Medicalization of Breastfeeding as Abuse

Most certainly the initial move of medical providers is fueled by the desire of monetary gain, while women are trying to solve the problems they face with breastfeeding.

This quote specifically speaks to me, as I have experienced similar pressures first-hand to either supplement with (garbage) formula, or quit breastfeeding altogether. There is a monetary gain for doctors (OBGyns, Family Practice, et al) and health nurses to “recommend” formula supplementation, and it is provided to these “professionals” from the formula manufacturers in the form of commission checks. Anyone who’s had the privilege of working in an electronics department, sold cars, real estate, etc., is familiar with the concept of profit motivation – the more you sell/push, the more money you make each month. The same holds true for doctors and nurses promoting the benefits of their formula. They’re paid to do it. There’s little wonder so many women can be convinced they’re not producing enough milk. Perhaps if doctors and nurses didn’t have a financial stake in undermining the breastfeeding relationship and dynamic, they would be more supportive of it? We won’t know for sure until Big Pharma finally gets put in their toxic and pathologically false claim-making places.


Breast. No Bottle.

Medicalization of women’s lives and bodies as a form of control and patriarchal abuse against women has a long and well-documented history in feminist literature. The most prominent example related to reproductive lives of women is medicalization of birth that hurts millions of women worldwide to this day. Medicine today continues to view women predominantly as sex objects and reproductive organs. The encroachment of medicine into breastfeeding claims women’s breasts as production sites of medicinally valuable fluid while disregarding whole women as nurturers.

Medicalization of breastfeeding undermines women in the very process of turning an event of daily lives of women into a physiological process that takes place in vacuum seemingly outside of women’s lives and regardless of women’s relationships with their children. Medicalization of breastfeeding operates on three levels – conceptual, institutional, and interactional.

On the conceptual level we frame a complex relationship between a woman, a child, and…

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