Book Review: Breast Intentions

I have managed to snatch moments this month to read the wonderful Breast Intentions by unequivocal but often controversial Alpha Parent blogger, Allison Dixley.  Seeking to explain the inadequacies of breastfeeding in the West, her premise is that actually the usual arguments put forward by mothers for stopping, or indeed not even starting, breastfeeding are merely a smokescreen, both to themselves and others.  When our species would not have survived without mothers being unable to lactate, it is highly unlikely that so many women are 'unable' to breastfeed, or do not produce enough milk; but furthermore the usual explanations/excuses about cultural norms and mores affecting breastfeeding statistics are nonsense.  Indeed, blame cannot even necessarily be apportioned to formula advertising or a culture which uses the symbol of a plastic bottle to represent all things baby.

Dixley argues that the responsibility for breastfeeding success or failure lies solely with the mother and her beliefs and choices.  She will listen to what she wants to hear, she will buy in formula 'just in case', she will claim to not have support, or fail to seek it when the going gets tough, but in the end it is her choice to stop, or never start, breastfeeding, and the sooner our culture accepts this, the sooner change may occur.  This will undoubtedly be a smack in the face for many mothers who seek to posit blame for breastfeeding failure outside themselves, and for the supporters and healthcare professionals who encourage them to do so.  Indeed the book's full title will raise many a hackle: Breast Intentions: How Women Sabotage Breastfeeding for Themselves and Others.  Each of the chapters - Deception, Guilt, Excuses, Envy, Contempt, Sabotage - goes on to explore how these six elements relate to breastfeeding, and its success or, unfortunately more likely, failure.

My own beliefs about breastfeeding are widely known and I have read this well-researched and insightful book with lots of nodding, mumbling and loud cries of 'Exactly!'  This is a radical, controversial and provocative book which will challenge every pre-conceived notion you have about breastfeeding, even if you are already pro, but it should be required reading for all women - and men.  Hand this out, along with The Politics of Breastfeeding at maternity appointments, instead of all that Bounty guff!  In fact, let's give them to our teenagers.  It's time for change!

If you would like to win a copy of Breast Intentions, just enter via the Rafflecopter below. It's a fascinating read.

Allison's brilliant blog is The Alpha Parent.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday 15th February 2015.

UK entrants only, please.


  1. I wish this book out when I was pregnant 19yrs ago! This would have so come in handy as this is real stuff, not the text book blurb that does not sound like reality.


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