Choices

“Lactivism” casts doubt on breast-feeding zealotry

(RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)

To breast-feed or not to breast-feed has become the political question of the moment, according to a review of the new book Lactivism, in the New York Times. Author Courtney Jung details the ways in which breast-feeding, which was practiced by only 24 percent of mothers in 1971 and soared to 79 percent in 2011, has come to include questions of medicine, politics, religion, feminism, commerce, race, and social class, in discussions among zealous parents. It is now a “consensus issue,” reviewer Lori Gottlieb writes, in which almost all women feel they must pump enough breast milk, despite inconclusive evidence of its supremacy. The book also unmasks the breast-feeding industry that profits off the consensus, including “lactation consultants, breast pump and breast-feeding accessory manufacturers, online purveyors of often unregulated breast milk, and websites whose offerings include ‘lactation lasagna’ and (I can barely even type this) ‘momsicles,’” Gottlieb writes. The book presses for greater respect for women’s choices, including the choice to not breastfeed.

Read the full review in The New York Times.

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