ESRC Seminar Series overview

Social experiences of breastfeeding: building bridges between research and policy

This seminar series brought together academics from a range of disciplines with those involved in education, practice and policy. Over a series of six seminars, during 2015 and 2016, a core group of attendees, plus internationally renowned speakers, met to consider how to further understanding of women’s embodied, affective and day-to-day practices of trying to breastfeed and to talk about how more UK women might be helped to breastfeed for longer.

The seminars were hosted by the University of the West of England, Cardiff University and the University of South Wales, in Bristol and Cardiff.


The seminar series aimed to answer the following questions:

  • How does attending to the micro-practices and affective and embodied experiences of breastfeeding women advance extant knowledge about the reasons for breastfeeding cessation?
  • How can we further understanding about inequalities in breastfeeding rates by focusing on the nuances of day-to-day breastfeeding?
  • How might an increased understanding of these perspectives influence policy?

Our goal was to create an opportunity for participants from academia, practice and policy (both governmental and non-governmental) to come together to engage in collaborative knowledge-creation.

Forthcoming book

We are delighted to announce 'Social experiences of breastfeeding: building bridges between research, policy and practice',  edited by Sally Dowling, David Pontin and Kate Boyer, is due to be published in early 2018 by Policy Press The book will contain chapters from many of the academics who contributed to the seminar series, as well as commentaries on the usefulness of this work by policy makers and practitioners.

View the full details of the seminar series including speaker biographies and presentations.

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