Breastfeeding Mothers Considered Less Intelligent

breastfeeding bias, breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding, baby feeding, breastmilk, bottle feeding, sexism,

Image Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik

A brand new study shows that women who breastfeed are considered less intelligent than other women. In fact, not only does this new research show that breastfeeding women are looked down upon as incompetent, but the study also showed that breastfeeding women may actually be excluded from employment opportunities, based solely on their breastfeeding status. During the study, researchers asked participants to rate breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding women, and while the breastfeeding women were viewed as more friendly they were also viewed as less competent overall and less competent in math specifically. WOW…

Do you ever feel like people think you're incompetent for breastfeeding?

  • 19 Votes Yes - it seems like people think it's stupid to breastfeed.
  • 246 Votes I feel like most people think breastfeeding is a smart choice.
  • 27 Votes I'm not sure what people think about my breastfeeding choice.

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breastfeeding bias, breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding, baby feeding, breastmilk, bottle feeding, sexism,

Image Flickr user Raphael Goetter

A seriously disturbing aspect of this study, is that the prejudice against breastfeeding women was evident even though none of the participants technically saw a women breastfeeding. According to the researchers, participants were only asked questions about breastfeeding women. The researchers note, “Evidence for bias was obtained despite the fact that none of the women were visibly breastfeeding. We can only speculate that the evidence for bias would be magnified if people were to rate an actual woman engaging in public nursing.” And we wonder why so few women breastfeed for the recommended amount of time – maybe they feel as if they’re being judged.

This new study is insane, considering that past research has shown that the women most likely to breastfeed, and breastfeed longer, tend to be women who are college educated; women who take antenatal classes; and women who earn a higher income. Although one can argue that college degrees and high wages aren’t the only issues related to intelligence, breastfeeding involves quite a bit of forethought, research and practice. I think it’s safe to say that most evidence points to breastfeeding women as women who are smart, and who are thinking about important parenting issues. Of course, we all know that breastfeeding isn’t only smart, but eco-friendly too. There’s zero packaging, no manufacturing required and it’s not like you can beat the cost of breast milk.

In spite of the findings, study researchers agree with us here at Inhabitots – breastfeeding is an awesome choice. The researchers note that women should keep on breastfeeding, saying that if more women breastfeed in public, it may translate into a larger acceptance of breastfeeding overall.

+ Spoiled Milk: An Experimental Examination of Bias Against Mothers Who Breastfeed

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