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Promoting Breastfeeding, Promoting Guilt?

Promoting Breastfeeding, Promoting Guilt?

Presentation at Le Leche League Conference
24 October 2006

Biocultural anthropologist and author, winner of the American Anthropological Society Margaret Mead award in 1995, Katherine A. Dettwyler, will be presenting at the Le Leche League Conference at the Auckland Conference Centre on Tuesday, 24 October.

Dr Dettwyler has conducted research on child health and growth for more than 25 years.

“Health care professionals say they don't want to give mothers complete and accurate information about the risks of artificial infant formula because they are worried about making mothers feel guilty about not breastfeeding,” she says. “Guilt is often used to promote healthy behaviors in health advertising.”

Dr Dettwyler is best known for her research on the natural age of weaning in modern humans (2.5 years to 7.0 years) as well as her analyses of the broader cultural factors that have an effect on whether women are successful at breastfeeding.

The Le Leche League Conference, Normalising Breastfeeding in the Modern World, features several internationally-renowned speakers:

• Dr Katherine Dettwyler (Biocultural Anthropologist and Professor of Anthropology at Millersville University, USA)
• Dr Joel Porter (Director of the Pacific Centre for Motivation and Change and Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Christchurch School of Medicine)
• Dr Alison Barrett (Clinical Director of Maternity Services, Waikato Hospital, Member of La Leche League New Zealand Board of Consultants)

The conference is a ‘must attend’ event on the public health calendar, and will include presentations about such diverse issues as media portrayal of breasts and the application of directive psychological methods to help women carry through with optimal infant feeding.

The full programme can be viewed on the La Leche League website:


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