Reporter 459, 20 November 2000

Media deters mothers

Mother and Infant Research Unit senior lecturer Jo Green has co-authored an article in the current British Medical Journal accusing media coverage of contributing to the low levels of breastfeeding in the United Kingdom.

In collaboration with Lesley Henderson and Jenny Kitzinger, who have joined Brunel University from the well-known Glasgow University media research group, Dr Green argues that depictions of infant care tend to present bottle-feeding as the norm and breastfeeding as ‘deviant and problematic’.

Their case is built on a one-month sample of words and images in television and print media, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as a pilot for a larger project.

The low incidence of breastfeeding, particularly among economically and socially deprived groups, is a major theme in the MIRU research programme. It is also looking at ways of encouraging mothers who begin feeding naturally not to switch to the bottle.

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