UNLATCHED by Jennifer Grayson


The Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy
Email this review


A new analysis of the controversy surrounding women breast-feeding their children.

For millennia, breast-feeding has been the primary method of feeding children, and both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend six months of “exclusive breastfeeding (no additional foods or fluids, not even water)…for optimal growth, development, and health.” Environmental journalist Grayson provides abundant interesting research to show the evolution of breast-feeding through the centuries to the present day. She interviews women from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, including Orthodox Jews and mothers in Taiwan, France, and Mongolia, and she adds her own experiences with breast-feeding her two daughters to show how different cultures view this method of feeding. Since there are abundant health advantages, the milk is readily available, and it’s free, the author wondered why so many women don’t breast-feed. She clearly explains how many women gradually shifted from this ready-made way to feed children to using animal milk, wet nurses, and then formula as alternatives, the pros and cons, and the health consequences for children and mothers as a result. She discusses the birth of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and the rise in the number of lactation consultants and groups advocating for breast-feeding. The author also examines the difficulty that women who work face when they need to pump milk and are not provided with clean, private spaces to do so, and she offers suggestions on how this might change. She delves into the sexual overtones that many cultures have laid on the breast that influence and affect how men, in particular, view breast-feeding, especially when a child has reached a certain age. For women who breast-feed, Grayson’s research offers ample reasons why they should continue for as long as possible; for those women trying to choose between breastfeeding or formula, the author will help sway them toward the breast.

Persuasive arguments backed by scientific research that clearly demonstrate the benefits of breast-feeding for as long as possible.

Pub Date: July 5th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-242339-9
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2016


NonfictionTHE BIG LETDOWN by Kimberly Seals Allers
by Kimberly Seals Allers
NonfictionAT THE BREAST by Linda M. Blum
by Linda M. Blum
NonfictionLACTIVISM by Courtney Jung
by Courtney Jung