Breastfeeding in Hospital: Mothers, Midwives and the Production Line, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Breastfeeding in Hospital

Mothers, Midwives and the Production Line, 1st Edition

By Fiona Dykes


224 pages

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pub: 2006-08-17
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'Breast is best' is today’s prevailing mantra. However, women – particularly first-time mothers – frequently feel unsupported when they come to feed their baby. This new experience often takes place in the impersonal and medicalized surroundings of a hospital maternity ward where women are 'seen to' by overworked midwives.

Using a UK-based ethnographic study and interview material, this book provides a new, radical and critical perspective on the ways in which women experience breastfeeding in hospitals. It highlights that, in spite of heavy promotion of breastfeeding, there is often a lack of support for women who begin to breastfeed in hospitals, thus challenging the current system of postnatal care within a culture in which neither service-user nor provider feel satisfied.

Incorporating recommendations for policy and practice on infant feeding, Breastfeeding in Hospital is highly relevant to health professionals and breastfeeding supporters as well as to students in health and social care, medical anthropology and medical sociology, as it explores practice issues while contextualising them within a broad social, political and economic context.


'This book is a ‘must read’ for all professionals involved in the provision of postnatal care and will be of interest to other health related disciplines and the social sciences… [it] contributes significantly to our understanding of women’s experience and decisions about breastfeeding.' - Virginia Schmied, University of Western Sydney, Australia

Dyke reveals that what occurs in hospital is the 'management' of what is seen as a vunerable mechanism for the transfer of a superior fluid, rather than the encouragement of a nurturing relationship between mother and baby. New Digest Mary Smale, NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor and Tutor

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Birthing of the Production Line 2. Formulating Infant Feeding 3. Participating in Production 4. ‘It is so demanding’ – Breastfeeding as Labour 5. ‘Time to Care’ – Midwifery Work at the End of the Medical Production Line 6. Breastfeeding and Midwifery Work: Reconceptualising Bodies, Time and Relationships

About the Author

Dr. Fiona Dykes is Professor of Maternal and Infant Health; Director of Maternal & Infant Nutrition & Nurture Unit (MAINN) at University of Central Lancashire, UK.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HEALTH & FITNESS / Breastfeeding
MEDICAL / Allied Health Services / General
MEDICAL / Health Care Delivery
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural