Breasts, Bags, Clothes and Shoes: Constructing Motherhood and Images of Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding Women

Emma Mohamad


Breastfeding does not only take place in women’s bodies but it helps construct the notion of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mothers (Kukla, 2006a). According to Kukla, our idea of the maternal body (including breastfeeding) is contextualised by the surrounding discourses which dominate and constrain our definition and the meaning of maternality. Discourses around infant feeding also tend to repackage our definition of what motherhood is, and certain expectations that it brings. This paper discusses the construction of motherhood and images of “good” vs. “bad” mothers through collages. It explores women’s negotiations with the types of bodies and values attached to both infant feeding choices. This data is generated through women’s responses in focus groups and having them constructing collages of breast and formula feeding mothers. Through these processes, women discussed values associated with the types of women who would breast or formula feed, as well as other moral issues associated with motherhood.

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