Parent-offspring conflict and the cultural ecology of breast-feeding

Thomas W. McDade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Lactation constitutes a major focus for research in international health because of its dramatic impact on child survival; evolutionary biology has investigated lactation as an important aspect of parenting strategy, with implications for understanding parent-offspring conflict. These perspectives are brought together in an attempt to develop integrated models for an issue of key international health concern: the duration of exclusive breast-feeding and the timing of weaning. This analysis highlights the relevance of evolutionary theory for practical problems in public health, and it suggests the utility of public health outcomes for addressing evolutionary questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-25
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Nature
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Infant mortality
  • International health
  • Lactation
  • Weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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