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The International Breastfeeding Symbol

Lactivism (a portmanteau of "lactation" and "activism") is the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving a breastfeeding culture, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc. of breastfeeding.[1] Supporters, referred to as "lactivists", seek to protest the violation of International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes by formula companies and industry.

One form that lactivism takes is the staging of a "nurse-in" (a play on "sit-in"), which involves women gathering in public to nurse their children, usually to protest incidents in which a nursing mother was asked to cover up or leave a location because she was nursing.[2][3][4]

During nurse-ins, nursing mothers often wear clothing with the International Breastfeeding Symbol on it, to show their solidarity.[5]

Another form of lactivism is acting as support for mothers that wish to nurse. Lactivists provide information and share resources on successful nursing.

Many lactivists choose to breastfeed their children over bottle feeding, seeing this as the natural way to provide nutrition. It is claimed that breastfeeding provides a bonding experience superior to that or bottle feeding. Lactivists may also argue that bottle feeding is costlier than breastfeeding as it requires a multitude of items, and the money saved from breastfeeding can be spent on other useful items for the child. Multiple health organizations recommend breast milk as the primary source of nutrition for babies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harmon, Amy. (June 7, 2005). "'Lactivists' Taking Their Cause, and Their Babies, to the Streets." The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  2. ^ "Breast-feeding mothers stage nurse-in. (November 16, 2006). MSNBC News. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  3. ^ "'Nurse-In' Protest To Take Place In Chatsworth[permanent dead link]." (September 8, 2007). CBS News. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  4. ^ "National 'nurse-in' set to protest treatment of mom." (November 20, 2006). USA Today. Retrieve September 27, 2007.
  5. ^ "The International Breastfeeding Symbol. (n.d.). Mothering. Retrieved September 27, 2007.

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