From an environmental journalist and mother of two young breast-fed children comes this searing, insightful look into the breastfeeding controversy and puts "common knowledge" about this most natural of processes to the test by breaking down the complex cultural, corporate, political, and technological factors that have transformed the way people think about breastfeeding and the human experience. Since the rise of infant formula in the early twentieth century, breastfeeding has gone from a basic biological function to a never-ending controversy and hot topic in the media: an Instagram photo of Blake Lively breastfeeding her daughter gained 367,000 likes and was posted across media sites from USA Today to Us Weekly. A photo of an Argentinian politician breastfeeding her 8-month-old during a session of Parliament quickly went viral, drawing a mix of support and criticism. Target's breastfeeding policy, allowing women to nurse in any area of the store, was recently shared on Facebook to praise from mothers across America. Clearly, this is a topic that constantly makes headlines and sparks heated discussion throughout the world.
Growing up, Jennifer Grayson thought nothing of the fact that her mother had not breastfed her. It wasn't until she became a mother herself that she realized she had missed out on a natural, profound, and incredibly important experience, one that she became determined to give to her own children. Her curiosity about breastfeeding soon turned to passion, leading her to launch a worldwide search for knowledge and stories of breastfeeding. From biblical times to eighteenth century France, from modern-day Mongolia to inner-city Los Angeles, Grayson explores the personal stories of breastfeeding women throughout history around the world. Along the way, she takes readers behind the scenes at a lactation research laboratory, interviews controversial breastfeeding figures including Dr. William Sears, and shares her own personal experience of extended breastfeeding her preschool and toddler daughters. Unlatched is a thorough and fascinating study of one of the most contentious issues affecting society today.
"Unlatched is an intelligent, often funny, deftly written page-turner. Honestly, I'm surprised at how enthusiastically I find myself recommending a book about breastfeeding. Perfect not just for new parents, but for anyone who loves a good read." -- -Anne Hathaway "Grayson's book beautifully explains how we got to the breastfeeding brouhaha that exists in America today. This book is recommended reading for anyone who has breasts or loves them." -- -Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein "I'm hearing more and more that the root of much evil in our bad health is formula-feeding instead of breastfeeding, and with terrific investigative chops Jennifer Grayson nails the most insidious part of this: the government's role in hocking formula to the most vulnerable among us." -- -Michael Moss, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and New York Times bestselling author of Salt, Sugar, Fat "Unlatched is a deeply engaging, highly personal, well researched, and thoughtfully balanced account of how modern society has denormalized breastfeeding." -- -Marion Nestle is professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of, among other books, What to Eat. "Unlatched is an essential book, not only for every parent to-be, but for physicians as well. Jennifer Grayson asks all the right questions, and it is clear that we must stop letting politics, money, and societal expectations trump good science." -- -Dr. Lauren Streicher, renowned women's health expert, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever
Jennifer Grayson is an environmental journalist and Huffington Post columnist whose work has appeared in publications including USA Today, the Washington Post, and American Baby. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters.