Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities

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Paige Hall Smith, Bernice Hausman, Miriam Labbok
Rutgers University Press, Aug 15, 2012 - Medical - 356 pages

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.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Frames
13
Studying Breastfeeding across Race Class and Culture
51
Medical Institutions and Health Education
85
Roles and Realities
121
Making and Marketing Mothers Milk
167
Morality and Guilt
191
Sexuality and Womens Bodies
247
Conclusion
281
Bibliography
287
Notes on Contributors
327
Index
333
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

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.

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