Every thirty seconds a baby dies from infections due to a lack of breastfeeding and the use of bottles, artificial milks and other risky products. In her powerful book Gabrielle Palmer describes how big business uses subtle techniques to pressure parents to use alternatives to breastmilk. The infant feeding product companies’ thirst for profit systematically undermines mothers’ confidence in their ability to breastfeed their babies.
An essential and inspirational eye-opener, The Politics of Breastfeeding challenges our complacency about how we feed our children and radically reappraises a subject which concerns not only mothers, but everyone: man or woman, parent or childless, old or young.
3rd fully revised and updated edition.
"This book is the most profound exploration of the global and personal costs of artificial feeding I have encountered. It is heartbreaking, challenging, and a page-turner." Anna Swisher, ILCA
There are many people who prefer to focus on the beauty of breastfeeding, and don't want to look behind the scenes; don't want to look how, why, when and where breasts 'are bad for business', or that a baby dies every thirty seconds due to lack of breastfeeding and the use of bottles and counterfeit milks. This is a book to awaken the masses, to make us sit up and notice. If only we would. Countless breastfeeding books exist, but few with the passion, integrity and importance of this one."Veronika Robinson - The Mother
"A truly 'life-changing' book." ABM
"It is a story that every food campaigner, indeed political activist in any field, should read carefully." The Food Magazine
"In this most fascinating book, Palmer examines how it came to be that lactation, one of nature’s star turns, came to be, culturally, another human mess... I urge you to read this book. It is such a powerful, eye-opening read for all of us and not just breastfeeding mums but everyone, man or woman, who cares about children and all of society." Breastfeeding Matters, La Leche League GB
"This book is authoritative about the evidence for breastfeeding, while making one's blood boil about the folly and, alas sometimes, venality of the social and commercial forces that stop this vital function of early life and parenting from being the norm. It's a great read about a vital public health service." Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University London
preface to the third edition | why breastfeeding is political | the right to call ourselves mammals: the importance of biology | how breastfeeding works – and how it was damaged | beauty, breasts and books | a taste for infant feeding | it’s not just the milk that counts | your generous donations could do more harm than good | hiv and breastfeeding | life, death and birth | population, fertility and sex | from the stone age to steam engines: a gallop through history | other women’s babies: wet nursing | the industrial revolution in britain: the era of progress? | markets are not created by god | the lure of the global market | what is the code? | power struggles | dying for the code | documents and declarations | work, economics and the value of mothering | ecology, waste and greed | epilogue
About the Author
In the 1990s she co-directed the International Breastfeeding: Practice and Policy course at The Institute of Child Health in London until she went to live in China for two years. She has worked independently for various health and development agencies, including serving as HIV and Infant Feeding Officer for UNICEF New York. She recently worked at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she had originally studied nutrition. She is a mother and a grandmother.