Nighttime Breastfeeding: An American Cultural Dilemma | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Nighttime Breastfeeding: An American Cultural Dilemma

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Volume 26

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

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Nighttime Breastfeeding

An American Cultural Dilemma

Cecília Tomori

316 pages, 4 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-435-9 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2014)

ISBN  978-1-78533-346-0 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (October 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78238-436-6 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Tomori’s research reveals that these two fields—breastfeeding and sleep—are intricately intertwined not only in practice but also theoretically through analysis that exposes the contradictions inherent in the cultural norms governing these intimate embodied experiences.” · Anthropologica

“This work will be useful for medical anthropologists and professionals at all levels of reproductive health care and family medicine. It offers important ethnographic analysis relevant to feminist anthropology, women’s and gender studies, and cross-cultural and bio-evolutionary perspectives on kinship and family.” · Medical Anthropology Quarterly


“In this beautifully written ethnography… Cecılia Tomori provides a broad‐ranging yet in‐depth discussion of numerous anthropological topics, including kinship, reproduction, and personhood… This book is a pleasure to read, and will be of interest not only to scholars of gender, kinship, and reproduction, but also to those who work on the subjects of embodiment, authoritative knowledge, expertise, morality, the house, and temporality. It deserves to be read widely, both within the academy and beyond.” ∙ Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute

“I have nothing but praise for this book and its worth. It is written in a flawless and effortless manner. I loved the tone and how it packs in so much factorial information without the reader knowing it, but at the same time explores in-depth intimate life decisions and care giving practices that we have never seen so closely and so vividly presented.” · James J. McKenna, University of Notre Dame

“This is an excellent piece of scholarship that... draws upon a wide range of highly relevant literature which is used to make sense of the data. It illuminates a unique and compelling anthropological perspective on the lived, embodied practices of breastfeeding with particular emphasis upon the complex moral dilemmas related to breastfeeding and sleep practices.” · Fiona Dykes, University of Central Lancashire

“The controversies prompted by nighttime breastfeeding touch on so many hot-button issues in American culture: sexuality, child endangerment, the importance of individualism and independence in American culture to name a few. And this author handles the issue with sophistication and clarity.” · Jacqueline H. Wolf, Ohio University


Nighttime for many new parents in the United States is fraught with the intense challenges of learning to breastfeed and helping their babies sleep so they can get rest themselves. Through careful ethnographic study of the dilemmas raised by nighttime breastfeeding, and their examination in the context of anthropological, historical, and feminist studies, this volume unravels the cultural tensions that underlie these difficulties. As parents negotiate these dilemmas, they not only confront conflicting medical guidelines about breastfeeding and solitary infant sleep, but also larger questions about cultural and moral expectations for children and parents, and their relationship with one another.

Cecília Tomori is an Associate Professor and Director of Global Public Health and Community Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing with a joint appointment in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Subject: Medical AnthropologyGender Studies and Sexuality
Area: North America


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