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Back To the BreastNatural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America$
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Jessica Martucci

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226288031

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226288178.001.0001

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“Motherhood Raised to the nth Degree”

“Motherhood Raised to the nth Degree”

Breastfeeding in the Postwar Years

(p.89) Chapter Three “Motherhood Raised to the nth Degree”
Back To the Breast

Jessica L. Martucci

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the culture of motherhood surrounding breastfeeding in the postwar era, focusing primarily on the ways women encountered information about breastfeeding and the ideology of natural motherhood. It argues that even while breastfeeding declined in practice, a natural motherhood ideology that stressed breastfeeding as a way to maintain value in motherhood reached far beyond the living rooms of La Leche League meetings.. Though many more mothers turned to bottle-feeding as the postwar era ticked along, there continued to be a place for discussion about breastfeeding, one that increasingly reflected its connection to the era's nascent natural motherhood ideology. In attempting to carry breastfeeding into a new era, these mothers helped create an alternative path for postwar womanhood, one based on maternity and a biology of sentiment and meaning rather than one of cool scientific rationality. In doing so they confronted a daunting hospital system built around efficiency, not sentiment, and butted up against ideals of marriage and family life that often stressed women's heterosexual desirability and housekeeping abilities above motherhood.

Keywords:   La Leche League, parenting advice, breasts, female sexuality, breastfeeding, Dr. Spock

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