breast-feed, standard family, standard scholarly

Sévérine Gojard, ” nursing, a social norm “, Spiral, 2003/3, N°27

The study of statistics shows that the rate of breastfeeding, as well as the duration of breastfeeding or weaning, vary according to socio-demographic characteristics of mothers. Similarly, the analysis of the statements by the women on the breastfeeding – in interview situations face-to-face – allows you to connect to the social world in which mothers operate. Thus, we can highlight at least two types of nursing different. To describe these types of breastfeeding, we use the notion of model, which refers to a condensed manner all the characteristic features of a practice.

The models correspond to the time of construction statistics and theoretical and representations, insofar as they combine elements objectives (in particular on the practice of breastfeeding, but also on the sources of advice), but also subjective elements (in particular on the reasons to breastfeed).

Popular model : the breastfeeding, it’s a family affair

The first model of lactation is characterized by a long period of time, which may be completed both by a withdrawal brutal than mixed breastfeeding for extended periods. It occurs most often in women of middle popular, few graduates, and particularly among women who spent their childhood in a country in Africa or Asia. We will appoint a family model, or popular, because it is most often associated with the predominance of the family in the sources of advice. It is based on an imitation family and/or the advice provided by pmi centre, especially for immigrant women who are looking for a mode of integration to the French society and are particularly receptive to the advice given (at least when they are not in flagrant contradiction to their habits). Breastfeeding in this model is conceived as an act of ” natural “, is very strongly associated to the notion of pleasure, of the mother or child (or both). Conversely, for those who are not breast-feeding, it seems that the discomfort, displeasure, or pain, is sufficient to justify the rejection or abandonment of breastfeeding.

Model scientist : breastfeeding, case medical

It occurs more frequently among women graduates of higher education or belonging to the dominant classes of the society. It is associated with a normative language extremely constructed and well-reasoned, original medical or paramedical, based on multiple arguments. These arguments belong to both the health of the child that the construction of the bond mother-child, the practicality of breastfeeding, or the pleasure, which is present as in the popular model, but it is often not the main argument, and is certainly never the only one.

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