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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

Making breastfeeding social: the role of brelfies in breastfeeding’s burgeoning publics

Making breastfeeding social: the role of brelfies in breastfeeding’s burgeoning publics

(p.187) Ten Making breastfeeding social: the role of brelfies in breastfeeding’s burgeoning publics
Social Experiences of Breastfeeding

Fiona Giles

Policy Press

This chapter looks at the online circulation of breastfeeding selfies — or brelfies — and asks what their benefits might be in terms of making breastfeeding easier. It looks at brelfies as social media activism, drawing attention to embodied mothering, and upending assumptions about the solitary nature of maternity. It argues that brelfies provide a means through which breastfeeding can emerge from its existing practical, conceptual, and imaginary confines, by communicating images of breastfeeding to an almost limitless audience. Not only have brelfies attracted extensive media coverage, raising awareness about breastfeeding in the community, the images also provide a unique form of communication between breastfeeding mothers and their friends, families, and children, as mothers see themselves in the act of taking their own photos. By considering the implications of increased images of women breastfeeding in public — as well as the increased circulation of images of women breastfeeding generally — this chapter argues that brelfies invite us to reconceptualise breastfeeding in public as breastfeeding in social contexts more broadly: in short, to reimagine breastfeeding in relation to its many publics.

Keywords:   brelfies, breastfeeding selfies, social media, social media activism, embodied mothering, maternity, social contexts

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