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The way to break the taboo is to do the taboo thing: breastfeeding in public and citizen activism in the UK

By Kate Boyer


Like other forms of infant feeding, breastfeeding is a fundamental act of care. Yet despite being the<br/>recommended way of feeding babies, breastfeeding is not always easy to do. In addition to lack of<br/>support, bio-physical problems and the need to return to work; discomfort with breastfeeding in public<br/>is a factor shaping infant feeding choice (and the decision to stop breastfeeding specifically). With<br/>increased awareness of breast milk’s health benefits in recent years, there has been a rise in efforts to<br/>make breastfeeding in public more commonplace and socially acceptable (including through lactation<br/>advocacy or ‘‘lactivism’’). This paper considers breastfeeding in public and lactation advocacy in the UK<br/>through interviews with lactation activists, non-activist breastfeeding mothers, and participantobservation<br/>at two breastfeeding picnics held in 2009. Building on existing scholarship in Geography, I<br/>suggest that lactivism can be understood as an effort to expand the boundaries of where care-work is<br/>allowed to take place: thus constituting a form of ‘‘care-work activism’’

Topics: RA0421
Year: 2011
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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