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Academic research: Investigating how social networks affect infant feeding for first-time mothers
UBC Sociology Honours Thesis (published in Sojourners)
Qualitative research, interviews
The experience of first-time mothering is a social one. Particularly, feeding the infant is a significant social facet to mothering as social networks inform feeding practices and transform seemingly private market interactions, like buying a baby food product, into public acts that are evaluated by other mothers. How do networks affect infant feeding practices of first-time mothers? How do these social networks create tension for mothers in crafting their identity as a “good mother”? This paper draws upon four semi-structured in-depth interviews with first-time mothers who have children ranging from four-and-a-half to eleven-and-a-half months of age in Vancouver, BC. These first-time mothers enact feeding practices to protect their children from the dangers of chemicals. They train their infants to become inclusive, urban eaters to avoid raising the “picky eater” and establish family rituals of eating together. Notably, social networks of other mothers are helpful resources when feeding the child, but they can also be sources of judgement and peer pressure. Thus, the private activity of feeding the child transforms into a public act subject to judgement that can internalize “mom guilt”. This study highlights the force of social networks during early motherhood and how the identity of “mother” is built through feeding. 

Link to Journal: https://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/sojournersubc/issue/view/183022
Abstract pink coloured image of the bloodstream.IBM rebus logo with an eye, a bee, and the letter M.