Call For Papers

12th Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference

March 22nd-24th, 2017
Sheraton Hotel, Chapel Hill, NC

Call for Abstracts – CLOSED

Due November 7, 2016

Abstracts from this conference will be published in The Journal of Human Lactation!

Public health efforts to protect, promote and support breastfeeding are based on the central argument that breastfeeding is the healthiest way of feeding and nurturing infants. Although supported by abundant scientific research, this core message has offered an insufficient framework for successful breastfeeding advocacy, practice and policy. If we are to increase breastfeeding rates around the world, we need to attend to the array of forces that shape infant feeding decisions and experiences. We need to identify and respond to the social and economic inequities that affect infant feeding practices and experiences and develop strategies that lead to breastfeeding equity across populations and communities. BFIC 2017 thus aims to position social justice as the central principle for developing a broad and sustained global movement to build breastfeeding friendly policies, institutions and communities.

We are particularly interested in abstracts focusing on research, practice, policy and advocacy related to:

  • Supporting lactation and access to human milk for all  – Lactation is a fundamental human capability, which requires a societal context that is robustly supportive of lactation and access to human milk, and enables lactating people to lead full lives. BFIC invites abstracts that explore the ways in which society (via laws/policies, institutions, and cultural change) can better support lactating people and access to human milk.
  • The value of breastfeeding and human milk for health – Cutting-edge research suggests that breastfeeding and human milk play a crucial role in maternal, child, and community health, and can consequently be seen as an important mechanism for creating greater health equity. BFIC seeks submissions on new research in breastfeeding and human milk (breast cancer, microbiome, diabetes, obesity, preterm babies/NEC/NICU setting, infant feeding in emergencies, human development, etc.) and their role in reducing local and global health disparities.
  • Support for embodied caregiving and all caregivers – How we can challenge cultural categories of the “normative” relationship between parenting and breastfeeding as an interdependent embodied act, so that all people (including trans, non-gender conforming, and/or intersex, adoptive families, disabled children, etc.) can breastfeed/chestfeed/nurse their babies? We invite abstracts that delve into breastfeeding and patriarchy, heteronormativity, and cisnormativity in the context of social justice for embodied caregiving.
  • The right to breastfeed – The right to breastfeed extends beyond the idea of “choice”; social protection and support measures are needed to empower women and families with the knowledge, resources, and support needed to actualize their right to breastfeed, while maintaining women’s right to make their own decisions about how they will feed their babies. BFIC invites submissions on breastfeeding in the framework of women’s and human rights.
  • Removing barriers to skilled lactation support  – The success of breastfeeding and provision of human milk is directly tied to a skilled and accessible health worker, but access to such health workers is inconsistent and unreliable, especially for those already marginalized across the health care continuum. BFIC invites abstracts that address barriers to access and the career trajectories of potential health workers skilled in lactation and effective solutions to improve both access, creation, and a sustainable health workforce skilled in lactation to shrink the health equity gaps and reduce further marginalization of breastfeeding families.
  • Breastfeeding as a cornerstone of health equity – In order to achieve health equity, a commitment is required to not only recognize the unequal access to conditions and resources that support health, but also to address the social systems, rooted in histories of oppression and exploitation, that reproduce these inequalities. We welcome papers that explore efforts to overcome breastfeeding disparities using a health equity framework, including those employing intersectional feminism and feminisms from the Global South.
  • The value of breastfeeding for our global environment – World leaders have committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity. We invite abstracts that offer examples or ideas about how the SDGs can be addressed through breastfeeding. Visit the Word Breastfeeding Week website to view each of the SDGs and their potential connections to breastfeeding.

We also welcome abstracts on other topics relevant to our efforts to enhance breastfeeding experiences, and improve breastfeeding equity and support.

We invite you to submit an abstract that contains the following:

  • Your name, affiliation, contact information including email and phone number
  • An indication of which topic heading your paper addresses
  • An abstract of 300-500 words
  • An indication of whether you have a preference for participating as part of a panel presentation, poster session, discussion-based session, or “TED Talk” format

Send your abstract as a Word document attached to an email to with the subject line “BFIC 2017 Abstract”.

If your abstract is accepted, it will be your obligation to:

  • Attend the conference
  • Register early for the discounted rate
  • Cover your logistics

For information on previous conferences, please visit our website, or contact Paige Hall Smith (; for abstract submissions, contact Lorie Houston at WAKE AHEC (

To download a .pdf of the 2017 Call for Abstracts, click here.

Conference will be submitted for CERPs

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