Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood
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“Wolf offers a powerful and important cultural critique...this is an insightful and eye-opening book that will be of interest to sociologists of gender, medical sociologists, and science studies scholars.”—American Journal of Sociology “Wolf notes the 'insular and unidimensional zealotry' of breastfeeding campaigners and skillfully uncovers elements of racism and elitism in their behavior toward working women who do not have the luxury to breastfeed.”—Choice “Beautifully written, powerfully argued. . . . Challenges the science prescription that all infants must be breastfed.”—Linda Blum, author ofAt the Breast: Ideologies of Breastfeeding and Motherhood in the Contemporary United States 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? InIs 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 célèbre, 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 breastorby bottle. Joan B. Wolf is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Texas A&M University and author of Harnessing the Holocaust: The Politics of Memory in France. In the Biopolitics series
List price: $24.00
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 7/19/2013
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall