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Domesticating The Breast Pump.docx

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ANTH 2170
Anna Pratt

Domesticating The Breast Pump: Milking Motherhood Overview  The social history of infant feeding in Canada  The breast pump as biotechnology useful analogies  An overview of my doctoral fieldwork research project Why is it important to study the politics of infant feeding? 1) Bottle feeding has been normalized in our culture the need to re-normalize breastfeeding among all social groups remains a challenge 2) The personal is political. The rhetoric of choice masks political economic factors- choice is not an individuals ability and being free to what they will actually do 3) The established cultural myth of the autonomous individual overshadows the complex realities of interpersonal interdependence  Not a free choice of feeding a baby  Looking at factors like: politics, social status, socio-economics  Women in different socio-economics have different breast feeding practices  This is a cultural factor  Biggest factor is the bottle feeding culture  Breast pump is more encouraging the bottle feeding and is “normalizing” the bottle  First and second wave feminism tried to seek to be a man whereas, anthropologist would recognize the differences but would want to be treated equally and not like a man Why is it important to study the politics of infant feeding? • Because according to WHO in 2001, approximately 1.5 million children in developing countries die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. Even in developed countries, low breastfeeding rates cause costly health complications • Example: women in Pakistan gave birth to twins and the myth of believing that she can only fed one with breast caused her to loose her other child because the other child was fed through formula. • People in third world countries hear that if you are HIV infected you shouldn’t breast feed because HIV will be passed to the baby but now it has been discovered that it is the opposite and rather can fight the HIV • United states DA states that if mothers breast fed our cost saving would amount 3.6 billion dollars for health treatment for the infants Social History of infant feeding in Canada  1850-1920 “transition” • Rise of the pediatrician as the expert in infant feeding • Emergence of scientific mothering/childrearing practices • Mother no longer knows best • Beginning of the development of breast-milk substitutes (to save the lives of orphaned babies) • Breastfeeding was considered to be part of a woman’s patriotic duty—to reproduce the nation • Canada was a tough place to live back then • Into the first world war it was considered that it was part of women’s duty to breastfeed their children  1920-1960 “decline” • Rise of scientific motherhood and modern childcare techniques • Milk laboratories pop up in major urban centers (Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto) • Pablum is invented in 1930 • 97% of Canadians births occur in hospital the majority of babies were bottle fed by 196, only 25% of mothers initiate breastfeeding  1960-1980 “resurgence” • Formation of the La Leche League (LLL) in 1960s • Breastfeeding rates rising by the late 1970s • Linked to r
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