Why has breastfeeding re-asserted itself over the last twenty years, and why are the government, the scientific and medical communities, and so many mothers so invested in the idea? In Is Breast Best? Joan B. Wolf challenges the widespread belief that breastfeeding is medically superior to bottle-feeding. Despite the fact that breastfeeding has become the ultimate expression of maternal dedication, Wolf writes, the conviction that breastfeeding provides babies unique health benefits and that formula feeding is a risky substitute is unsubstantiated by the evidence. In accessible prose, Wolf argues that a public obsession with health and what she calls "total motherhood" has made breastfeeding a cause celebre, and that public discussions of breastfeeding say more about infatuation with personal responsibility and perfect mothering in America than they do about the concrete benefits of the breast. Parsing the rhetoric of expert advice, including the recent National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign, and rigorously questioning the scientific evidence, Is Breast Best? uncovers a path by which a mother can feel informed and confident about how best to feed her thriving infant-whether flourishing by breast or by bottle.
Joan B. Wolf is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas A& M University.
Acknowledgments Preface: Why Breastfeeding? 1 Monitoring Mothers A Recent History of Following the Doctor's Orders 2 The Science Does Breastfeeding Make Smarter, Happier, and Healthier Babies? 3 Minding Your Own (Risky) Business Health and Personal Responsibility 4 From the Womb to the Breast Total Motherhood and Risk-Free Children 5 Scaring Mothers The Government Campaign for Breastfeeding 6 Conclusion Whither Breastfeeding?Notes Bibliography IndexAbout the Author
"Beautifully written, powerfully argued... Challenges the science prescription that all infants must be breastfed." Linda Blum, author of At the Breast: Ideologies of Breastfeeding and Motherhood in the Contemporary United States "...presenting an analysis of mainstream breastfeeding promotion and interrogating claims about the superiority of breastfeeding that will be entirely familiar to the British reader... In thorough and thoroughly interesting 40 or so pages she [Wolf] demonstrates how a plethora of methodological problems pervade breast-feeding research, especially in relation to causality." Health, Risk & Society
New York University Press
New York University Press
Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood
Country of Publication
IS BREAST BEST
Place of Publication
black & white illustrations