To call bollocks on this woman on bbc news...

(85 Posts)
MadBannersAndCopPorn Wed 26-Jun-13 07:28:05

Being breast fed determines social class........ Okay

catgirl1976 Wed 26-Jun-13 09:38:08

DS was combi fed - does that mean he will be MC? confused

Or just eat Greggs sausage rolls in between chukkas at the Polo?

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 09:41:07

I can imagine in such a large study that there is a lot to control for so the only variable is breastfeeding or formula feeding.

Otherwise other factors come into account.

I'm not sure if it is possible to control every variable to make a direct comparison.

fairnotfair Wed 26-Jun-13 09:48:17

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc, as I always say (in between sips of Thunderbird)

Hack mum: the abstract says that differences in cognitive functioning account for 36% of the difference.

I couldn't be bothered to wade through the whole paper to find out exactly what they controlled for though. I hate reading quantitative stuff. Nonetheless, there is no way that it could be relevant to contemporary formula feeding because a great deal has changed in the last 50-odd years (both in terms of the composition of the formula itself and in how parents organise formula feeding).

MadBannersAndCopPorn Wed 26-Jun-13 09:49:42

As BBC reporter said, there are so, so many other occurrences in a child's life which could affect their outcome.
I had a friend who came from a very upper-class, privileged background (loving parents, great opportunities etc) who is currently a heroin addict and living in a squat. (perhaps he was ff?)
ArbitaryUsername is right, the way we ff babies has changed dramatically since 1958 and indeed, breastfeeding. Women were not advised to feed on demand but, every 3/4 hours regardless of how hungry the baby seemed.
The way we 'nurture' babies has also changed as cc was the norm and babies stayed in hospital in litttle cribs for at least a week after being born. You can't compare it to modern life whatsoever.

ComtessedeFrouFrou Wed 26-Jun-13 09:49:57

I would love for someone to do a study where thy get people from all walks of life and doing all sorts of jobs - entrepreneurs, high court judges, idle rich, bank managers, teachers, shop assistants, server in macdonalds and cleaners say (I apologise in advance if this list is offensive to anyone - no doubt someone will take umbrage) and get people to guess whether they were breast or bottle fed.

I bet that the spread of breast feeding vs bottle feeding would be reasonably even and that no-one would be able to reliable judge which had been breast fed and which had been bottle fed.

That would be a proper test of whether it realty matters in the end.

Maybe then we might be able to let people feed their babies in peace, by whatever means they think best.

The thing about longitudinal studies of these kind is that they really can only tell you about how things worked over the period during which they were conducted because all sorts of things change in society over time. A study following children born this week until middle age will not tell you anything about the effects of childrearing practices in 2063 because, by then, parents will probably be looking back at what their grandparents (i.e us) did in horror. And we can't possibly know what it is about what we're doing that will horrify them.

MadBannersAndCopPorn Wed 26-Jun-13 10:15:19

YY ComtessedeFrouFrou

hamilton75 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:32:20

I think its pretty well acknowledged that middle class women are more likely to breastfeed however I don't understand how and why that would translate into social mobility/moving upwards once they are older. It doesn't make much sense to me.

PurplePidjin Wed 26-Jun-13 12:56:37

Haha, CherryPi i had an almost identical rant to dp!

Has no one considered the impact of a grammar school education on social mobility? Maybe that couple of IQ points was enough to pass the 11+ which would improve life chances for children from a less privileged socio-economic background

<hark at me with the bf-all-fecking-night baby using all them long words. I was ff and all!>

ComtessedeFrouFrou Wed 26-Jun-13 17:11:38

There was huuuuge social mobility between my paternal GF and my Dad - my GF left school at 14, worked in a mine and became a traffic copper and my Dad went to Cambridge rose quite high in a bank. Between me and my Sad, not so much. I have a more "traditionally" professional job, but my social class, income and status are no higher than my Dad's, although because of the way the business I work in is structured, there is eventually much greater earning power.

Well that look like me and 4 siblings are fucked but the last 2 were breast fed by our mum so they have a fighting chance grin

kim147 Wed 26-Jun-13 17:17:57

My mum died a long time ago - I could ask my Dad but I think my childhood passed him by. Like when I asked him about childhood illnesses - I got a blank how am I supposed to now stare.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Wed 26-Jun-13 17:19:23

Wow. Even as a mahoosive bf advocate, I am rolling my eyes so much it hurts. Correlation, yes. It's well documented that bf rates are higher amongst certain socio-economic groups, and it follows that starting off in a particular social class increases your likelihood of staying in that class or "moving up". It does not mean that bf causes you to be of a particular class as an adult, anymore than being carted round in a certain brand of pushchair determines anything about your adult life.

Blimey, imagine that. Adverts for pretentious and nobby pushchairs promising that babies carried round in them are destined for high-flying careers! grin

I'm so glad it wasn't just me shouting at the TV this morning!

I've just been teaching my year 9's about the difference between a correlation and a causal link - if they can understand it then a 'professor' must be able to surely? shock

jeez ....

If you read the abstract it does say that the stats analysis does suggest a causal link not just a correlation though.But, as I said before, it's a causal link that applies only to the cohorts that were studied because both infant feeding practices and social structures have changed considerably in the intervening decades.

So the statement that being breastfed influenced (not determined) social mobility (not social class) for people born in 1958 and 1970 is consistent with the results of this study. And only 36% of this effect seems to have been attributable to differences in cognitive function. A bald statement about breastfeeding determining social class is utter nonsense.

The actual conclusion in the paper (or at least the abstract summary of it) is: 'Breast feeding increased the odds of upward social mobility and decreased the odds of downward mobility. Consistent with a causal explanation, the findings were robust to matching on a large number of observable variables and effect sizes were alike for two cohorts with different social distributions of breast feeding. The effect was mediated in part through neurological and stress mechanisms.'

Note this absolutely is not the same as breastfeeding determines social class.

tethersend Wed 26-Jun-13 17:52:46

I know my place.

usualsuspect Wed 26-Jun-13 18:07:22

<looks down on Tethers>

tethersend Wed 26-Jun-13 18:09:08

<doffs cap at usual>

<mixes formula>

TarkaTheOtter Wed 26-Jun-13 18:30:47

I've got no opinion on the findings, but the one person on this thread who it seems has actually read the article (or at least the abstract), arbitrary, has said that the authors believe they have found causation not just correlation. I don't know the literature on bfing at all but have done quantitative research and it is not particularly difficult to control for mothers intelligence level/parental income etc so it wod surprise me if any recent study hadn't done that. There may still be intangibles correlated with both bfing and social class and these in theory could confound the results though.

Badvoc Wed 26-Jun-13 18:34:32

Utter drivel.

sue52 Wed 26-Jun-13 18:36:25

Total crap. I didn't BF and I have an Aga and a Labrador so I am very posh.

helenthemadex Wed 26-Jun-13 18:50:34

I'm telling my dc to put that they were breastfed on their CV's grin so they know what class they are

Right, I've skimmed the whole paper (and it was really dull). Tbh, I don't think it's a very good paper. The discussion mentions a couple of limitations but doesn't in any meaningful way address any of the issues to do with changes in infant feeding or society since the 1970s, which are likely to have an impact on the generalisability of their conclusions to other generations.

So... bollocks then? grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now