Breast is Best? A Feminist Re-reading of Breastfeeding Policies and Practices in the Philippines

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Abstract

Amidst the privileging of breastfeeding by contemporary
medical and public health institutions, there remains a dearth
of academic, sociological, and feminist investigations on the
qualitative breastfeeding experiences of Filipino women.
Despite the largely unchallenged claim that "breast is best", a
more critical (re)reading of breastfeeding policies in the
country would ask the question, best for whom? Dominant
discursive frames have asserted that breastfeeding is an
expression of "women's empowerment"; but given the strong
child-centered ideology that informs breastfeeding policies
and expectations, how can the de-centering of the mother be
considered empowering? Thus, this study revisits assumptions
and practices surrounding breastfeeding in order to highlight
the complexity of the issue beyond the discourse of
nourishment towards a more grounded understanding of
women's struggles and triumphs in being and becoming
mothers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-137
JournalPhilippine Quarterly of Culture and Society
Volume42
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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