By the end of the eighteenth century, breast-feeding had come to seem an act of citizenship. Mary Wollstonecraft, in her “Vindication of the Rights of Woman” (1792), scoffed that a mother who “neither suckles nor educates her children, scarcely deserves the name of a wife, and has no right to that of a citizen.” The following year, the French National Convention ruled that women who employed wet nurses could not apply for state aid; not long afterward, Prussia made breast-feeding a legal requirement.
from: Baby Food: If breast is best, why are women bottling their milk? by Jill Lepore
The New Yorker, January 19, 2009
(recommended reading - currently online in full)