Glossary of terms and abbreviations

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Alveoli: Tiny glands in the breast which produce milk.

Antibody: A protein substance which combines with an antigen to form the basis of immunity.

Areola: The dark, circular area surrounding the nipple.


B.B.C.: Birth and Beyond Contact

Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative: An international initiative promoting the Ten Steps to Supporting Breastfeeding. This award is given to hospitals when they have completed the ten steps.

Best practice guidelines: A set of guidelines developed locally to identify the key behaviors that enhance maternal-infant attachment during the hospital stay.

Bonding: Interaction between parents and infant to form a unique and lasting relationship.

Breast infection: An inflammation of the breast usually resulting from a plugged duct left untreated or a cracked nipple. Also known as mastitis.

Breast pump: A device used to express milk from the breast.

Breast shield: A hard, round plastic device that is worn in the bra prenatally to correct inverted nipples, It forms a plastic tent over the areola. It encourages flat nipples to protrude during engorgement.


Cluster feeding: A term used to describe the irregular and unpredictable feeding patterns of the newborn. Newborns often eat in multiple sequences when they have a wakeful period.

Colic: Extreme fussiness in the baby which is characterized by a piercing cry, severe abdominal discomfort and inability to be comforted. This occurs most of the time infant is awake.

Colostrum: Thick, yellow or clear fluid secreted from the breast during pregnancy, and the first few days postpartum before the onset of mature breast milk. It provides nutrients and protection against infectious diseases.

Cortisol: One of the hormones secreted during a stressful event. Often used to measure the level of stress.

Continuous quality improvement (CQI): A method used in industry to improve the quality of service. CQI usually includes

1. defining the problem,

2. intervening to change the problem,

3. measuring success.


Dependency: The state of needing support or nurturing from a less dependent individual. Children are considered dependent human beings for a relatively long period of time (14-25 years old).

Doula: A lay woman who has been trained to assist laboring women. The trained labor assistance traditionally stays with the mother throughout labor, birth, and the first few hours following birth.

Duct system: A system of tubes through which milk flows from the point of production out to the nipple pores.


Engorgement: Swelling and distention of the breast that may cause discomfort. It is common during the first week of breastfeeding and caused by vascular dilation as well as the arrival of early milk.

Expression: Extracting milk from the breast, either by hand or by using a breast pump.


Familiarization: The time required for an infant to prepare to breastfeed. This can vary from immediate readiness to approximately 20 minutes. During this time the infant may touch, lick, smell or pull on the nipple. It is thought that this time allows the infant to actively increase the oxytocin levels allowing the infant to receive milk.

First 5: The group funded by the tobacco tax (Proposition 10) designated to distribute grant funding in California groups for children ages 0-5.


Hand Expression: Removal of milk from the breast by manual manipulation

Healthy People 2010: National health goals for the United States


Infant driven feeding: The infant approaches the breast and releases the breast on their own without being forced or limited by the mother or caregiver.


Jaundice: A yellow coloring of the tissues, membranes and secretions due to the presence of bile pigments (bilirubin) in the blood


Lactation: Breastfeeding; secretion of breast milk

Latch assessment: A breastfeeding assessment to determine milk transfer, mother's comfort, and the infant's ability to attach well to the breast.

Long chained fatty acids: Essential fatty acid needed for brain growth. Mother and infant have stores of long chain fatty acids which provide for early brain development. A food source is fish.


Mastitis: The medical term for a breast infection

Milk transfer: The act of breast milk being received orally by the baby.

Modeling responsiveness: When a person displays immediate or near immediate reaction to an infant in distress. When infants are responded to within 90 seconds of beginning to cry, they stop crying more readily and cry less over time.

Mother friendly: An international initiative promoting care that is supportive, evidence-based, and respectful of women during labor and birth.


Neonate: A newborn from birth to 28 days.

Newborn screening data: The newborn screening is a genetic test done on every baby born in California.

Normal birth: A birth that occurs without medical management of any kind.


Oxytocin: A small natural hormone that causes a variety of effects in the human body including uterine contractions, milk ejection, and relaxation.


Providing Breastfeeding Support - Model Hospital Policy Recommendations: A document developed by the Inland Empire Breastfeeding Coalition and the Regional Perinatal Program of California to create an evidence based practice model for hospital practices surrounding breastfeeding management.


Recovery sleep: The period of sleep following birth. This can be observed in both the mother and the infant and can last from two to five hours. It characteristically begins at about one to two hours following birth.

Rooting reflex: The natural instinct of the newborn to turn his head toward the stimulation when touched on the cheek.


S.O.F.T: An acronym that represents skin to skin, open eye to eye, fingertip touch, and time together.

Sentinel life events: Births, deaths, traumatic events, and life changing events can all potentially be sentinel events.


Teachable moments: A moment when the learner asks a question, needs a problem solved, or becomes open to learning a specific piece of information.

Thrush: A fungal infection of the mouth characterized by white patches and ulcers; candida infection may also occur on a mother's nipples