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Research collaborations

The Australian Breastfeeding Association collaborates with leading universities, researchers and healthcare facilities. Our involvement varies depending on the type and scope of the research. Enquiries about research collaborations should be directed to our Breastfeeding Information and Research team via email or by calling 03 9690 4620 9.30 am to 4.30 pm AEST Monday to Friday.

Current collaborations

Ringing Up about Breastfeeding: a randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding (RUBY)

Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. The Judith Lumley Centre received funding from the Felton Bequest to conduct a trial of proactive telephone support for breastfeeding provided by volunteer breastfeeding mentors — mothers who have themselves breastfed, but are not ABA counsellors. The trial is led jointly by a team from the Judith Lumley Centre and the Royal Women’s Hospital, in collaboration with the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Monash Medical Centre and Sunshine Hospital. Read more about RUBY study on the Judith Lumley website.

Forster, D. A., McLachlan, H. L., Davey, M. A., Amir, L. H., Gold, L., Small, R., ... & McLardie-Hore, F. E. (2014). Ringing Up about Breastfeeding: a randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding (RUBY)–trial protocol. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14(1), 177. Freely available here:

Recent collaborations

Diabetes & Antenatal Milk Expression (DAME): A Randomised Controlled Trial

Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. The researchers received an NHMRC project grant to investigate the effect of antenatal milk expressing on babies of women with diabetes in pregnancy compared to the outcomes of babies of women with diabetes in pregnancy receiving standard care. The DAME trial was a multi-site, randomised controlled trial of antenatal expression of colostrum in late pregnancy for women with diabetes in pregnancy to explore the safety and efficacy for mother, foetus and infant. The recruitment sites are the Mercy Hospital for Women, the Royal Women's Hospital, Monash Medical Centre, Barwon Health, the Royal Women's at Sandringham, and Frankston Hospital. The study found that there was no harm in advising women with diabetes in pregnancy, at low risks of complications, to express breastmilk from 36 weeks’ gestation. Read more about the DAME study on the Judith Lumley website.

Forster, D. A., Moorhead, A. M., Jacobs, S. E., Davis, P. G., Walker, S. P., McEgan, K. M., ... & Aylward, A. (2017). Advising women with diabetes in pregnancy to express breastmilk in late pregnancy (Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing [DAME]): a multicentre, unblinded, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 389(10085), 2204–2213.

Forster, D. A., Jacobs, S., Amir, L. H., Davis, P., Walker, S. P., McEgan, K., ... & McNamara, C. (2014). Safety and efficacy of antenatal milk expressing for women with diabetes in pregnancy: protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 4(10), e006571. Freely available here:


Rural and city design workshops to promote breastfeeding in public

Community Planning and Development & Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University and the Australian Breastfeeding Association. This group of planning and health collaborators received a Building Healthy Communities RFA Grant to address a significant barrier facing new mothers at present: breastfeeding in public. An urban design approach was used to work with mothers to find ways to overcome the barriers so that, in the future, women can comfortably feed their babies when they are outside the home. An urban designer then sketched designs for breastfeeding-friendly public spaces based on women’s suggestions. The designs provided models for breastfeeding-dedicated places (such as mothers’ rooms) and breastfeeding-compatible places (such as booths in shopping centres and ‘park shelters’ and ‘pause spaces’ in outdoor settings). The project was short-listed as a finalist in the Research in Action category for the 2016 VicHealth awards.


Development of the Feed Safe app

Feed Safe is an application designed to educate breastfeeding women about the impact of alcohol consumption. It is based on the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol and takes a harm minimisation approach. It was developed in a collaborative partnership model involving a health promotion software development company (Reach Health Promotion Innovations), a breastfeeding researcher, Roslyn Giglia from Curtin University of Technology and ABA. The Feed Safe app has now been downloaded by more than 70,000 Australian women and has been used more than half a million times since its release in 2014. A description and analysis of the partnership which developed the Feed Safe app was published in 2016.

White, B., White, J., Giglia, R., & Tawia, S. (2016). Feed Safe: a multidisciplinary partnership approach results in a successful mobile application for breastfeeding mothers. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 27(2), 111-117. Freely available here:

Past collaborations

Economics of Work and Breastfeeding: Working while breastfeeding: Best practice strategies for workplaces and childcare centres

The Australian National University (ANU) led a research partnership with Flinders University, University of New South Wales and the Australian Breastfeeding Association to examine ‘breastfeeding friendly’ practices in workplaces and childcare services and what is needed to help employed mothers continue breastfeeding. The key finding of the research was that part-time work is important for mothers to sustain exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months and where employees reported more workplace support for breastfeeding, more had exclusively breastfed at 6 months. The study was being supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grant. Read more about this research on the ANU website.

Smith, J. P., McIntyre, E., Craig, L., Javanparast, S., Strazdins, L., & Mortensen, K. (2013). Workplace support, breastfeeding and health. Family Matters, (93), 58–73. Freely available here:


The role of micro-organisms (S. aureus & C. albicans) in the pathogenesis of breast pain and infection in lactating women CASTLE Study — Candida and Staphylococcus Transmission: Longitudinal Evaluation.

Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. This project was a descriptive study of 360 breastfeeding women, recruited from the Royal Women's Hospital and Frances Perry House. The aim of the study was to investigate the role of microorganisms in nipple and breast pain in breastfeeding women because there is controversy about whether burning nipple pain associated with radiating breast pain is caused by a fungal infection (Candida albicans, known as ‘thrush’) or a bacterial infection (Staphylococcus aureus, known as ‘golden staph’). The study found strong evidence of an association between the presence of Candida and nipple and breast pain, while Staphylococcus aureus was present in both women with and without pain. ABA collaborators sat on the CASTLE study reference group which was involved in the design of the CASTLE study. Read more about the CASTLE study on the Judith Lumley website.

Buck, M. L., Amir, L. H., Cullinane, M., Donath, S. M., & CASTLE Study Team. (2014). Nipple pain, damage, and vasospasm in the first 8 weeks postpartum. Breastfeeding Medicine, 9(2), 56–62. Available here:

Amir, L. H., Donath, S. M., Garland, S. M., Tabrizi, S. N., Bennett, C. M., Cullinane, M., & Payne, M. S. (2013). Does Candida and/or Staphylococcus play a role in nipple and breast pain in lactation? A cohort study in Melbourne, Australia. BMJ Open, 3(3), e002351. Freely available here:

Amir, L. H., Cullinane, M., Garland, S. M., Tabrizi, S. N., Donath, S. M., Bennett, C. M., ... & Payne, M. S. (2011). The role of micro-organisms (Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans) in the pathogenesis of breast pain and infection in lactating women: study protocol. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 11(1), 54. Freely available here: