The Breastfeeding Battle Part I: The Study

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Well folks, this is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a long while, but I haven’t really found the right moment to include the topic on my blog.  Well, due to some recent “news”, I think that now is the right moment.  Due to the length of my rantings I’m going to divide this post into two parts.  The second part will be posted on Thursday.

Recently there was a study published that has sparked debate and heated comments from moms all over the social network and blogsphere.  You’ve probably heard of the study that concluded that in America there is a bias that breastfeeding mothers are viewed as less intelligent.  Before I delve into the real reason for this post (which I will discuss on Thursday) I’d like to provide a little perspective on the bias of the study itself and the poor research methodologies that were practiced.  I’m not a pro at research, but let me just point out a few things I noticed when I read through the article (yes, I read the actual article, not just a blog post about it).

  1. The researchers set out to test their hypothesis that breastfeeding mothers were seen as less competent than their bottle feeding counterparts.  The study was also seeking to replicate the results of a previous study that came to the same conclusion.  It is not uncommon in research to seek to replicate results, but you’ll see why, in the next two points this becomes a big deal.
  2. The participants in the study were college students with a mean (average) age of 19!  None the participants had ever had a child.  The population sampled can certainly not be said to be representative of America as a whole!
  3. The participants were given a pamphlet about actress Brooke Shields.  Some read that she was planning on releasing a book wherein she talked about her breastfeeding experience.  Some read that she wrote about her bottlefeeding experience. Researchers selected Brooke Shields “with the assumption that she is an admired and liked role model” ….umm…excuse me.  There are plenty of more well-known, well-liked, and better role models to choose from.  Brooke Shields, may very well be a wonderful mother, but that is not what she is known for.  Brooke Shields is one of the most recognizable sex symbols in Hollywood!  She is most well known for her sexuality (ever heard of the Blue Lagoon) and that sexuality is, of course, associated with her breasts.  And you might say that her breasts are part of her business, her very lucrative business.  Do you believe the average 19 year old is going to think that Brooke Shields using her most valuable assets to nurse a child is the most competent decision? You can’t tell me that this wasn’t a veiled attempt to create a bias.

I could go on, but it is fairly plain that this article is not the product of good research practices.  So, if you’re a breastfeeding mom please find comfort in the fact that, just because this poorly constructed research study says that people find you less competent, it is simply not the case.  Perhaps they would have been better off doing a study on the competency of their study.


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I havent heard of this newly released info lol BUt by golly gee no wonder us breast feedin mommas are always picked on.. were dummies haha

    Seriously, you think the more intelligent crowd is spending money on something lower quality then what thir bodies are producing!! not including mothers who can not breast feed or have issues with supply or latch my heart goes to you all i couldnt imagine having that issue. But im saying the people who knowing choose before the birth of thier child not to bf.

    I love my boobies lol and so dies the baby :)
  2. OMG I can't believe that study! I mean come on seriously...they were trying to get fair results? Yeah right!
  3. Thrifty Mom Spot says
    I wonder if anyone believes that study! It takes an intelligent person to make the choice to breastfeed going against the society norm!

    Stopping by from the weekend hop!
  4. Lolo @ Crazy About My Baybah says
    Breastfeeding mothers are considered less intelligent? What the? I cannot believe that anyone would even think that let alone do research on it.
    I breastfeed and I am proud and intelligent!
  5. oh wow - I had not heard of this yet!! I might have to write about it too! :) Can't wait to hear what else you write next week!! My goodness!!
  6. Samantha says
    ummm....that is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. who gets these things in their head....i had not heard this before. i am going to pretend i had not heard it still, lol
  7. Heather Irwin says
    humm....I've always thought I was smart for giving my child the food that nature intended for him to eat..............
  8. I thought you lost calories when you breastfed and not braincells :).
  9. Kassandra @ Coffee and their Kisses says
    That's awful. I think it's a natural thing and if you can breastfeed, then go for it. It's great for the baby and the momma. Some people, I tell ya!