Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference

StateNorth Carolina

13th Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference

The Dance of Nurture in a Complex World:
How biology, gender, and social context shape how we nourish our children

March 21st-23rd, 2018
Sheraton Hotel, Chapel Hill, NC


Our everyday infant and child feeding and nurturing activities are shaped by gender, customs, the sociopolitical environment, and by the ways lactation, the body, and culture relate. The interaction of all these factors leads to different ways of breastfeeding, nourishing, and nurturing across cultures, communities and populations. As well, infant feeding practices beyond breastfeeding, such as chestfeeding and human milk expression, use, donation, sharing, and selling are all activities that expand the diversity of infant feeding practices that we see in the world today. These different practices carry multiple meanings in different contexts and entail different types of negotiations, compromises and trade-offs. Some may experience pain and other difficulties, alongside the pleasure, that come from using their body to care for another. Some are challenged by trying to breastfeed in a context shaped by systems of gender inequality that ignore the complexity of embodied, gendered nurture. Some experience challenges related to negotiating the right and ability to nourish and nurture in a context of racism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, and other forms of prejudice and discrimination. Furthermore, the diversity of infant feeding practices complicates the ways the breastfeeding community thinks about the maternal-infant dyad, speaks to the significance of breastfeeding apart from the value of human milk, and develops approaches to supporting all those who nourish and nurture infants and young children.

At BFIC 2018 we will explore the diversity of experiences and activities related to breastfeeding, chestfeeding, human milk feeding and nurturing. We seek to examine (1) the role of biology, the body, gender, customs, and social context in shaping those experiences, (2) the meanings, complications, pleasures, and significance of different practices and activities in different contexts (3) innovative approaches to supporting caregivers; and (4) social justice, reproductive justice, health equity, and rights approaches to supporting all those who nourish and nurture infants and young children.

Contact Info
Paige Hall Smith
1 336-334-4735
Other credits: 
CERPS will be applied for
Institutional Affiliation: 
University of North Carolina at Greensboro and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil

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