Breastfeeding and work: babies need more than just (pumped) milk, they also need their mother’s bodies

Routledge Press

Routledge Press

One of the key issues concerning breastfeeding and work is women having the flexibility to feed while they are working. This calls for a radical transformation in the culture of work. While most women manage this combination through pumping, as maternal scholar Julie Stephens notes, this relationship superimposes neo-liberal work norms onto mothers, by separating maternal and infant (or toddler) bodies (2010). With pumping, it is the mother who adjusts to an individualist work culture rather than the other way around. Mothers remove their milk and remain separated at the bodily level from their babies – keeping up the “supply” of both milk and work – while maintaining a façade of the disembodied worker. This piece was written for the Routledge Press blog for World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2015.

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Petra Bueskens | Mother, scholar, psychotherapist | Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Melbourne Daylesford