Jessica Bates

writer | reader | mother | lover

May 7, 2017

Books with Breastfeeding

nursing is normalIn an attempt to normalize & openly discuss breastfeeding, I’m logging all books of fiction & poetry that mention breastfeeding here. [If you come across a book with breastfeeding & I haven’t logged it, please comment & I’ll add it. Thanks!]

I also log all the novels (& sometimes poems) I read that include birth scenes. Hop over to my books with birth scenes list & see what spikes your baby fever.


In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez | When one sister loses her child, her husband drinks her milk during sex.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood | The Crakers nurse their babies, and since their children grow faster than normal humans, they are often seen nursing large children.

Birth & What Came Afterby Jessica Bates | My book of motherhood poetry includes poems about me breastfeeding my son, about me offering my breast to other babies, about a women being “too shy” to nurse her children, and about the complexities of weaning a child.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay | Breastfeeding & trauma when the main character is kidnapped & raped & her milk dries up.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley | Lenina and Bernard see Indian mothers nursing their babies on the Savage Reservation.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee | Scout sees women breastfeeding outside the courthouse. She mentions that breasts are “friendlier in pairs.”

Beloved by Toni Morrison | Breastfeeding & trauma. A wonderful and heartbreaking read.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison | Milkman gets his name from a gossiping neighbor catching his mother breastfeeding him when he was apparently too old to enjoy it. Ruth, the mother, thinks of breastmilk as a golden thread, full of light and magic.

“She had the distinct impression that his lips were pulling from her a thread of light. It was as though she were a cauldron issuing spinning gold. Like the miller’s daughter—the one who sat at night in a straw-filled room, thrilled with the secret power Rumpelstiltskin had given her: to see the golden thread stream from her very own shuttle. And that was the other part of her pleasure, a pleasure she hated to give up.”

Swing Time by Zadie Smith | Women in Africa breastfeed in public while the unnamed narrator is visiting while planning to build her boss’s school for girls.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck | Of course this iconic ending features a woman breastfeeding a withered old man to keep him alive.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward | In the opening of this book, the family’s pit bull, China, is giving birth to puppies. She soon breastfeeds them.

What are your favorite books with breastfeeding scenes?

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books, breastfeeding, female authors, motherhood - Jessica Bates