a review of CDC guidelines for handling and storage of mother's milk and tips for ensuring that baby gets every drop. 



Doris worked as a neonatal nurse, clinical nurse specialist and lactation consultant in Winnipeg for over 30 years. Doris has a passion for parents of sick and vulnerable infants. She has since retired and works as a nursing consultant and as a clinical education facilitator for the University of Manitoba College of Nursing. She is also the Chair of the Board of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation. 

Dr. Rebecca Hoban:  Tube Transition Tips: Moving to oral feeding (and breastfeeding!) in the NICU         


For many NICU babies, the transition from NG/tube feeds to oral feeds is the “rate limiting step” for going home.  In this “quick hits” chat, we’ll talk about goals and expectations for the transition from tube feeds to oral feeds and breastfeeding/chestfeeding, with a focus on common parent questions like “nipple confusion,” and breastfeeding when baby is on fortified feeds. 


Dr. Rebecca Hoban is a neonatologist and Director of Breastfeeding Medicine at SickKids, and Associate Professor at University of Toronto. Dr. Hoban graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children’s, neonatology fellowship at Tufts, and a MPH at Harvard before joining Chicago’s Rush Medical Center. Dr. Hoban transitioned to the Hospital for Sick Children/Sickkids in 2017, where her focus is human milk. Current projects include improving human milk provision in high-risk neonatal populations, milk biomarkers to predict lactation success, inflammatory markers in human milk, and human milk as potential stem cell therapy for intraventricular hemorrhage. 

Dr. Deborah O’Connor:  Improving breastfeeding rates in NICU

Chair Portrait 2 (8634).jpg


Dr. O’Connor is the Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and a Senior Associate Scientist at the SickKids Research Institute. Dr. O’Connor is a recognized authority in neonatal nutrition and is frequently asked for her expert opinion in preparing national and international maternal and neonatal nutrition guidelines. Dr. O'Connor is also interested in understanding the factors that affect the folate and one-carbon (e.g. vitamin B12) nutrient status of women, infants, and young children. In particular, her work investigates the role folic acid fortification, vitamin and mineral supplementation and colonic bacterial folate biosynthesis play on the folate status of women of reproductive age. Folate and other one-carbon nutrients are critically involved in the prevention of birth defects and emerging evidence suggests these nutrients also play important roles in epigenetic programming of adult disease.


Addie Chilcott (parent) :   Breastfeeding a Preemie: My Experience

Addie Chilcott.png


Addie Chilcott is a preemie mom. Her daughter was born at 31 weeks in June of 2021. She works in Public Health Communications and her passion is helping other preemie parents through sharing her experiences and telling her story. 


Breastfeeding can be a physically and emotionally challenging journey, especially for parents of premature babies. My hope is that through sharing my story, other preemie moms don’t feel alone or isolated in their experience regardless of how they choose to feed their baby. I’ll talk about the challenges I faced with breastfeeding, pumping, and ultimately transitioning to formula; specifically speaking to the struggles I faced throughout this journey from a mental health perspective. 

CPBF streamed a 2-hour special edition of our educational series Preemie Chats. Experts from across Canada discussed how the pandemic affected breastfeeding, important steps to improve breastfeeding rates in the NICU, the science behind human milk feeding, and learn about a unique experience to increase community lactation support after infant loss.

Watch recording here:

Purple Background with Bubbles


Merilee Brockway:  Breastfeeding experiences in the pandemic: How do we move forward from here?


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered how breastfeeding support is provided, resulting in mixed breastfeeding outcomes and experiences for mothers. In this presentation we will review pandemic-related changes in guidelines around breastfeeding support across 5 countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States). We will then summarize the evidence of how these changes have impacted breastfeeding initiation, duration and breastfeeding experiences. Finally, we will offer recommendations for clinical lactation support as we move forward into a post-pandemic era.



Dr. Merilee (Meredith) Brockway is a PhD prepared registered nurse and International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant with expertise in maternal-child health, infant feeding, and patient engagement. She completed her PhD in nursing at the University of Calgary, examining maternal breastfeeding self-efficacy and infant feeding outcomes in moderate and late preterm infants. Merilee completed her post-doctoral training at the University of Manitoba in Dr. Meghan Azad’s lab, exploring clinical applications of donor human milk for preterm infants. Merilee is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary and developing a program of research examining the use of human milk as a clinical intervention to mitigate early life perturbations to the infant microbiome.   

Alanna Lakoff:  Memory milk gift

Alanna Lakoff _edited.jpg

In Alanna’s presentation she will explain how listening to a parent legacy request facilitated reflection & working together to improve community lactation supports after perinatal and infant loss. Furthering milk bank awareness created opportunities to donate and support our tiniest humans


Alana Lakoff is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 2014 and has a Masters Degree in Nutritional Sciences. She provides NICU nursing care for families and their babies in the Ottawa region. Alana has a passion for supporting families’ feeding goals and and has been volunteering towards establishing a local human milk bank. She is also the proud mother of three girls. 

Ashley Alonius and Ellen Kowbel:  Improving breastfeeding rates in NICU

Screen Shot 2022-07-06 at 6.30.01 PM.png

Recognizing that rates of Mother's Own Milk in our NICU were decreasing we reintroduced colostrum kits as part of every admission. We will discuss the importance of breastmilk, especially for premature infants and the role of colostrum kits in helping to initiate pumping soon after birth. Review of the colostrum kits, their function, and how our unit rolled out this initiative for all babies admitted into the NICU to improve our breastfeeding rates. Review of the current state of our unit and future plans.


Ashley Alonius

Graduated with a BN in Nursing in 2014. She began working in the Intermediate Care Nursery at HSC Winnipeg in 2014, combining with NICU into one unit in December of 2019. Took on the role of Clinical Resource Nurse in February of 2021.  


Ellen Kowbel

Graduated with a BN in Nursing in 2014. She began working in the NICU at HSC Winnipeg immediately after graduation as a general duty RN and started in the Clinical Resource Nurse position in February of 2020. Ellen is passionate about neonatology and loves caring for the smallest of patients and their families.  

Ellen Kowbel_edited.jpg

Keri-Ann Berga:  The magic and science of human milk feeding

Screen Shot 2022-07-06 at 6.29.47 PM.png

In this presentation, Keri-Ann will talk about human milk feedings and the benefits for all babies, especially those receiving care in the NICU.


Keri-Ann Berga is a Perinatal Consultant at Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program (CMNRP) in Ottawa, Ontario and teaches Nursing at two Canadian Universities:  Mount Royal University, in Calgary, and  MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. 

In her current role, Keri-Ann supports various initiatives for best practices in neonatal care: she is a NRP instructor and trainer for neonatal resuscitation,  a workshop facilitator for human milk feeding, and a breast and chest feeding champion as Co-Chair of the CMNRP Regional Breastfeeding Committee.  

Keri-Ann believes in supporting and promoting informed decision making, family-centred and family integrated care, and is a strong proponent of the fact that supporting families with human milk feedings can impact the health and well-being of families – both the baby and lactating parent – now, and in the future.  

bottom of page