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Talking about Breastfeeding: Why the Health Argument Isn't Enough

2010 | Download

Public health advocates have for years been trying to increase the number of women who breastfeed by educating mothers about its health benefits. Studies show that breast milk improves babies' immune systems and decreases women's risk of everything from osteoporosis to type-2 diabetes.

Reporters have trumpeted advocates' message, yet breastfeeding rates remain dismally low. In this Issue, PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group explores what's missing from the conversation and shows how advocates in California are shifting the conversation to include the factors outside of health that make it hard for even the most well-informed women to breastfeed.

Read the brief online or download the publication.

To discover what frames are operating in public conversations about breastfeeding and how those frames relate to efforts to shape hospital policies on this issue, Berkeley Media Studies Group analyzed a variety of materials on key media advocacy actions. 

Cognitive linguist Pamela Morgan, PhD, worked with BMSG in an iterative process to determine the frames at work in these policy and media pieces. In this Issue, we summarize Dr. Morgan’s findings, apply them to our reading of the CWA news coverage, and consider the implications for CWA’s policy advocacy in the future.