Cindy Stearns Offers New Research on "Breastfeeding Professionals and the Bodywork of Breastfeeding Mothers," March 11

Cindy Stearns, Sociology, presents her new research on "Breastfeeding Professionals and the Bodywork of Breastfeeding Mothers" at a lunch time seminar on March 11 from noon to 1 p.m. in Stevenson 2011.

Breast milk is now the "gold standard" for infant feeding in the U.S. and breastfeeding is an expected maternal practice. Yet, as a learned behavior, mothers often need help in establishing breastfeeding with a newborn baby and in responding to breastfeeding challenges, says Stearns.

"Mothers increasingly seek advice from paid workers who describe themselves, in various terminologies, as lactation specialists. The lactation profession has grown rapidly since the 1980's but has received very little scholarly attention from social scientists," she says.

In her current research project, Stearns reports on interviews with lactation professionals who include board-certified lactation consultants, WIC breastfeeding peer counselors and postpartum doulas.

Orienting questions include:

* How do the different types of lactation professionals employed in varied settings go about their daily work with breastfeeding mothers?

* What are the prevailing ideologies concerning proper motherhood and breastfeeding practices articulated by breastfeeding professionals and how are these enacted in their work routines and practices?

* What can this research tell us about the bodywork of breastfeeding mothers?

The event is part of the School of Social Sciences Brown Bag lecture cries and all are welcome.

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