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Political scientist looks at forces behind turning breastfeeding into a quasi-religion

"Lactivism" by Courtney Jung
Basic Books

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Political scientist Courtney Jung experienced the phenomenon she’d end up writing a book about firsthand when she became pregnant -- what she calls a kind of“zealotry” toward breastfeeding.

Jung did end up breastfeeding her child, but she also started digging into research looking at the health benefits of the practice. What she found shocked her. Despite the unquestioned wisdom in our culture that breastfeeding is good for both mothers and babies, lots of research have actually found that the health advantages are overstated.

That discovery led Jung to pen her new book, “Lactivism,” which looks at the cultural, sociological, and medical forces that have turned breastfeeding from a personal choice to a mandate.

Patt Morrison speaks with Jung about her new book.


Courtney Jung, author of the book, “Lactivism: How Feminists and Fundamentalists, Hippies and Yuppies, and Physicians and Politicians Made Breastfeeding Big Business and Bad Policy” (Basic Books, 2015). She is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto