Mothers are known to have an emotional attachment to their infant; however, some mothers also experience an emotional attachment to their own milk. Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding with complementary solids are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization. Some mothers produce enough surplus milk to donate to a human milk bank. This thesis considers the emotional attachment to milk experienced by women who donate milk to a milk bank. This research is based on participant observation in a human milk bank in Florida and interviews collected from 14 milk bank donors. These methods were informed by the frameworks of moral motherhood and emotive value to foreground and enhance understanding of mothers' experiences. The results of this study show that mothers do not emotionally attach to breastmilk itself, but rather what the breastmilk represents. This study starts a conversation and brings awareness to women's emotional experiences at the beginning of motherhood, especially as they pertain to breastfeeding and human milk.
Reyes-Foster, Beatriz M.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Perez, Chandel M., ""The Milk is Love": Understanding Mothers' Emotional Attachment to Breastmilk" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 845.