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Understanding experiences of breastfeeding in the UK

3 March 2015

Most mothers in the UK report that they stopped breastfeeding sooner than they wanted to. Why is this the case? What are women's experiences of breastfeeding in the contemporary UK, and how are these experiences shaping decisions about how long to continue?

These are the questions behind a new seminar series being organised by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Cardiff University and the University of South Wales.

The series is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and will take place in Cardiff and Bristol. Co-organiser Dr Kate Boyer from the School of Planning and Geography at Cardiff University said, "This series will provide a fantastic opportunity to bring together researchers from a range of social science backgrounds in Wales and England with those working in breastfeeding policy and education".

"The seminars will look at factors such as our culture, the influence of the media, together with factors of embodiment, emotion, returning to work, how long mothers continue to breastfeed and what these experiences are like.

"Our goal is to create an opportunity for participants from academia, practice and policy, both governmental and non-governmental, to come together and share their knowledge."

The first seminar will take place at the Watershed in Bristol on March 11th and the second at Cardiff University on June 1st.  Over the six seminars, during 2015 and 2016, a core group of attendees, plus one internationally renowned speaker each time, will meet to further understand women's actual experiences and day-to-day practices of breastfeeding.  They will also consider how more UK women might be helped to continue to breastfeed for longer.  

The last seminar in the series will feature a performance by UK spoken-word artist Hollie McNish, whose YouTube video about breastfeeding in public has been viewed over a million times.

Academics, Early Career Researchers and PhD students working on breastfeeding issues are especially welcomed to register for any of the seminars. For further information on the seminar series visit: Social experiences of breastfeeding: building bridges between research and policy

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