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Beyond Health, Beyond Choice
Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities
Edited by Paige Hall Smith, Bernice L Hausman, and Miriam Labbok
356 pages, 0, 6 x 9
Series: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine
Health and Medicine, Health Policy and Public Health, Gender Studies
Current public health promotion of breastfeeding relies heavily on health messaging and individual behavior change. Women are told that “breast is best” but too little serious attention is given to addressing the many social, economic, and political factors that combine to limit women’s real choice to breastfeed beyond a few days or weeks. The result: women’s, infants’, and public health interests are undermined. Beyond Health, Beyond Choice examines how feminist perspectives can inform public health support for breastfeeding.
Written by authors from diverse disciplines, perspectives, and countries, this collection of essays is arranged thematically and considers breastfeeding in relation to public health and health care; work and family; embodiment (specifically breastfeeding in public); economic and ethnic factors; guilt; violence; and commercialization. By examining women’s experiences and bringing feminist insights to bear on a public issue, the editors attempt to reframe the discussion to better inform public health approaches and political action. Doing so can help us recognize the value of breastfeeding for the public’s health and the important productive and reproductive contributions women make to the world.
"This well-written and accessible book is free of jargon, and covers a sweeping variety of topics. The case studies are interesting and often moving; this book is a desperately needed and important step toward reconciling feminist views on breastfeeding."
—Professor Karen Kedrowski, coauthor of Breastfeeding Rights in the United States
"Masterful selection of clearly written pieces help to guide readers through an engaging and informative collection. Fascinating for researchers and practitioners examining issues of gender equality, choice, and public health, it is also educational for those seeking to learn more about the social, economic, and political aspects of this controversial topic."
—World Medical and Health Policy
"Beyond Health, Beyond Choice is a collection of 23 well-written and thoughtprovoking articles exploring a wide range of mother-related topics including race, class and culture, medicalization of breastfeeding support, marketing milk, guilt, media, and sexuality."
—International Lactation Consultant Association
"Recommended. All levels of students, researchers/faculty, and professionals/practitioners."
Author / Editor Bio
PAIGE HALL SMITH is Associate Professor of Public Health Education and Director of the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
BERNICE L. HAUSMAN is Professor of English at Virginia Tech and the author of Mother’s Milk: Breastfeeding Controversies in American Culture and Viral Mothers: Breastfeeding in the Age of HIV/AIDS.
MIRIAM LABBOK is Professor and Director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute in the Department of Maternal and Child Health in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Table Of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments
Part I Frames
1. Feminism and Breastfeeding
2. Breastfeeding Promotion through Gender Equity
3. Breastfeeding in Public Health
Part II Studying Breastfeeding across Race, Class, and Culture
4. Breastfeeding across Cultures
5. The Dangers of Baring the Breast:
6. Racism, Race, and Disparities in Breastfeeding
Part III Medical Institutions and Health Education
7. Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Shrinking Maternal Authority
8. New Professions and Old Practices
9. Preparing Women to Breastfeed
Part IV Roles and Realities
10. “Are We There Yet?” Breastfeeding as a Gauge of Carework by Mothers
11. Breastfeeding and the Gendering of Infant Care
12. Working out Work
13. The Impact of Workplace Practices on Breastfeeding Experiences and Disparities among Women
Part V Making and Marketing Mothers’ Milk
14. Marketing Mothers’ Milk
15. Empowerment or Regulation?
Part VI Morality and Guilt
16. Feminist Breastfeeding Promotion and the Problem of Guilt
17. Breastfeeding in the Margins
Part VII Media and Popular Culture
18. Reinstating Pleasure in Reality
19. Breastfeeding in the “Baby Block”
20. Rethinking the Importance of Social Class
Part VIII Sexuality and Women’s Bodies
21. Breastfeeding in Public
22. Sexual or Maternal Breasts?
Notes on Contributors