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Expressionists of the twenty-first century: the commodification and commercialization of expressed breast milk

Ryan, K., Team, V. and Alexander, J. (2013) Expressionists of the twenty-first century: the commodification and commercialization of expressed breast milk. Medical Anthropology, 32 (5). pp. 467-486. ISSN 1545-5882

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2013.768620

Abstract/Summary

Breast milk expression has been promoted as liberating for women and as offering them more choices, but there has been little research on women's experiences of it and even less critical commentary on the consequences of its incorporation into mainstream behavior. Drawing on narratives of women in the United Kingdom about breastfeeding, we explore the increasingly popular practice of expressing and feeding expressed breast milk. We argue that breast milk has become commodified, breastfeeding commercialized and technologized, and the mother–infant relationship disrupted. We suggest that breastfeeding as a process is being undermined by vested interests that portray it as unreliable and reconstruct it in artificial feeding terms, so playing on women's insecurities. The major beneficiaries of expression are fathers who want increased involvement in infant care and commercial enterprises that aim to maximize profits for shareholders.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Pharmacy Practice Research Group
ID Code:70812
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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