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Fresh Milk - The Secret Life of Breasts

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

For about three months now, I've been eyeing a book on Amazon called Fresh Milk: The Secret Life of Breasts. I stumbled across it one day while searching for information on breast milk banks and it intrigued me. Part of me wonders if it might to breasts what Naomi Wolf's Misconceptions was to birth.

The other part thinks that it might just tick me off by going further down the road of simply sexualizing breasts and overshadowing their utilitarian purpose.

This line from Amazon's editorial review is what scares me:

Giles impressively argues that our culture's mixed message to women-breastfeed for the health of the child, but don't practice that disgusting act in public-reveals a squeamishness about the pure animality of breastfeeding, as well as an unwillingness to come to terms with its inherent sexuality.

The information on milk banks, on the success of a mother who tandem nursed twins and issues facing mothers that want to breastfeeding in public makes me want to order it, but the stories about the adult film producer that filmed "The Battle of the Ultra Milkmaids and Lactation Nation" makes me cringe a bit.

The reviews on Amazon are mixed and as I read through them I go back and forth from "I should get this" to "Umm...no thanks" and I end up still being undecided.

Anyone out there read it? Thoughts? Is it worth order? I'm planning on ordering Dr. Hale's Medications and Mother's Milk as a reference guide for writing content for The Lactivist, so it would be easy enough to add this one to the order...


  1. Anonymous Jax | 12:55 PM |  

    Sorry, haven't read it, but can see why you're umming and ahing. Looks interesting, and maybe a bit weird as well. Would be interested to hear your review of it ;)

  2. Blogger Jennifer | 1:01 PM |  

    Well that's not fair, that just puts it back on me!

    Maybe the library has it...arg...just checked, it's a no go.

  3. Anonymous Jax | 1:22 PM |  

    Well, I'm more than a little intrigued, although the mentions of pornography and lactation fetishists are quite offputting. Gonna ask on the feminist parents forum that I frequent whether anyone has read it.

  4. Blogger Jennifer | 2:07 PM |  

    That's my concern, I'm all for a good book that approaches things from a variety of sides and I can see the humor in shirts that say Milk Maid and such. ;) I'm just not sure that I want to read about "breastfeeding" from that angle.

    Let me know what they say, I'm still debating. Want to order Hale's book tomorrow...

  5. Anonymous Jax | 1:17 AM |  

    Discussion is over here at FP

    you've got one very positive vote, and one vaguely bored. hth.

  6. Blogger Jennifer | 7:22 AM |  

    Darn it, just looked it up at Barnes & Noble. Figured I could maybe just flip through it and pick up a copy in person, but it's a whole $3 more there than it is to order from Amazon and Amazon has free shipping.

    On the other hand, it would give me something to read while at the IL's over Christmas.

    I think I'm going to go for it...

  7. Anonymous badbadmeanymama | 5:13 PM |  

    I HAVE read that book! I borrowed it from the library a couple of years ago. It was an entertaining read... very tongue in cheek. It seemed mostly from the perspective of "mainstream" women. Worth checking out, not worth buying.

  8. Blogger Jennifer | 5:52 PM |  

    Ahh, thank you!

    I'd been debating buying it, but just wasn't sure. I'll have to see if the main library in Columbus has it and get it from there. Neither of the suburban libraries near me has it.

  9. Anonymous Jax | 3:03 PM |  

    I've been lent a copy by a friend on FP, will get back to you in a couple of days with an opinion :)

  10. Anonymous Jax | 1:57 PM |  

    I've read it, I've reviewed it

    I quite enjoyed it actually. Not sure I'd want to buy it with my own money, but sure it's worth reading. Lots of stuff in there about milk banks and experiences feeding other ppl's babies.

  11. Anonymous JV Douglas | 9:28 PM |  

    I LOVED this book and it has become my standard gift for mum's to be - it's funny and interesting and manages to deal with the whole breastfeeding issue without being judgemental - it's worth buying, not just for you but for every mum whether she goes booby or bottle...

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