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Family troubles?Exploring changes and challenges in the family lives of children and young people$
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Jane Ribbens McCarthy, Carol-Ann Hooper, and Val Gillies

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447304432

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447304432.001.0001

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Troubled talk and talk about troubles: moral cultures of infant feeding in professional, policy and parenting discourses

Troubled talk and talk about troubles: moral cultures of infant feeding in professional, policy and parenting discourses

Chapter:
(p.97) Chapter Eight Troubled talk and talk about troubles: moral cultures of infant feeding in professional, policy and parenting discourses
Source:
Family troubles?
Author(s):

Helen Lomax

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447304432.003.0008

This chapter examines the ways in which policy agendas and contemporary notions of the ‘good mother’ frame infant feeding practices, rendering them a site of moral and interactional trouble. Drawing on analysis of mothers’ talk with midwives during the first days of motherhood, the chapter explores the ways in which breastfeeding confers a positive maternal identity, while choosing not to do so is associated with a deficit identity against which mothers struggle to present themselves as good parents. The chapter suggests that mothers’ interactions with professionals are important places for exploring the ways in which ‘ordinary’ family practices may be troubled by professional and policy agendas which may conflict with women’s embodied experiences and cultural beliefs about what constitutes a healthy, well-fed baby. A focus on these encounters makes visible the rich texture of maternal labour and its complex and troubling relationship with policy.

Keywords:   Infant feeding, Motherhood, Midwives, Identity, Moral culture

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