The Bottle, The Breast, and the State

The Bottle, The Breast, and the State : The Politics of Infant Feeding in the United States

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The Bottle, the Breast, and the State: The Politics of Infant Feeding in the United States explores the ways in which breastfeeding is both promoted and made difficult in the United States. It also examines how the use of formula is often shamed yet encouraged by many standard medical and government practices. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, it explores the politics, policies, and individual experiences surrounding infant feeding. Oakley shows that a failure to separate the issue of breastfeeding rights and support, from problematic approaches to breastfeeding advocacy, in both academic scholarship and public discourse, has led to a deadlock that prevents groups from working together in support of breastfeeding without shaming. Drawing on a feminist ethic of care, Oakley develops a caring infant feeding advocacy. This approach values the caring work done by parents and recognizes the benefits of this work for society. It promotes policies supportive of parenting in general and breastfeeding in particular, in order to remove barriers that present a challenge to some women who wish to breastfeed.
Caring infant feeding advocacy also works to promote the development of better alternatives for those who do not breastfeed.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 164 pages
  • 158 x 230 x 18mm | 260g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 3 Tables, unspecified
  • 0739191985
  • 9780739191989

Table of contents

1.Infant Feeding Policy and Practice in the United States 2.Feminist Perspectives on Infant Feeding 3.Infant Feeding on the Ground: Women's Voices 4.Explaining Breastfeeding Rates in the States 5.Medical and Public Health Approaches to Breastfeeding Advocacy 6. Breasts, Bottles, and Maternal Activism
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Review quote

In this clear and compelling book, Oakley examines the paradox of breastfeeding in America. In theory, breastfeeding is viewed as an important public health concern and recommended to most mothers; in practice, however, American culture, policy, and medical protocols make breastfeeding difficult for many women. Oakley weaves an important and captivating story by examining the history of infant feeding, employing interviews to understand breastfeeding 'on the ground,' and analyzing the relationship between breastfeeding rates and other reproductive policies and medical practices. A political scientist, Oakley has crafted a book that will easily benefit courses on public policy or health politics, and her approachable writing style makes this book interesting to historians and gender studies students... Aimed at nonspecialists, general readers (including undergraduates) will find this book useful and interesting. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through upper-division undergraduates. CHOICE A thoughtful analysis of the binds young women face to be 'good mothers' and breast feed a child for at least a year while living in a society which does not support this with adequate family and medical leave policies, workplace norms, or social supports. This book explores the social context in which women decide whether or not to breastfeed. Maureen Rand Oakley highlights how the most sensible approach forward is to promote common ground between breastfeeding advocates and critics with an approach that supports women and breastfeeding, while not shaming those who do not breastfeed. -- Laura R. Woliver Oakley carefully navigates a middle path between breastfeeding activists and detractors, demonstrating how women's breastfeeding decisions are subject to competing social forces, the policy environment, the workplace, and their support systems. She calls upon scholars and activists to move beyond the breast vs. bottle dichotomy to engage in a productive and supportive conversation about infant care. This is a valuable contribution to the field of breastfeeding policy. -- Karen Kedrowski, Winthrop University
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About Maureen Rand Oakley

Maureen Rand Oakley is associate professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts at Mount Saint Mary's University.
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