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Human Lactation Center

About Us

Message from the Director

Academic Surge Building

What does it take to be a leader in our profession? It takes knowledge, innovative thinking, and community partnerships. The UC Davis Human Lactation Center is a nonprofit, self-supporting center dedicated to developing leaders in lactation. Why? Because we recognize that through empowerment and cooperation, lactation professionals can make an enormous difference in the lives of women and children. As Helen Keller so wisely said, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." We are pleased to offer a range of educational products and services designed to keep you at the cutting edge of evidence-based practice. We look forward to working with you.

Best wishes,
Jane Heinig, PhD, IBCLC
Executive Director

History of the Human Lactation Center

For more than 20 years, faculty members in the Department of Nutrition have been conducting research on human lactation and infant nutrition in California and other parts of the world.  Past studies include an examination of the effects of zinc supplementation on the growth and development of breastfed infants and the impact of caloric restriction and exercise on milk volume and composition of lactating women. In 1999, departmental researchers conducted a large prospective study of lactation and infant growth sponsored by the World Health Organization and co-funded by NIH and USDA.  The study was part of a worldwide effort to gather data for the World Health Organization’s Child Growth Standards for infants and young children. As a result of this early work, we developed a wide range of expertise in both the biological and behavioral aspects of breastfeeding.  In 2000, Drs. Kay Dewey, Jane Heinig, and Lucia Kaiser established the self-supporting UC Davis Human Lactation Center (HLC) as a focal point for research and outreach activities. The HLC served as the editorial office for the Journal of Human Lactation until 2011. The non-profit center does not receive operating funds from UC Davis and depends on outside funding for financial support.

smiling baby on tummyStatement of Purpose

The UC Davis Human Lactation Center provides a focal point for communication among researchers, clinicians, policy-makers and educators to assure that the latest research-based information is made available to those working with women and their infants. The center aims also to foster communication and collaboration among faculty and other professionals interested in research related to human lactation, infant feeding, and maternal and child nutrition.

Our specific goals are to:

  • Offer initial training and continuing education on lactation, infant feeding, and maternal and child nutrition to current and future physicians, nurses, dietitians, lactation specialists, and other health care providers;

  • Conduct research on lactation, infant feeding and maternal and child nutrition; and

  • Consult with policy makers from regional, national, and international agencies to support their efforts to protect and support breastfeeding and promote compliance with infant feeding guidelines.

Faculty and Staff

Jane Heinig

Dr. Heinig serves as the Executive Director of the Human Lactation Center. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and an Academic Administrator in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis where she conducts research in the areas of clinical lactation, education, policy development, program evaluation and infant nutrition.  Dr. Heinig received her PhD in Nutrition Science from UC Davis in 1992, became an IBCLC in 1993, and currently specializes in public health nutrition. She is the Graduate Advisor for the Master of Advance Study in Maternal and Child Nutrition Program at UC Davis and is an instructor in several of the courses.

Dr. Heinig served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Lactation until 2011and frequently has served as a consultant to the California Department of Public Health and other public agencies.  She has published widely in the scientific literature and is a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association, the American Public Health Association, and the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation.


Jennifer Banuelos

Jennifer Bañuelos received a Master’s degree in Maternal and Child Nutrition from UC Davis in 2008 and has been part of the research and administrative team at the UC Davis Human Lactation Center since 2005.

She has extensive experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and is part of the team that developed and implemented the FitWIC Baby Behavior Study and the TOTT Study. She has coauthored several key reports including the breastfeeding report from the California Department of Public Health titled “Breastfeeding: Investing in California’s Future,” a strategic needs assessment of nutrition and physical activity in childcare settings released by the California Department of Education, and numerous annual reports ranking California hospitals based on breastfeeding rates.

Karolina Gonzalez

Karolina González, MAS

Karolina González joined the Human Lactation Center research team as a volunteer in 2011 and as a staff member in 2014. She receiving a Master’s degree in Maternal and Child Nutrition from UC Davis in 2011. As a graduate student, she worked at California State WIC as part of the Nutrition Education, Marketing and Outreach (NEMO) Section, where she helped with the translation of newly developed nutrition education materials into Spanish.  Karolina began her studies in Costa Rica, where she graduated from the University of Costa Rica with a BS in Clinical Nutrition in 2005. She worked as a Nutrition Assistant at a Palliative Care Unit in her home country and also worked in the field of Nutrition Education in Israel before arriving to California in 2009.

Karolina is currently pursuing certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).  Her research interests include the determinants of infant-feeding practices among Hispanic populations, as well as the development of nutrition intervention programs for families from different cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds in the Northern California region.





Affiliated Faculty


Dr. Kathryn DeweyKathryn G. Dewey, PhD

Department of Nutrition, UC Davis