The way to break the taboo is to do the taboo thing: breastfeeding in public and citizen activism in the UK
Health & Place, 17, (2), . (doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.06.013).
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Like other forms of infant feeding, breastfeeding is a fundamental act of care. Yet despite being the
recommended way of feeding babies, breastfeeding is not always easy to do. In addition to lack of
support, bio-physical problems and the need to return to work; discomfort with breastfeeding in public
is a factor shaping infant feeding choice (and the decision to stop breastfeeding specifically). With
increased awareness of breast milk’s health benefits in recent years, there has been a rise in efforts to
make breastfeeding in public more commonplace and socially acceptable (including through lactation
advocacy or ‘‘lactivism’’). This paper considers breastfeeding in public and lactation advocacy in the UK
through interviews with lactation activists, non-activist breastfeeding mothers, and participantobservation
at two breastfeeding picnics held in 2009. Building on existing scholarship in Geography, I
suggest that lactivism can be understood as an effort to expand the boundaries of where care-work is
allowed to take place: thus constituting a form of ‘‘care-work activism’’.
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