Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Clio Talks: An Interview with Historian Jessica Martucci

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing historian Jessica Martucci at length about her new book, Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America. We discussed the Mommy Wars, the politics of pumping, and the importance of playing devil’s advocate with lactivists and skeptics alike. What follows is a snippet of our conversation about La Leche League, a grassroots breastfeeding support and advocacy group that began in 1956 and quickly grew into a nationwide network for breastfeeding peer counseling and activism. In recent decades, La Leche has found itself in conflict with many second-wave feminists over its stance against mothers working, and has often been cast as a major player on the conservative “side” of the Mommy Wars.

Lara: Throughout the book I was intrigued with your treatment of La Leche League. They’re such a powerful piece of this history. They are so important. They have supported so many women, and have also been a difficult ideological thorn in the side of many women over the years. They have succeeded as an organization in a way that I think the founders never pictured. I’m interested in your experience researching them. Where was their archive? What was that like, to go find them and learn more about their history?…

Read the Rest at Nursing Clio

Should We #FreeTheNipple? Maybe Male and Female Aren’t That Different After All

When I was little, I copied my dad and took off my shirt on hot summer days. He would be doing yard work, and I would be running around doing something or other that was sweaty and active. It felt great. A cool breeze works much better when it hits your skin directly. He encouraged me to ditch the shirt, and my sister and brother followed suit.

One time, my mother pulled him aside and asked, “are you sure the girls should do that?” Perhaps we were at a public park, or perhaps the neighbors were out in the adjacent yard. I can’t remember. But I distinctly recall my dad’s impatient, dismissive response: “Oh, what’s the difference?” And no more was said. I looked at myself, my sister and my brother. Darn right, there was no difference. This was clearly one of those irrational, easily falsifiable things that people sometimes said about girls – that we were bad at math, or we didn’t like blocks. And it was equally annoying: another way to try to keep me from doing something fun just because I was a girl. I gleefully ignored it.

Just a few years later, I would have been mortified to be topless in public…

Read the rest at Nursing Clio