Sociology Research into Breastfeeding Gets Recognition at Conference

Staff and students from Sociology and Criminology were delighted to get joint 2nd place at the CHAD Symposium, on Thursday 9th November 2017, for their research poster presentation on the Attitudes of Adolescents Towards Breastfeeding.

The poster gave detail on the current research project and outlined the research process for data collection. Two undergraduate students, Joni Wilson and Sarah Johnson, are working on the project and attended the conference. Sarah Johnson said “yesterday was a very eye-opening day for me to understand fully the impact that social research can have on addressing social barriers in society. I met some truly inspirational people who have made me excited to work on this coming project and getting second place solidified the belief that the research I’m taking part in will make a positive difference”. Joni also enthused about the event and stated that she was enjoying gaining invaluable experience by working on the project.

Students, Joni Wilson and Sarah Johnson

‘This research is being carried out for Public Health at the City Council and the Stoke-on-Trent Breastfeeding Steering Group. The project is funded by CHAD (Centre for Health and Development). On a sociological level we are interested in how people respond to breastfeeding. Legislation supports breastfeeding in public and yet breastfeeding mums have reported in the media being harassed for feeding their children in public places. We are exploring what young people think about breastfeeding and how breastfeeding could become more normalised in society here in the UK.

Increasing breastfeeding rates would help to reduce poverty, as breastmilk is free in comparison to the cost of formula milk and affiliated paraphernalia. Breastfeeding also has been proven to improve the health and wellbeing of both mother and baby. Despite the positive impact of breastfeeding the UK have the lowest rates in Europe. We are consulting with young people to find out what needs to happen to change this and to cultivate a breastfeeding culture within Stoke-on-Trent and more widely in the UK. We will also be finding out professionals’ points of view on the ideas that young people have, in order for the Stoke-on-Trent Breastfeeding Steering Group to prioritise future action.’

Students, Jonie Wilson and Sarah Johnson with Senior Lecturer, Sarah Page and Andrea Muirhead (Public Health)

Sarah Page (Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology and principle researcher for this project) said that “I am really excited that we are able to explore this topic and employ students to work on professional research in partnership with colleagues from Public Health from the local authority and health. The experience students get by working on projects like this is fantastic and sets them up for future employment really well. There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing that your research makes a real difference in society. Having a research partnership where findings influence how a budget is spent and how work is prioritised in a City, is a great way to link research to improving practice. We are thrilled that our research poster was so well received at the CHAD Symposium and that leaders in the field voted for us.”

If you want to find out more about this research please contact Sarah.Page@staffs.ac.uk

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