|Published online: August 26, 2014||$US5.00|
A popular assumption among authors is that breastfeeding promotes a strong relationship between mother and baby. Publications on the topic often make unsubstantiated claims about the positive effects of breastfeeding on a maternal bond with the infant or on the attachment of the infant to his or her mother. This notion is so pervasive that mothers report improvement of their relationship with their infants, rather than health or developmental effects as their main reason for breastfeeding. A UK study by Murphy (recently reviewed by Jansen et al.) found that those intending to bottle-feed were more commonly accused of being poor mothers—an attitude likely to cause inordinate stress and guilt in those who are unable to breastfeed for whatever reason. This paper reviews the existing empirical scientific literature, and argues that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that breastfeeding has a significant advantage over bottle-feeding on infant attachment security, positing mediating factors such as maternal sensitivity and overall dyadic interaction quality, as well as an effect of demographic variables such as socioeconomic status and race, particularly the influence of cultural beliefs and childrearing practices on both breastfeeding initiation/duration and attachment security outcomes.
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|Keywords:||Psychology, Cognitive Science, Social Welfare|
The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, October 2014, pp.53-59. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 26, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 350.086KB)).
Student, College of Letters and Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA