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Social Experiences of BreastfeedingBuilding Bridges between Research, Policy and Practice$
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Sally Dowling, David Pontin, and Kate Boyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447338499

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447338499.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

‘Betwixt and between’: women’s experiences of breastfeeding long term

‘Betwixt and between’: women’s experiences of breastfeeding long term

(p.55) Three ‘Betwixt and between’: women’s experiences of breastfeeding long term
Social Experiences of Breastfeeding

Sally Dowling

Policy Press

This chapter draws on research with women who breastfeed for longer than is usual in the United Kingdom, where a minority of women are still breastfeeding at six months and an unknown number breastfeed into the second year of life and beyond. The anthropological concept of liminality (being ‘neither one thing nor another’) is used to explore and understand their experiences. The chapter takes ideas about liminality and relates them to breastfeeding long term, discussing how they might help those working in this area to support more mothers to breastfeed for longer. It briefly outlines what is known about long-term breastfeeding from previous research and explains the concept of liminality. The remainder of the chapter discusses the findings in relation to liminality and how this has been used to think about breastfeeding, and considers what being ‘betwixt and between’ means for breastfeeding women. The idea of breastfeeding as polluting or ‘matter out of place’ is also briefly discussed.

Keywords:   liminality, long-term breastfeeding, infant feeding

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