Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy: An Autoethnographic Dialogue Between Two Women

Michael-Fox, Bethan and Jarrett-Kerr, Adele (2019). Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy: An Autoethnographic Dialogue Between Two Women. CULTIVATE The Feminist Journal of the Centre for Women's Studies(2), article no. 4.

URL: https://cultivatefeminism.com/issues/issue-two-bod...

Abstract

Our filmed dialogue and critical commentary provide a parent-centred interjection into the fraught and moralising discourses that surround breastfeeding, in particular what we term breastfeeding beyond infancy. We take an autoethnographic approach to our own experiences of breastfeeding beyond infancy in a sociocultural context where this is not the ‘norm’. We argue that breastfeeding beyond infancy offers an important example of the second wave feminist argument that the ‘personal is political’ and insist that breastfeeding, as a diverse practice and a reproductive right, is and should be a feminist concern. Discussions about breastfeeding often centre on scrutinising women’s bodies and practices rather than engaging with their experiences. By sharing our experiences, we hope to contribute our voices as breastfeeding women and to encourage other women to share their own narratives. We assert that structural changes and cultural shifts in knowledge and understanding are needed for feminist aims relating to breastfeeding, infant feeding and parenting practices to be achieved, rather than changes in what women and families do.

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