Breast or Bottle?: Contemporary Controversies in Infant-Feeding Policy and Practice [NOOK Book]

Overview

Breast or Bottle? is the first scholarly examination of the shift in breastfeeding recommendations occurring over the last half century. Through a close analysis of scientific and medical controversies and a critical examination of the ways in which medical beliefs are communicated to the public, Amy Koerber exposes layers of shifting arguments and meaning that inform contemporary infant-feeding advocacy and policy.

Whereas the phrase "breast or bottle" might once have implied a...

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Breast or Bottle?: Contemporary Controversies in Infant-Feeding Policy and Practice

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Overview

Breast or Bottle? is the first scholarly examination of the shift in breastfeeding recommendations occurring over the last half century. Through a close analysis of scientific and medical controversies and a critical examination of the ways in which medical beliefs are communicated to the public, Amy Koerber exposes layers of shifting arguments and meaning that inform contemporary infant-feeding advocacy and policy.

Whereas the phrase "breast or bottle" might once have implied a choice between two relative equals, human milk is now believed to possess unique health-promoting qualities. Although it is tempting to view this revision in medical thinking as solely the result of scientific progress, Koerber argues that a progress-based interpretation is incomplete. Epidemiologic evidence demonstrating the health benefits of human milk has grown in recent years, but the story of why these forms of evidence have dramatically increased in recent decades, Koerber reveals, is a tale of the dedicated individuals, coalitions, and organizations engaged in relentless rhetorical efforts to improve our scientific explanations and cultural appreciation of human milk, lactation, and breastfeeding in the context of a historical tendency to devalue these distinctly female aspects of the human body. Koerber demonstrates that the rhetoric used to promote breastfeeding at a given time and cultural moment not only reflects a preexisting reality but also shapes the infant-feeding experience for new mothers.

Koerber's claims are grounded in extensive rhetorical research including textual analysis, archival research, and interviews with key stakeholders in the breastfeeding controversy. Her approach offers a vital counterpoint to other feminist analyses of the shift toward probreastfeeding scientific discourse and presents a revealing rhetorical case study in the complex relationship between scientific data and its impact on medical policy and practices. The resulting interdisciplinary study will be of keen interest to scholars and students of rhetoric, communication, women's studies, medical humanities, and public health as well as medical practitioners and policymakers.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Every new mother must decide how she will feed her baby. Since the 1970s, medical authorities have encouraged breastfeeding as the best for the child. Human milk offers protection against a number of diseases: otitis media, atopic dermatitis, and even against sudden infant death syndrome. For mothers, making this decision depends on the presentation of the information as well as the scientific evidence. Koerber (communication & rhetoric, Texas Tech Univ.) offers readers a "rhetorical history" of the controversies that have arisen surrounding infant feeding, not only whether but where and when to breast feed. She examines the scientific literature, advertising campaigns such as the national Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the literature of organizations such as La Leche League and the American Academy of Pediatrics. She also examines the feminist literature on the subject, noting that factors other than medical and scientific evidence influence women making this decision. In addition to analyzing the literature, she interviewed breast-feeding advocates, scientists, and mothers, along with their friends or partners, to get their reactions to the messages presented. VERDICT This unique study will be of interest to scholarly readers interested in health sciences, social sciences, and women's studies.—Barbara Bibel, Oakland P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611172461
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2013
  • Series: Studies in Rhetoric/Communication
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 204
  • File size: 525 KB

Meet the Author


Amy Koerber is an associate professor of communication and rhetoric at Texas Tech University and editor of the journal Technical Communication Quarterly. Koerber's articles on the rhetorics of infant feeding and related subjects have appeared in Women's Studies in Communication, Journal of Medical Humanities, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Health Communication, and elsewhere.
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