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'Breastfeeding babies improves social mobility' - Guardian

(10 Posts)
Octaviapink Sun 09-Oct-11 05:37:26

This is fascinating - though I find it pretty horrifying that only 7% of babies are breastfed at four months!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/09/breastfeeding-link-to-social-mobility

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Oct-11 07:50:24

I think they're confusing 'causality' with 'correlation'. Breastfeeding is a more popular choice among a certain type of person.

LydiaWickham Sun 09-Oct-11 07:58:53

It doesn't say that only 7% are breastfed at 4 months, it says exclusively breastfed - DS wasn't, he had a bottle of formula a night at 10:30pm fed by DH so I could get to bed at 9pm (allowing for the fact DS would keep me up for a lot of the rest of the night) so he wasn't 'exclusively breastfed' - however I did bf until 5.5months.

Lots of other mothers do similar so aren't counted as 'exclusive breastfed'.

AAAvegetable Sun 09-Oct-11 08:08:00

Cogito - it seems highly unlikely that a major study from Oxford University confused correlation and causation. The article even says that the results controlled for social class.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Oct-11 08:56:24

I think the Oxford Uni study pointed out the correlation and the Guardian interpreted as causation. Happens all the time with scientific studies.

cory Sun 09-Oct-11 12:46:28

clicked on the thread specifically to call out correlation-causation

but find this has already been seen to

Octaviapink Sun 16-Oct-11 05:54:40

Not to be contentious or anything, but the correlation-not-causation argument was exactly what the tobacco companies used for years about the link between smoking and cancer/ heart disease/ lung disease etc. If your evidence is good enough (and I'm not necessarily arguing that this is the case here) there comes a point where correlation - even if unprovable - can be acted upon as if it were causation.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 16-Oct-11 14:01:35

Well if some poor soul on benefits on a sink estate manages to get their child up the social ladder solely by breastfeeding, I'll take it all back. But I doubt it. Far more likely that the type of woman that has the motivation to breast-feed probably also enjoys interacting with their child, offering a stimulating environment, values education and the myriad other things that mean they'll do better than the kid next door. It won't be breastfeeding by itself.

reallytired Sun 16-Oct-11 14:18:59

I think that the guardian is being over simplistic. There are so many issues that effect child development.

Sometimes breastfeeding can be a total nightmare and cause the mother to develop postnatal depression. There is more evidence that postnatal depression damages children than evidence that bottlefeeding damages children.

I had severe postnatal depression with my son, but I breastfed him until two and half years old. With dd I enjoyed far better mental health, but only managed to breastfeeding until 22 months. It is too early to say which child will do better in life.

scarevola Sun 16-Oct-11 14:30:39

It also depends on what definition they are using for social mobility and what age cohort was studied (presumably to say the children have better social mobility means that they are adult now?) Such long range studies have the inherent confounded that, unless it is something long running like the Avon longitudinal survey, they depend on recollection which may not be accurate.

It's probably an interesting snapshot of the recent past. It's predictive worth will be limited (at best),

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