Search:
Computing and Library Services - delivering an inspiring information environment

Expressing yourself: A feminist analysis of talk around expressing breast milk

Johnson , Sally, Williamson, Iain, Lyttle, Steven and Leeming, Dawn (2009) Expressing yourself: A feminist analysis of talk around expressing breast milk. Social Science and Medicine, 69 (6). pp. 900-907. ISSN 0277-9536

[img]
Preview
PDF - Accepted Version
Download (169kB) | Preview
    [img] Microsoft Word - Accepted Version
    Restricted to Repository staff only

    Download (88kB)

      Abstract

      Recent feminist analyses, particularly from those working within a poststructuralist framework, have highlighted a number of historically located and contradictory socio-cultural constructions and practices which women are faced with when negotiating infant feeding, especially breastfeeding, within contemporary western contexts. However, there has been little explicit analysis of the practice of expressing breast milk. The aim of this article is to explore the embodied practice of expressing breast milk. This is done by analysing, from a feminist poststructuralist perspective, discourse surrounding expressing breast milk in sixteen first time mothers’ accounts of early infant feeding. Participants were recruited from a hospital in the South Midlands of England. The data are drawn from the first phase of a larger longitudinal study, during which mothers kept an audio diary about their breastfeeding experiences for seven days following discharge from hospital, and then took part in a follow-up interview. Key themes identified are expressing breast milk as (i) a way of managing pain whilst still feeding breast milk; (ii) a solution to the inefficiencies of the maternal body; (iii) enhancing or disrupting the ‘bonding process’; (iv) a way of managing feeding in public; and (v) a way to negotiate some independence and manage the demands of breastfeeding. Links between these and broader historical and socio-cultural constructions and practices are discussed. This analysis expands current feminist theorising around how women actively create the ‘good maternal body’. As constructed by the participants, expressing breast milk appears to be largely a way of aligning subjectivity with cultural ideologies of motherhood. Moreover, breastfeeding discourses and practices available to mothers are not limitless and processes of power restrict the possibilities for women in relation to infant feeding.

      Item Type: Article
      Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
      H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
      R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
      Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
      School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Psychological Research
      Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Dawn Leeming
      Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2010 11:48
      Last Modified: 05 Mar 2013 13:43
      URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/8893

      Document Downloads

      Downloader Countries

      More statistics for this item...

      Item control for Repository Staff only:

      View Item

      University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH Copyright and Disclaimer All rights reserved ©