There has been articles referring to a breastfeeding study being share all over my facebook feed recently. It talks about how babies who are breastfed are more likely to have higher IQ that babies who weren't breastfed and are more likely to be successful and earn more money in later life.
As a supporter of breastfeeding it might seem logical for me to share a study like this, it appears to support my choice to breastfeed for longer and make me feel good about it, it would be a finger up to people who have criticised my choice to continue breastfeeding and has the potential to encourage women who aren't yet mothers or who are breastfeeding a young baby to initiate/continue breastfeeding
But I chose not to share it, and not because the data wasn't irrefutable, and it wasn't because I was worried about upsetting my friends who didn't achieve their breastfeeding goals, or making my friends who chose not the breastfeed feel guilty. (Although these were factors.)
The reason I didn't share this study is because I don't think it's important. I don't think it's important for making mums who breastfeed feel good, and I don't think it's important for encouraging new mums or mums-to-be to breastfeed.
And the reason I don't think it's important is because I don't think a person having a high IQ in order to earn more money is important.
Does having a high IQ make you a good person? Does having a high IQ make you kind? Does having a high IQ make you compassionate? Does having a high IQ make you loving? The answer is no, no it doesn't. And at the end of the day these are the things that are really important, these are the qualities I would like my children to have and the qualities I would wish upon other children. Sadly we live in a time where how much money you earn seems to be the highest measure of a human's value and we certainly aren't going to change that by sharing a study like this.
The only value this sort of study has in encouraging mums to initiate breastfeeding or to continue doing so is a financial one. We are putting a financial reward on breastfeeding; "your child might be richer if you breastfeed for a bit longer". How messed up is that? But this is the capitalist society we live in where economy is God and anything that makes people richer is elevated to the highest echelons of value. Wouldn't it be great to see headlines like "breastfed children are kinder adults" or "extended breastfeeding makes people more compassionate" now those are studies I would be interested in reading. But more than likely they are headlines that will never exist, and not just because the truth is that breastfeeding or formula feeding has no impact on a persons level of kindness and compassion, but also because kindness, love, and compassion and not seen as important values to have in our society.
So rather than to-ing and fro-ing about two IQ points on a chart I want focus on things that are really important like instilling the values of love and kindness in my children by showing love, kindness and compassion towards others.
And as for the important benefits of breastfeeding, well, they are priceless.