The primary purpose of UNITAR Division for People Expert Community on Breastfeeding is to serve as a cadre of professionals to provide specialised knowledge and technical guidance to the UNITAR’s Breastfeeding Education Initiative; . Our breastfeeding expert community is dedicated to providing unwavering support, education, and advocacy for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Through collaborative efforts, continuous education, and evidence-based practices, we strive to ensure quality lactation support, promote professional excellence, and advance the health and well-being of families worldwide towards contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Alejandra Gutierrez

Ms. Alejandra Gutierrez

Alejandra Gutierrez holds a degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla in Mexico. Her areas of expertise include perinatal and pediatric nutrition. As a private practitioner, she helps her clients on the journey from conception to postpartum, including nursing. She is passionate about empowering parents to make informed decisions about their eating habits, thereby creating a nourishing environment for their children. 

Alejandra assists families in the implementation of Complementary Feeding for their babies, focusing on achieving adequate nutrition for their optimal physical and cognitive development as well as the formation of healthy eating habits from an early age. Alejandra is an International Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who conducts seminars and courses to educate women and their families on the benefits of breastfeeding. She supports mothers through their pregnancy and lactation journeys by providing them with tools to optimize their breastfeeding until weaning. Alejandra has been a featured speaker at international nutrition and nursing events and has also advocated for the importance of prenatal nutrition and breastfeeding on several podcasts and television shows. 

Andrea Jordan


Andrea Bonita Jordan is a midwife and breastfeeding specialist.

Group practice and community midwifery has always been her first love in maternity care and her 25 year career started as an NHS one-to-one group practice midwife for the women/families of South East London. Andrea deepened her experiences, working in Indonesia-South East Asia, and then on the Island of Barbados in the Caribbean where, for 14 years she lived and worked as a breastfeeding specialist, birth activist, birthing centre, home/water-birth and Independent midwife.

During her time in Barbados, Andrea had 2 children, both born gently, outside of hospital; the first was a water-birth at the birthing centre and the second, a water-birth at home.

The joy and empowerment that came with the birth of her two children has emboldened Andrea to make sure that this kind of experience, and the opportunity to choose this, is available to all families if they so desire.

Andrea now resides in London with her family, working as a case-loading team midwife for vulnerable women. With today's increased challenges of mental health, domestic violence, substance misuse and homelessness, Andrea now has a new focus for her midwifery passions.

Andrea O’Reilly


Andrea O’Reilly, PhD, is a full professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. She is the founder and director of The Mother Initiative (1998 – 2019), the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative (1998 – Present), and the publisher of Demeter Press (2006 – Present). Dr. O’Reilly is the co-editor/editor of more than 25 books. She has presented her research at over 100 conferences, has been a keynote speaker for more than 30 conferences, and has authored 100 articles and chapters. Her forthcoming books (2022) include "Normative Motherhood" and "Coming into Being: Mothers on Finding and Realizing Feminism." She is currently writing the monograph “Matricritics: Reading the Maternal in Post-2010 Women’s Fiction.” As well she is currently engaged in two SSHRC funded research projects: Young Mothers in Canada and The Impact of Covid-19 on Mothers, Mothering and Families. 

In 2006, Dr. O'Reilly coined the term Motherhood Studies and is internationally recognized as the founder of this academic discipline. She also has developed a new mode of feminism: matricentric feminism, which is a feminism for and about mothers. 

Bernd Stahl

Bernd Stahl

Bernd Stahl is Associate Professor within the Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery Group at the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the Utrecht University, Netherlands and visiting researcher at the Department of Biochemistry, Center for Biomedical Mass Spectrometry at Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, USA. Bernd is also the R&D Director of Human Milk Research & Analytical Science at Danone Nutricia Research. 

Furthermore, Bernd Stahl is currently a visiting researcher at the Department of Biochemistry, Center for Biomedical Mass Spectrometry at Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, USA. He received his PhD  in the area of analytical glycobiology at the University of Muenster, Germany. Bernd Stahl is a recipient of the Mattauch-Herzog Award for Mass Spectrometry of the German Mass Spectrometry Society (DGMS). He has a strong background in biochemical research and has been making a significant contribution to human milk science for more than 30 years. Dr. Stahl is the author and co-author of more than 100 scientific publications, reviews, and book chapters. Currently, his research focuses on understanding factors that influence and are influenced by breastfeeding and human milk, beyond nutrition. This will pave the way for the creation of innovative, specialized nutritionally or therapeutically relevant solutions. 

Bernd Stahl is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS), American Chemical Society (ACS), Society for Glycobiology (SFG), German Biochemical Society (GBM), European Milk Bank Association (EMBA) and the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML). 

Heather Oneal


Heather ONeal, APRN, CNM, IBCLC is the founder and CEO of Maezer, LLC (DBA: Breastfeeding for Busy Moms), professional podcaster, author, influencer, and clinical faculty at West Virginia University School of Nursing. Heather hosts and manages a Facebook support group for lactating parents with 16k members worldwide where she provides online breastfeeding education and virtual community support. She also cohosts the Milk Minute Podcast- An inclusive evidence-based podcast for lactating parents and their partners all over the world. 

Affiliations: West Virginia University School of Nursing Secretary of the WV Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives Voting member of the West Virginia Nurses Association Member of the Infant Health Advisory Board for Evolve BioSystems.

Kirsty Pringle

Kirsty Pringle

Dr. Kirsty Pringle is Assistant Dean Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing and a teaching/research academic in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy and at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Kirsty completed her PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Adelaide before joining the University of Newcastle in 2008. She is a member of CIFAL Newcastle, Deputy Director of the Mothers and Babies Research Centre and Scientific Director of the largest Indigenous pregnancy through early childhood cohort worldwide (Gomeroi Gaaynggal). Kirsty’s research focusses on the developmental origins of health and disease and she is passionate about improving outcomes for mothers and their babies. Kirsty has published >60 original research articles and attracted >$3.5M in research funding.

Man Sau Wong

Man Sau Wong

Dr. Man Sau Wong is a professor in the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, China. Her research focuses on the use of dietary factors and Chinese medicinal herbs for improving bone health and prevention of age-related diseases as well as delineating the mechanisms involved in mediating their protective effects. She currently serves as the chairperson for the Expert Group on Maternal and Child Nutrition for the Hong Kong Nutrition Association, a member of the Higher Education Review Board for the Institute of Food Technologists, and a member of the Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food for the Food and Health Bureau. She has been an Editorial Board Member of the American Journal of Chinese Medicine since 2006 and an Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine since 2011. Dr. Wong received her PhD in Human Nutrition and Nutritional Biology from the University of Chicago and her Bachelor of Science in Food Science from the University of Illinois.  

Maria Berruezo

Ms. Maria Berruezo

Maria Berruezo co-founded the femtech company LactApp, one of the main Femtech companies in Spain and also in the world, together with IBCLC Alba Padró. Since 2017, LactApp has already attended to more than 19 million consultations about breastfeeding and maternity in Spanish, English and Portuguese, being present in 89% of the countries of the world with more than 625,000 users. 

She created her own communications agency at the age of 25 after studying a Public Relations & Advertising Degree. She also has a Master Degree in knowledge management. In 2010, motherhood completely changed her interests but not her initiative. She first trained to become a breastfeeding consultant at Alba Lactancia, a non-profit organisation of which Maria soon became a member of the Board of Directors. That was the seed of what is now LactApp. 

She is a lecturer at the postgraduate course in breastfeeding at Blanquerna University and is the coordinator of the LactApp Medical Congress, an international event for maternal and child health professionals.  

She has been chosen as one of the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise by the European EUCLID Network and the Government of Spain has included her in its guide of the Women Referents of Innovative Entrepreneurship in the country.

Maria Carmen Collado

Maria Carmen Collado

Dr. María Carmen Collado earned her PhD in Biotechnology in 2005. She currently works as a Research Scientists  at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology-Spanish National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), Valencia, Spain. 

Her research work is multidisciplinary and includes microbiology, food science and nutrition areas. Her interests are focused on probiotics, microbiota and health and nutrition during pregnancy and early life period. She has published over 200 papers in peer-reviewed and indexed scientific journals on the subject of microbiota, Probiotics, diet and health. She has collaborated as an author in multiple book chapters, as well as has participated in more than 100 communications to prestigious national and international conferences. She leads various national projects as well as a Project of Excellence for young researchers of the European Research Council (ERC Starting grant), the supervision of a Marie-Curie IEF-H2020 grant. She supervised 6 PhD Theses (plus 5 ongoing) and over 10 MSc Theses and several student supervisions. She was involved in external expert working groups and also, develops activities in various national and international committees for the evaluation of research projects (BBSRC, ANRS, FWO; CNRS, DCRS, FNRS UEFISCDI, BSF, etc.) as well as in specific excellence EU calls (ERC, EUROSTARTS and COST actions). She has received research awardees as ESPGHAN Young Researcher award (2015) from the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) and “Scientific Young Research in Nutrition-2021” from Fundación Jesus Serra. She is involved in the Executive Committee- International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML), Spanish Society of Microbiota, Probiotics and Prebiotics (SEMiPyP). In addition, she is member of various scientific societies (SEMiPyP, ASM, ASN, ISRHML) and she chaired and co-chaired scientific and organizing committees of congresses with international relevance (FASEB, KEYSTONE, IHMC, ISHRML) as well as a Board member of “Microbiome Virtual International Forum” (MIV-F), a monthly virtual conference.

Mary Thompson


Mary Thompson, a registered nurse and midwife with almost 35 years combined experience in emergency nursing, midwifery, occupational health and safety, correctional health care, and forensic nursing with a focus on survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault.  She has a profound interest in health education and the advancement of nursing practice.  As Barbados' sole trained Forensic Nurse, she serves as the Lead Director of Body Matters Inc., a healthcare consultancy offering private healthcare services. Additionally, Ms. Thompson is a State Certified Rape Crisis Counselor and has done work with the  Milford Rape Crisis Centre in Connecticut, USA.


Renowned for her advocacy on women's issues, Ms. Thompson led national initiatives to raise awareness of human trafficking and spearheaded efforts to develop a counter-trafficking protocol for Barbados during her tenure as President of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados. Internationally recognized by the United States Department of State, she was a finalist for the "Woman of Courage Award" due to her dynamic leadership and commitment to combating domestic violence. Her career also saw her managing the Health Unit at the US Embassy Bridgetown for eight years, where she played a pivotal role in Caribbean Security initiatives. Her distinguished work led to global recognition through the Office of Medical Services, US Department of State.  Currently, Ms. Thompson serves as Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee for the Nursing Council of Barbados.

Meghan Azad

Meghan Azad

Dr. Meghan Azad is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba, where she holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease. Her research program is focused on the role of infant nutrition and the microbiome in child growth, development and resilience. Dr. Azad co-Directs the new Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre (MILC) and leads the new International Milk Composition (IMiC) Consortium. She serves as Deputy Director of the CHILD Cohort Study, a national pregnancy cohort following 3500 children to understand how early life experiences shape lifelong health. Research in the THRiVE Discovery Lab is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Azad serves on the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation Executive Council and the joint US/Canada Human Milk Composition Initiative. She is a Fellow of the CIFAR Humans and the Microbiome Program and an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars. Dr. Azad received the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation Erlich-Koldovsky Early Career Investigator Award (2018) and the International Human Milk Genomics Mid-Career Investigator Award (2020). She was named among the WXN Canada Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2020) and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2021).

Meng Mao


Dr. Meng Mao is a professor of pediatrics, chief physician and doctoral tutor at West China Women's and Children's Hospital of Sichuan University. She is currently the Honorary Head of the Children's Health Group of the Chinese Medical Association, a member of the Humanity Committee of the International Pediatric Association, and Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Chinese Journal of Pediatrics. 

Professor Mao is committed to the clinical and applied research of early childhood growth and development, child nutrition and nutritional diseases. She is the editor-in-chief of national planning textbooks such as Textbook of Pediatricsand Textbook of Child Health, and the chief translator and reviewer of the Chinese version of the 19th edition of Nelson’s Textbook of Pediatrics in the United States. 

Professor Mao has served as an advisor to the Scientific advisory group of the Sichuan Provincial People's Government, Vice Chairman of the Society of Pediatrics, CMA. She was the former Director of The Foreign Affairs Department of West China University of  Medical Sciences (Sichuan University), president of the West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University (2001-2010), president of Chengdu Women's and Children's Central Hospital (2011-2014). 

Michael Abou-Dakn


Dr. Michael Abou-Dakn is the medical director of the department of gynaecological and obstetrics in the hospital St. Joseph in Berlin and a professor in the  Evangelische HochschuleBerlin Obstetrics bachelor sc. of midwifery. Michael, originally from Syria, completed his medical studies in Freie Universität Berlin. He is a member of the national breastfeeding commission Germany, the working group FIGO "breast diseases", the FIGO well-woman healthcare committee, the Board German obstetric group AGG DGGG, the Board German society of gynecology and obstetrics (DGGG), the Board German society of neonatology (DPGM) and the Board Berlin society of gynecology and obstetrics (GGGB). Previously he acted as the President of the UNICEF / WHO "Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative" for Germany. He has drafted more than 40 PubMed-listed publications during his extensive professional career and has been the lead author of various German guidelines: Sectio Caes. Vaginal birth, Induction of birth, breast disease in breastfeeding. His scientifical specialization is obstetrics, women's health and lactation problems, and postmenopausal problems.

Moenie Van der Kleyn


Moenie Van der Kleyn an IBCLC lactation consultant she developed a special interest in breastfeeding sciences. Moenie also received a master’s degree in public health at the medical university of Graz in 2014. Over many years she was engaged as director / lactation commissioner of the Austrian Midwives’ Board, Member of the Austrian State Lactation Commission as well as member of the Advisory Board of the Austrian Birth Register, initiating the Austrian homebirth register. 

Since 2011, Mrs. van der Kleyn has been employed by the FH JOANNEUM university of applied sciences in Graz, as head of institute of midwifery and degree programme, since 2021 head of the department of health studies. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. 

Currently, she is also the director of the Josef Ressel Centre for the Investigation of Early Life Metabolic Programming regarding Dispositions of Obesity, with a focus on early life nutrition and its impact on infant growth. Her academic interests include all aspects of midwifery, with a particular focus on midwifery evidence and politics related to normal childbearing, breastfeeding and public health. Moenie is married and has two children.

Petal Haffenden-McNally


Mrs. Petal Haffenden-McNally has been a Registered Midwife for over 14 years, currently employed by the Southern Regional Health Authority in Jamaica. She serves as a preceptor for midwifery students and has extensive experience in both community and hospital settings, including one of the country's main hospital's Maternity Ward.

Petal holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work with a specialty in youth development (Hons.). She is also a Certified Counselor with Pregnant Mothers Advancing Through Education (PREGMATE) and holds a certification in Supervisory Management. Currently, she is pursuing a postgraduate degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

As a passionate midwife, Petal is dedicated to her practice and continues to advocate for young people and teen mothers. She has earned the trust, adoration, and cooperation of those she serves and is known for her commitment to and practice of home births.

In addition to her midwifery practice, Petal is actively involved in professional organizations. She serves as the Secretary of the Jamaica Midwives Association (JMA) and is a member of the Education Committee for The Caribbean Regional Midwives Association (CRMA). Petal also contributes to the strategic development of nursing and midwifery in Jamaica as a member of the committee for the years 2023-2025.

Beyond her professional commitments, Petal is the Assistant Director General of the Youth and Children Department in a faith-based organization. She also volunteers at the Women’s Center of Jamaica Mandeville branch, where she provides presentations to adolescent mothers and offers midwifery-related services.

Petal is deeply committed to her responsibilities and ensures that all duties are given the highest priority. As a wife of over 30 years and a mother to two young adults, she embodies her mantra: "IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME!"

Shelley McGuire

Shelley McGuire

Michelle (Shelley) McGuire, Ph.D., is Director and Professor of Nutrition in the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Idaho (USA). Dr. McGuire received her BS in biology and MS in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois and her PhD in human nutrition from Cornell University. She has a background in human physiology and nutrition, with specific expertise in maternal/infant nutrition, human milk composition, nutritional assessment, and milk and fecal microbiomes. Dr. McGuire has conducted studies related to myriad human milk components including minerals, hormones, lipids, pesticides, allergens, bacteria, and most recently SARS-CoV-2. She has overseen a variety of projects related to human nutrition and lactation funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture, as well as a variety of industry and commodity sources. Shelley has twice served on the executive committee of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, including secretary and treasurer, and has served on the executive board of the American Society for Nutrition. A seasoned science writer, Dr. McGuire is author of two college-level introductory nutrition textbooks and in 2018 she received the Excellence in Nutrition Education Award from the American Society for Nutrition. 

Silke Mader


Silke Mader has been a passionate and influential advocate for maternal and newborn health for over 25 years. As a former patient with HELLP syndrome and mother of preterm babies at week 25 (twin boy survived at 515 grams, twin girl deceased), she built on all of her personal experience to improve care for parents, preterm babies and sick newborns. Care that hardly existed at the time. She knows from her own experience that a strong partnership between health professionals and parents is the best way to face the emotional roller coaster ride of a preterm or sick baby and to overcome the obstacles. This led to establishing EFCNI – European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants in Munich 2008 where she acts as Chairwoman and founding member. One of the major achievements of the foundation was the establishment of World Prematurity Day, the development as well as the implementation of The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health and the founding of the Global Alliance for Newborn Care (GLANCE). 

In times of the pandemic, GLANCE joined forces with partnering parent organisations, healthcare professionals and medical societies all over the world to develop its first global campaign “Zero Separation. Together for better care! Keep preterm and sick babies close to their parents”. 

Silke Mader is Chairwoman and founding member of EFCNI as well as author and editor of many publications on topics related to maternal and newborn health and received several national and international awards and medals for her engagement.

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