Ms. Jung defines 'lactivism' as 'compulsory breastfeeding, breastfeeding as a moral crusade, and breastfeeding as a means of distinguishing good from bad parents.' She didn’t invent the term, but she is adept at describing it, particularly the way that privileged white women have turned breast-feeding into yet another arena for maternal one-upmanship. More important, she makes a provocative case that its benefits have been drastically oversold.
If you want to roll your eyes at upper-middle class consumer culture, and the one-upmanship of people who can’t leave each other’s parenting choices alone, Jung has you covered. But Jung’s more interesting findings relate to what the decision between nursing and formula has become in contemporary U.S. society, where, she writes, 'Breastfeeding is never just breastfeeding.'
She makes some good points, including that it’s unfair to penalize women who don’t have the flexibility in their lives — maternity leave, pumping breaks, etc. — to make breast-feeding a realistic option. But she overstates her case when she writes, 'Not one of the public breastfeeding initiatives launched since 1995 seems directed toward supporting women’s own preferences and choices.'