Message from the Founding Director


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 Retired
Founding 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.

Statement of Purposesmilingbaby

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


Dr. Heinig is the Founding Director of the Human Lactation Center. She is retiring soon from her position as academic administrator in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis where she conducted research in the areas of clinical lactation,  program evaluation, child feeding decision-making, as well as infant nutrition and behavior.  Dr. Heinig received her PhD in Nutrition Science from UC Davis and was an IBCLC for 30 years.  She is currently on the faculty in the Department of Nutrition and is the outgoing program director and graduate advisor for the Master of Advance Study in Maternal and Child Nutrition Program at UC Davis.


Gaylene Catalan has been part of the research and administrative team at the UC Davis Human Lactation Center since 2015. She studied Biological Sciences at UC Davis with a minor in education. She previously worked as a preschool teacher, daycare provider and para-educator prior to working with the Human Lactation Center.  She assists with a variety of center activities, projects, ongoing research, and has been involved with training and curriculum development for various projects, including the CA WIC TOTT Up-Scale project, AZ TOTT Study, Baby Behavior in Pediatric Offices and Using Baby Behavior to Improve Feeding Practices in Childcare Environments.