To create an enabling environment for breastfeeding, Carolina Global Breastfeeding Initiative (CGBI) works in a variety of settings, including: on UNC’s campus, in North Carolina, in the United States and globally.

On Campus

Carolina BEBES logo

Carolina BEBES provides students an opportunity to learn about and support evidence-based birth and breastfeeding practices.

CGBI supports a student-group for graduate students interested in learning about and supporting breastfeeding on campus, in NC, in the US and globally. To learn more about Carolina BEBES, scroll below to see previous event fliers.

Breastfeeding support on campus is important because of the growing number of women in the workforce and the large numbers of mothers returning to work or school. Mothers are presently the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. labor force. The lack of paid maternity leave in the United States results in approximately 70% of mothers returning to work full time prior to their child’s third birthday. One-third of these mothers return to work within three months of giving birth and two-thirds return to work within six months. Working outside the home is related to a shorter duration of breastfeeding. And mothers who know they have to go back to work shortly after their infant is born are less likely to initiate breastfeeding.

Support for breastfeeding on campus includes several types of benefits and services for faculty, students and staff, outlined in the UNC Breastfeeding Policy. For example, the maternal and child health department housed the first of many mothers’ rooms across campus.

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute is dedicated to providing expertise and technical assistance to the campus community at large to make sure that a range of services are provided to breastfeeding mothers. Click here to learn more about how CGBI is working with the University to provide a more Breastfeeding-Friendly campus.

Previous Carolina BEBES events:

North Carolina

Enriching Maternity Care Communities in the Carolinas

Support for statewide activities, through technical support for program and policy impact, continues to be a major and successful focus of CGBI. Our staff actively participates in and supports the SIDS Safe Sleep Committee and in the NC Child Fatality Task Force’s Perinatal Health Committee.

Thanks to The Duke Endowment, CGBI is able to continue its work with maternity facilities that began with funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust early on in CGBI’s history. ENRICH Carolinas works with hospitals in North and South Carolina and the communities they serve toward improved maternity care practices and continuity of care.

Additionally, CGBI staff continues to support the NC Breastfeeding Coalition (NCBC). In addition to administrative support, Kathy Parry served on the board from 2011-2018, including her most recent term as Chair, and Catherine Sullivan has been involved since its founding, co-chairing the IBCLC Advocacy Committee through 2018. This committee successfully advocated for reimbursement for lactation support services with NC Medicaid.

Previously, CGBI led initial NCBC efforts in achieving the “Ban the Bags Golden Bow Awards.” More than 3/4 of NC Maternity Centers have been recognized by the coalition as “bag-free”, meaning they do not distribute free bags with formula and marketing materials to women who deliver in their facility. Greater than 86% of live births are occurring in “bag-free facilities.

United States

CGBI is a voting member of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) and supports several “constellations”, or topic-focused collaborative working groups. Catherine Sullivan served on the board of USBC as an elected director (2016-2017). USBC is an independent nonprofit organization that was formed in 1998* in response to the Innocenti Declaration of 1990. This declaration, signed by the US DHHS, calls on every nation to establish a multisectoral national breastfeeding committee comprised of representatives from relevant government departments, non-governmental organizations, and health professional associations to coordinate national breastfeeding initiatives. USBC is now a coalition of more than 50 organizations, plus countless state and local coalitions and tribal groups that support its mission to improve the Nation’s health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.


Miriam Labbok and Kathy Parry attend the first gathering of what is now the Global Breastfeeding Collective at UNICEF headquarters in NYC, 2015

CGBI continues the previous work started by CGBI founding director and Emeritus Professor Miriam Labbok, now deceased. Miriam served as Senior Advisor for Infant and Young Child Feeding at UNICEF (2001-2005), Chief of the Nutrition and Maternal/Infant Health Division of the Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Health and Nutrition from (1996-2001), Director of Breastfeeding Initiatives for the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University (1986-1996), and conducted earlier work on reproductive health, breastfeeding and the development of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method for postpartum birthspacing.

CGBI is currently contributes to global maternal and child health through its membership in several global-oriented organizations, including WHO/UNICEF led Global Breastfeeding Collective and CORE Group.

CGBI also maintains an ongoing consulting collaboration with Food for the Hungry Guatemala, providing technical assistance, training, curriculum development since 2015. As a long time supporter of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), and their World Breastfeeding Week, CGBI has served as key writer for the 2010 theme and North American Region (WABA-NA) representative prior to Miriam’s passing. Kathy Parry continues to participate as a review committee member for the annual WBW Action Folder.

We look forward to future global collaborations, especially in the areas of infant feeding in complex disaster and recovery settings, and maternity care practices in health care facilities.

Phone: (919) 966-3774
Fax: (919) 966-0458
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Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
Department of Maternal and Child Health
135 Dauer Drive
422 Rosenau Hall, CB #7445
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445