Expanding the Pharmacist’s Role in Breastfeeding Support: Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) Online Tutorial

The 2011 report to the United States (US) Surgeon General by the US Public Health Service Chief Pharmacist on the benefits of advanced pharmacy practice presents evidence-based data that objectively illustrate the contribution of pharmacists in the US Public Health System. The report also provides rationale and compelling discussion to support health reform through pharmacists delivering expanded patient care services.  Pharmacists, especially those practicing in community settings, are accessible and trusted health providers to the public, and as such are excellently positioned for opportunities to promote public health and wellness.


  • With their highly visible role in the community, their frequent interactions with soon-to-be and new parents, and their knowledge of medication safety, pharmacists can be a key component in the promotion and support of breastfeeding. This expanded role in breastfeeding support would be consistent with the pharmaceutical care concept. Evidence has shown that new mothers are not fulfilling their desired infant feeding goals. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 75% of new mothers in the US initiate breastfeeding, but only 16.3% of US infants are breastfed exclusively for 6 months as recommended.22
  • Initiation and continuation of breastfeeding can be difficult due to inadequate healthcare professional and social support. Mothers need consistent, sustained information and support to develop and meet personal breastfeeding goals, but often receive insufficient assistance and conflicting and incorrect advice. The lack of health professional support for breastfeeding is a broad issue spanning many countries, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. Some health care professionals, including pharmacists, lack knowledge about breastfeeding, make little effort to offer information to breastfeeding mothers, and sometimes even discourage breastfeeding. With proper education, pharmacists can make important contributions to the promotion of breastfeeding through encouragement, recommendations, and role modeling.22
  • This 1.0 hour online continuing education tutorial is designed to meet the educational needs of practicing pharmacists.
  • The tutorial is composed of 4 modules:
  • Module 1: Breastfeeding Background
  • Module 2: Improving Breastfeeding – A Public Health Perspective
  • Module 3: Breastfeeding and Medications
  • Module 4: The Role of the Pharmacist
  • A 10 question post-test is available at the end of the tutorial.
  • Use the navigation arrows at the bottom of each page to move through the tutorial. You can also use the navigation side bar along the left of the page to click on any page.


  • Roger A. Edwards, ScD
    Assistant Professor
    Bouvé College of Health Sciences
    Northeastern University

    Philip O. Anderson, PharmD, FASHP
    Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Pharmacy
    Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    University of California San Diego

    Amy Lenell, PharmD
    Pharmacy Manager
    Walgreens #6778
    6191 N Keystone Ave
    Indianapolis, IN 46220

    Lynne M. Sylvia, PharmD
    Senior Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
    Tufts Medical Center

    Jillian P. Casale
    Expected Graduation Date: May 2014
    Doctor of Pharmacy Program
    Bouvé College of Health Sciences
    Northeastern University