I came across a reference to this recent article through a podcast with the author, Julie E. Artis. Check it out for a thought-provoking analysis of the sociological impact of breastfeeding. (It’s really well written too; not the normally dry and mind-numbing academic hyperbole I usually read when studying this issue.)
I wanted to repost this one section, as I wasn’t aware of Avishai’s research and thought my fellow FFFs might find this interesting:
Sociologist Orit Avishai demonstrates through interviews of white, middle class mothers that they treat breastfeeding not as a natural, pleasurable, connective act with their infant but instead as a disembodied project to be researched and managed. They take classes about breastfeeding, have home visits from lactation consultants post-partum, and view their bodies as feeding machines. When returning to work, they set up elaborate systems to pump breastmilk and store it. These middle-class women were accustomed to setting goals and achieving them—so when they decided to breastfeed for the one year the AAP recommends, they set out to do just that despite the physical and mental drawbacks. Although it’s easier for middle class mothers to meet the recommended breastfeeding standards than it is for less privileged mothers, they’re at the same time controlled by a culture that equates good mothering with breastfeeding.