Head, EL (2017) Understanding infant feeding decisions and practices: the contributions of social research. Social Sciences, 6 (2). ISSN 2076-0760

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This paper begins with a discussion of social research which seeks to critique the emphasis on breastfeeding in infant feeding health promotion. The key themes of this research center on science, risk, and morality but other factors can also shape mothers’ decisions and practices regarding infant feeding, and particularly, breastfeeding. The paper explores a range of research studies which together highlight the wide range of social, cultural, and economic factors implicated in infant feeding decisions and practices. The discussions here demonstrate that social and economic factors, familial and social networks, interactions with health professionals, cultural contexts which sexualize women’s bodies, and experiences of public space, can all play a role in shaping how mothers negotiate infant feeding. This broad conceptualization of the factors that shape infant feeding practices offered by social research poses a challenge to the more simplistic accounts of infant feeding decisions implicit in public health promotion. It also demonstrates the profoundly social quality of infant feeding decisions that women make and the particular contributions that social research can make to our understandings of this area

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: infant feeding; breastfeeding; motherhood; childhood; risk
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Keele Management School
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 May 2017 09:08
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2019 10:31
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3298

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