Tag: breastfeeding

Whose Milk? Changing US Attitudes toward Maternal Breastfeeding

In the spring of 2018, government delegates from around the world gathered in Geneva, Switzerland for the World Health Assembly in affiliation with the United Nations. Delegates from Ecuador introduced a resolution, outlining a policy supporting maternal breastfeeding and calling for better regulation of the marketing of breastmilk substitutes. Most delegates expected the resolution to… Read more →

Black Nurse, White Milk: Wet Nursing and Slavery in Brazil

In 1888, Brazil became the last country to abolish slavery in the Western hemisphere. The process of emancipation in the country, however, had been gradual, beginning in 1850 with the final end of the slave trade. In the second half of the nineteenth century, legislation continued to chip away at the institution of slavery, including… Read more →

Mothers’ Natures: Sex, Love, and Degeneration in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Every so often, some viral article or other will declare that science “proves” or “confirms” that intelligence is inherited from mothers. (I know, because my own mother will promptly share it on Facebook.) Swiftly, of course, revisionary articles will appear correcting or debunking this claim, chastising armchair geneticists for their overly-simplistic understandings of the X-chromosome…. Read more →

The Magic Liquid that Guarantees the Life of the Infant: Breast Milk as a Superfood

“Try squirting milk on that.” I stopped keeping track of how many times someone recommended healing my newborn’s ailments with a direct application of breast milk. From the time my husband cut a nail too short to a slightly more serious case of pink eye, my friends and family had come to regard breast milk… Read more →

It’s Time to Take Nature to Task

In March of this year, one of my respected colleagues and I published a short essay in Pediatrics in which we critiqued the use of “nature” in public health campaigns, specifically regarding breastfeeding promotion. The piece came out on the heels of the publication of my first book, which examines the “back-to-the-breast” movement and the… Read more →

Clio Talks: An Interview with Historian Jessica Martucci

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing historian Jessica Martucci at length about her new book, Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America. We discussed the Mommy Wars, the politics of pumping, and the importance of playing devil’s advocate with lactivists and skeptics alike. What follows is a snippet of our… Read more →

Go Breast or Go Home: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding’s Return

As I stumble over piles of unpacked boxes in the dimly lit interior of our new home in Philadelphia, I hear the friendly voice of one of our new neighbors calling through our open door. Her name is Tiffany, she lives across the street with her husband James, and they have a three-day old baby… Read more →

Mommy Wars of Yore: Classism and its Casualties

Most of us are familiar with the Mommy Wars. The Internet is the battlefield, and woman is pitted against woman in a ruthless competition to out-mother each other by breastfeeding longer, Pinteresting better, and home birthing harder. Critics point out that mothers are feeling more pressure than ever before to be certain kinds of mothers, and… Read more →

Milk Sharing: What History Can Teach Us

Milk sharing has been in the news lately. In 2013, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH analyzed over 100 samples of breast milk being sold online and found that 10% of the samples were contaminated with cow’s milk. Almost 75% of the samples contained disease-causing bacteria, presumably linked to poor collection and storage practices.1 As… Read more →

Parenting in Academia: New Mom + Nursing + Academic Conference = Weekend in Hell

Anyone who is a mom and an academic has one of these stories of academic travel from hell. I can say with a fair amount of certainty, though, that my story of traveling to a conference as a new, nursing mom is the worst. Unfortunately. My daughter was just two months old, not sleeping for… Read more →