The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a site of medical treatment for premature and critically ill infants. It is a space populated by medical teams and their patients, as well as parents and family. Each actor in this space negotiates providing and practicing care. In this paper, we step away from thinking about the NICU as only a space of medical care, instead, taking an anti-essentialist view, re-read care as multiple, while also troubling the community of care that undergirds it.
The breast/chestfeeding body is a site of intense politics and power relations in the United States. Hardly a week passes without an incident in the news of a person being publically shamed, or unlawfully asked to change their behavior while using their body to feed their infant in public. Lactating bodies are deemed out-of-place. Simultaneously, birth-parents are judged on their infant feeding practices, with those who do not nurse cast outside of the biologically deterministic ‘good mother’ role. This framing causes the nursing or not-nursing body to become a site of debate.