Marketing Mothers' Milk: The Commodification of Breastfeeding and the Evolving Markets for Breast Milk and Infant Formula

Linda C. Fentiman, Pace University School of Law

Document Type Article

Working paper submitted via Expresso


Today breastfeeding, human breast milk, and its substitute - infant formula - are commodities. “Mother’s milk” is marketed both literally and figuratively: as a good for sale, normative behavior, and a symbolic cure for much that is disturbing in twenty-first century America. This article asserts that this unacknowledged commodification of breast feeding and human milk is the result of a complex alliance among government, the medical profession, health care institutions, and manufacturers of infant formula, in which each institution profits at the expense of American women and their families.