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Super-Natural Breastfeeding: How Lactation Consultants in Hawai‘i Demedicalize and Reshape Women's Embodied Experiences

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Title:Super-Natural Breastfeeding: How Lactation Consultants in Hawai‘i Demedicalize and Reshape Women's Embodied Experiences
Authors:Cooper, Crystal Renee
Contributors:Brunson, Jan (advisor)
Anthropology (department)
Keywords:Cultural anthropology
Health sciences
Women's studies
breastfeeding
embodiment
show 4 moreHawaii
ideologies
lactation consultants
medicalization
show less
Date Issued:2021
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Women’s difficulties and negative experiences with breastfeeding have prompted a backlash in the U.S. against its promotion, as well as attempts to change the discourse to say it is insignificant and potentially dangerous with benefits that are overstated. My dissertation examines how lactation consultants in Hawai‘i confronted dominant ideologies that affect breastfeeding and helped women having difficulties. Data was collected over 2.5 years through participant observation at La Leche League meetings, with 7 lactation consultants and their clients, IBCLC training with 4 of the lactation consultants, and interviews of 8 lactation consultants and 15 clients. The research uncovers the contrasting concepts of lactation consultants and breastfeeding mothers. It demonstrates that dominant ideologies inform women’s concepts of the lactating body as likely to fail, and this promotes medicalization and ignores structural barriers. It provides insights into how lactation consultants help mothers form new concepts for positive embodied experiences, and demedicalize breastfeeding from within medical environments. It is significant for its contribution to efforts to improve maternal and infant experiences and health outcomes, and its contributions to the anthropological literature on medicalization, embodiment, and science as culture.
Pages/Duration:369 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/75878
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Anthropology


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