Maintaining the Flow: Medical Challenges to Breastfeeding and “Risky” Bodies in Mexico

Credit: Dr. Jenna Murray de López


In this article, I discuss a case study from southeast Mexico that highlights conflicting ideas regarding what constitutes risk and illness in the context of breastfeeding and postpartum practices. On the one hand, doctors’ indeterminate and conflicting diagnoses about mother’s milk as a source of pollution is revealed as an act of moral pathology that frames young mothers as high risk. On the other hand, milk pollution is understood by women as an unwelcome yet temporary interruption that can be remedied through non‐allopathic intervention. As such, women can exert collective agency to overcome medicalized barriers to early breastfeeding and maintain established nurturing practices.