Breastfeeding: New Anthropological Approaches unites sociocultural, biological, and archaeological anthropological scholarship to spark new conversations and research about breastfeeding. While breastfeeding has become the subject of intense debate in many settings, anthropological perspectives have played a limited role in these conversations. The present volume seeks to broaden discussions around breastfeeding by showcasing fresh insights gleaned from an array of theoretical and methodological approaches, which are grounded in the close study of people across the globe.

Drawing on case studies and analyses of key issues in the field, the book highlights the power of anthropological research to illuminate the evolutionary, historical, biological, and sociocultural context of the complex, lived experience of breastfeeding. By bringing together researchers across three anthropological subfields, the volume seeks to produce transformative knowledge about human lactation, breastfeeding, and human milk.

This book is a key resource for scholars of medical and biological anthropology, evolutionary biology, bioarchaeology, sociocultural anthropology, and human development. Lactation professionals and peer supporters, midwives, and others who support infant feeding will find the book an essential read.

chapter 1|25 pages


Towards new anthropologies of breastfeeding

chapter 2|14 pages

Beyond passive immunity

Breastfeeding, milk and collaborative mother-infant immune systems

chapter 3|15 pages

Consuming immunities

Milk sharing and the social life of passive immunity

chapter 4|14 pages

Breastsleeping in four cultures 1

Comparative analysis of a biocultural body technique

chapter 5|14 pages

“Natural, like my hair”

Conceptualizations of breastfeeding among African American women

chapter 7|15 pages

Mothers, milk, and morals

Peer milk sharing as moral motherwork in Central Florida

chapter 10|15 pages

Mixed-feeding in humans

Evolution and current implications

chapter 12|15 pages

Shifting weanling’s optimum

Breastfeeding ecology and infant health in Yucatán

chapter |6 pages


Breastfeeding: In search of the right questions