Breastmilk Ecology: Genesis of Infant Nutrition (BEGIN) Series

January 15-February 12, 2021  (1:00-4:00 p.m. every Friday during this time period)


Pediatric Growth and Nutrition Branch (PGNB), Division of Extramural Research (DER), NICHD


Webinar; registration is free


A deeper understanding of the biology of human milk is essential in addressing ongoing and emerging questions about infant feeding practices. Human milk is a complex biological system, a matrix of many interacting parts, that is more than the sum of those parts. Its production needs to be studied as an ecology that consists of inputs from the mother, her breastfeeding baby, and their respective environments.

The BEGIN meeting series, a trans-NIH effort led by NICHD’s PGNB, aims to examine the ecology of human milk and its functional implications for both mother and infant. The series supports the research community’s efforts to ensure safe, efficacious, and context-specific infant feeding practices in the United States and globally.

The BEGIN series includes the following meetings:

  • January 15, 2021
    Working Group 1: Maternal Inputs
    Focus: Factors that impact the ontogeny of mammary tissues and lactogenesis
  • January 22, 2021
    Working Group 3: Infant Inputs
    Focus: Infant factors that influence lactation, including milk let-down and composition over time
  • January 29, 2021
    Working Group 2: Human Milk Composition
    Focus: Identifying the components of human milk and their roles
  • February 5, 2021
    Working Group 4: Integration and Application
    Focus: Identification of approaches to more fully understand: 1) human milk as a functional biological system, and 2) the functional implications of that system and its components
  • February 12, 2021
    Working Group 5: Translation and Integration
    Focus: How to translate and implement the evolving science regarding the biology of human milk to support safe and efficacious infant feeding practices

Individuals who need interpreting services and/or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event should contact Monica Barnett, 301-459-0100, extension 119. Requests should be made 5 days in advance of the event. 

More Information

  • Learn more about BEGIN external link
  • Please note: All BEGIN meetings have presentations from 1:00 p.m. EST to 3:00 p.m. EST, followed by discussion from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST.


For workshop questions:
Kathryn Adams, Office of the Director, DER, NICHD
Phone: 240-274-2477

For registration/technical platform questions:
Monica Barnette
Phone: 301-459-0100, extension 119

Please note: Views expressed during NICHD-sponsored events do not necessarily reflect the opinions or the official positions of NICHD, NIH, or HHS.
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