Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

Sterile. Dissected. Absent. The Sad Bookscape of Breastfeeding

with 4 comments

Analysis of breastfeeding books  for parents* showed that

  • only 34% of books had a whole woman on the cover
  • covers with whole women had 90% of fair-skinned women
  • 56% of women wear white
  • 67% looked solemn, vacant, or moody
  • 100% of women did nothing but breastfeed
  • 31% of books had a dissected woman on the cover, showing just a breast or a child’s head
  • almost 20% of breast book covers had no discernible breast showing
  • almost 35% of breastfeeding book covers had no depiction of breastfeeding
  • 25% of these had just a child shown
  • 23% of these had no human on the cover
  • 52% of these had no woman or female body part on the cover

It means that

  • only little over 30% of parenting books on breastfeeding show a relationship between a mother and a child.
  • only little over 30% of breastfeeding book covers show a happy smiling breastfeeding woman
  • only 10% of book covers show Black, Asian, or Hispanic women
  • 0% of book covers show women doing anything else other than breastfeeding

It means that

  • women are important only as milk harvesting farms, not as individuals
  • breastfeeding book cover images obscure and silence women’s contribution to nurturing through breastfeeding
  • only white women breastfeed

What else do you see in these covers?

When looking at posters note that many books covers looks painfully alike. Some books have same stock photograph recycled over and over again. Notice that the only book on formula feeding that happens to have “breastfeeding” in the title shows a whole woman in context of her family, not stripped of her worldly possessions and plucked out of her environment. Do note it is a drawing and not a photo. Pay attention to a new trend in books – breast or bottle – where breasts and bottles are viewed as containers for milk. Breasts that exist separately from women.

Breastfeeding Book Covers SterileBreastfeeding Book Covers DissectedBreastfeeding Book Covers Absent

*First 300+ books on breastfeeding for parents available on Amazon on June 3, 2014. Professional books and book with drawing covers were excluded.


Written by Medical Nemesis

June 5, 2014 at 16:57

4 Responses

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  1. Hi there!
    I really appreciate this analysis of breastfeeding book covers. I am curious, though, about the concern regarding the fact that “100% of women did nothing but breastfeed.” As these are specifically breastfeeding books, is there something else which would be more appropriate to illustrate the act of breastfeeding, or the breastfeeding relationship, beyond a picture of a woman breastfeeding?


    June 10, 2014 at 09:46

    • Hello Jen, there are quite a few vintage photos of breastfeeding where woman are working and incidentally breastfeeding. There can be a multitude of ways to show women engaged in the world AND nursing at the same time – talking with friends, working on the computer, walking and nursing… possibilities are endless. Woman can be looking up, not just down. They can be looking forward. My commentary was underscoring a point that women usually not just sit and nurse, as time goes by, women do so many other things while nursing, and book covers, art, other forms of media hide this fact. The only story we hear both visually and verbally – breastfeeding in binding.


      June 10, 2014 at 19:07

      • Ahhhh, I see. I had misunderstood the statement then. I read it as meaning women should not be breastfeeding in the photos, hence my confusion. Thanks for te clarification!


        June 10, 2014 at 19:31

  2. […] “develop pumps to get more milk”. Women are not anywhere in the picture. Do note how breastfeeding is often portrayed today – frequently it is the breast but not the woman in focus signifying irrelevance of whole […]

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To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

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