Back To The Breast: Natural Motherhood And Breastfeeding In America

Hardcover | November 20, 2015

byJessica Martucci

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After decades of decline during the twentieth century, breastfeeding rates began to rise again in the 1970s, a rebound that has continued to the present. While it would be easy to see this reemergence as simply part of the naturalism movement of the ’70s, Jessica Martucci reveals here that the true story is more complicated. Despite the widespread acceptance and even advocacy of formula feeding by many in the medical establishment throughout the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, a small but vocal minority of mothers, drawing upon emerging scientific and cultural ideas about maternal instinct, infant development, and connections between the body and mind, pushed back against both hospital policies and cultural norms by breastfeeding their children. As Martucci shows, their choices helped ideologically root a “back to the breast” movement within segments of the middle-class, college-educated population as early as the 1950s.
           
That movement—in which the personal and political were inextricably linked—effectively challenged midcentury norms of sexuality, gender, and consumption, and articulated early environmental concerns about chemical and nuclear contamination of foods, bodies, and breast milk. In its groundbreaking chronicle of the breastfeeding movement, Back to the Breast provides a welcome and vital account of what it has meant, and what it means today, to breastfeed in modern America.

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After decades of decline during the twentieth century, breastfeeding rates began to rise again in the 1970s, a rebound that has continued to the present. While it would be easy to see this reemergence as simply part of the naturalism movement of the ’70s, Jessica Martucci reveals here that the true story is more complicated. Despite th...

Jessica Martucci is a fellow in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philadelphia.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:November 20, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022628803X

ISBN - 13:9780226288031

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Breastfeeding?

Chapter 1. Make Room for Mother: The “Psy”-entific Ideology of Natural Motherhood

Chapter 2. Frustration and Failure: The Scientific Management of Breastfeeding

Chapter 3. “Motherhood Raised to the nth Degree”: Breastfeeding in the Postwar Years

Chapter 4. Maternal Expectations: New Mothers, Nurses, and Breastfeeding

Chapter 5. Our Bodies, Our Nature: Breastfeeding, the Environment, and Feminism

Chapter 6. Woman’s Right, Mother’s Milk: The Nature and Technology of Breast Milk Feeding

Epilogue. Natural Motherhood Redux

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"This important book reconsiders much of what we know about the history of breastfeeding in the United States. Martucci uncovers the hidden story of the determined women who breastfed their infants when bottlefeeding ruled the day and of breastfeeding defenders as they weathered a variety of cultural storms. Through it all, Back to the Breast traces the emergence and evolution of 'natural motherhood,' an ideology that justified and sustained breastfeeding against the demands of scientific motherhood, posed political problems with the rise of feminism, and lost much of its purchase in an era of the breast pump. By respectfully examining women's appeals to nature in their fight for bodily autonomy, Martucci provocatively urges her readers to consider the political power of biological arguments in the larger struggle for maternal and women’s rights. Highly recommended."