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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 50;

Understanding Mothers’ Infant Feeding Decisions and Practices

School of Social Science and Public Policy, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
Academic Editor: Martin J. Bull
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 April 2017 / Published: 17 May 2017
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This paper begins with a discussion of social research which seeks to critique the emphasis on breastfeeding in infant feeding health promotion. The key themes of this research center on science, risk, and morality but other factors can also shape mothers’ decisions and practices regarding infant feeding, and particularly, breastfeeding. The paper explores a range of research studies which together highlight the wide range of social, cultural, and economic factors implicated in infant feeding decisions and practices. The discussions here demonstrate that social and economic factors, familial and social networks, interactions with health professionals, cultural contexts which sexualize women’s bodies, and experiences of public space, can all play a role in shaping how mothers negotiate infant feeding. This broad conceptualization of the factors that shape infant feeding practices offered by social research poses a challenge to the more simplistic accounts of infant feeding decisions implicit in public health promotion. It also demonstrates the profoundly social quality of infant feeding decisions that women make and the particular contributions that social research can make to our understandings of this area. View Full-Text
Keywords: infant feeding; breastfeeding; motherhood; childhood; risk infant feeding; breastfeeding; motherhood; childhood; risk
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Head, E. Understanding Mothers’ Infant Feeding Decisions and Practices. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 50.

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