"Breastfeeding is a natural negotiation between mother and baby and you interfere with it at your peril," says Professor Mary Renfrew, Director of the Mother and Infant Research Unit, University of York.
This falling apart, says Renfrew
, is largely due to the fear and mistrust that science had of the natural process of breastfeeding.
In particular, the fact that a mother can put a baby on the breast and do something else while breastfeeding, and have the baby naturally come off the breast when it's had enough, was seen as disorderly and inexact.
The medical/ scientific model replaced this natural situation with precise measurements - for instance, how many millilitres of milk a baby should ideally have at each sitting - which skewed the natural balance between mother and baby, and established bottlefeeding as a biological norm.
Breastfeeding rates also began to decline as a consequence of women's changed circumstances after World War I, as more women left their children behind to go into the workplace as a consequence of women's emancipation - and the loss of men in the 'killing fields' - and to an even larger extent with the advent of World War II, when even more women entered into employment outside of the home.
"There was also the first wave of feminism," says Renfrew
, "which stamped into everyone's consciousness in the 60s, and encouraged women get away from their babies and start living their lives.
"There was lots of topping up," says Professor Renfrew
And yet, according to Mary Renfrew
, 'Giving up breastfeeding is not something that women do lightly.