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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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Embodiment as a gauge of individual, public and planetary health

Embodiment as a gauge of individual, public and planetary health

(p.219) Twelve Embodiment as a gauge of individual, public and planetary health
Social Experiences of Breastfeeding

Maia Boswell-Penc

Policy Press

This chapter begins by considering the specific context of the workplace as it presents significant barriers to women seeking to continue breastfeeding as they return to work. From there, the chapter considers lactating working mothers alongside lactating (working) cows, the source of most infant formula that non-nursing mothers use. Considering both lactating mothers and lactating cows, the chapter reveals that increasing degrees of embodiment correspond with increasing degrees of individual, public, and planetary health. Breast milk for young ones and non-dairy milk for others emerges as critical to securing optimal health for all; additionally, as research has surfaced pointing to ways in which we make healthier decisions when we focus on others, compassion becomes an entry into moving into practices that support global health. As research into ‘kangaroo care’ — skin-to-skin engagement with infants — suggests, full embodiment increases compassion, just as breastfeeding increases oxytocin. Compassion in its broadest sense may become part of the toolbox that can help breastfeeding professionals make a case for exclusive and extended breastfeeding.

Keywords:   compassion, lactating mothers, lactating cows, breast milk, non-dairy milk, oxytocin, working mothers, extended breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, global health

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