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Young low-income mothers’ identity work around infant feeding in the UK

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>3/11/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Artl@s Bulletin
Publication StatusAccepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper focuses on young low-income mothers’ engagement with, and management of, potentially conflicting discourses within the context of maternal foodwork. Findings from qualitative, longitudinal interviews with 13 UK women illustrate the performance of identity and family work, in relation to infant feeding and wider maternal practices. Each participant was interviewed twice, once prior to, and then following, the birth of their first baby. We identify three rhetorical strategies. Adopting and resisting allow for the acceptance or rejection of prominent infant feeding discourses. Under reframing, young women transform the encouragement to breastfeed, subverting or reversing official discourses. Reframing thus provides an alternative means to appropriate and deploy versions of good motherhood, drawing on women’s lived realities and local maternal cultures, alongside wider experiences of building and managing family relationships.