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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474623230

Price: £9.99

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– ‘Illuminating . . . an important book’ Sunday Times
– ‘A fascinating journey through the social, cultural and historical meanings of breastfeeding. A sublime book’ Elinor Cleghorn, author of Unwell Women
– ‘Erudite, intimate and compelling . . . a long-overdue history’ Leah Hazard, author of Hard Pushed
– ‘A story for us all’
BBC History Magazine

Milk is elemental. It is the first thing we look for at birth and, for most, it is the first substance to touch our tongues after we enter the world. It is the promise of nourishment, of care, of life.

Using the arc of her own experience, cultural historian Joanna Wolfarth takes us on an intimate journey of discovery beyond mother and baby, asking how the world views caregivers, their bodies, their labour and their communal bonds. By bringing together art, social histories, philosophy, folk wisdom and contemporary interviews with women from across the world, Milk reveals how infant feeding has been represented and repressed, celebrated and censured. In doing so, it charts previously unexplored territory – and offers comfort and solace to anyone who has fed or will feed a child.


Erudite, intimate and compelling, Milk is a long-overdue history of humanity's first food
Milk is a fascinating book, a rigorous and intimate study of something at once essential to life, and yet too often overlooked. Wolfarth uses breastfeeding as a lens through which to examine and critique the structures of motherhood, but it's also a text suffused with love and care, and I felt equal parts enlightened and comforted after reading it
Compassionate, compelling and beautifully told, Milk is a fascinating journey through the social, cultural and historical meanings of breastfeeding. Through her intricate, personal and tender research, Wolfarth deftly explores the human complexities of caring, nurturing and nourishing. A sublime book
A feminist blend of memoir and history . . . Wolfarth takes us on an illuminating tour of shifting attitudes and practices . . . as a cultural historian she is excellent at detailing how motherhood changes her perspective of art . . . this is an important book: however personal each mother's "journey" may seem, there are always bigger forces at play
Francesca Angelini, THE SUNDAY TIMES
Sensitively drawn and full of insight, this is an intelligent and inventive new approach to a subject that should matter to all humans. Stunning
The beauty of Wolfarth's storytelling is difficult to convey . . . [Milk] is a story for us all
I adored Milk. It is such an open-hearted, tender, gorgeous book; the way Wolfarth writes of mothers and milk so carefully crafted and so caring in equal measure. Art and bodies are interwoven so beautifully it becomes a dance; one that pays tribute to our ancestors and our experience, both individual and collective. We are asked in myriad ways what exactly it means to give sustenance, to nurture, to give ourselves over to a small stranger we are changed by forever; no matter how we fed them. An important, non-judgmental and truly healing book; I am most grateful for it indeed
Kerri ní Dochartaigh, author of THIN PLACES