Living with risk in the age of 'intensive motherhood': Maternal identity and infant feeding

Lee, Ellie J. (2008) Living with risk in the age of 'intensive motherhood': Maternal identity and infant feeding. Health, Risk & Society, 10 (5). pp. 467-477. ISSN 1369-8575. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Socio-cultural studies have suggested that, even in societies where it is a commonplace practice, infant feeding with formula milk can compromise women's identity as 'good mothers.' This proposition is explored in this paper. We first provide a brief review of literature that has considered the broad socio-cultural context for infant feeding, that of 'intensive motherhood.' Attention is drawn to the idea that this context is one in which feeding babies formula milk is constructed as risky, for physical health but also for the mother-child relationship. Drawing on data from a study of mothers living in the UK, the paper then explores how mothers actually experience infant feeding with formula milk and how they live with a context that deems their actions risky. Maternal experience is found to include variously moral collapse, feelings of confidence, expressions of defiance and defensiveness, and opting to go it alone in response to 'information overload.' Despite these variations in how mothers live with risk, the conclusion is drawn that the current cultural context does appear to be one overall in which mothers who formula feed often have to struggle hard to maintain a positive sense of themselves as mothers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: risk; formula milk; bonding; identity; intensive motherhood
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Social Policy
Depositing User: Jane Griffiths
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2009 12:11
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2014 10:52
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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