THE BIG LETDOWN by Kimberly Seals Allers


How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding
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Why breast-feeding is often frowned upon in the United States despite the well-documented health benefits for both mother and child.

Even though breast-feeding is recommended by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations, and many other international organizations, the topic of breast-feeding is controversial, especially in the U.S. With abundant research to back her narrative, journalist Allers (The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit: How to Find and Grow Your Side Hustle in Any Economy, 2009, etc.), who has two children, shows how and why American women have been made to feel ashamed of breast-feeding. “The breastfeeding narrative, both historical and present-day, is a cautionary tale about maternal bodies, good or bad mothers, and how our bodies are measured and assessed,” she writes. “Breastfeeding shows us all the ways, as women, that we have been imagined, constructed, created, and controlled by economics, science, the media, and other so-called authoritative sources.” Allers chronicles the evolution of infant care from breast-feeding and the use of wet nurses to the introduction of mass-produced infant formulas to the return of breast-feeding activism, with all its inherent problems as women continue to work while still providing the nourishment their children need. The author also examines the role big corporations play in controlling this highly personal act, the problems breast-feeding creates when breasts are so widely representative of a woman’s sexuality, and how feminists have actually hindered the recently revived breast-feeding movement. Allers makes the message loud and clear: since breast-feeding provides the most benefits for mother and child, for those who are capable of doing so, it should be the feeding method of choice.

Easily digested research and personal stories in support of breast-feeding and its importance to mothers and their children.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-02696-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2016


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