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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research

Case Study 2015/16

Breastfeeding dilemma

Breastfeeding Dilemma

Project contact:

Dr Fiona Woollard, Associate Professor, Philosophy, University of Southampton -


Engagement activitity:

Project summary:

The aim of the project was to bring together academics, policy makers, medical professionals, parental support organisations, members of the media, mothers and members of the public to address the Breastfeeding Dilemma: how do we encourage breastfeeding and support women in doing so, without subjecting those who choose not to breastfeed, or are unable to do so, to shame and guilt with potentially devastating consequences? We explored philosophical mistakes in the way we talk and think about infant feeding choices and the impact pressure to breastfeed can have on maternal health and the experience of new motherhood.

Another goal of the project was to build relationships with the NCT and other relevant organisations eventually leading to a public engagement partnership.

Key outcomes:

Lessons learned:

Networking activities could have extremely positive results, therefore:

What's next

(1) Colloboration with the BFN. In addition to the invitation to speak at the conference, Dr Woollard has secured funding from the SEC to hold another workshop “Breastfeeding and Ethics in Theory and Practice”. (2) Continued work with the NCT: writing an article for NCT 'Perspective on guilt and breastfeeding'. (3) production of a policy brief in conjunction with PSS and BPAS.

Breastfeeding Dilemma | Project ReportBreastfeeding Dilemma | Project page
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