Luisa Molinari, Giuseppina Speltini

L'allattamento del neonato:natura, relazioni, sentimenti

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This article presents the results of a research study on the social representations of infant feeding carried out with the method of word association. The study was carried out in two phases. In the first (longitudinal), 30 women were interviewed four different times over a period of 14 months: at the end of their first pregnancy, when their child was three, six and twelve months of age. The second phase was carried out on 414 subjects divided into six groups: mothers, fathers, pregnant women, midwives, university students and men and women without children. The choise of these groups is due to the hypothesis that two elements, that is, personal experience and affective urge, contribute to define and articulate the semantic field of social representations of infant feeding. As far as these two elements are concerned, the selected groups are situated at different levels of a continuum stemming from distance to proximity. The results show that descriptive elements prevail when feeding is a distant object, while the elements denoting affect, warmth and relation acquire more relevance when the salience of the social object is more evident.

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