Suggested scholarly works about breastfeeding with my annotations:
Blum, Linda. 1999. At the Breast: Ideologies of Breastfeeding and Motherhood in the Contemporary United States. Beacon Press: Boston.
Feminist look at the social history and controversies of breastfeeding in the U.S.
Bobel, Chris. 2002. The Paradox of Natural Mothering. Temple University Press: Philadelphia.
Reveals how self-identified natural mothers resist consumerism but embrace some problematic narratives of gender essentialism.
Bobel, Chris. 2001. Bounded Liberation: A Focused Study of La Leche League International. Gender and Society 15(1): 130-151.
Critical feminist social history of La Leche League International.
Carroll, Katherine and Kerreen Reiger. 2005. Fluid Experts: Lactation Experts as Postmodern Professional Specialists. Health Sociology Review 14(2): 101-110.
Identifies the complicated role of lactation experts caught between medicalized and maternalist approaches to breastfeeding.
Carter, Shannon K., Beatriz Reyes-Foster, and Tiffany L. Rogers. 2015. Liquid Gold or Russian Roulette? Health, Risk, and Society 17(1): 30-45.
Complicates the received idea in public health that milk sharing is dangerous.
Carter, Shannon K. and Beatriz Reyes-Foster. 2016. Pure Gold for Broken Bodies: Discursive Techniques Constructing Milk Banking and Peer Milk Sharing in U.S. News. Symbolic Interaction 39(3): 353-373.
Illustrates the ways in which media stories perpetuate problematic narratives around milk sharing.
Cassidy, Tanya M. 2012. Making Milky Matches: Globalization, Maternal Trust, and “Lactivist” Online Networking. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative 3(1): 226-240.
Provides mother’s perspectives on milk sharing that emphasize trusting each other.
Cassidy, Tanya and Abdullahi El Tom, editors. 2015. Ethnographies of Breastfeeding: Cultural Contexts and Confrontations. 2015. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Situates breastfeeding and its controversies in diverse contexts around the world.
Dowling, Sally, David Pontin, and Kate Boyer, editors. 2018. Social Experiences of Breastfeeding: Building Bridges between Research, Policy, and Practice. Bristol University Press.
Falls, Susan. 2017. White Gold: Stories of Breast Milk Sharing. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, NE.
Look for my full-length review forthcoming in American Anthropologist.
Reyes-Foster, Beatriz, Shannon K. Carter, and Hinajosa Melanie Sbrena. 2015. Milk Sharing in Practice: A Descriptive Analysis of Breast Milk Sharing. Breastfeeding Medicine 10(5): 263-269.
From mixed-methods interview research on milk sharers, shows that these mothers embed safety precautions in the practice.
Roberts, Dorothy. 1997. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty. Vintage Books: New York.
Crucial clarion call to support black motherhood in the interest of reproductive justice.
Rothman, Barbara Katz. 2000 . Recreating Motherhood. Rutgers University Press: Brunswick, NJ.
Highly readable feminist theory that argues for affirming motherhood without relying on dehumanizing logics of biological essentialism. This book is a classic. Hence, the reprint!
Shaw, Rhonda and Alison Bartlett, editors. 2010. Giving Breastmilk: Body Ethics and Contemporary Breastfeeding Practice.
Collection of theoretically-rich chapters written by sociologists and anthropologists on the social experience of breastfeeding.
Stuart-Macadam, Patricia and Katherine A. Dettwyler, editors. 1995. Biocultural Perspectives on Breastfeeding. Aldine De Gruyter: New York.
Emphasizes ancient human practices of breastfeeding that include co-sleeping, late age at weaning, and birth spacing.
Stuebe, Alison. 2014. Enabling Women to Achieve Their Breastfeeding Goals. Obstetrics and Gynecology 123(3): 643-652.
A call for true breastfeeding support in which medical providers support the goals that new mothers have for the relationship.
Tomori, Cecilia. 2014. Nighttime Breastfeeding: An American Cultural Dilemma. Bergahn Books: New York.
Convincing critique on how capitalist values and social structures intervene in breastfeeding relationships.
Tomori, Cecilia, Aunchalee E. L. Palmquist, and Sally Dowling. 2016. Negotiating breastfeeding stigma in breastmilk sharing, nighttime breastfeeding, and long-term breastfeeding in the U.S. and the U.K. Social Science and Medicine 168:178-185.
Draws together three ethnographers’ breastfeeding research to suggest public health approaches that reduce stigma and support breastfeeding needs.
Wall, Glenda. 2001. Moral Constructions of Motherhood in Breastfeeding Discourse. Gender & Society 15(4): 592-610.
Illustrates the ways in which public health materials moralize against mothers’ feeding choices.
Wolf, Jacqueline H. 2001. Don’t Kill Your Baby: Public Health and the Decline of Breastfeeding in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The Ohio State University Press: Columbus, OH.
Meticulous history of what happened to breastfeeding in the U.S. that also traces disparate experiences across class and race.
Wolf, Joan B. 2011. Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood. New York University Press: New York and London.
Questions the costs of a breastfeed-or-bust mentality.
Websites and blogs about breastfeeding:
Ethnographer of black women’s breastfeeding in Mississippi oriented to decolonizing, intersectional breastfeeding justice.
Katie Hinde, biological anthropologist, covers the science of breastmilk
Maintained by a team of anthropological researchers of breastfeeding and breastmilk who host other experts as guest bloggers.
Nursing researcher who studies breastfeeding care among very low birth weight infants and among African American women.